RV Fire Safety | GFI | GFCI | Norcold Safe | Electric Heaters

An RV fire safety approach should be holistic, the Fridge Defend for the Norcold refrigerator, fire extinguishers, and a GFI or GFCI for the electric heaters.

RV Safety Priorities

We at Fridge Defend take RV Safety very seriously, here is a check list we feel sets safety priorities based on National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) statistics:


  • Click for more on electrical fires


  • This page address RV electrical and refrigerator fire prevention.

  • Norcold GFI or GFCI

    How do I Prevent Norcold RV Fires?

    At Fridge Defend a holistic approach is used for fire safety; here is an RV safety list:

  • Starting with absorption fridge, for fire prevention get the Fridge Defend.

  • Every RV'er needs fire extinguishers.

  • Electrical Safety: One can install a GFI or GFCI outlet on your shore power plug for the RV refrigerator.
  • GFI & GFCI for Norcold RV Refrigerator

    This image shows an electric heater GFI on the power supply to an RV fridge. GFI or GFCI plugs are generally the same device. One of our customers reported that the Fridge Defend Control turned off their fridge. They turned off the Fridge Defend (do not do this, allow the Fridge Defend to do its job) to restart their fridge. Luckily this event happened at night, thus when the fridge restarted on 120VAC the owner of the RV went out to look and witnessed the bottom of one heater glowing red hot.

    It is our opinion that the heater could have failed internally (see next photo). If this is the case, a GFI or GFCI type receptacle may have prevented this type of failure mode. A GFI receptacle on your fridge will shut down the fridge if any short to ground occurs. It just makes good sense to take this safety measure on your Dometic or Norcold fridge. The Fridge Defend detected a problem, and turned off the fridge. The owner made the mistake of bypassing the primary fire protection, the Fridge Defend. If you do not have a Fridge Defend, get a GFI on your fridge 120VAC receptacle, this is a backup and detects heater issues the moment they occur.

    Cause of RV Fire


    This picture is from a Norcold RV refrigerator that caught on fire due to an electrical heater internal short. The owner of this RV claimed that the fuse was the correct type specified by Norcold click here and use your model for Norcold specifications. If the proper fuse was used, enough energy was allowed to blow a hole in the heater, which also resulted in the cooling unit being ruptured and in turn a fire.

    A GFI type receptacle will react much faster to this kind of failure than a fuse or circuit breaker. When we have experienced issues with the 120VAC heater fuse blowing, we have recommended to the customers to install a GFI receptacle. Our customers have reported back that the GFI will trip before the fuse blows. Replacement of the heaters generally solves the GFI tripping or fuse issues.

    RV GFI or GFCI

    We encourage you to check your fridge to see if the manufacture has installed a GFI or GFCI on your fridge outlet. Some manufactures power the fridge from a GFI or GFCI plug that is located in another part of the RV, such as the bathroom. A GFI receptacle is one part of a package of safety equipment which includes the Fridge Defend by ARP, fire extinguishers, and GFI receptacles in your RV.