Death of a Fridge

Our Airstream (named ‘Airabella’) is 20 years old this year. A remarkable feat for any trailer which resides in tip top shape, considering the age. But Airstreams are well constructed beautiful icons that have a history and reputation for being well built, retaining their longevity, appeal and salability. However, as with many things of maturity, whether it be the human body or an appliance that has worked hard (faithfully and diligently serving its owner), age takes its toll and pretty soon, components need to be replaced after their useful function. It was late afternoon when I decided to fetch an afternoon snack from the fridge. Upon opening the door, a horrendous smell of a bleach-like substance overpowered my senses. At first I thought that perhaps my sprouts or greens had gone off? However, the smell was far more toxic than anything food could release. Immediately, my thoughts went to the possibility of an ammonia leak. It was only recently that I learned more about the 2 way refrigeration process of our Dometic RV fridge (ironically when our neighbour lost his own refrigerated RV unit due) and the workings of the ammonia cooling process for LP / AC (vs Frion gas electric). It was from these gleanings that knew our fridge had suffered a fatal blow.

It being a windy quiet Sunday, today seemed like an opportune time to research what type and model of fridge we needed for our trailer and where we could find the best deal on a new replacement. Although attempting a repair of the cooling unit would be considerably cheaper than upgrading to a contemporary unit, such an overhaul is not recommended on the old ammonia refrigerators (especially when there is a leak due to age and corrosion, as is the case with ours). There are a handful of RV Repair and Service facilities in the Houston area, but very few actually stocked the Dometic RM2820 fridge we were seeking. As a matter of fact, after researching different dealer prices, the only local on-the-shelf model happened to also be on sale (aka the cheapest option). BONUS! PPL Motorhomes happen to be one of the largest RV superstores in the USA. Lucky for us, the drive is under 2 hours for pickup = big savings on shipping costs. And with slaDE anxious about installing the fridge himself, that potentially means another savings of several hundred dollars. The timing of the fridge dying is probably the best possible considering that we have our generous friend Bob’s RV fridge to store our cold-storage food in until we have our ailing unit replaced. I love it when things fall together so well, considering the other options (i.e. waiting weeks for a fridge with no access to refrigeration in the interim).

After targeting a fridge, we headed in to Katy to spend some time with the Wernigs, celebrating Aiden’s 10th birthday with our skydiving family and friends, enjoying our final days in Texas with Amy before the baby is born. 

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