Dometic recalls, right and wrong…

As many people have learned, Dometic has been forced to recall something over 900,000 refrigerators for the possibility of a failing cooling unit, which might result in a fire. Norcold recently went through a recall for the same reason- the heating elements installed are just too hot, along with a possibly defective weld, which results in the coolant leaking out.

Norcold did waffle a bit, releasing a recall which simply changed the heating element to a lower wattage model, but finally stepped up to the plate and replaced all of the affected cooling units- at considerable expense.

But… Dometic- as of the latest word that I have (and I have heard nothing through “official” channels) is that the “fix” Dometic is releasing is simply a “safety” fix- a sheet metal shield which will keep the ammonia/hydrogen mixture from catching fire when and if the cooling unit leaks. This meets the letter of the law in terms of safety, but in my opinion it short changes the near 1 million customers who either regarded Dometic as a quality company, or who bout RVs from manufacturers who thought the same. This recall does nothing to actually fix what is a defect in design and construction, it simply makes it so that when your thousand dollar plus appliance fails after a few years, it will not destroy your entire RV…. oh boy… thanks for the concern, Dometic.

I’ve been an RVer since the age of 18 (mumble, mumble- some 30 years now), in the repair business for over 15 years- and Dometic certified for nearly 10, and I have always been comfortable recommending, selling and installing Dometic products. Now I am afraid, unless Dometic changes their position (which, given enough public outrage, they might), I cannot in good conscience do that any more.

The letter of the recall is available here (at

CC BY-SA 4.0 Dometic recalls, right and wrong… by Chris Bryant is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

97 comments for “Dometic recalls, right and wrong…

  1. garret lebois
    February 18, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    …PS: And as for dumb design —Why is the handle right next to the stump of a dump spout instead of on the opposite side? What were they thinking? That means you are guaranteed to get spash-back while emptying! I guess that’s at least one guarantee Dometic offers. I included this is the fridge recalls because this came up in the Search & I think if it is a company-wide/manufacturing problem it shows up in more than one product & the company will soon be dumped. Unfortunate since so many of their products were included in the RV’s I’ve owned over the years.

    • February 18, 2012 at 8:37 pm

      Hi Garret- There are Dometic products, then there are Dometic products. Dometic has a long history of buying other companies- DuoTherm is the first I remember- when they were bought by Dometic, they built both air conditioners and furnaces for RVs and mobile homes. A&E awnings were the next, and Sealand sanitation, who makes the porta potti you have. In all fairness took Dometic, Sealand is the most independent off the major Dometic brands.

      — Chris

  2. garret lebois
    February 18, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    I had & used a single Coleman Portapotty from 1990 to 2010. 50 bucks from Sears in Hialeah, FL— a great unit; it never failed me. I figured it was time for all new equipment so retired it. I bought a new ‘Dometic’ brand portapotty at a Texas Sporting Goods store for $79 + tax. Bigger. The new plastic stunk so bad I couldn’t sleep in my camper once I hit the road & I had to triple garbage bag it in the box & all. I began using it when I got to CA. Derned thing wouldn’t hold fresh water but would slowly fill the potty from the holding tank & if I didn’t stay ahead of it, it would completely drain into the potty. There was no vent, so pressure would build up & splash back when opening to flush (There were some awful times I forgot to vent it before dumping it!) I’m only 170 pounds but it smells if I ever sit on it like a seat. Today, after a busy night camping I noticed it was leaking from the drain. Despite tightening it up it still leaked! I also notice that on cleaning the seal & tightening the closer, that if you tighten it too much —it slips back a thread. OMG! One of those lousy thread jobs where the whole thing could leak out on your beautiful custom van carpet & which way could you tilt it? Disasterous! I long for my Old Faithful Coleman I left clean & empty at my son’s place. But how in the World despite emptying the thing could you ever return it to the Manufacturer. And I’ve suffered with it for a year, so I’m sure it’s out of warrantee. When manufacturers send their stuff overseas to make the product cheaper —it usually results in ‘making their product CHEAPER!’ There needs to be strict oversight & attention to specs. I’ve been short-sheeted manufacturing T-Shirts abroad & although I sympathize, why not limit offshore manufacturing to open countries where you can send a ‘chaser’ into the plant to see if they are following the order & not substituting cheaper parts? Does anybody want this port-a-potty?

  3. Pam
    September 24, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    I have a 2007 dometic rm2351. Not recalled. But no secondary housing or plate in place. I’m new to this. But forced to deal with this. My work and play burned to the ground yesterday. The area around back of fridge is burnt out flames up the wall and burnt out ceiling. I’m going to find an expert on Monday. I lost everything inside. I was on the way out of town Anyone else have a fridge without the corrective shield or secondary housing. But not recalled?

  4. July 13, 2011 at 10:31 pm

    Good News For The RV Owner
    With over 30 years experience in refrigeration, Ford RV Refrigeration Training Center, in Benton KY, has been ask to test a NEW BRAND of RV refrigerator. Testing should start in late summer 2011.

    We will be testing this refrigerator with the RV owner, in mind. Our tests will answer the following:

    How cold will it get?
    How well does it maintain temperature?
    Is it user friendly?
    Does it have durable construction?
    Will it BE SAFE?
    We will test this refrigerator in every way it can
    be tested at our training facility!
    More good news – this new brand of refrigerator is made by a company you already know and trust for dependability and safety.

    We hope to report that this refrigerator is the BEST operating and the SAFEST refrigerator available.

    In June we had over 15,000 hits on our web site. Thank you for your support! We are here for one reason

    Spread the good news about the testing of this new refrigerator to all your RV friends and check our website often for updated reports.

    For more info go to and click on recall.

  5. June 16, 2011 at 9:16 am

    Authors Roger D and OnnaLee Ford, owners of Ford RV Refrigeration Training Center, are writing their third book on RV refrigerators to educate RV owners.
    This latest book will be titled “RV Refrigerator Recalls – Up In Smoke” and will be released in 2011.

    “If you want your RV refrigerator fire or recall adventure to be included in this new book, go to and click on recalls. This is your chance for your story to be heard.

    Thank You!

  6. Shelley
    June 14, 2011 at 4:25 am

    Well, I submitted our story for Ford RV. We had no clue our refrigerator was on recall or the part or whatever the heck is wrong with it. At 1 a.m. our hero dogs woke us, looked like a fire outside, my husband opened the door in our Tahoe fifth wheel and the whole thing was already on fire, engulfed. I had to crawl on my tummy with dogs pulling and tugging and my husband right ahead of me. I couldnt see as the smoke was so thick. I thought I was trapped. We all got out thank God. Everything we owned is gone. Red Cross helped us as we had no shoes no nothing. Needless to say, fire forensics experts came out and determined in deed it was the refrigerator. The Thursday before the fire we had shut it off as it wasnt working and we smelled ammonia. We are not hooked up to propane. The gases and the refrigerant combined ignited and went up rather than blow the whole place to pieces. Honest to God, I am furious that some stupid piece of metal is their answer to a harmful, deadly fire hazard. Thats ridiculous to think when a product is defective that a bandaid is going to work, and after that, replace the bandaid again. I dont care about money or lawsuits, I care that people are going to get killed in this situation (I do not know that statistics across the country about others). I just dont want anyone to have to go through this. Shame on this company with all its money, to not go above and beyond and replace all the units period. Lives are at stake for crying out loud. That should be of the utmost importance. Please continue to pass the word to everyone you know with an RV. And by the way, we bought a new travel trailer and had the ratty Norcold refrigerator replaced with a Westinghouse.

  7. June 10, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    Breaking RV Industry News
    Authors to write book on RV refrigerator recalls
    Greg Gerber posted on June 01, 2011 11:58
    BENTON, Ky. — Authors Roger D and OnnaLee Ford, owners of Ford RV Refrigeration Training Center in Benton, Ky., today announced they are writing their third book on RV refrigerators.

    This latest book will be titled “RV Refrigerator Recalls,” up in smoke and will be released in late 2011.

    “If you want your RV refrigerator fire or recall adventure to be included in this new book, go to and click on recalls. This is your chance for your story to be heard,” said Roger Ford.

    SOURCE: Ford RV Refrigeration Training Center press release Posted in: RV Industry


  8. CRaulerson
    June 1, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    What are we wanting for. I think a class act suit should have been in placed long before now. Dometic should be made to repair not patch the problem with a piece of metal. Also any or all refrigerators that this problem has effected the cooling unit it self. How get the safty board allow this quick fit.. It is a scary thought when I lie down to sleep….. Some one please let mw know how we can get on board with the class action.

  9. pat stancato
    November 21, 2010 at 2:54 am

    Another Rm 2852 dometic fridge, mine died last weekend I had the recall installation kit installed several years ago interesting to hear and see that there are numerous owners with consistent problems and seems little recourse… Glad I got this education that alot of us owners are not too extstatic about the customer service or quality

  10. Harry Warren
    October 23, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    I agree with Joan King’ s comments(Sep. 19,2010) on Dometic refrigerators. There have been far too many problems with the refrigertors leaking ammonia, of which mine is one, for this not to warrant a recall. Dometic.’s failure to issue a recall for this fault and CORRECT it just shows the buyers that product quality and safety is not not their primary concern.

  11. Joan King
    September 18, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    My 4 yearold Dometic refrigerator leaked through a stress crack. The RV Center said the refrigerator would have to be replaced at a cost of $1700 after tax and labor. This is rediculous! I did not receive the recall letter. When I called the company they said the recall was only a safety kit to prevent fires caused by leakage due to stress cracks. So apparently, they knew there would be stress cracks and where they would occur. This is a product defect and the refrigerator should be replaced. If the company wouldn’t do anything maybe a class action suit is necessary.

  12. colleen
    August 12, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    Welll I have had my RV (travel trailer) since 2004 and the original owner. I never received the recall notice. I and three children were sleeping in the trailer and I heard a loud noise coming from the refrig. and an odor so I shut it off. A friend looked at it and noticed the yellow gue around the boiler stack, (where apparently the fire startes). We researched Dometic and found the recall. Called them and they said yes there is a recall and to call a repair service and they would fix the refrg. The repair service finally came out and said it is only a safety part and that it would contain the fire not stop it.. From what I was told if I received the notice they would have replaced the refrig at that time (4 years ago) when I still had a warranty, but since I didn’t receive a notice and the warranty is over, sorry about my luck. I guess if I didn’t shut the refrig off at the time and just let it go it would have caused a fire and who knows what would have happened. Would Dometic have done anything then. I think they need to be held accountable for the repairs of the refrig whether the warranty is over or not for anyone that has the model numbers involved. Class Action or something so these people can be accountable.

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