That air conditioner on top of your RV comes in really handy. That said, they are prone to occasional problems such as leaks particularly when the weather is wet and windy!
If your RV air conditioner leaks when it rains, then there are 4 common reasons why. We are going to cover each of them, and most importantly how to fix them and prevent future AC leaks.
A leaking air conditioner when it rains could be caused by loose or missing mounting bolts, a missing or broken shroud, a faulty or broken rubber gasket, or by damaged or deteriorated caulking or roofing.
4 Reasons Why Your RV Air Conditioner Leaks When It Rains
I have personally experienced this issue with my Jayco and also Coleman AC’s, and it can be caused by four main reasons.
1. Issues With The Mounting Bolts
One very common cause for an RV air conditioner leaking is if the mounting bolts holding it in place are either loose or missing. Those mounting bolts go through small holes that then hold the air conditioner to the roof of the RV.
If those bolts are missing, then there is nothing blocking water from running through those holes. Moreover, if the bolts are just loose, then water will still be able to get through.
If the bolts are there and properly secured, you should see that the rubber gasket that seals the edge of the air conditioner is fully pressed down, and you should be able to see it about half an inch around the sides of your air conditioner.
2. Issues With The Shroud
The shroud is the cover that goes over the top and around your air conditioner unit. It is designed to keep debris, leaves, dirt, and water from getting inside the air conditioner unit.
If this shroud is broken, cracked, or it’s just not there, then water from rain will be able to get inside the air conditioner. All you have to do is take your ladder and get up on the roof of your RV to inspect this shroud.
You want to see if it is in good condition and if it has any damage. Of course, if there’s no shroud present at all, then you know exactly what the problem is.
3. Issues With The Rubber Gasket
Another reason is that the gasket sealing the air conditioner unit to the roof of your RV is either faulty or broken. Do however keep in mind that if this gasket is compressed too much, the condensation created by your air conditioner won’t be able to go anywhere.
For this reason, the gasket should only be compressed to about half of its normal size. If the gasket is too compressed, or not compressed enough, these can both cause leaks to occur.
Moreover, these rubber gaskets can dry out over time, which results in cracks. A cracked gasket will of course allow water to get through. This is in fact the number one most common cause of a leaking air conditioner on top of an RV.
4. A Broken Roof
If you could not find any evidence that any of the three above causes were to blame for your air conditioner leaking, then unfortunately things might be much worse.
It could simply be that water is actually coming through the roof of your RV, and not out of the air conditioner.
The roof itself could be cracked or damaged to the point where it is leaking water. Furthermore, the caulking or roof sealant that surrounds the edge of your RV’s roof could also be cracked or worn out.
If you see noticeable cracks or that the caulking is cracked or greatly shrunken, then this is to blame. Also, try to see if the roof itself is sagging, as this is a clear sign of prolonged water damage.
If your leak is underneath your RV, then check out this troubleshooting guide.
How Do You Fix A Leaking RV Air Conditioner?
Now that we know all of the possible causes of why your air conditioner is leaking, let’s figure out how to fix these issues.
1. Replace or Tighten The Bolts
If the issue is being caused by missing or loose bolts, you will want to gain access to the underside of the air conditioner through the inside of your RV.
You need to remove the interior air conditioner panel so you can check out the bolts. First, make sure that the bolts are all there. If any of the bolts are missing, then you will need to find the appropriate bolts to replace the missing ones. This should be easily done.
If the bolts are just loose, then you want to carefully tighten them using the appropriate tool. Just make sure not to overtighten them, because this can lead to the gasket breaking.
2. Replace The Shroud
If the shroud covering the air conditioner is broken or missing, then it will need to be replaced. These are things that generally cannot be repaired, and will require replacement.
Therefore, if the shroud is missing or broken, you will need to consult the owner’s manual of your RV air conditioner so you can find the appropriate replacement shroud.
3. Replace The Rubber Gasket
If it is the rubber gasket surrounding the air conditioner that is broken, this will need to be replaced. Now, this is one of the harder fixes, especially because you have to remove the entire air conditioner to install the new gasket.
Therefore, if the gasket is in bad condition, you first need to take the appropriate steps to remove the air conditioner from the RV, which is generally going to include removing the mounting bolts and then lifting the RV up and away from the roof.
At this point, you are also going to need to find the appropriate gasket for your model of air conditioner and for the roof of your RV. If you are already doing the work to take the air conditioner off of the roof, you may as well replace that gasket either way.
The good thing here is that installing the new gasket is very easily done. These things usually just pop right into place. That said, it’s not the easiest task in the world, so you may need to hire a professional to help.
4. Fix The Sealant or Roof
If it is the sealant or caulking that is damaged, then you have to get a good RV roof sealant and coating, and then apply it according to the instructions. However, if the roof is sagging or has cracks in it, then you absolutely need professional assistance.
Yes, there are some short-term Band-Aid fixes, such as placing shims on the roof frame and the roof to provide the air conditioner with some extra height, but these are just short-term solutions.
A leaking air conditioner, especially if the roof is broken, is going to cause damage to the inside of your RV and needs to be fixed right away.
How To Prevent Your RV AC From Leaking
The best way to prevent your RV air conditioner from leaking is through regular inspection and maintenance. You want to get up there on a regular basis, about once per month, and inspect the whole thing.
Make sure the shroud is still there and in good condition, that mounting bolts are all there and tight enough (but not too tight), that the gasket is in good condition and not cracked, that the caulking on the roof is good, and that the roof itself is not damaged.
If you periodically inspect everything, you should be able to catch problems before a leak occurs. Of course, getting a high-quality air conditioner, and having it professionally and properly installed in the first place, is also going to make a difference.
Can I Still Use My AC If It’s Leaking Water?
Technically speaking, yes, you can still use your air conditioner. It’s not like water is getting into the actual unit and causing issues with the electrical wiring. However, a leaking air conditioner on your RV is not something that you just want to ignore.
That water is going to leak into your RV and can cause serious damage to the walls and the floors too. Although the air conditioner might still work for the time being, you don’t want to risk causing excessive damage to your RV due to water.