Why do rvs have roof vents and how do they work ?

Why do rvs have roof vents and how do they work ?

Last Updated on :

Rv or motorhome provides you a space for living when you can travel on roads. Just like a home would need proper ventilation, RV too needs good airflow and ventilation. RV roof vents are great for keeping the interior of the RV healthy.

The reason why RV’s are given an option of roof vents is because they provide for good air circulation, helps pushing the stale air outside and keep the RV interior air fresh. RV roof vents provide ventilation in RV when you cannot keep windows or door open. They also help in pushing odors and smells outside of the RV. Roof vent fans in RV are great in pushing the stale air outside of the motorhome.

At times, a RV may not have a roof vent and in such time you can get one installed through a professional. But, mostly RV’s or travel trailer would come equipped with roof vents. There are lot of campanies that make RV roof vents. This one by Maxxair on amazon is the one that i recommend.

Lets go through all the advantages or pros that would make it clear as to why exactly you need RV roof vents. And lets also see the working and design of rv roof venting system.

1. Helps air circulation

RV is nothing but a tiny home on roads. It gives you all the facilities that you would get in a home. They have so many appliances and elements packed inside such a smaller space. And because of this the air may not circulate much.

A stale air is not only bad for health but will also result in other issues like smells, odors and humidity. A roof vent fan is an ideal appliance to circulate the air inside that smaller travel trailer or mini motorhome of yours.

Windows or doors can also do the same but at times you may not want to do that. Also, while the RV is in storage you cant leave the windows open or doors open. It will obviously invite the rodents or insect and dust.

Even when you are living inside the RV in a campground thefts are always on your mind and you cant always break open those windows. Vents can also be used while traveling but you need to be careful as with high speed there are chances of breaking.

Roof vents are specially made so that you can have that ventilation and that’s the reason they are so called as well. Windows cannot really provide you what roof vents fans can provide.

2. Keeps RV cooler

You ask any RVer who has been rving during hot sunny days for a tip to cool RV. Use RV roof vents will be his or her answer to you.

Yes you can have an air conditioner installed in your RV but using vents is a economical and awesome way to keep the RV cooler. And not always you will have an Ac at your disposal mainly because of the power it needs.

Roof vents allow for fresh air and helps keep the temperature under control. They may not be a immediate coolers for your rig but they definitely makes a difference. It also depends on how the temperature is outside.

The RV roof vent fan running will bring in cooler air inside and throw the hotter air outside. Keeping ceiling vents open using a vent covers facilitates ventilation and thus breeze will make the RV cooler.

Not all RV’s come equipped with air conditioners. Specially smaller less costly Rvs like travel trailer may not have air conditioner and that time RV vents can come very handy for cooling. Rving in summer can get real difficult with heat waves.

3. Helps keeping Smells and odor out

With almost everything inside your RV it almost is like your home. You can cook, bath, sleep and enjoy. When you cook inside that smaller RV or camper, odors and smells due to wastes, sink can start to make the air stale.

And,if there isn’t any ventilation for escaping then it can produce smells that you wouldn’t want to take even for minutes. RV roof or ceiling vents with fans can really help keep such smell and odor out very effectively.

There probably tens of things that can produce smells inside RV including toilet and bathroom and not having proper ventilation can make you dull inside the vehicle. RV roof vents facilitate better escape for smells and keep the air fresh and odor free.

4. Prevents humidity, moisture and molds

Humidity inside an RV can be root cause to other issues like molds and mildew. The moisture can trap inside the RV and result in increasing of humidity levels. Condensation results in growth of molds which can be really difficult to remove if not prevented and gotten rid of early.

For humidity levels to remain low you need to make sure it is properly ventilated and fresh air is circulated. Roof vents provide for a perfect way to keep the moisture out of camper trailer and prevent molds ultimately.

There can be number of sources of moisture inside an RV and having that roof vent allows the moisture and vapors to escape. A kitchen pot having hot food can produce vapors, bathroom hot shower can produce steam that need to escape else vapors are formed.

Keeping the roof vent fan running will allow such steam, vapors to escape. Running a RV roof vent fan may not need high wattage and should be manageable with whatever power you have.

5. Makes Way for Kitchen smoke and steam

Rving means you get to cook inside your vehicle. A bigger motorhome will have a big and full kitchen. Cooking inside a camper is fun but it can produce steam and smoke that can make your life difficult inside.

RV roof comes as a saver at such times when running the exhaust fan helps push the steam and smoke outside. So, if you want to enjoy that RV dinner or lunch make sure you have good roof vents installed.

The running fan on the roof vent makes sure the air inside is thrown out along with the smoke. Cooking can really produce that dark smoke specially when you are cooking something that really needs deep frying or using things that can burn and produce smoke. Grilling is one such activity that can really produce smoke.

6. Bathroom steam can escape through vents

Hot showers in bathroom can result in vapors that can be potential moisture and condensation creators. Having roof vents makes sure such vapors go out of the RV or motorhome quickly.

Condensation as we already saw can lead to multiple issues like molds, mildews and musty smells. Camper’s mostly are equipped with bathroom except for those smaller tent trailer which may not accommodate such facilities.

Having a shower inside RV is great but if it comes with such issues like molds or mildew then you have to think twice. Thus getting good vents can really help and keep you worry free.

7. Use vents in different seasons

RV vents can be used during all seasons but you may have to use RV vent covers to protect them. Since the RV vents will be paced above your RV roof, their most part will be exposed to rain, wind and snow. So covering will be needed but you can make use of vents during such weather conditions to keep the RV interior safe.

So basically you can keep the trailer or rv interior or cabin well ventilated during various weather conditions without really exposing directly to outside conditions. The vents obviously will lead to wear and tear though with such inclement weather conditions.

But you can make use of vents in rain to keep safe from humidity, during winter snow as well as during summer times.

8. Secure than open windows and door

Vents are good at ventilating at the same time are safer as compared to leaving the windows open. You cannot say everyone is a thief but you cant leave the windows open and expect everything be fine.

Just to be sure and keep yourself free of worries vents are great. With vents you can have all the above advantages and don’t really need to worry about thefts or any animals coming inside. Another advantage of using vents is they bring in some sunlight as well.

How do they work

RV roof vents mostly come in a standard size of 14×14. Having such standard size makes it easier for rver to replace them whenever the need arises. Also, if your RV was never equipped with one, getting it installed will be easier. The Roof vent is placed above the roof, that is most of its part will be above roof.

It can be operated from the interior of the RV. When you want to flip it open you can do it manually or if it may have electronic control for that. Most new RV’s come equipped with such electrical control and that makes life easy for you.

The roof vent will have vent cap that cranks up, it will also have a fan that facilitates the air flow from inside to outside. It would look like a hinged hatch that can be moved up from the roof level. And the vent cover can be opened from the inside of the RV.

RV Roof vent size

Most Rv’s or travel trailer will be equipped with roof vents but if it isn’t there for your RV or motorhome then get one as it helps a lot. Since most RV roof vents will be having a size of square 14 by 14 inches, it becomes way easier for you.

Even though with this standard size you can try installing it yourself its best to get help from a rv professional. A RV roof is a critical part of your RV and you definitely don’t want to make a hole and leakage.

Standard size makes it easier to make the hole but you may end up keeping extra space or drilling wrong holes. Mounting of the roof vent however may not necessarily need putting holes and you also get other mounting with hinges.

RV roof vent covers are necessary because they help in preventing dust, cold air from coming in, that is the reverse ventilation. The also protect the RV roof vent from harsh conditions. The roof vent remains outside and will be tested against heavy winds and snow.

RV vent covers can be installed as per the directions given and you may at times need to drill holes. But, mostly you will find easy to install instruction that will mount the covers without much efforts.

Keeping the vents open or not

Rv roof vents mostly come as plastic made but that may need you to put covers. One can also try metal vents that are more sturdy but will be little higher in weight. Also, since most of the manufacturers make plastic ones, that may give you better design and will come at good cost.

Cost : RV roof vents can be bought in as little as $40 but you also get costlier ones with better fan capacity and design that can last longer. Since the roof vents are outside of your RV continuously facing the affects of winds, snow, rain they tend to be having limited life and thus you need to replace them in few years time.

One of the questions that many rver have is when to open the RV roof vents. So do you keep the vents open during winter? Well, the answer to this question is yes. Keeping the vents open will allow for fresh air and help some air circulation. This will avoid all the issues that we discussed above. Because you cannot crack open the windows during such times, the roof vents provide for the much needed ventilation.

When RV is in storage

This can be debatable topic as it can work either ways. Keeping the vents slightly open should be fine though. You need to try this and see if it works. At times open vents can bring pollen, dust and other things. So you need to be thoughtful about that as well.

Checking on the RV few times during off season for any such happening should work well. Apart from keeping vents open one can also try other options like using dehumidifier. Before keeping the vents any open you need to be sure that the area where you live does not have high dust else you will be seeing a different issue altogether.

Also, if you happen to be living in areas with high snow then the roof vents are going to get get covered with snow layer making the RV roof vents of no use any ways.

Roof vents while travelling

Traveling with roof vents open is another question rvers have. People do travel with shower roof vents open but again that can be a gamble for dust to come in. Travelling with vents open is a viable option if you use a good RV vent like MaxxAir II.

But another point to keep in mind is you need to have roof vent cover. Its only logical, imagine the speed of more than 80 mph and the vents being outside of the RV above RV roof, they will be impacted. The wear and tear with vent covers is going to be bad for the vents.

Thus, to conclude on this you can travel with your travel trailer or motorhome with vents open but be sure they are covered. Also, traveling can bring in dust, so its up to you to take the decision. At time you know the route well and depending on that you can keep the vents open or closed.

While running the air conditioner : Keeping the vents open when the RV air conditioner is running can make the ac less efficient. Thus make sure the vents are closed when the air conditioner is running. Its similar to what you would do with the windows or door when the ac is running.

For ac to work well the area should be enclosed without outside air flow. And thus closing vents during such times is the right way to do. If you have a air cooler then keeping the vents open may do good in cooling the air.

Downsides with RV roof vents

1. Installing RV roof vents on a rv that didn’t had one can go wrong if not done professionally. And this may result in leakage and holes that can bring in water during rain, cold winds. This can damage the roof and cause further issue.

For proper installation you need to cut holes exactly as per the size and if any gaps or leaks remain then you need to apply proper caulking. A RV professional can do the installation properly for you rather than you trying it.

A lot also depends on what kind of rving you do. Boondocking can allow you to open the windows and you may not need vents mostly. But in a city area you may want to have the vents to avoid condensation.

2. At times getting the old RV roof vent replaced can be tough. Specially if the original wasn’t of the standard size of 14 inch square. Mostly the vents on new models are of 14 inch size but at times you may have a odd RV with a different size.

And that time it can be a little difficult to install. Rvs mostly have 1 or more vents. RV shower vents are of great use too.

3. Roof vents can bring in dust if kept open during travel or towing. Dust inside a RV can be bad for your heath and thus making sure the vents are closed when traveling can be a precaution you want to take. Roof vents are manufactured by various companies like camco, Maxxair , Fan-Tastic and other make sure you get best rv roof vents after reading reviews online.

4. They may not last long enough. While your class A RV or a class c RV will last for years and years, your RV roof vents may not last so long. You need to replace them in few years as they are subjected to wear and tear.

Since they go through high winds, rain and snow it is obvious they would go bad in some period. You also need to clean ceiling roof vents periodically, this will help in extending their life.

5. At times the fan of the roof vent can make noise. Thus, make sure the roof vent you will buy should be rated for less noise. A quite roof vent fan is all you need for a peaceful and proper ventilated rving.

G. Yoganand

A RV enthusiast who spends countless hours researching and learning various things related to RV camping. He believes in spending time doing Outdoor activities.
Close Menu