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RV Water Leaks
If there is a way into your RV, the water will find it. Water leaks on an RV can cause significant damage and can be extremely expensive to repair. When I worked at an RV dealership, I saw time and time again the detrimental effects that water can have on an RV. I learned the lesson the hard way. I appraised a unit that was being traded in and failed to identify the extensive water damage, which resulted in repairs worth a thousand dollars. Hindsight is 20/20 and I quickly learned to inspect and identify potential water damage on RVs. My recommendation is that you inspect for potential water leaks at least twice a year, once in the fall and again in the spring.
Every seam in your RV and anywhere the manufacturer has drilled a hole in your RV has the potential to let water in. To protect your investment and your wallet, take the time to REALLY inspect all those seams and sealants. Water damage on an RV is similar to progressive damage on a tire. The exterior of the tire looks good, but internal damage over a long period of time causes the tire to fail without any warning. The exterior of your RV looks good, but internal water damage over a long period of time can cause the entire roof, floor, or wall to rot without you knowing it. Here are some things to look out for during your inspections.
Always keep safety in mind when working on the roof of your RV You can be seriously injured if you fall! One of my readers suggested you use 2 pieces of 1/2″
plywood, 2 feet by 4 feet, to move around and distribute your weight on the
* To stop a leak before it starts, carefully inspect all roof and body joints. Consult your RV dealer for sealants that are compatible with different types of roofing materials.
* Look for any discoloration and feel for weak spots in the ceiling around roof vents, air conditioners, TV antennas, plumbing vents, and any other openings cut into the roof.
* Check for any discoloration or wrinkles in the wallpaper and look for weak spots on the walls around any windows, doors, vents, slides or any other openings cut into the side walls.
* Identify the location of items such as the water heater, furnace, outdoor shower, potable water fill, and city water inlet outside of the RV, then access these areas from inside the RV and look for any indication of water damage around it. openings.
* Open all overhead cabinets and look in the top corner where the walls meet the ceiling for any discoloration or feeling of weak spots. This would indicate a leak at the seam where the sidewall and roof attach.
* Check all exterior storage compartments for any indication of water leaks or water damage.
* Check for weak spots on the roof itself, especially around the roof seams at the front and back of the RV. Carefully inspect all sealants on the roof around each opening.
*Some class C motorhomes are known to leak in the cabin above the bed. Look for any signs of discoloration and look for weak spots. Reach under the mattress and look for water.
* Look and smell outside the RV for any signs of delamination. Delamination is caused by water ingress between the outer fiberglass and the sidewall. When this happens, the exterior fiberglass separates from the side wall of the RV. You can stand at the front or back of the RV and look to the side for any noticeable ripples or what looks like a bubble. You can also press the side walls. If you feel the outer fiberglass move, it’s peeling off. Often the delamination begins around an opening in the sidewall.
Don’t just inspect your RV for water damage; REALLY inspect your RV for water damage. If you do this regularly, you can locate and fix the source of any water damage before it has a chance to do much damage. I think I will start checking our camper more than twice a year.
Copyright 2006 by Mark J. Polk owner of RV Education 101
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