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Three ice cubes on white background.
Three ice cubes on white background.

Mark My Words: Keeping ice makers at peak efficiency

Editor’s note: This information is supplied by Escapees Club

Q. We have a diesel pusher with a U-line ice maker. It is located in a cabinet above our furnace, so they share the same space. We’ve had difficulty with the storage cabinet that backs up to the ice maker for years with heat buildup and, at one point, moisture in the cabinet, spoiling stored food. Because of this, we now only store pots and pans and storage containers in that cabinet.

The ice maker produces so much heat, and it doesn’t have anywhere to go. We have mounted a small four-inch fan in front of the unit where the coil fins are and it seems to make ice better now. The fan blows the heat toward the cabinet where the pots and pans are now located, and we have to leave that cabinet door open to let the heat escape.

With the extreme high temperatures we are experiencing, we’re wonder if there is something else we can do to reduce the heat the unit produces, or to exhaust it outside to make it easier on our air conditioner to keep our interior temperature at a comfortable level. Our thermostat is set at 74, but our inside temp is averaging around 85.

Also, can air conditioner coil-cleaner spray be used to clean the dust from the tiny fins? We vacuumed the fins, but there is still a collection of dust that we cannot seem to get to. Do you have any suggestions?

Michael and Teresa

A. That ice maker is going to generate quite a bit of heat. While that is nice in the winter, it not so nice in the summer. Short of providing some kind of exhaust vent to the outside of the coach (difficult and pricey), about all that you can do is shut it off when it gets really hot.

The ice maker is going to contribute a fair amount of heat to your RV’s interior when it is operating and, even if you put in a fan to help cool its coils, it is still just going to circulate that heat back into the RV living space.

I suggest that you consider adding a vent in the cabinet and set up your small fan to circulate the air and either intake or exhaust through that vent. That way, when the unit is running, it will help prevent heat buildup in the cabinet. That will make the cabinet more useful but won’t help with the hot-weather issues.

Cleaning the fins may help a bit, but the ice maker will still produce heat. You can use any cleaner designed for cleaning A/C coils. It should be fine, albeit a little messy. There are a number of specialized coil-cleaning products out there.

Also, be aware that most RV air conditioners will struggle to get the inside temperature much lower than 20 degrees below ambient outdoor temperature; so, if it is 105 outside, you’ll probably only manage 80 to 85 degrees inside. Parking on a shaded site and/or using your awnings to help shade the RV can keep things cooler.

About Greg Gerber

Greg Gerber is the editor of Let's RV and the editor of RV Daily Report. A Wisconsin native and father of three grown daughters, he is now based out of Arizona and travels the country in his Winnebago Adventurer motorhome interviewing industry professionals and interesting RVers alike. He can be reached at editor@letsrv.com

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