3-way Fridge-Freezes are pretty much standard in most motorhomes and caravans available now. 3-way refers to being able to run of you 12v vehicle generator while driving, LPG Gas whlle parked, and on 230v mains power when plugged in at home or at a campsite.
While you home fridge-freezer uses a compressor to operate, most motorhome and caravan fridge-freezers use a thermal diffusion system. This has no moving parts, and is very energy efficient, but is much slower to get down to temperature. For example, I will turn on our fridge-freezer the day before we are due to leave on our next trip, so that it has time to get down to temperature before we leave.
Keep your Fridge-Freezer Level
These fridge-freezers have some other characteristics that you need to know about - like needed to be kept reasonably level in order to function. Typically, anything less than around 5 degrees of horizonal is ok. But, one night we were forced to park overnight on quite a steep driveway (around 10 degrees off level), and the next morning our fridge-freezer warning light was flashing. It took 2 days before it finally returned to operating normally!
Fridge-Freezer Ambient Temperature Range
Many of the imported motorhomes have fridge-freezers that are specified for European conditions and are rated to work between ambient temperatures of 10 to 32 deg.C Mostly, this is not a problem in New Zealand, but there are times over summer when you can be caught out. We vividly remember the fridge-freezer dying in our rented motorhome while we were sweltering in over 40 deg.C weather in Italy. And it's exactly during weather like that where you need your fridge working!
Some of the newer motorhomes are now being fitted with a 'tropical' specification - which allows them to work in between 18 and 43 deg.C. This caters well for all of our summertime motor caravanners, but could be a problem if you're exploring the South Island in Spring or Autumn.
It can get quite humid inside your motorhome or caravan - especially if it's cold outside and you've got all your windows closed. If you notice your fridge-freezer starting to 'leak' water onto the floor, it's most likely from condensation that is forming around the outside of the freezer door seal. Most fridge-freezers have a setting that you can turn on that provides some extra heat in this area, preventing the condensation from occuring. Check the manual that came with your unit to see how to do this.
However, there is typically no option for automatically defrosting your freezer like you have with your home fridge-freezer. It's a good practise to empty your fridge and freezer and switch it off while you're parked up at home. That will prevent progressive ice build-up within your freezer. This has the additional benefit of allowing you to rely on your solar panels to keep your house batteries charged during this time. The regular overnight drain and daylight recharge helps to keep your house batteries in peak condition.