We Have A Hole in Our RV Roof!

install-vent-fan-rv-roof

Not a whole lot of things strike fear in the heart of an RV owner like having a hole in the roof. Adding one on purpose? Yeesh. One of the renovations that was recommended to us when we closed off our bedroom with a new sound-deadening interior wall was to consider additional ventilation in the form of a roof vent / fan which would help to reduce heat and humidity build up and provide a way to cool the bedroom without running the air conditioning in temperate climates or while boon-docking. While you should always hesitate before cutting holes in the roof of your camper or RV due to the risk of introducing a potential source of leaking, when done right a new roof vent can make or break your remodel project in terms of ultimate comfort and livability down the line.

There are a ton of things to consider in just figuring out if you have the space for a new roof vent in your RV. One of the advantages of being at the Foretravel Factory when having some of our renovations done was that the original blueprints for our specific rig were available, along with detailed wiring diagrams for both the 12v system and the AC power. We also had to plan around newly installed solar panels as well as roof A/Cs, a skylight and other ventilation fans and hoods that were original to the rig.

Our RV roof has both a steel frame infrastructure as well as wood framing and it was crucial that we locate the vent fan and its corresponding hole in our ceiling not only in between two studs, but also close enough to one member to be properly secured. We also had to ensure that the fan was located near a 12v electrical line that we could tap into for the power supply. In our Foretravel, along the top of the wall on the passenger side is a channel for wiring, so this was the perfect place to run our wiring.

Once the target area was located using stud finders, the blueprints and a tape measure, it was marked with tape. A circular pilot hole was first drilled and then the precise location of the stud was marked and the dimensions of the cutout for the vent fan. Then they cut a hole in my roof!!

TIMG_5014he 12v wires along the top of the adjacent wall were pulled to power the fan and it was wired up according to the wiring diagram in the instructions. The housing for the fan was caulked well from the outside and has not leaked in the slightest. The rain sensor on the vent has helped to prevent any water infiltration, though we have since installed a hood so that we could run the fan even when it was raining without have a flood.

Fan-Tastic 807350 Vent with Digital Wireless Remote by Fan-Tastic Vent

We chose a Fan-Tastic 807350 Vent with Digital Wireless Remote that also has a rain sensor. We also installed a hood over the vent, so I’m not sure the rain sensor is necessary, but the remote is very nice. The thermostat is one of our favorite features – you can set the vent to open and have the fan set to run at a certain temperature – say when it reaches 75 or 80 degrees, and you can maintain a temperate climate throughout the day or night. There is a manual knob to open the vent, but to be honest, we never use it as the powered opening is so convenient, and since it runs on 12v it’s always available.

At about $235, this particular vent fan model was a bit of a splurge, but we’ve found it to be one of our best investments in our remodel. Keeps the heat and the humidity down, and makes it possible to be comfortable most of the time without air conditioning.  With the window open at the head of the bed and the vent open and the fan running on the thermostat, sleeping with the windows open has suddenly become a very comfortable proposition! 

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Cost: Free!

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