How To Fix Your RV Air Conditioner (AC) When It Drips Water InsideAnthony Day
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Repairing your RV’s air conditioner is a regular part of maintaining your vehicle, but how do you fix an AC that drips water inside?
A key component of your vehicle that should always function properly is your air conditioner - especially once the summer season starts rolling. A dripping air conditioner is a common issue that many RV owners run into and, in most situations, it’s relatively easy to fix.
To fix an RV air conditioner (AC) that drips water inside, try cleaning the unit’s evaporating coils, removing debris and dirt from the drain pan, and unclogging the drain pipes. If that does not work, you may need a new AC gasket due to improper installation or worn out seals.
The feeling of hitting the open road in an RV is priceless, which is why traveling in a recreational vehicle is as popular as ever. However, before you head out on an RV adventure, you always need to make sure that your vehicle and all of its components are functioning properly. One issue that a lot of RVers run into over the years is a malfunctioning air conditioniner - with a dripping unit being particularly common. Your RV’s AC is not something that you want to overlook before you start your road trip, so it’s important to get it fixed beforehand. With that said, there are a number of issues that could be causing your air conditioner to drip water inside. To help you understand this further, we are going to take a closer look at how to fix a dripping RV air conditioner.
After extensively researching RV repair forums, I have been able to gather enough information to determine what causes an RV air conditioner to drip water. My research has indicated that there are multiple factors that could be contributing to this problem and you should consider each one to fix the issue with your unit.
Why is My RV Air Conditioner (AC) Dripping Water Inside?
A dripping AC unit is one of the most common repair jobs that you will run into with your RV’s air conditioner. This is usually a pretty straightforward fix that does not require technical repairs or professional assistance, so you should be able to take care of the problem on your own DIY.
The first thing that you need to make sure of when evaluating your RV’s dripping air conditioner is that it’s not raining outside, as it can be very easy to confuse a leaking AC unit with a leak in your roof. Once you have crossed that off of the list, it is safe to assume that the dripping air conditioner is connected to one of the following:
- Dirty evaporator coils
- Overflowing drain pan
- Blocked drain pipe
- AC gasket
It’s very easy to panic when you see some drops coming down from your RV’s AC, as not every drip implies that your unit is broken. One of the most common reasons for this is condensation. If you are camping in hot weather, some dripping will occur naturally due to condensation, which is not an issue that needs to be addressed.
Before you start tinkering around with your air conditioner, make sure that you have turned off the vehicle so that it is not running. Once you have confirmed that the AC and your vehicle are powered down, you go through each fix to resolve your dripping unit.
Dirty Evaporator Coils
A good place to start when dealing with a dripping RV air conditioner is the evaporator coils. To access this component of your AC, you will need to climb onto the roof of your camper and head over to your unit.
1. Disassemble Shroud & Cover
You must have a screwdriver handy so that you can remove all of the screws connected to the shroud. Once the shroud is removed, you must also unscrew the cover that is keeping the drain pan in place.
2. Clean Evaporator Coils
With these components removed, you will have access to your evaporator coils. If it’s been a while since you’ve cleaned them, they will most likely be covered in gunk and debris.
You should keep in mind that your vehicle’s evaporator coils are sensitive components and you need to clean them safely to ensure that you do not damage your unit.
Make sure you clean your dirty evaporator coils properly and check your vehicle’s manual for procedures and cleaning materials that are specific to your RV’s make and model.
3. Professional Evaporator Coil Cleaning (Optional)
Given that cleaning evaporator coils can be a delicate procedure, you want to make sure that you are comfortable with the work. Making a mistake can easily result in damaging your coils, which will make the leak worst and ultimately require more labor-intensive and costly repairs.
If you are not comfortable with the work, seek professional help from an RV service station.
Overflowing Drain Pan
After several years of use, your AC unit will take in quite a lot of dirt and debris. When this happens, debris ends up building in your drain pan, which can cause the unit to start leaking inside.
Much like with the previous method, you will need to get onto the roof of your RV so that you can get to the shroud and cover of the vehicle’s AC.
1. Disassemble Shroud & Cover
Using a screwdriver, remove each screw that is holding your AC shroud and cover in place. Once you unscrew the shroud and cover, you will be able to see the drain pan which usually catches water before it evaporates.
2. Remove Dirt & Debris
If you see a bunch of dirt, leaves, and gunk built-up in your drain pan, then this is likely causing the leak in your RV’s AC.
Removing all of this debris should stop your dripping AC unit without any other repairs being required. Thoroughly clean your drain pan and make sure that it is dry before re-installing it.
Clogged Drain Pipe
A clogged drain pipe is often behind a leaking RV AC and fixing the issue is quite similar to the previous methods. To start, climb onto your RV roof and have a screwdriver handy, as well as a small, long cleaning brush.
1. Disassemble Shroud & Cover
Unscrew all of the screws that are holding both the shroud and cover of your AC unit in place so that you can access the drain pan.
2. Clean Drain Pipe
If you see that there is a bunch of dirt and debris in the drain pan, make sure to clean this first before you proceed with the drain pipe.
Using your cleaning brush, begin firmly scrubbing the drain pipe of your RV’s AC unit. If you can feel that there is resistance or a blockage, then you will have found what’s causing the leak. Unblock any clogs in the pipe and remove as much dirt and debris as possible. If you need to, use bleach or other cleaners that are safe for RVs.
Damaged AC Gasket
Your RV’s AC gasket is a seal that prevents moisture from breaching the inside of the vehicle from the unit. If you notice that you have moisture around the entire interior area underneath the air conditioning unit, then there is a good chance that a damaged or faulty gasket is causing the drip.
If you just recently installed a new gasket, it may be too tight or too lose. In this situation, re-install the AC gasket until it is snug but not too tight, and then add a one-quarter turn.
Installing an AC gasket can be a technical fix for some RV owners, as you must remove the entire unit from the vehicle and follow the instructions for your specific air conditioning model and gasket. If you are not comfortable doing the repairs on your own, you should seek assistance from your local RV repair shop.