Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Air & Water - Leaky Window Tightening For Better Insulation.

    We've had a short reprieve from winter here in the North East. Though now it's getting very cold at night. I got to thinking about the insulation factor (R-Factor) of RV's. We all know they really aren't designed for all year use. But does that mean you shouldn't try and insulate them a bit better? Better insulated RV's will keep cooler  when it's Hot and warmer when it's Cool. The same advice you would get in a traditional home applies to RVs. Find the places that leak and fix them. While in the RV yesterday, I noticed a draft coming in from around a window frame. That' shouldn't be. However, it's an easy fix....usually.

Depending on your RV's design and what kind of windows it uses, you may have framed or frameless versions. I have framed windows. All around the perimeter of each window is a frame on the inside and the outside. These two pieces overlap the RV's body and are screwed together to make a tightly sealing "sandwich." There is typically a gasket or sealant in there as well. The action of driving your RV down the road will eventually loosen ALL the fasteners, but the window ones are particularly susceptible. If they are just loose, simply tightening them (not too much!) will close the tiny gap and the leak will vanish. Thankfully, that's all I had to do. What if that doesn't work?

Well, the correct way is to remove all the screws around the window and then carefully push the window out. It's best to have someone help! Maybe two people if the window is large. Depending on how the window was sealed at the factory, (or repaired by a previous owner) it may come out easily or require the sealant to be carefully removed with tools. In any case, clean as much of the residue as possible from both sides. If your window used a gasket, get a replacement. The old one is just that...old. There are many different types of liquid window sealant. Make sure the one you buy is all season and designed for RV's. That is, it will withstand a lot of vibration and repeated hot/cold temperature cycles. Most RV superstores will have what you need. One Large tube goes a LONG way. Find a good spot to place your window down carefully. I usually use an old blanket or large towel. Don't dent or bend it!! If you do, it may not seal properly when re-installed. I only remove one window at a time, just in case of bad weather. If you are lucky enough to have indoor storage, this isn't really a problem!

Once the window is out and both it and the body cleaned and prepped, you can reinstall. Make sure the gasket isn't pinched or torn or out of place. If using sealant...use as little as possible. It will squeeze out to fill gaps and too much will make a mess. Put the screws back in and tighten them like you would lug-nuts on a wheel. What I mean is start one screw, tighten a bit, then go crosswise to another screw, then crosswise, etc, etc. Until you get all the way around. Then keep doing that until they are all equally snug all the way around. If you used a liquid sealant, wipe away the excess and make sure you give it enough time (a the proper temperature!) to cure. Take a good look all the way around and make sure things are reasonably even. The gasket may or may not go all the way around, mine doesn't! It's designed to keep water flowing down from above and alongside from getting behind the window from the top. While you are here, make sure all your drainage channels are clean. Some low pressure compressed air works nicely.

If you track down all the little (and not so little) air leaks, you'll make you heating and cooling much more efficient. Why waste?

Be Seeing You...Down The Road,

Rich "The Wanderman"

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