Ah… spending time in an RV can be so relaxing and enjoyable… until you realize you have a condensation problem. It can be a bit annoying to not be able to see out of your windows and to watch water droplets drip down your walls. It's a problem that is common in RVs, but one that should be investigated and fixed. Common causes of condensation include showering, cooking, breathing and sweating, but there are other issues that could cause condensation. And they are issues that shouldn't be ignored because they could cause other problems with your RV. Here's what you need to know.
Air conditioner condenser drain is blocked
The condenser inside your air conditioner produces water which goes to a drain and disperses outside of your RV. But, if the drain is blocked, the water has nowhere to go. This water will evaporate and get blown into your RV along with the cold air from your air conditioner. Since the water is blocked inside the air conditioner, the air from the unit will smell musty.
The moisture in the air will then fall onto the surfaces inside your RV. Condensation will form on your windows and walls because of the temperature differences between the inside and outside air. Your furnishing and clothing will be damp, which could lead to the growth of mold and mildew.
A mechanic can blow air through the condenser drain to unblock it. It would be a good idea to figure out why the drain got blocked in the first place so you can prevent it from happening again in the future. Air conditioners pull hot air into the unit, and cool the air by sending it over coils filled with cold refrigerant. If there is anything in the air that gets pulled into the unit (excessive pollen is a good example) it will likely end up in the drain, which may cause a clog.
Heater is leaking coolant
You probably have two heating systems in your RV: one from your engine and one to use while the engine is off. Both likely use coolant, but your separate heating system may use propane. If the separate heating system uses coolant, then check for a leak there first since you likely use it more often than the heater from your engine.
If there is a leak from coolant, you may smell a sweet odor, but it may be very faint if the leak is small. You may notice a residue when the condensation clears up. Check your coolant levels, and look for coolant leaks on the ground before you drive off to your next destination.
The heat setting from your engine produces heat from the heater core. The heater core is what takes the heat from the radiator and engine to heat up the compartment of your RV while you are driving. This is not the same heating unit as you have to heat the RV while you are parked.
However, if there is a leak in the heater core, your problems may be more serious than having condensation in your RV. Your engine could overheat the next time you drive if the heater core is leaking coolant. The heater core uses fluid from the radiator. This could make your radiator run out of coolant, which could cause your vehicle to overheat.
An overheated engine could cause the head gasket to crack or blow. If that would happen, you would likely have the additional smell of burnt oil and your condensation would have an oily consistency. You want to avoid this, of course, because it could be very costly to repair. You can click here for more information on RV repairs.