Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Even The Simple Things - Fixing A Vent Fan Pop-Lock

You Cannot See It, But There Is A Cool Breeze Blowing!
    I love my vent fans!!! Without them creating a "permanent" breeze in my RV I would be uncomfortably hot in the summer. I have two vent fans, one in the front and one in the back. Typically, I leave one pulling air in from outside and the other exhausting it to the outside. Works amazingly well to keep the interior cool when combined with Mylar bubble foil material covers. A while back I discovered a retrofit was available to allow me to use the new style of "pop-lock" fan covers. These eliminated the need to screw and unscrew LOTS of tiny screws to clean the screen and covered the screw-holes to boot.. They were inexpensive (2 for ~$20 including shipping) They have worked well for almost two years. This year, when I was cleaning them and prepping the RV for the season, both of them broke in two places. They can be fixed. Pretty Easily.

When you remove and re-install a pop-lock many, many times, the edges 90 degrees from the "finger pull" crack. The screen still stays in, but it's not as tight as it was when new. If you CAREFULLY remove it after it cracks, it can be fixed easily and, so far, permanently. So, begin by removing (carefully!) the screen and surrounding frame along with it, using the regular removal method. Make sure you do not snap any of the tabs that secure it to the fan itself. Once off, place it on piece of wax paper on a flat surface and make sure you only have cracks, no missing pieces (though you could fix those as well...just not as easily!) I used a simple "super" glue (cyanoacrylate) product. Any brand will work fine. Put a very small drop on either side of the cracked surfaces, wait a few seconds and press together. Hold it as long as you can. You do not need a huge amount of pressure here...just enough to keep the surfaces together. Repeat with any other cracks. Leave it alone to cure overnight (less is OK, but I like to be sure it won't crack again on re-installation!

All Fixed.
If you have a "chunk" missing, find an old piece of similar plastic you can cut a small patch from. Place a bit of glue on both the surface of the patch as well as the hidden surface of the pop-lock. Press together the same way as above. The extra plastic will span the gap. It may not be pretty, but it WILL work! Be careful using any kind of cyanoacrylate super glue as it is VERY easy to get it on things you do NOT want stuck together. Like your fingers, or the pop-lock to the table. (Yup, I did it!) If you act fast, you can use acetone (nail polish remover) to wipe away the super glue residue. Just be careful, not all surfaces can tolerate acetone. Check on a spot you cannot see before applying to the surface in question!

After everything is done, re-install the pop-locks on your vent fans and you are good to go. I will likely order another new set when they are on sale, then swap to the new ones, keeping my newly repaired ones in reserve. It's not that I am cheap.....just "frugal."

Be Seeing You...Down The Road,

Rich "The Wanderman"

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