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Fridge Left On Or Off

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I realise this forum is aimed at touring caravans & motorhomes but decided to post this article as advice for new static caravan owners as I couldn't find a relevant static forum.

We bought a two year old static caravan (Swift Bordeaux) which has had very little use because of lockdowns etc.

First time we used the van we switched the (domestic type) fridge freezer on on arrival and it worked fine for the few days we were there. When we leaving for home we left the f/f on its normal setting: 5 & 18 degrees. When we returned a week later the inside of the fridge was at 17 degrees.

As you know the insides of caravans can get to very high ambient temperatures when left locked up, even for a few hours on very hot days, so the N class f/f (see below) fitted by the manufacturers would be working flat out while the caravan is left locked up.

A similar thing can happen at the bottom end of the temperature range but isn't usually a problem as most statics are winterised with the f/f switched off.

We asked a chap on the site (who rented out caravans for holidays), who told us it was a common problem with statics and he rarely got more than 3 years out of a f/f in his rental vans.

Basically the f/fs fitted to statics by manufacturers are generally not fit for purpose.


Below is a list of the ratings and an explanation of the problems.


All domestic fridges and freezers are rated with 4 main climate classes:

SN (Subnormal) suitable for use under ambient temperature range of 10 °C ~ 32 °C

N (Normal) suitable for use under ambient temperature range of 16 °C ~ 32 °C

ST (Subtropical) suitable for use under ambient temperature range of 18 °C ~ 38 °C

T (Tropical) suitable for use under ambient temperature range of 18 °C ~ 43 °C


Some fridges or freezers are developed with combined climate classes to allow the operation within a wider temperature range, like some outdoor locations or special regions. For example:

N ~ ST suitable to operate under temperatures ranging from 16 °C ~ 38 °C (61 °F ~ 99 °F)

SN ~ T suitable to operate under temperatures ranging from 10 °C ~ 43 °C (50 °F ~ 109 °F)


Why Is It So Important To Choose A Fridge With Appropriate Climate Class?

Not all refrigerating appliances are suitable for all ambient temperature ranges. Very few people would check or even know about the characteristics of climate classes, but it is really important to think twice before the purchase. Here are some reasons:

If a fridge keeps running under the climate conditions that are not intended for, it will consume much more energy to reach the required inside temperature and shorten the life of the compressor significantly.

The fridges will not cool the inside stuff sufficiently, which will lead to excessive condensation.

The viscosity of the oil in the compressor will increase if it works at ambient temperature under 10°C. And with the loss of fluidity, the compressor could be damaged easily.

The lifespan of the refrigerators will decrease significantly for sure.


While a class N - ST model would probably be sufficient for our needs we are replacing it with a class SN - T model as the cost difference is not excessive.


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. As the interior of your van can get too hot for the fridge to function, why not look to fit exterior vents as used on touring vans. That way, the heat from the “radiator “ on rear of fridge has somewhere to escape. 

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3 hours ago, Lost in the wilderness said:

That way, the heat from the “radiator “ on rear of fridge has somewhere to escape. 

But that will any work on caravans where the fridge backs on to an outside wall.   In the OP's van - a Swift Bordeaux, the fridge backs on to the shower cubicle.

Citroen C5-X7 Tourer+Avondale Rialto 480/2

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We’ve never had a problem with the ff in our static, which we’ve had from new and which is now ten years old. The ff backs onto the shower cubicle.

It gets switched on at the beginning of the season and only gets turned off when the seasons ends eight months later.

The static gets very, very hot at times, to the point we had air con fitted last season..not for the ff but for us 🥶

Perhaps we’ve just been lucky.

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