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Using Your RV : RV care and upkeep

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New RVer asks: Why is my air conditioner dripping?
Russ and Tina DeMaris

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It can be a bit disconcerting: You've got the RV out for a trip and you notice water dripping down the side of the rig. There's not a cloud in the sky, but water is flowing away merrily. Or it could even be worse: You flip on the air conditioner on a hot day and after a short while, a nasty drip, drip, drip of water falls from your air conditioning unit--onto the floor--INSIDE your RV!

What's going on? In one instance, nothing unusual, and not a thing to be worried about. In the latter, a normal thing, but happening in a place where it ought not. The water that you might see streaming down the side of your rig (or off your awning) is simply a byproduct of the weather: Condensation.

Every time you fire up your RV air conditioner, it pulls humidity out of the air inside and puts it outside. The higher the humidity, the greater the amount of water produced. Typically the condensate rolls into a pan in the base of the unit that lives above the roof line. That drip pan has small holes that allow the condensed water to harmless drip out on the roof. If the weather is hot enough, the the condensate small enough in volume, it may well evaporate before it can run off to the side of your rig and down the side. If not, just expect it.

When you see water dripping into your RV and there's not a cloud in the sky, the chances are good it's still air conditioner produced condensation, but unfortunately, it's not making its way harmlessly onto your roof. The most likely problem is that dirt, leaves, or other junk have gotten into your a/c unit and blocked the drain holes in the bottom of the pan. If the level gets too deep, it runs up and over the lap of the pan and makes its way into your RV. Left unchecked it can be worse than a nuisance, it can actually damage your rig.

The fix is easy. Turn off the air conditioner unit. For safety sake, put a "lock out" tag on the switch or thermostat to warn others not to turn it on, or better still, disconnect the power to the RV. At roof top level, remove the shroud covering your a/c unit. Typically a few screws or nuts hold it in place. Carefully lift the shroud and set it aside.

Now look closely at the pan at the bottom of the unit. Remove any debris that blocks the drain pan. With the holes uncovered, your inside 'rain showers' should be a thing of the past.



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