Keeping your RV air conditioner in top shape is essential for staying cool and comfortable during the hot summer months. Not only can a well-maintained AC unit save you money on energy costs, it can also help prevent costly repairs or replacements down the road. But what if your RV air conditioner is dripping water inside?
Well, that’s not good.
Is the leak inside from a leaking roof? Does your AC need to be cleaned? Is the inside cover allowing water into your camper?
Don’t worry, we’re going to help you figure out what’s causing this problem and how you can go about fixing it. We’re even going to discuss some of our best tips for maintaining your RV air conditioner and preventing future issues.
How an RV air conditioner produces cold air.
Before we can discuss why an RV air conditioner might be dripping water inside, let’s discuss how it works.
An RV air conditioner unit uses a refrigerant to cool the air that passes through its evaporator coils.
The refrigerant absorbs heat from the inside of the RV and exchanges it with cooler air outside blowing over the evaporator coils.
As this process occurs, the refrigerant causes condensation, which is then collected in a drain pan and routed outside through drain holes to your RV roof.
Water on the RV’s roof is normal.
Chances are if you’re noticing water dripping from your RV’s roof, it is nothing to worry about. It is normal for a small amount of condensation to form on the outside of the air conditioner during periods of high humidity or when the air conditioner is running frequently.
As we mentioned, there’s a drainage pan located inside the RV air conditioner. If you take your cover off of the outside of your AC unit you’ll see this pan.
Sometimes this pan fills up and the water needs to go somewhere so it’s routed off of your RV.
Again, this is completely normal and it’s not indicative of your air conditioning system having a problem.
Water leaking inside your RV is not normal.
While moisture coming from your evaporator coil on the outside of your RV is normal, water leaking from the unit inside your RV is not.
If you’re noticing puddles or wet spots on the floor, ceiling or walls of your RV that appear to be coming from your air conditioner, it could be a sign of a clogged drain line or plugged evaporator coil.
It’s important to identify and address the issue as soon as possible to avoid extensive water damage or a costly repair.
Why an RV air conditioner might be dripping water inside.
If your RV air conditioner is dripping water inside, it’s likely due to one of the following causes.
Blocked or restricted drain line or drain pan.
The most common source of RV air conditioner leaks is blocked drain holes. Fortunately, this is the easiest to repair on your air conditioning system as well.
If the drain line is clogged it will prevent your drain pan from draining properly. Your drain pan will then fill up, resulting in water dripping inside.
The easiest way to fix this is by climbing on top of your RV and locating the drain line. You’ll be able to visually tell if it’s clogged or restricted by dirt or debris.
If it is, use a wet/dry vacuum to clear any debris that may be clogging it.
You should also check for any bends in the line that could be restricting water flow. If you find one, use a pair of pliers to gently straighten it out.
Broken or worn components.
If any of the components that make up your air conditioner are broken, worn, or not functioning properly (such as a fan motor or condenser coil), this can cause water to drip inside as well.
Remember, your air conditioning system is designed to route water to the drain pan and if it’s draining properly through the drain holes then you might see water leaks inside.
This could be that the rubber gasket is worn, or the cooling process is not working properly due to a broken fan motor, condenser, or evaporator coil.
In this case, you might be able to fix the root cause on your own if you have the tools and knowledge.
Otherwise, you’ll need to contact a certified RV repair technician to assess the issue and make any necessary repairs.
If your air conditioner is not installed properly, it may not be able to properly collect and drain the condensation, resulting in water dripping inside.
This is more common than you would think. We’ve seen water leaks from a drain pipe not being completely attached and drain holes not being properly routed to the pan.
If you think this is the cause of your water leak you can try to fix the problem on your own. Identify the area where the water drains and verify that the drain pipe is connected to the drain hole and drain pan.
However, if you’re unsure of how to fix the problem it’s best to contact a professional. If it’s a newly installed air conditioner then you probably have a warranty that covers any installation issues.
How do you fix a leaking RV air conditioner?
While a leaking air conditioner could be from any of the causes mentioned above, the most common cause is a blocked or restricted drain line.
The easiest way to fix this is by climbing on top of your RV and inspecting the drain line.
First thing you’ll have to do is remove the evaporator cover. This plastic cover is typically held on by a dozen or so screws.
Once the cover is off, take a look at the drain pan located directly below the evaporator coils and fan shroud. It will almost resemble a metal or plastic baking sheet.
Then, inspect around the drain pan to ensure there aren’t any cracks and find the drain pipe. You should be able to see all the way through the drain pipe. If you don’t, you’ll need to clean it.
To thoroughly clean the pipe, use a wet/dry vacuum to suck out any debris.
Once you’re done, reattach the evaporator cover and turn your air conditioner back on.
Your RV should now be free of any water leaks.
Tips for maintaining your RV air conditioner.
To prevent leaking water or any other leaking issue you’ll want to keep your air conditioner in good working order.
Here are a few tips to help you keep your unit in tip-top shape—
- Regularly check the drain line for any clogs or restrictions.
- Inspect the rubber gasket around the evaporator coils and condenser coils for cracking or wear. Replace the gasket if it’s not adequately keeping water in the drain pan.
- Make sure all components are functioning properly.
- If you’re installing a new air conditioner make sure it’s installed correctly.
- Make sure the drain pan is properly connected to the drain hole and routed to the outside of your RV.
- Clean your evaporator coils regularly as dust and dirt will build up on them. There are evaporator coil sprays to clean any debris from them.
Follow these tips and you should be able to keep your RV’s air conditioner running smoothly while avoiding any water leaks or other related issues.
RV air conditioning unit FAQs
Since we get a lot of questions about just about every water leak issue, we decided to compile a list of the most common questions regarding RV air conditioners and water leaks.
How do you unclog an RV AC drain?
The best and easiest way to unclog your RV AC drain is to use a wet/dry vacuum. This will help you vacuum out any debris that has built up in the drain line.
How often should I clean my air conditioner coils?
It’s recommended to clean your air conditioner coils at least once every two years. Additionally, if you notice that your air conditioner is not cooling properly, you should clean the coils as soon as possible.
How do you fix a leaking RV air conditioner?
Depending on where the leak is coming from, the fix can vary. If the leak is coming from a blocked or restricted drain line, you can try to clean it yourself with a wet/dry vacuum. However, if you’re unsure of how to proceed it’s best to contact a professional air conditioning technician for help. They will be able to assess the situation and determine the best course of action.
What is the most common cause of water leaking from an RV air conditioner?
The most common cause of water leaking from an RV air conditioner is a blocked or restricted drain line. This can be caused by debris, such as leaves and dirt, that have built up in the drain line.
Why does my RV AC smell like mildew?
Air conditioners go hand in hand with moist air. If your RV AC is not cleaned regularly or if the coils are dirty, it can cause a musty smell and mildew buildup. To avoid this, make sure to clean your air conditioner often. You always want to keep the evaporator coils free of dust and dirt.
How do I get rid of mold in my RV air conditioner?
Air conditioners are notorious for growing mold, especially around the drain pan and evaporator coil. To get rid of the mold, you’ll need to clean and disinfect the area. You can use a mild detergent and warm water to do this. Another option is a mixture of vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Then make sure all components are functioning properly and that there aren’t any cracks or other damage that could be letting in moisture. Finally, you can use an air freshener to help get rid of any lingering odors once you’ve cleaned the unit.
Should my RV AC run all the time?
Your RV’s air conditioning is designed to run for extended periods on hot days. As long as there is access to a reliable power source, it’ll keep going. Here in Texas, we’ve ran our AC unit for days on end.
How do I stop my air conditioner from running constantly?
If your AC unit is continuously running it’s most likely because the thermostat is trying to get the RV to the desired temperature. To fix this, you’ll need to adjust the thermostat or insulate your RV better. You can also replace or clean a dirty air filter to help improve the efficiency of your AC unit.
What is best setting for RV AC unit?
There are a lot of variables that go into what the best settings for your AC unit are. In general, you will want to set the thermostat to a temperature that is comfortable. However, don’t set it too cold and make sure the fan is set to run either constantly or on a timer. You may also want to adjust the settings based on how much outside air is coming in or if you are running the AC for an extended period.
Keep cool this summer in your camper!
Keeping your RV air conditioner clean and in good working order is essential for staying cool in humid weather this summer. Taking the time to unclog drains, clean coils, and get rid of mold can help you avoid costly repairs down the road. Additionally, setting your thermostat correctly and running a fan will ensure that you are getting maximum efficiency out of your AC unit while keeping comfortable at all times.