/ / / Norcold RV Refrigerator Not Cooling: 5 Helping Tips To Fix the Issue

Norcold RV Refrigerator Not Cooling: 5 Helping Tips To Fix the Issue

Have you noticed your Norcold RV refrigerator not cooling? Well, this can be a frustrating situation. It is likely possible that a defective component like a compressor or power board is to blame. But, don’t worry! We have got you covered.

Continue reading to learn about the 6 problems with solutions and restore the cooling again. So, let’s jump into the details!

Norcold RV Refrigerator vs Household Refrigerator – Comparison

A Norcold RV refrigerator is a special kind of fridge made specifically for recreational vehicles. It is designed to fit in smaller spaces and is very lightweight for easy transportation. With that, let’s have a look at how these refrigerators differentiate from those in households:

1. Compact Size

One of the main differences between a Norcold RV fridge and a household fridge is the size.

  • RV fridges are generally smaller due to the limited space inside an RV.
  • They are designed to maximize storage efficiency. While still providing enough space to keep food and drinks cool.
Compact Size

2. Operating on Power Sources

Another important feature of Norcold RV refrigerators is their ability to operate using different power sources. While household fridges are typically connected to electrical outlets. The ones in Norcold RV can run on various power options, such as:

  • Batteries,
  • Propane,
  • Solar energy.
Operating on Power Sources

3. Withstanding Factors

Additionally, Norcold RV refrigerators are built to withstand the vibrations and movements that occur while driving on the road. Regular household fridges are not designed for this kind of constant motion.

Withstanding Factors

3 Types of Norcold RV Fridges and How They Work

Norcold RV refrigerators come in three different types, each offering distinct power options. Understanding how these refrigerators work will help you in diagnosing the problems. Let’s learn about them below:

1. Fridges with 2-Way Power Source

This type of RV fridge can be powered by two sources, electricity or propane. AC power is the same kind of power used in regular homes, and LP usually refers to propane gas used in RVs.

Fridges with 2-Way Power Source

2. Fridges with 3-Way Power Source

Three sources can power these types of fridges:

  • Electricity (AC power),
  • Propane (LP power),
  • Direct Current (DC).
Fridges with 3-Way Power Source

AC power and propane are the same as in the two-way fridge. DC is referred to as lower voltage power (12 volts) that comes from a battery, like the ones found in vehicles.

3. Electric-Only RV Fridges

This type of fridge only uses electricity (AC power) to operate. It can be powered by plugging it into an electrical outlet using an extension cord.

Norcold RV Refrigerator not Cooling. Electric-Only RV Fridges

6 Detailed Causes and Solution on Norcold RV Refrigerator Not Cooling

Most domestic fridges use compressors to cool things down, but the case is different with Norcold’s as they use a gas absorption system instead. So, this means there are specific reasons why they might have cooling unit issues.

Let’s know the causes that most RV people face with their Norcold RV refrigeration units!

1. Unbalanced Unit of RV Fridge

If the cooling unit is not level, the coolant in the refrigerator does not flow properly through the coils. This leads to a common issue of not having enough freezing in the refrigerator. If your refrigerator stays unlevel for more than 30 minutes, the cooling system unit can get damaged and can’t be fixed.

Unbalanced Unit of RV Fridge

Here is how you can fix the balancing issue which results in defective cooling:

  • Pick up or buy an automatic hydraulic leveler and place it on a shelf inside the freezer.
  • Ensure the refrigerator is properly leveled, with the liquid positioned in the center of the circle.
  • Using power jacks and leveling blocks to achieve a balanced position is the best option for truck campers.
  • Make use of small wooden pieces as levelers and assess the balance each time you make an adjustment.

2. Compressor is at Fault

The fridge uses a special liquid called refrigerant, which is pushed by the compressor to cool it down. This liquid takes away the heat from the RV fridge’s components and makes them cold. If your fridge is not getting cold, even if the fan that cools it is working, the issue is probably with the refrigerator compressor or its starting relay.

Compressor is at Fault

First, make sure to turn off the power and disconnect the refrigerator from the electrical outlet. Then, proceed with these instructions:

  • Gently move the refrigerator away from the wall to find the compressor.
  • Locate the compressor start relay; it is a small device connected to the compressor.
  • Next, perform a simple test by turning on the freezer and observing if the compressor starts functioning.
  • Following this, disconnect the relay from the compressor by unplugging it. Give it a gentle shake and listen for any rattling noise. If you hear anything, it indicates that the relay is broken and requires replacement.

In case you do not hear any noise/sound when shaking the relay, it is understood that the issue lies with the compressor itself. Replacing the compressor can be quite costly. Depending on the age and extent of damage to your RV fridge, it might be more financially reasonable to purchase a new refrigerator instead.

  • If you decide to replace the compressor, you will need to unscrew the back panel. This will help you remove a metal guard that protects the compressor.
  • Then, you should disconnect the compressor from a few other parts, like the capacitor and the suction line. Once done, you can add a new one with ease.

3. Blocked Condenser Coils in an RV

At times, the Norcold RV Refrigerator may experience issues with its condenser coils. These coils are responsible for converting the gas into a liquid as it passes through them. However, if you notice that the freezer of your RV fridge is cold.

Blocked Condenser Coils in an RV

While the main compartment remains warm, it could be due to blockage in the condenser coils. This blockage hampers the proper movement of the gas, leading to temperature imbalances.


Prior to beginning, it is necessary to turn off the power to your refrigerator compartment. Once that is done, follow these guidelines:

  • Locate the condenser coils placed at the back of the refrigerator. You will notice small black tubes connecting the compressor to the freezer section.
  • Operate a vacuum brush to thoroughly clean the coils, ensuring the removal of any accumulated dirt or debris.
  • Dampen a clean cloth with water and gently wipe the surface of the coils to clean them further.
  • Reassemble the refrigerator, plug it back in, and observe if this resolves the issue.

4. Overheating Issues with Condenser Fan

The Norcold RV refrigerator includes a component known as the condenser fan. Its purpose is to cool down the refrigerator’s compressor and condenser coils. Especially when the compressor compartment is operational. If the condenser fan fails to work while the refrigerator is running, it can result in the refrigerator overheating.

Overheating Issues with Condenser Fan

To begin, disconnect the refrigerator from the power source by unplugging it. Then, carefully move the refrigerator away from the wall. This will provide you with ample space to perform the necessary tasks.

  • Find the condenser fan. It’s located in a small space next to the compressor and coils.
  • Check if anything is blocking the fan from spinning properly. If there is, remove the blockage.
  • If the fan spins slower than it should, even without any obstructions, try turning the fan manually. Also, check if there’s any dirt or debris stuck to the fan. You can try using a special oil spray to lubricate the fan’s shaft.
  • If none of these steps fix the problem, you might need to replace the condenser fan. To do this, remove the screws that hold the fan in place and take it out of the small space.
  • After that, take out the old motor from the bracket and install the new replacement fan. Put everything back together.

5. No Cold Airflow with Evaporator Fan

Another reason why your Norcold RV refrigerator may have a problem is because of a broken evaporator fan which helps to make the fridge cold. It operates by blowing air over special evaporator coils inside. The fridge will be unable to transfer cold air properly if the fan doesn’t work.

No Cold Airflow with Evaporator Fan

First, make sure the power is turned off and unplug the refrigerator. Take out all the things inside the fridge and freezer. Then, follow these instructions:

  • Remove the baskets and shelves from the freezer, and unscrew the back wall of the freezer.
  • Take out the panel that covers the fan and find the fan itself. Disconnect all the wires connected to the evaporator fan, remove the fan blade, and take off the clips holding the fan in place.
  • Get a new fan motor and connect the wires to it. Make sure everything is properly covered, including the evaporator coil. Attach the fan blades and use the bracket to fix them in place.
  • Put the panel back in place using the screws you took out earlier, and reinstall the refrigerator evaporator fan.

6. Power Board and Cooling Unit

You can check if the flames of the propane stove are steady and adjust the burner area according to the user manual. If your refrigerator does not work with propane, it needs a 12V DC and a 120V AC power supply to function.

Power Board and Cooling Unit
  • Clean the tube that carries propane to the burner and adjust the gap of the igniter as instructed.
  • Although, if the refrigerator continues to have issues, it may be necessary to clean the circuit board using a product like DeOxit.
  • Ensure that all electrical connections are firmly secured and properly connected. Double-check that there are no loose or disconnected wires.

Power Board With no Current

When the board has no power, inspect a small black-colored board known as the “high-temperature safety switch”.

  • In the event boiler temperature goes beyond the safe limit, a red light will ignite.
  • This action also prevents electricity from reaching the refrigerator to ensure its safety.
  • If this situation occurs due to a sudden surge of power, you can resolve it by merely resetting the switch.

But if you detect a smell of ammonia or notice a yellow powder-like substance close to the cooling unit, switching off the refrigerator immediately is highly recommended. This indicates a leak in the cooling unit, and it must be replaced.

Full flow of current to the power board

When there is electricity flowing to the board, verify whether the voltage remains unchanged. Before and after a 5A DC fuse located on the rear power board.

Full flow of current to the power board
  • In case the voltage does not remain consistent, it indicates a possible problem with the power board.
  • Consequently, you will need to replace the complete board kit based on the model of your refrigerator.

7. Gas Unit Leading to Norcold Refrigerator Not Cooling

If your Norcold RV refrigerator doesn’t work with gas, there are some things you can check to find out what’s wrong with the cooling unit.

Gas Unit Leading to Norcold Refrigerator Not Cooling
  • First, make sure the refrigerator has a power supply of 12 volts DC.
  • It also needs a power of 120 volts AC to work properly.

Next, check if the flame on your propane stove burns steadily. Follow the instructions in the manufacturer’s manual to tune up the burner area. This involves cleaning the burner tube and the propane jet and adjusting the igniter gap.

If the refrigerator still doesn’t cool after these steps, follow the instructions given below:

  • You can try taking out the Panel circuit board (PC board).
  • Clean it with DeOxit and examine the electrical connections.
  • This way, you might be able to figure out what’s causing the problem.

5 Authentic Tips to Let Norcold Refrigerator Cool Properly

Below, we have discussed some simple tips for taking care of your Norcold RV refrigerator. With these, you can maintain the life of your RV refrigerator unit:

5 Authentic Tips to Let Norcold Refrigerator Cool Properly
  • Avoiding Sun Contact: Don’t put your refrigerator directly under the sun. When it gets too hot outside (over 85 degrees), it becomes harder for the fridge to stay cool inside.
  • Don’t Leave the Door Opened: Try not to leave the door open for too long as it will take time to get cold air again. Even just one minute of the door being open can take about an hour to regain its coolness if it’s warm outside.
  • Avoid Overfilling: No need to put too much food inside the fridge because it needs space for cool air circulation. If it’s too full, you can use a small fan that runs on batteries to help circulate the cool air inside.
  • Don’t Store Very Hot Items: Before putting hot food or drinks in the refrigerator, let them cool to ambient temperature first. Putting hot things inside can make it harder for the fridge to stay cold.
  • Advice for Running an Unused Fridge: If you haven’t used the refrigerator for a while, turn it on and let it run empty for 24 hours. This will make sure it’s working properly and ready to keep your food cool.


Why is my RV refrigerator running but not cooling?

If your RV fridge is running but not cooling fan, it may be because there’s not enough air circulating inside. Make sure you don’t have too many items blocking the air flow. Avoid putting hot food or drinks in the fridge, making the appliance work harder and struggling to maintain the set temperature.

How do I reset my Norcold refrigerator?

To reset your norcold refrigerator, press and hold the TEMP SET button on the control board. When you see ‘Er’ on the screen, release the button. After ‘CL’ appears, wait for five seconds, then press and hold the TEMP SET button again until ‘Er’ shows up. Turn the fridge off and on to see if the “no co” error is cleared.

What is the possible cause of the refrigerator not cooling?

Possible reasons for your RV refrigerator not cooling include dirty condenser and evaporator coils, inadequate ventilation, incorrect installation, faulty or dirty gasket seals, disorganized food storage, improper appliance location, and malfunctioning internal parts.

How do I fix my refrigerator cooling problem?

To fix cooling problems with your refrigerator, check the power plug and adjust the thermostat. Furthermore, clear the vents inside, inspect the mechanism underneath, check the door gaskets, and create more space inside.

How long does it take for a Norcold fridge to get cold?

It typically takes about eight hours for a Norcold fridge to cool before you load it with food. If your refrigerator doesn’t start cooling after around two hours. Contact your dealer or an authorized Norcold Service Center.


To sum up, if you are experiencing issues with your Norcold RV refrigerator not cooling, it is important to address the problem promptly. Various factors, including insufficient power supply or blocked vents, can cause a lack of cooling. To resolve the issues, first, ensure that your RV receives adequate power, check for any debris, and clear them if necessary.

Did you ever face the breakdown issues and how you tackled them? Share your valuable thoughts or experiences with us in the comment section below. We’d love to hear from you!

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