Servel RGE400 by Dometic 8 cubic foot LP gas powered propane refrigerator with freezer
Servel® LP gas refrigerators have been a household name in propane refrigeration since 1925. Known for their reliability, we constantly hear of Servel LP gas refrigerators still purring along several decades later. Continuously produced by Electrolux® of Sweden since 1925, the American manufacturing rights were sold to Whirlpool® in 1956. Whirlpool discontinued production in the 70's and Electrolux reintroduced the Servel to America in 1989. The Servel gas refrigerator is a true classic, still made in Sweden and imported into the United States by Dometic® of Elkhart, Indiana, an RV appliance manufacturer. The support given by Dometic is the key to value with Servel. There are a great many Dometic warranty certified RV service centers in the United States. Other brands originate in South Africa, Brazil, or France, and have very little, if any, customer service here in the United States. We do not stock replacement parts, but you can reach Dometic for parts and service at and fax: 574-293-9686. Servel RGE400 installation manual and part diagrams.
Fully independent propane gas operation with ZERO electricity required to operate. There is an interior 'flashlight' that takes two 'D' cell batteries for lighting inside the refrigerator, but starting is piezo electric and thermostat is fully non-electric. These finely crafted Swedish appliances operate on either propane, at the rate of about 1.8 gallons per week (7.7 pounds), or standard backup power of 120 volt AC. Run out of propane and this standard feature will power up the fridge at about 325 watt generator pull. Servel has always been the Gold Standard functionally and by far the most dependable choice in gas powered refrigerator.After twenty years in the business, we now only sell Servel. Other brands have taught us an expensive lesson in longevity. Even in hot climates, this Servel RGE400 will freeze popsicles and pass the 'ice cream test'. There is only ONE size of Servel being imported these days, this 8 cubic foot Servel Dometic model RGE400. Should you require a larger refrigerator body, we suggest buying two Servel before you consider a single, larger 'stated cabinet size' gas fridge from another manufacturer. Longevity has always been an issue with other brands. Some actually just slap a Servel sealed-unit cooling system on the back of an electric refrigerator body. It is iimpossible to cool twice as large of a cabinet with the same size cooling assembly and not affect longevity.
8 cubic foot total capacity rated refrigerator and freezer
Overall outside dimensions are 63-1/2" tall (with feet)
23-3/8" wide and 24-1/2" deep (front to back of coils)
Freezer inside is 13-1/2" tall, 17" wide, 10-1/2" deep
Refrigerator inside is 37" tall, 19" wide, and 13" deep
Refrigerator door racks are 3" tall, 17-1/2" wide, and 5" deep
Freezer door racks pictured at right have been discontinued
- grooved recessed door pulls instead of protuding handles
- reversible door hinge kit to change from right to left hang
- 5 sturdy rustproof removeable wire shelves (1 in freezer)
- 4 adjustable removable door racks in the refrigerator & 2 bins
- flashlight battery powered (2 - D cell) automatic interior light
- 120 volt AC electric Back-Up Power Cord installed (325 watts)
- no electricty to operate - AC cord is backup power only
Propane consumption rated at ambient temp of 77°F (25°C)
- 1500 Btu with the 5.8 LP gas orifice at 3.9 kWh/24hr energy
- 500 g/24hr or 1.1 lb/24hr or about 1 quart of propane per day
Door color choices are white and the bisque shown below.
Adjust monitor contrast should you not see the tan swatch.
E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for a delivered price quote via motor freight carrier:
(1) white or bisque color? (2) city, state & zip code? (3) residential or commercial* drop site? (4) and only if commercial: is there a fork lift or loading dock on site? *Home-based business or shop located in residential neighborhood is billed residential. Residential motor freight delivery includes lift gate service to lower unit onto main road. Inside home or into garage delivery is not available, only standard street-side motor freight drop.
Will-Call pick up in person at our local warehouse is available in the following cities:
$1380 total for will-call pick up in person at our Portland, OR warehouse (no sales tax in Oregon)
$1460 total with sales tax for will-call in Denver, CO or Fresno, CA or Rancho Cucamonga, CA
5% cash discount for payment by wire transfer, bank cashier check, or US Postal money order.
For invoice, e-mail email@example.com with name, address, phone, and color white or bisque.
Payment at warehouse is not possible. Directions along with purchase order are emailed following payment.
High altitude jet used above about 8000 feet elevation.
Gas supply must be limited by a smaller orifice or lack of oxygen at altitude creates a 'dirty' burn and allows the flame to blow out more easily in drafty locations. Please note we do not install this orifice jet on gas fridge. It is mailed separately.
Professional installation required for gas appliances
Servel RGE400 Direct Vent Kit
$135** FREE shipping and handling
** ONLY available WITH purchase of a Servel
we do not sell this gas refrigerator part by itself
At only about 1500 Btu, LP gas refrigerators may be considered 'vent-less' propane powered appliances.
Check with your local building department, since fresh air intake and direct venting or exterior flue may be locally required. An option to direct vent kit may be to run 2 or 3 inch diameter vent pipe straight up from burner flue and out near peak of roof, like a water heater.
General notes on proper venting of LP gas propane powered refrigerator freezers
NEVER install ANY gas appliance in an air-tight structure or a sleeping room since they consume available oxygen. For this small 1500 Btu burner, the rule-of-thumb is to provide at least 3 square inches of fresh air intake, which is at least a two inch diameter pipe in same room with appliance, leading directly outside. Fresh intake air is critical since loose doors, walls and windows may not provide enough fresh air to avoid consuming all the oxygen in a small room. LP propane gas burners produce substantially less carbon monoxide than natural gas unless the burner is dirty and coated with carbon buildup. Carbon monoxide detectors must be installed in at least the same room.
Servel RGE400 parts list, installation manual, and operation tips
ALWAYS have a professional plumber install your unit and test for gas leaks
ALWAYS leave the house and then call 911 should you ever smell a gas leak
ALWAYS leave the house and then call 911 if you ever smell ammonia leak
ALWAYS yearly clean burner assembly and flue above of any carbon buildup
ALWAYS install the $20 high altitude orifice when above 8500 foot elevation
ALWAYS shut-off the gas supply to a vacant house & turn off all appliances
NEVER operate with Both gas power and electrical back-up at the same time
NEVER install gas appliances atop carpeting or near flammable wall coverings
NEVER store items atop a gas fridge since paper can fall behind and catch fire
Starting in 1990, there was a recall/rebate/disposal alert/offer on Servel gas refrigerators manufactured between 1933 and 1957. Our understanding is the problem was limited to unvented gas appliances. Over a period of time, especially if the refrigerator has not been used recently, the gas burner and flue above can be fouled by carbon buildup, dust, dirt, rust or other obstructions. Any gas refrigerator with an improperly adjusted or partially plugged burner or flue can produce substantial amounts of carbon monoxide due to the burning of this carbon buildup. Therefore the standard installation requirements for fresh/return air supply and not installing unvented gas appliances in sleeping rooms or air tight living areas. Keep your burner and flue clean for best operation and least carbon monoxide production.
If you are having problems with your gas refrigerator, the following troubleshooting guide, if followed step-by-step BY YOUR PROFESSIONAL SERVICE TECHNICIAN, will eliminate possibilites. Should your unit not be cooling properly or having trouble staying lit, the first thing to replace is the regulator with a quality dual-stage adjustable unit as described later here. The next step is to ensure that sediment and moisture have not invaded the gas lines. Metal and particulates can flake off older or improperly installed supply lines, clogging the burner jet. One would notice an erratic or 'dirty' yellow flame with the only answer being to replace the gas line from regulator to shut-off valve at wall feeding the unit. It is possible to try to suck out sediment with a vacuum, but flushing the lines is dangerous and best left to professionals. If the supply is repaired/replaced and unit still does not cool properly, the next thing to check is thermostat placement. Perhaps the probe has worked loose in transit and is not properly seated. If the burner is not staying lit, then chances are the thermocouple has corroded (clean the tip) and/or perhaps not properly seated. As a last resort, one can order replacement thermostat or thermocouple direct from Dometic Servel parts and service locater at or the factory direct at and fax: or their website: DometicUSA.com. The Manufacturer supplies parts and warranty directly for the Servel with part number shown on parts list.
ALWAYS have a licensed professional plumber install your gas appliance, and test for leaks. After your professionally licensed plumber has installed your gas appliance and connected the hose assembly (with dual regulator), make sure they apply a mixture of soap and water to all connections. Turn gas supply on (keep control on gas appliance turned off) and observe each connection for bubbles caused by leaks. If a connection is leaking it must be tightened until the leak stops. If a leak cannot be stopped, DO NOT USE. As with any gas appliance, professional installation is required by local building code and recommended by us since we accept absolutely no liability for any problems caused by unlicensed plumber installations. A complete installation and operation manual is included with every appliance and must be read before installing and using. We cannot be held responsible for any damage to property or to persons caused by incorrect installation or improper use of any appliance. The manufacturer reserves the right to make changes to its products when considered necessary and useful, without affecting the essential safety and operating characteristics. We are therefore not responsible for any inaccuracies due to printing, transcription, or conversational errors, whether contained in this site, any printed source, or relayed in person.
Functionally, in terms of unit operation, you can transport on the side, if you must. When not possible to transport standing up, we suggest laying unit on the side opposite hinges to relieve stress on the door. Remove all interior door shelves and loose parts to avoid damage. It is especially important to allow unit to sit idle upright for at least 24, if not 48 hours before firing up after transporting on the side. Be extra careful not to damage the cooling coils on the rear of unit. If you see yellow fluid leaking that smells like ammonia, you just pierced the cooling coils - leave the house and then call 911.
Always allow a gas refrigerator to sit idle for at least 24 hours after moving. Transporting a gas refrigerator shakes the ammonia mixture in the cooling tubes causing bubbles to appear. After moving into place, be sure to let it sit for at least a day to settle out the bubbles. Vapor lock can occur, if not allowed to settle out, causing the refrigerator to fail to reach lower temperatures. Consult the factory techs at if this happens. Typically the unit is "burped" by turning on one side for several hours and then right side up and allowed to settle for several more hours.
A little smoke from the burner is common when first lighting gas appliances. There is always a little machining oil left on the burner parts and the flue above from the manufacturing process, so don't be surprised if it burns off with a little smoke when first lit, especially when you do not clean them first. Your installer normally wipes excess oil off burner as part of the installation process after checking burner for gas leaks (as per page 3 of installation manual), but they sometimes do not clean thoroughly. The flue above rarely has excess oil on it, but it could use a good cleaning too, if you wish to avoid a little smoke at first.
Always equip the gas supply tank with a professionally set, adjustable two stage (dual) regulator at 11" water column. This is very important to ensure efficient operation as too low or too high of gas pressure can cause appliances to burn oddly. Your home's propane tank should already be equipped with a two stage (dual) regulator (as per local plumbing code). And it helps to upgrade to an adjustable regulator so pressure can be "dialed-in", especially at high altitudes. Disconnect unit from the gas supply piping system during any pressure testing.
Always level your gas refrigerator (front to back and side to side). In the boiler of the cooling unit, ammonia vapor is distilled from ammonia-water mixture and carried to the finned condenser where it liquifies. The liquid flows to the evaporator inside the refrigerator where it creates cold by evaporating into the circulating hydrogen gas. If the evaporator is not level, the liquid may accumulate forming pockets which may impair the gas circulation or block it completely, in which case cooling will stop.
The feet/legs are designed for leveling, not for pushing the fridge back and forth, especially when loaded. Gas refrigerators are heavy for their size, so moving only when empty (and gas supply disconnected) is always suggested. To lessen chance of damage to leveling feet, thread them all the way back up into body/frame when moving a gas fridge. We highly suggest permanently installing a set of Teflon coated "furniture sliders" under the refrigerator's feet. Teflon furniture sliders are available at most hardware and Big-Box retailers. These 'friction-less' plastic pads snap right onto the feet, allowing them to slide very easily and not catch on the floor.
Always allow at least minimum clearances for proper operation and safety. We suggest 6 inches top and 2 inches on sides and back, but the minimum Servel installation manual states is 4 inches top and 1 inch on all sides. The 4 to 6 inch top clearance is critical to proper operation. The more ventilation around the unit the better functionally and keep the unit out of direct sunlight to reduce energy needs. Never, ever install any gas burning appliance on a carpeted floor or near flammable objects and/or walls. Ideally, the wall behind and sides of any cabinets should be built of fire-proof materials and/or covered with non-flammable metal.
Never install a gas refrigerator designed for residential use in a moving vehicle. The Servel RGE400 units are not designed for mobile home, boat or recreational vehicle use. When a gas refrigerator is in motion, say in a vehicle, boat, or trailer, the continuous rolling and pitching movement will not affect the actual cooling operation of the unit, but not being level will. Safety with gas appliances is the main issue and an open flame is simply dangerous in a moving vehicle. Once you reach a stationary point for an extended period, the gas refrigerator must be level and stable for correct operation. Operation on back-up electrical power is the only option when in motion and even then it is not assured.
Never run the electrical power and gas power thermostats at the same time. Backup electrical power 110 volt AC operation is STANDARD equipment on the Servel gas fridge. Should you ever run out of gas, it's very handy. Just be certain to never run both heaters at the same time. Serious damage will result to the thermostat and possibly the cooling unit, if you do.
Never try to cool an empty gas fridge as it confounds the thermostat. The same advice applies to electrical or gas refrigerators... You should always have something in the freezer and refrigerator compartments for the thermostat to sense the temperature. If you run the unit with an empty freezer (or refrigerator compartment), the thermostat will cycle on more often, using much more fuel. Your gas fridge will reach temperature quicker and maintain it more effectively when you load the freezer and refrigerator with frozen milk jugs full of water.
ANY gas refrigerator's freezer compartment is not designed for quick freezing large quantities of food. It is recommended that all foods be pre-frozen before being placed into the freezer compartment. If you need to put unfrozen food into the freezer, add no more than it will freeze within 24 hours (about 2 pounds per cubic foot of freezer space adding up to 5 pounds per 4 hours until freezer is full). Keeping the refrigerator as full as possible (leave air space between packages) helps with cooling as does keeping the unit out of direct sunlight. Defrost freezer should you notice ice build-up on the cooling plates.
REPLACING an older gas refrigerator? Crating and padding is recommended immediately after removal. If you intend to use the defunct appliance for furniture, take extreme steps to protect those rear coils. Cooling liquid is nearly pure ammonia... wrapped inside what is likely a pure LEAD 'radiator' pipe. Should you puncture the cooling system, likely yellow colorant should alert you, but the odor is hard to miss. Ammonia in contact with bleach creates fumes that are "even more" toxic, so always store bleach in another room. There are a few plumbing companies that specialize in extracting 'industrial' ammonia coolant (and freon, etc), but we cannot offer personal referral. When you approach these contractors on the phone, state that you want to have them "remove ammonia cooling liquid from a refrigerant system". Best not to lead-off with 'household refrigerator'. Such firms are equipped with on-site vans for industrial locations, but you might benefit from bringing the fridge to them. Best wishes for the project.
Propane powered LP freezers and larger-bodied gas refrigerators
We cannot recommend any propane powered LP gas freezers or larger-bodied refrigerators. We'd be selling one if any of them were dependable. Those we have seen over the years are commonly powered with the same closed-loop cooling system used for the Servel RGE400 refrigerator - freezer. Functionally, there is a limit to the amount of cooling possible with gas. Larger refrigerator bodies and freezers tend to not pass the 'ice cream test' freezing at or below -5 degrees where ice cream stays hard. Gas freezers are lucky to maintain below 10 or 15 degrees and run hard to accomplish even that, causing premature failure. One can keep already frozen food stable with a large-body propane refrigerator, but they will not maintain at the below zero temperature required to freeze raw food/meat properly or make ice cubes at a reasonable rate. Ideally, fish or meat two inches thick should freeze completely in about 2 hours. Rapid freezing prevents undesirable large disruptive ice crystals from forming. During thawing, they damage the cells and dissolve emulsions, causing meat to "drip" and lose juiciness.
Best practice for off-grid clients is to use a dedicated generator to power-up an efficient, conventional electric chest freezer. Ice maker units are available for after-market installation. Key is to keep the gaskets moist, install a tight latch, and heavily insulate the chest freezer with four inches of blueboard, leaving plenty of air flow underneath and behind for cooling. Best to install a remote 'outdoor' thermometer inside the chest freezer with alarm to alert you when to power-up the generator. With sensors and some after-market engineering, one can automatically power-up a small dedicated generator, at a certain temperature, for a certain amount of time. At the very least, you can manually shut-off generator during the afternoon and overnight. Surprising how long a well-insulated chest freezer can maintain below freezing temperatures.
Servel RGE400 by Dometic manufacturer warranty and terms of service
Merchandise purchased from TheNaturalHome.com (Retailer) is covered only under Manufacturer Warranty and not independently guaranteed by Retailer. Dometic Corporation (Manufacturer) Warranty covers only the First Original Purchaser (Client) for a period of one year from the date of purchase. Warranty applies only to Dometic/Servel refrigerators installed and operated within the continental U.S.A. and Canada. Manufacurer warrants refrigerator and its parts to be free from defects in material and workmanship under normal use. Warranty does not cover conditions unrelated to the material or workmanship of the refrigerator. Such unrelated conditions include, but are not limited to: (a) faulty installation or venting and any damage resulting from either; (b) the need for normal maintenance (including the cleaning of the burner jet and flue tube and the adjustment to the gas pressure regulator), and any damage resulting from the failure to provide such maintenance; (c) failure to follow Manufacturer instructions for use of the refrigerator; and (d) any accident to, or misuse of, any part of this refrigerator and any alteration by anyone other than Manufacturer or its authorized representative. In order to obtain the benefits of Warranty, Client must contact Dometic Servel parts and service locater at or the factory direct at and fax: or their website: DometicUSA.com. Manufacturer supplies Warranty and parts directly for the Servel with part number shown on RGE400 parts list. If the Dometic/Servel dealer or service center finds a part defective in material or workmanship and under Warranty, they will repair or replace the part under terms of Manufacturer Warranty without charge. Any part replaced will not be returned to Client and becomes the property of the Dometic/Servel dealer or service center. Manufacturer does not authorize any person or company to create any Warranty obligation or liability on their behalf. In no event shall Manufacturer or Retailer be liable for any incidental or consequential damages. Any implied warranty, including the implied warranty of merchantability and fitness for any purpose, is limited to the duration of this limited warranty. At time of registration, you may choose to purchase an additional four year cooling unit replacement plan for $59.95 (extended warranty on cooling system) from Manufacturer. Please refer to our Terms of Service Agreement for complete product warranty, shipping, and return information.