My RV Living Situation – Fixing Leaks & Cleaning the Black Tank

My wife and I live in an RV and have been full-time travelers for 3 years now. We have owned another Class A and a travel trailer during that time. Our current Rexhall Class A is the nicest we have owned but didn’t come without a few small issues. I wish I would have realized I was going to blog about all this as I would have taken pictures. Future blogs about my RV living situation will certainly include pictures.

Vent Leaks

About 3 weeks into our ownership of this “new to us” RV, we discovered both vents were dripping in heavy rain. This means I had to get on the roof in the rain, with my poncho on and try to diagnose the issue. I believe old screw holes that were never properly sealed were causing the issue. However, I wasn’t going to take any chances. I took off the rain covers, cleaned off the old seal, which wasn’t put on correctly and whoever sealed it used a bathroom caulk.

I prefer to seal things with Liquid Nails silicone, as it lasts much longer. I also discovered the vent rain covers didn’t have any installation brackets like our first Class A did. It was literally screwed directly into the roof, which was fine, but it wasn’t done very well. When I put the vent rain covers back on, I sealed them really well with silicone, as well. I also used Flex Seal on the vents before putting on the rain guards. I figured a double seal would do the trick and I was right. So far, after about 10 more big rain storms in Florida, we have not seen any more leaking through the vents.

Fixing a Kitchen Sink Leak

Another thing we noticed early on in our journey with this RV was the sink in the kitchen was leaking into our silverware drawer. The seal around the sink was cracked, so silicone was used again to reseal the sink.

This was a pretty easy fix and we had to do this with our first Class A and our travel trailer, too. Personally, any RV or travel trailer over 10 years old should be resealed in these areas. This is coming from my own experience with two RVs from 1999 and a travel trailer from 2005. All three I should have resealed immediately before we found an issue.

Fixing an A/C Condensation Leak

For nearly four weeks, the two AC units worked great and didn’t cause an issue. The bedroom one dripped a tiny bit after heavy use, but I figured it was just due to the heavy use and it stopped after the first time of doing that.

However, I woke up the day before we are to leave our current campground to discover the front AC was dripping heavy whenever we turned it on. Another trip up on the roof for this guy to fix another RV issue. I took off the AC unit cover and found that the foam on the inside of the metal was falling off and plugging the area where the condensation goes.

After cleaning it up pretty good and using a comb to straighten the fins, we were back in business with no more issues. I used a simple household comb that I cut, but will be purchasing an actual A/C fin comb for the future. I decided to go ahead and do the same for the bedroom AC unit since I was already up there. It was also pretty dirty and needed some fins straightened out.

Flushing the Black Tank

No RVer that I have met enjoys the duty of flushing the black tank. It’s a nasty job and someone has to do it. I am the guy, so it falls under my job duties, of course. We had noticed a smell much like cat pee when we first started living in this RV and narrowed it down to the black tank or the grey tank.

We thought, at first, it was the carpet as the previous owners did have a cat, but after cleaning the carpets, it didn’t go away. It was clearly coming from the bathroom area, which has no carpet, so we believe it’s the black tank. I figured, if I could flush it out really well and fill it with some good chemicals and water for the drive to our next campground, it might take care of it. The smell already dissipated some after flushing the black tank the first time and hopefully, this time it will be gone for good and won’t return.

We have a Sani-Flush system on our RV so flushing the black tank isn’t that difficult, just a bit gross. I love living in an RV and wouldn’t trade it for the world, but there are things that have to be done.

Along with all these things I have fixed in the first few weeks, I swapped out about a half-dozen burnt light bulbs and did a little minor sealant work near the outdoor storage locks as the seal around a few of them was starting to crack. In my experience, a clear silicone sealant has been a life-saver for us. In our travel trailer, we had some soft spots forming on the outside and I was able to use this sealant to keep them from getting worse. I was also able to use it to fix the back slide and keep it from getting any worse as it was starting to suffer from some water damage.

Sometimes, if you can seal up the issue, you can keep it from getting worse until you can fix any damage that was caused. Luckily, our current RV doesn’t have any water damage from the small leaks we found because the previous owner kept it under a metal cover when it wasn’t in use. They hadn’t used it for about a year and rarely used it in the past 5 years, so they probably had no idea of these small little issues. Regardless, they are fixed now and we are fully in business.

Of course, I am prepared for the next time I need to get on the roof and I have yet to get the awning out to see if it needs any work on it. With the winds in Florida this time of year, it has been in as I didn’t want to constantly be putting it in and out since we leave to go to Walt Disney World about five times a week.

I did just check the awning before finishing this post out of curiosity. If I were a cat, curiosity would have taken 8 of my 9 lives by now for sure. It’s in overall good shape with just a couple of small areas in the fabric that need to be taped with awning tape, but they are not really that big of a deal. It needs a good coating of WD-40, but the mechanics are in good order for sure. I will be taking care of these small issues at our next campground.

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