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Ask Dave: Why is my RV’s carpet wet?

Answers to questions about RV Repair and Maintenance from RV expert Dave Solberg, author of the “RV Handbook” and the managing editor of the RV Repair Club. This column appears Monday through Saturday in the RV Travel and RV Daily Tips newsletters. (Sign up for an email reminder for each new issue if you do not already receive one.) Today Dave discusses locating RV leaks causing a wet carpet.

Dear Dave,
Recently we traveled to the East Coast and back. While in Delaware, we hit a couple rainstorms. Our friend insisted we stay in their house while the RV sat in the driveway. The next morning I went into the RV to check things out. What I found was a fresh beach towel I had left on the floor in the bedroom was soaking wet. I said what…?! I checked the entire surrounding area for water including the floors, window tracks, ceiling, roof, storage bays, etc. To my surprise, I found zippo/nothing. Have you had experience with this type of moisture migrating to a towel or some other cotton? Thank you! —Tom

Dear Tom,
If you have a towel on the floor that is now soaked with water, then you have a leak somewhere in the rig. And the frustrating part is there are so many hollow tubes and raceways for water to flow that it can be very difficult to find the source of an RV leak.

Where to start looking for the leak

I would start at the spot of the towel and feel the carpet in all directions. If there is nothing wet, then pull back the carpet and pad to see if there are signs of water coming from some direction. If you have a leak in any of the roof to sidewall, or roof to front cap seams, the water can come in through that area. It can travel along the hollow tube used for the roof to sidewall frame, then find its way down the vertical sidewall tube and maybe even flow along the frame of the floor.

Another RV leak potential could be the roof air conditioner leaking into the roof due to the gasket not being tightened correctly. The water can pool and seep inside the roof and again travel along hollow framework. Or it could drip from the AC unit inside and maybe the towel was underneath. Check out what was directly above the area the towel was in and see if there is something on the roof there.

The RV leak could have been water pressure that was too high

Since you indicated this was in the bedroom, was it next to the base of the bed in the front or side? And were you connected to a faucet at your friend’s house for city water? If so, their water pressure could have been slightly higher than your water fittings could handle and may have developed a slight leak at an elbow or other connection. My parents connected their Class A rig up at my brother’s house in AR, and later in the day they came out to wet carpeting. Come to find out the water pressure on the faucet they hooked up to was over 60 psi and their connections could not handle it. You might have water lines and connections close to where the towel was placed.

A towel or other cotton product will not absorb moisture unless there is a direct source of moisture coming in contact with it. If the inside of the unit is humid, it can feel slightly moist but not soaked.

Read more from Dave here

Dave Solberg worked at Winnebago for 15 years developing the dealer training program, as marketing manager, and conducting shows. As the owner of Passport Media Creations, Dave has developed several RV dealer training programs, the RV Safety Training program for The Recreation Vehicle Safety and Education Foundation, and the accredited RV Driving Safety program being conducted at rallies and shows around the country. Dave is a leading expert in the RV industry and author of the “RV Handbook” as well as the Managing Editor of the RV Repair Club.

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Montgomery D. Bonner
1 month ago

All – ever single time you hook up to city water pressure, you need a pressure regulator on the hose bib, then your water hose. Remeber, every single time. Big sign in my services bay, ALWAYS USE PRESSURE REGULATOR-NEVER HOOK TO PRESSURE OVER 60PSI. Post on a froum, got water leaking from everywhere, did not use regulator, he has same MH as mine, and the sign is in his bay too. Some people too stupid to own RV.

Bob p
1 month ago

Years ago we bought 15 acres located in a holler, we had county water but the water tower was about a mile away located on a hill well above the location of our property. When the house was built and water put in I had to have a pressure regulator installed along with heavy walled PVC pipe. I measured the water pressure at the main line at 127 PSI, that would’ve flooded the house with broken pipes and fixtures.

Tommy Molnar
1 month ago

We never had any leaking problems with our trailer in over eight years – UNTIL – we experienced a Houston TX torrential downpour. Our bedroom window just poured water onto the floor. We ended up calling a mobile RV repair guy who took the window out, resealed it, and reinstalled it. No more leaks.
I’ve never experienced rain like that!

Ray
1 month ago
  • Its been my experience that those little weep holes in the base plate of the roof top ACs can easily clog with debri over time. These holes are designed to drain onto the roof the condensation of the AC, or possibly in this case rain water that made it through the cowling. Water can accumultate to the point it spills over into the hole where the duct work is and go whereever. It is a weird feeling to see water spilling out of your ceiling return vents after a week or more of sunshine. I cleaned and increased the diameter of the weep holes in both ACs.
Bob p
1 month ago
Reply to  Ray

Our former 18 year old motorhome had a unique water leak in the bedroom A/C, it was ducted air and the outlet was right over my side corner at the foot of the bed. It was in to the local RV dealer 3 times to the tune of $157 labor and parts, still leaked when got to FL. Son in law and I investigated and found a hair line crack in the plastic condensation tray. A trip to Walmart to pick up a package of water proof epoxy and a few hours to dry fixed the problem. I’ll never go back to this dealer again.

Linda
1 month ago

Since they mentioned it raining and there was no water on ceiling, could the water have come from the slide out?

DW/ND
1 month ago
Reply to  Linda

First rule Linda: Never do the easy stuff first! Always complicate the problem with detailed what-if’s diagnosis! Perfect observation Linda! Thanks…….

Jeff Craig
1 month ago
Reply to  Linda

I was going to ask this, as well. Last year, we were camping near Anacortes, WA and had a really powerful storm pass through overnight. This was an Oklahoma-style thunderstorm, like the kind I grew up with. When we woke up and got out of bed in the morning, the carpet on my side of the bed was damp for about two feet around the slide out – but only on my side. The wind had driven the rain against that side of the slideout, and it had leaked a bit around the upper corner where the slide topper and sidewall met. I reseated the gaskets up there and no more gap. The water was gone in a few minutes after hitting it with the Little Green Clean Machine. Haven’t had a problem since then.