How Much Propane Does An RV Refrigerator Use? is reader supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Camping adventure means it can take you to remote destinations close to mountains, lakes, or forests.

Since those places don’t have any electricity, using a propane refrigerator is the only way to keep food items fresh. How much propane does an RV refrigerator use?

You have to know the answer to this question in order to estimate the propane consumption during the camping duration. This will help you to carry the exact quantity of propane according to your need.

How Much Propane Does an RV Refrigerator Use?

Many travel trailers have a built-in refrigerator unit that runs on both electricity and propane. This type is the most convenient since you can switch between electricity and propane, depending on your camping location.

The propane refrigerators in the RV consume a low amount of gas. So, you don’t have to carry gallons of propane even if you have a big refrigerator. Earlier propane-run models had a high consumption rate, almost similar to that of LP gas.

However, with the improvement of technology, the consumption rate has been reduced to almost half in modern refrigerators. They don’t burn much propane even if you run them for 24 hours.

How much propane does an RV refrigerator use
An RV fridge does not use much propane.

The Consumption Rate of Refrigerators

How much propane does an RV refrigerator use? Well, a 5 lbs gas cylinder is likely to last approximately 3 to 4 weeks.

However, the exact consumption rate depends on some factors, including the size of the refrigerator and the duration of usage.

Size of the refrigerator

A bigger fridge is likely to consume more gas than a smaller one. For example, a small 4 ft.³ refrigerator will consume approximately 1 lbs propane each day.

So, a 10 lbs gas cylinder will last for 10 days and even more if you choose not to keep the refrigerator on for 24 hours.

On the other hand, a bigger 12 ft.³ unit will run for one week on a 10 lbs cylinder, as it consumes nearly 1.5 lbs a day.

Other factors

Some other factors that can affect the propane consumption rate are the room temperature and the temperature level in the refrigerator.

Hot ambient temperature means the refrigerator needs to work harder to keep the interior cool.

This extra effort burns more gas at a quicker rate. Also, the amount of food you keep in the fridge affects the total propane consumption.

A full fridge of food with the temperature setting at the lowest point will burn gas faster than the usual rate.

The gas cylinder will last for fewer days if you use the propane for other things, such as burning the furnace, heating up the water heater, and more.

Is It Possible to Lower the Propane Consumption?

An RV refrigerator doesn’t use much propane. However, if you still want to minimize consumption, there are several ways.

Regular maintenance

Needless to say that an electronic device gives the best performance when it is maintained properly.

An unclean and malfunctioning RV refrigerator will burn more propane gas because it needs to work harder to maintain the cold level.

Keep the refrigerator in an open place

Keeping the RV in a congested place reduces its efficiency because there is no proper channel for the hot air to escape.

Any electronic device produces heat, and in the case of a fridge that heat escapes from its backside.

So, if the backside has any obstruction or is dirty, the hot air will get stuck in that place, reducing the fridge’s efficiency.

There should be a minimal blockage at the backside of a refrigerator.

Keep the fridge away from any wall

For letting the hot air escape freely, you need to keep at least a few inches of distance between the fridge and the nearby walls.

It burns more propane when the hot air gets trapped around because it then needs to work harder to keep the inside cold.

Reduce the cool-down time

The fridge uses a good amount of gas during the initial cool-down process. Cutting the length of this period will definitely save propane.

You can do so by adding battery-operated fans to the setup.

Add the fans to the bottom of both sections of the refrigerator. They will help circulating cold air throughout all the nooks and crevices.

Such circulation of cooling air can reduce the cool-down time by up to 50%.

RV fridge propane use
With proper maintenance, you can reduce propane consumption.

Do not over-pack the fridge

A refrigerator full of food items will need more run time to cool down properly. During this period, it will consume more propane than the usual time.

If you need to overpack the fridge, at least keep a little space between the items, so air can circulate properly.

Pack cold food items first

The initial cooldown period, which may take nearly 4 to 6 hours, is important because the refrigerator consumes more gas during this time. You can reduce the consumption by packing the cold food before the warm items.


How much propane does an RV refrigerator use? As you have already learned the answer, it will be easier for you to calculate the estimated gas consumption during a camping trip.

About Peter Wade

Peter Wade is a co-ordinator and writer at His hobbies are coffee, RV camping and photography. He now enjoys exploring the U.S. by RV with his two dogs. After obtaining a MA degree in Public Relations and Journalism, he had 8 years of experience working for the R&D Department of Outdoorsy. Peter provides a unique look and insightful knowledge about the RV lifestyle, and fills his blog with everything from RV camping guides to reviews about necessary RV accessories. If you are an RV enthusiast and want to get the most-updated trends of the RV industry, Peter’s articles are the must-visit contents.

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