Sunday, October 2, 2022


Know Your RV: Dripping air conditioner woes

One of the great gifts for summertime RVing is that rooftop air conditioner. It can turn a blisteringly hot, miserably muggy day into a whole new ball game. But sometimes these RV chillers come with unwelcome surprises: Dripping air. Dripping? Raindrops keep falling on your head—inside your RV!

Puzzling precipitation

dripping airThe “raindrops” you’re experiencing aren’t coming from outdoor precipitation, but are the byproduct of the humidity you’re trying to get rid of. Your air conditioner is a big pump. It pulls that nasty, muggy humidity out the inside of your RV and pumps it outside. In the process it produces a condensate—water. That water has to go somewhere.

When all’s right with the world of your air conditioner, that water goes into a drain pan in the bottom of your air conditioner. From there, gravity takes it to drain holes in the pan, where it’s unceremoniously dumped onto your RV roof. It then rolls off the roof. You may see this water rolling down the side of your rig, or perhaps off your awning. That’s all normal.

What’s not normal is when you have a dripping air conditioner dumping that water inside your RV. The most likely cause of this unwelcome pitter-patter is clogged drain holes in the air conditioner pan. Dirt, leaves, and other debris can make its way into your a/c unit and clog the drains. The condensate level builds up—and it’s gotta go somewhere. That’s when it can come back into your RV.

An easy fix

Got a dripping air conditioner? Here’s how to fix the problem. First, turn off the air conditioner. Then, with that “safety first” ethic in mind, disconnect your shore power cord from the pedestal or generator. You don’t want someone to turn on the a/c unit while you’re working on it. Next, make a careful climb up to the roof level. As we’ve mentioned before, it’s best not to walk on your RV roof unless you use boards to more evenly distribute your weight. Hands and knees are safer.

dripping air
Base image courtesy

You’ll need to remove the air conditioner cover—shroud—from the unit. You’ll find a bunch of screws or other fasteners running around the lower edge of the unit. Remove them all, then gently work the shroud off the unit. Look for unwelcome crud in the unit, particularly in the bottom area. Clear it all out and look for holes in the pan. Make sure they’re clear, and your dripping air conditioner problems should be gone. Pop the cover back on, and align the shroud with the holes so you can put the mounting hardware back in place. It’s cool, man!

Tune in next week for more “Know Your RV” tips. And if there’s something about your RV that you’d like to know, drop us a line. Use the form below, and insert “Know Your RV” on the subject line.

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Other stories by Russ and Tiña De Maris.



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1 month ago

There was a song about that. “Rain drops keep falling on my head”

Steve Hericks
1 month ago

Condensate is pure, distilled water. If it has objectionable characteristics, it is only because your condensate pan or evaporator coil has collected debris that need to be cleaned.

Ron Betzing
1 month ago

A leaking AC can also be caused by a worn out gasket or loose bolts that hold the AC to the rig.

1 month ago
Reply to  Ron Betzing

Same point I was going to make.

The writer should have tried to cover at least the top few main issues as to why condensation can make it inside. Pretty simplistic article.

Jesse Crouse
1 month ago
Reply to  Ron Betzing

Our Tiffin DP has a condensate pump to remove the water and discharges thru a line that ends at the bottom of the coach .

Bob p
1 month ago

I had a slightly different problem with our bedroom A/C, water dripped out of the ducting onto the foot of the bed on my side, very uncomfortable. 2 trips to the local RV dealer and $167 later it still dripped. SIL and I went up and close inspection revealed a crack in the condensation tray. A trip to the local Walmart to pick up water proof epoxy and an hour later no leak. So if you’re having difficulty with a phantom leak check for hairline cracks in the condensate tray.

1 month ago
Reply to  Bob p

In very humid areas when you have water dripping off of your AC duct outlets, just turn the fans on high. Don’t have them on auto.

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