Bye Fridge!

So, my Dometic fridge has finally been evicted. I took it out and dumped it in a council waste centre. I was totally fed up of it continually not working see here and here and here and here. 

I’ve only heard of a few others who have had similar problems but it’s utterly pointless buying a new one as some do as that’s £500 on something that may or may not work and tbh, as it’s been so long of it not working, I’ve learned to do without anyway. 

My fridge space
My fridge space

So I turned my space into a cupboard. After working out I wanted 3 shelves and the bottom space would take my 2 heavy toolkits, I got some plywood and softwood from BnQ, along with some magnetic catches, hinges, a switch and some led strips etc.
I built it all myself and you can tell because it won’t win any awards for design or build, but at least it transforms the space the fridge used and I am chuffed to bits to have much more food storage space than I had before. 

The fridge had a usable space of 70 litres. But the cupboard has a usable space of a little over 210 litres. More than 3 times the usable space, not to be sneered at eh? As you can see too I stuck some hooks and a magnetic strip on the door so that things can be stowed there too making even more use of the space. The magnetic strip is taped at the moment to see whether it would be viable and it is so it will be fitted permanently now. 

As you can see the are at the bottom holds my 2 toolkits and various other tool-ish odds and ends but the rest is all for food. I do think I had a stroke of genius making that tall area at the top right, That’s where all my taller bottles go. 
This is a simple idea, but for me a brilliant one as I was constantly shopping as I had no space to store things. 

The wicker basket is for vegetables, it’s got a muslin liner so it’s a healthy space for fresh vegetables to stop them from spoiling. The 2 vents are of course still there so I covered the inside of them with some sacking so that there is still airflow but restricted, and of course water can’t ingress because of their slatted design. 
It means in summer things stay reasonably cool, but in winter it’s almost cold in there so food keeps well. Saying that I rarely buy anything now that needs to be refrigerated. The odd time I buy meat I tend to buy it when I need it: I don’t use milk and for experience things like salad cream keeps for months when opened even without being refrigerated. 

This is definitely one of my better decisions and I am chuffed to bits with it. 

My fridge is hot stuff

If you’ve read my blog since the beginning you’ll know that for most of the time I’ve had the van the fridge hasn’t worked. It works fine on mains, but on gas it works for a while then for no apparent reason it shuts itself off. The gas remains lit, but it doesn’t cool any more. It’s been in for repair twice with NE Camping, but each time they simply reported they had it going, but the same thing happened, a few days later it stopped working.

A fridge vent on a camper, buckled and twisted with heat
Fridge vent

I needed my mail with my new bank card and driving licence so I’d booked onto a campsite and I was on mains so I left the fridge on for the 5 days I was on site. It was only a little while later that I saw this.
This is the main vent outlet for the fridge. If you recall, this is the cover that blew off in Walney Island and had to be replaced, so it’s only a few months old.
It’s clearly very buckled with the heat and no longer forms a seal with the van it’s buckled so much. Clearly the fridge is overheating, but why it is I have no idea, and if it’s overheating to this extent perhaps I ought to not put it on any more.

Update: I had this repaired at a caravan centre in Mestre and paid €110. They said the jets were blocked. (Second time I’ve been told that) The fridge worked perfectly for 9 days then stopped working again :s

Failed again

Sadly NE Campers of Portobello, Chester le Street has failed me again, so I won’t be returning there.

Some 3 years or so ago I took the van to them as the fridge wasn’t working on gas. It worked fine on mains, but when using gas it would stay lit for an hour, a week, a month, then inexplicably go off. The gas was still lit, but the fridge no longer cooling. So I took it into NE Campers and after about 3 hours they had replaced a small plastic cap in the vent tube which has nothing to do with the operation of the fridge. They also replaced a hinge on a cupboard door which had seized.

I’d only gone 100 yards when I realised that someone had left a small metal step inside the van. So I returned this and when I got back I realised the carpet was filthy. Greasy oily footprints all over the carpet. I  was very surprised, as were they when I spoke to them and they offered to wash the carpet. I declined the offer as I did in fact have a new one on order anyway.

About 2 weeks later I rang them and said the fridge was no different. They said to bring it in so I did and they spent 4 hours on it this time. They said there was a lot of sand in the vents and this was the problem so they had cleaned it all out. When I picked the van up it had not been all cleaned out, but never mind I pretty much knew this was not the fault anyway. They said the fridge had been running the whole time. Yes it had, but it was not cooling *sigh*

So some months later I tried the fridge again, it worked for a while then stopped cooling again after 2 days. I decided that as I’d only had use of it for a few years anyway I would stop using it altogether and I turned the gas off to it and used it as nothing more than storage. I was slightly irked that NE Campers had had my money twice and no fix was made, but to be frank I am a little tired of fighting companies who can’t/won’t do as they charge you for.

Then the other day I found the hinge sticking on the cupboard door: the same one that they’d replaced the hinge on. When I had a good look, one of the screws was almost out and the wood was splintered around the base. I have no idea at present how I’m going to repair it, but I do know that I’m not going back to NE Campers.

Greasy footprints on my carpet, things left in my van, repairs not done, and one repair that made more damage. That to me is a few things too much so bye bye NE Campers, I won’t be returning to you again.