RV Vent Cleaning & Maintenance Tips

Feb 18 2016

Keeping your RV in tip-top shape for adventure isn’t just keeping the tires inflated and the electrical system charging (although that never hurts!). It’s also about keeping warm in the winter, cool in the summer, and not have any funky odors that have guests asking, “Did someone clean a fish in here?”

A few annual housekeeping chores can go a long way to ensuring months of trouble-free operation when it comes to your ventilation system and preventing moisture from accumulating in places that are supposed to stay dry. After all, you want to live alongside Mother Nature – not invite her inside your RV to cause trouble! Here are a few simple steps you can take to make sure you go down the road in harmony.

Before you go up on top of your RV, go inside and remove the vent screen from your vents – check both the bathroom and kitchen areas. If there is dust and dirt, or in case of grease in the kitchen vent, put the screens in a sink of soapy water and let them soak. You’ve got a date up top.

One way to make sure that no water gets inside your RV is to head upstairs – to the roof. You’ll want to be prepared as you make your annual roof inspection. Screwdrivers to remove vent caps? Check. Caulk and some cleaning cloths? Check. Perhaps some special sealing tape like EternaBond, too. Once you have your supplies, you are ready for a careful inspection of every single seam and opening on the roof.

Start with the vent caps or covers from air units and remove the screws holding them on. Clean out any debris or leaves that have lodged inside, and wipe the vent pipes out so that air circulation is like new. Carefully look at the openings and make sure that caulking isn’t cracked or missing. Those are prime spots where water can make its way inside your RV, so it’s important that you reapply caulk and get a tight seal if there is any doubt. Re-attach vent caps and covers and make sure everything is tightened down.

So far, so good! Next, carefully look at every seam to make sure you don’t see gaps or cracks. Take note of fasteners to be sure that they are tight and sealed with caulk. It’s easy to see how traveling through a driving rainstorm could lead to a leak in an RV that isn’t sealed up properly. Now’s your chance to make sure you won’t be mopping up a puddle or pulling out damp carpeting a few months from now. In older RV’s, watch for caulk that has separated or is pulling away from seams, and use that EternaBond tape to create a new waterproof seal.

Once you’ve made your thorough inspection and carefully sealed things up, get down off that roof! You’re not quite done, though. Back inside, make a thorough inspection with your eyes and your nose. Notice any funny smells? Catch a whiff of mildew in the bathroom or any damp spots on the walls or floor? Even little leaks can lead to big problems. Track down anything suspicious before it becomes real trouble later on. It may sound like overkill, but paying attention now will pay off miles down the road.

Reassemble your vent screens and check to make sure fan motors are running efficiently. Keeping air conditioning cold, heat hot, air moving – and water out – are key goals of your annual maintenance efforts. A couple of hours of routine care will give you weeks of uninterrupted pleasure when you are out adventuring! And, if you don’t like DIY-ing your vent upkeep, the maintenance staff at our Good Life locations are available for all of your ventilation needs- from furnace to AC units, our staff is equipped to keep your RV functioning properly. See a full list of our maintenance offerings here.