Don’t let your RV become a hot box. Replacing a standard RV vent with a vent-fan can help keep your RV cooler during hot summer months.
The two primary vent fans on the market are the Fan-tastic Vent and Maxxair Vent Fans . Both are designed to fit a standard RV vent opening and are not difficult to install. The removal of the old vent is the most difficult part in my opinion.
The features that make these fans very appealing are the thermostatic controls, variable speed settings and reversability. You simply set a temperature threshold and the fan will turn itself on at the desired speed when it reaches that temperature. When the temperature drops back down, the fan shuts back off.
In this video, I’ll take you through the removal of our old vent and the installation of our Fan-Tastic Vent Fan. The installation of the Maxxair will be pretty similar.
Step 1 – Vent Removal: Remove the Plastic Shroud Inside
Unscrew the knob and screws securing the plastic shroud inside the RV. With the screws and knob removed, it should just drop down. You can then head up to the roof and remove the vent.
Step 2 – Vent Removal: Remove the Sealant From The Old Vent
The screws anchoring down the old vent are going to be covered in Dicor self leveling sealant or something similar. Using a scraper tool or putty knife, pry the sealant away. Be careful not to puncture the roof material with your tool.
TIP: Use a hair dryer or heat gun to warm up the sealant first. It will be easier to remove.
Be patient and remove as much as you can. Expose the edges of the cover and each screw head so they can be unscrewed.
Step 3 – Vent Removal: Gently Pry Up the Vent
Slowly move the scraper tool around the edge of the vent multiple times until it starts to lift up. There will probably be Butyl Putty Tape holding it down. Slowly work the edges of the vent until you can lift it out of the hole.
Step 4 – Vent Removal: Remove Excess Putty and Sealant
Remove all of the goop from the opening. This is the worst part of the project and will test your patience. Start by heating up the surface with a heat gun or hair dryer. While it’s warm, scrape up as much as possible with your putty knife or scraper tool. Take it slow and don’t damage your roof membrane in the process.
Remove the ramaining putty and sealant with a solvent and a rag. I prefer mineral spirits. Apply the mineral spirits to a rag and wipe it on liberally. Let it sit for a few minutes waiting for it to break down a little. Now use the scraper and a rag to get it all up.
When all of the material is removed, clean the area well with rubbing alcohol. You want it nice an clean before installing the new vent fan.
Step 5 – Seal Up Old Screw Holes (optional)
I say this is an optional step because the new putty and sealant will probably cover everything all up. Nevertheless, you may want to squeeze some silicon in the old screw holes just in case any water gets by the new seals.
Step 6 – Mounting the New Vent Fan
Do a test fit of the new fan in the opening so you know which direction it will go. Then remove it.
Place Butyl Putty tape around the entire edge of the opening. Make sure there are no gaps since this is your primary water barrier.
Now place the fan into the opening and apply some pressure. You want the putty tape to compress a little to form a nice water tight seal.
Finally screw the self-tapping screws through the vent frame and putty tape to secure the fan to the roof. Don’t over tighten. Go around gradually tightening each one letting the putty compress a little each time until it’s a nice snug fit.
Step 7 – Apply Sealant Around The Fan
Grab a tube of Dicor Lap Sealant and apply it generously around the frame. Start by covering each screw head and then go back around covering the entire edge of the fan with a generous coat. It will gradually settle over the next 24 hours.
TIP: It’s best to apply Dicor in warm weather above 60 degrees. When cold, it will be difficult to work with and will take a long time to settle. If you can, store the Dicor in a warm place. I’ve also used a hair dryer to heat it up before use so it flows nicely.
Step 8 – Connect Power To The Fan
The fan will run on 12 volt DC power. You’ll need to find a nearby source, probably a light fixture, and splice into it. Run the positive and negative wire to the fan and connect the wires according to the fan installation instructions.
With power applied, test the fan operation. If you’ve done everything correctly, it should work.
Step 9 – Install the New Plastic Shroud
This is the last step. Screw on the new plastic shroud and enjoy your new fan.