Replace an RV Exhaust Fan

  • 1-2 hours
  • Beginner
  • 35-75

A broken or noisy exhaust fan is one of the top complaints of RV owners. RV exhaust fans might have poor quality motors whose bearings and bushings get out of alignment, they can get filled with dirt, and fan blades bend and break. Any of these issues might create the need to replace an exhaust fan, which is a relatively simply DIY task. Before you get started, keep reading to learn about different types of RV exhaust fans, their most common problems, and how you can determine what type of fan is the best replacement.

Types of RV Exhaust Fans

RVs have small exhaust fans in the kitchen area to blow away smoke and smells from the stove, as well as on the ceiling to help keep the RV cool and fresh. Sidewall exhaust fans can also be found in the bedroom and bathroom areas of an RV. Different types of exhaust fans include the squirrel cage exhaust fan, which blows air through slots on the side like an air conditioner, or the axial exhaust fan, which has blades just like a normal ceiling fan unit. Many RVs are equipped with squirrel cage type fans that are affixed to the ceiling, underneath a vent cover.

RV Exhaust Fan Problems

Exhaust fans in RVs are subject to a wide range of problems. The bumpy motions of long trips or the shock of going over a pot hole can be enough to shake the motor out of alignment. It’s also easy for dirt and dust to get trapped between the blades of the exhaust fan (especially squirrel cage fans), which can cause a loud, unpleasant noise. Heat or other climatic extremes that the RV owner might encounter during his or her voyages can also cause problems in the fan, if it’s made out of cheap materials.

Checking your RV Exhaust Fan

Before you go about replacing the exhaust fan, try and determine exactly what’s wrong with it. Inspect the fan for dirt or any objects that might be lodged between the blades, or even in the motor, which might impede it from functioning. If the exhaust fan is completely unresponsive when you try to turn it on, check for electricity issues. Go to the RV fuse box and make sure the current is live. If the fuses are working, there may be a voltage problem either in the wiring or in the motor of the fan itself.

Buying a new RV Exhaust Fan

If your fan won’t work even after giving it a good cleaning and changing your fuse, it may be time to replace it. RV exhaust fans are readily available at camping stores, specialty RV or automotive shops and online. First of all, make sure that the fan’s voltage is compatible with your RV (many fans run on 110vac, but some run on more). Take your time to investigate different options. For instance, solar-powered exhaust fans are now on the market, which may be of interest if your RV is newer. You can also find complete ventilation systems that include an exhaust fan, a ventilation cover and a rain protector in one package.