How to Fix RV Air Conditioner Leaks

Approx Reading Time: 9 minutes

If you own an RV, there are chances you have probably noticed water dripping from the air conditioner compartment. This is a common problem that many RV owners experience, most especially, when the AC runs continuously for a long time. Whether the water leaks out from your RV when it is pouring or only when your air conditioner is running, you still need to fish out the main cause of the problem before trying to troubleshoot or fix it.  Does the air conditioner in your RV leak out water?  Do you need simple DIY tips on how to fix the problem?  Do you have questions on how to fix your RV air conditioner leaks? Well, you have come to the right place. The rest of this article has been written to answer your questions while providing you with easy tips on how to go about it.

A lot of people have faced the leaking issue in the past and have probably assumed that it was a huge issue, only to find out that it had to do with their domestic air conditioner drain pan. Trust me, it can get frustrating when your newly installed air conditioner begins to leak water and you can't figure out why or what to do. Water leaking out of your air conditioner when it rains can cause a bit of confusion especially if you are not sure if it’s because of the leaking roof or if it's just the air conditioner acting up. Now solving this type of problem may not be as tricky as it sounds if you can access the air conditioner efficiently.

How to Fix RV Air Conditioner Leaks 1

RV Air Conditioner Leaks When it Rains

Usually, the reason why the air conditioner in an RV or camper leaks water is either due to the gasket leaking or because of the dirt and debris that have accumulated on the drain pan. Now to solve a water leak issue, you will need to open up the shroud on the air conditioner to clean the affected area. That being said, here are some of the reasons why your air conditioner leaks water:

1. Your Drain Pan is Not Draining Properly

One of the leading causes of water leakages from an air conditioner in an RV is the drain pan is not being able to drain water as it should. Ideally, the drain pan should be able to drain the water through the evaporator coil on the roof instead of the water draining into the RV.  Now this problem can be a result of the accumulation of dirt or debris on the evaporator coils or probably due to blockage of the drain holes by dirt.  Another common cause may be due to purposely sealing off the drain, which usually occurs when you try to fix the water leakage but instead, you end up sealing the drain holes. This can actually aggravate the problem. In this case, it is vital to know the root cause of a problem before fixing it, instead of just trying out different methods using head knowledge.

Evaporator coil

The evaporator coil is found inside the drain pan, which is responsible for collecting water and passing it out through little holes to the roof.  Now if dirt and debris accumulate on the coil or the drain holes, this system may begin to malfunction hence causing leakage of water. The primary function of the drain pan in the air conditioning system is to collect water from the evaporator coil, which is why when you start the air conditioner inside your RV, the evaporator coil begins to cool. In this process, the coil begins to expel moist air from the RV, and then the cold air is pushed back into the RV. This process results in the transfer of heat, causing the evaporator to collect water, which is now transferred to the drain pan. Then the drain pan finally pushes it out onto the roof of the RV.

Cleaning the evaporator coil

Now if you notice that your evaporator coil has dirt and debris on it, make sure you clean it properly with a recommended cleaner.  Also, check the drain holes from time to time to make sure that the small holes are free from dirt.  If you think that you cannot do the work by yourself, take your RV to a specialist to get the job done.

If you are cleaning it by yourself, it is essential to know that the air conditioner on top of your roof is held together by different screws and covers. Therefore, when removing each of them, be careful to remember the arrangement and order of things before you begin. Just know that the first step is to remove the evaporator cover, then using a proper cleaner, remove the debris and dirt.

How to Fix RV Air Conditioner Leaks 2

How to Clean The Drain Pan In An RV

  • You'll need to get onto the roof of your RV and locate the shroud. The shroud is an outer covering that encloses the air conditioning unit.
  • There is an inner cover screwed to the drain pan. Remove the cover with a screwdriver and set it aside.
  • After taking out the cover, you would see the evaporator coil. Using the right cleaner, wipe the debris off and remove any clogs on the drain pan and evaporator coil.
  • After you have cleaned the coils, replace the covers and screw them appropriately.
  • For this procedure, be sure to carry out each step only if you are sure about it, or else try to take help from a professional. This is because a wrong step could cause more harm than good.

2. Gasket Being Too Loose or Too Tight

Basically, a rubber gasket is used to seal the air conditioner to the roof. This rubber gasket is compressible, so the technician or RV owner might decide to have it tight or loose. Usually, the gasket has four or more bolts that connect the air conditioner to the roof. However, the mistake most people make when fixing the gasket is that they make it either too tight or too loose.  It is important to note that this assembly should have a space of at least half an inch between the air conditioner and the gasket. This is very critical in the installation process because if made too tight, the water might be trapped and begin to flow into the RV instead of flowing onto the roof.  When condensation occurs, the water drains to the bottom of the air conditioner and the roof. Therefore, it is vital to keep some gasket space for water to escape out on to the roof.

Generally, gaskets are low maintenance parts and can last for years without malfunction.  However, just as nothing lasts forever, the gasket too will eventually need replacement at some point.  Moreover, over a long time, it may begin to deteriorate. In this case, you will need to replace it. If your air conditioner is still under guarantee, do not try to fix it yourself, instead, take it to the company where you purchased it for better rates.

3. If the Drain Pipe is Clogged

Another cause of water leakage from the air conditioner of your RV may be due to clogged pipes.  As mentioned earlier, a drain pan may not be able to release water if it is filled with dirt and debris. The same applies to the drain pipe.  The drain pipe is the equipment that helps to take water from the drain pan onto the RV roof. The whole process is quite simple; the evaporator begins to make water due to the cooling process. Then the water is transferred to the drain pan, which sends it to the drainpipe, then the drainpipe expels the water to the roof.  Now if the drainpipe is clogged with debris or dirt, the water will not be able to flow out properly; hence it returns to the drain pan, causing the water to leak into the RV.

How to Clear a Clogged Drain Pipe

To fix this problem, you can take your RV to a technician, or you can decide to fix the problem by yourself. Here are some steps on how to unclog a drain pipe:

  • The first thing that you need to do irrespective of the kind of problem you are fixing is to turn off your air conditioner.
  • Next, climb up to the roof of your RV. Now the drain pan may already have some water; in this case, take out the water and dry the container before you begin.
  • Carefully observe the drain pan for any sign of debris.  Also, check the end of the drain pipe for dirt and ensure that you clean it as far as possible. For easy access and cleaning, you can use a small but long brush to clean the pipe more thoroughly; but do not overdo it to avoid damage.
  • After cleaning the debris from the drainpipe, use bleach to clean it further. The function of the bleach is that it will also help to prevent the growth of algae or molds.

Conclusion

Finally, it is essential to know that, while an air conditioner removes moisture, it also expels dust from the RV. Therefore, there is a great chance of dust accumulation which can, in turn, lead to clogging of the system parts. Also, because the AC resides on the outside, there is a great chance of deterioration with time.  In line with this, it is advisable to do scheduled maintenance to keep your equipment running and in a good state. Good luck!