Rain on a camping trip is never ideal…
And lousy weather quickly becomes worse when your only escape from the elements has a leaking roof.
If your RV air conditioner leaks when it rains, we’re here to help put an end to the issue once and for all.
We’ve compiled a list of the most common causes of air conditioner leaks and how to fix them. Plus, we included tips for preventing these leaks in the future.
Let’s get to it.
Common Culprits Causing RV Air Conditioner Leaks When It Rains
Even though an RV air conditioner leak is a big deal, the fixes are typically affordable and easy to do yourself.
However, if you ever have doubts about completing the repairs correctly, we recommend calling a certified RV technician.
Mounting Bolts And Rubber Gasket
When mounting an air conditioning unit onto the roof of an RV, a rubber gasket and mounting bolts are required to lock it into place. One or both of these parts can shift or become damaged, causing leaks over time.
The rubber gasket is clamped between the top of your RV and the air conditioning unit. It prevents water from sneaking in through any of the seals or connection points. But rubber breaks down with continuous exposure to the elements.
Check your rubber gasket to see if it’s hard or brittle. The less flexible it is, the more likely it is to fail at its job and allow water to enter your camper. Replace it when it becomes worn.
The mounting bolts hold the rubber gasket in place. The vibration of bumpy roads can loosen these and cause leaks. Be sure they’re tightly attached to the roof.
As an added bonus, making sure the bolts are tight and the seals fresh will not only help prevent any leaks when it rains, but it may also help your RV air conditioner run quieter!
The shape and orientation of an RV’s roof will sometimes make it hard to discern the origin of the water dripping down from your ceiling. Water often enters the roof somewhere and runs down to the lowest point that allows it to escape.
Check your entire roof for cracks and damaged caulking. Marker lights, plumbing vents, antenna connections, ladder mounts, and other roof components can cause your air conditioning unit to leak water when it rains.
Tip: If the rubber roofing on your camper is starting to wear and crack, it may be time to replace it! Check out our guide on how to install a new rubber roof on a camper.
RV roofs can also begin to deteriorate as a result of exposure to the elements. A deteriorating roof becomes weak and the air conditioner’s weight will cause the deteriorating roof to sag more in the area around it.
Check to see if your roof is level. You can use an actual level or pull a string tightly across the top of the camper. If this is the cause of your leaking roof, you’ll typically see a substantial amount of sag.
To prevent further leaks and damage, raise and reinforce the area around your air conditioner opening. Shims, gaskets, or specialty trim rings will help strengthen the area and prevent water from pooling around the opening.
Prevent Leaks From Returning
The best way to prevent your RV air conditioner from leaking when it rains is to check your roof and AC unit regularly. It should definitely be a part of your camper winterization and de-winterization plans. And whenever you wash your vehicle or clean your air conditioner filter. With these routine inspections, you’ll notice cracks in the caulk, water pooling on the roof, or worn gaskets before they cause problems.
It’s essential to take care of these situations before they lead to more significant problems. Even though it can be a hassle, we recommend climbing up onto your RV roof and inspecting it at least every month or two.
Other Things To Keep in Mind
Most RV repair shops offer roof inspection services. During these assessments, a technician will also check your air conditioning unit to ensure that it works as designed.
Tip: We recommend a yearly professional inspection of your RV roof in addition to your regular checkups. Consider scheduling your appointment in the spring before the hot temperatures of summer hit, or in the fall before you winterize your rig.
It’s helpful to have a professional’s eyes on your motorhome roof to find developing issues that you might miss.
RV Air Conditioner Leak FAQs
Stopping a leak from your roof may sound simple in theory, but there are many possible factors to consider. We understand it can seem like an overwhelming situation to handle on your own. To help minimize your confusion, we’ve answered some of the most frequent concerns and questions people have about their leaky rooftop camper units.
Is An RV Air Conditioner Leak Dangerous?
At first, some water flowing from your AC unit seems like a minor annoyance and nothing more. However, if you don’t clean up the water immediately and prevent it from happening again, you risk significant damage to your motorhome.
Water damage inside of an RV can cause the floor, walls, and ceiling to soften. Repairing such damage is often expensive and time-consuming, putting your adventure vehicle out of commission for longer than you would like.
Additionally, the added moisture from a leak can cause an overgrowth of mold and mildew. If left untreated, these issues can cause health problems or damage to the structure of the motorhome.
Could The Water Falling Inside My RV Be The Result of Condensation Inside The Air Conditioning Unit?
If the caulking around your rooftop air conditioning unit is too high, then the condensation naturally created when you cool the air will have nowhere to go. It will have no other path but to fall into your rig.
The vital distinction to note is when you notice the water leaking from your RV’s AC unit. If it’s a regular occurrence, regardless of the weather, you may have a condensation runoff and caulking problem. If you only see the water when it’s raining, then the problem is likely the result of one of the issues described above.