If you’re an avid RVer who takes pride in your motorhome, you are likely aware that you could experience a water leak at some point.
Unfortunately, even with routine maintenance, you could experience a water leak, and most leaks are challenging to locate, especially if you own a fifth wheel or travel trailer.
Since leaks are notoriously difficult to find, we have researched for you and found a few places you need to check first if you notice water seeping into your motorhome. Additionally, we have discussed three troubleshooting tips you should consider using if you have a leak or think you could have one.
After all, if you don’t fix the leak, you risk causing water damage in your RV that you might not be able to fix later down the line.
What Are Some Of The Places Your RV Could Be Leaking?
After extensive research and first-hand accounts, we narrowed down a few places most likely to experience a water leak in a motorhome. Some of the locations you might already know about, while others might surprise you.
These are some of the RV spots you should consider checking out and monitoring if you suspect a leak:
1. By The Bathroom Skylight
A common place for water to get in is through an RVs skylight.
Unfortunately, in a few Jayco models, like the 2007 Jayco Flight travel trailer, water has been known to leak through the bathroom skylight and into the bathroom. However, some water leaks from the actual skylight fitting, and most water leaks into the ceiling and around a bathroom skylight.
This spot can be difficult to fix, and many RVers have had trouble locating the source of the leak when it is in this location.
However, one of the standard solutions is to do a pressurized test to determine exactly where water is leaking to cause it to seep out at the skylight.
2. Inside The Flooring
It’s not uncommon to find water seeping into a motorhome through the flooring.
Many RVers are met with the unpleasant experience of having to identify a leak that is causing water to come up through the flooring. For example, campers with a 2006 Skyline Layton 27-foot-long travel trailer have noticed water damage from a leak under their flooring.
Usually, flooring leaks will occur at the back of a motorhome, and if a model has a bunk bed floor plan, there is often a water leak found in the rear bunk end.
If you can feel a soft (or squishy) spot on the flooring in your motorhome, you might want to lift the carpeting, tile, or linoleum to see if you have water seeping from a leak under the flooring.
If you leave this leak unattended, you risk mold and deterioration of your RV.
3. Inside The Clearance Lights
This next location will likely surprise you, but many people have reported experiencing an RV water leak inside their clearance lights.
Often trailer models will have minute structural issues around the clearance lights that allow water to leak in. Fortunately, fixing this type of leak is quick and inexpensive as all that’s needed is for the lights to be taken out and silicones before being put back in.
4. By The Awning Mounts
Some RVers have found that they experience significant water leaks into their motorhome from the awning support screw-in near the hatch.
Additionally, others have reported water leaks from the awning mount, but this is usually a towable motorhome problem.
Moreover, some 1010 Heartland North Country 26SRL owners have had a significant water leak affect their carpeting around the bedroom door. This leak is usually caused by water being able to seep in at the awning attach bolt.
5. Near The Hatch Seal
Another common location for water leaks is near the hatch seal. Many people notice that the door is slightly lifted off the seals in the corners.
This problem allows water to run down the hatch door, onto the latch, and into a cargo area, causing damage. Others have mentioned that water leaks into their cargo area because of rusty retainer screws and keeper latch near the hatch seal.
6. Inside The Membrane
Unfortunately, a few older Grand Design models, like the Grand Design Solitude 369RL, have experienced water leaks inside the membrane (underbelly).
Yet, it’s not only Grand Design models, as other brands have also had this problem in the past.
Usually, at the very bottom of a fifth wheel, water will be trapped and leak from inside the membrane across the bottom of a fifth wheel. You will be able to check if this has happened with your model by looking for the front axle and checking for sagging.
The cause for this leak is often a leaking tank valve (which you would be able to smell), or water could have gotten into the coroplast because it often isn’t fully water-tight while driving with certain motorhomes.
What Are Three Quick Troubleshooting Tips You Need To Know To Find A Leak?
Although the troubleshooting tips we give below are informative, they are also quick and easily digestible, so you will remember them when trying to locate a leak.
If you don’t remember them all, you can easily refer to this page and check these tips to quickly work towards identifying a solution for your leaking situation.
Look For Water Damage Signs:
One of the best troubleshooting tips we can give you when searching for a leak is looking for water damage.
A few problems inside a motorhome can indicate water damage from a leak; we have listed them below.
So be on the lookout for the following:
- A musty or unpleasant smell from your motorhome is usually an excellent indicator of water damage. If your water damage isn’t visible, you might want to trust your nose to lead you to the problem.
- Bubbling fiberglass on the outside of your RV. Run your fingers over the exterior to feel if there is bubbling, and you could find your leak.
- Discolored or soft spots at the top of a wall or on a section of the ceiling of your motorhome.
- Extremely discolored or wrinkled wallpaper can be a marker for water damage. It would be best to look for spots where wallpaper is peeling off or where the color is starting to fade, as leaks could be behind these sections.
- Spongy feeling areas on the floor. Check in front of or nearby floor vents, as spongy floors in this area clearly show water damage.
- Odd colored or soft spots around the ceiling fans, wall penetrations, and vents of your RV.
- Rust stains underneath or around windows and rusted screws, nails, and moldings inside your motorhome could be signs of water damage and a leak nearby.
Assess Common Water Leak Locations:
Another handy tip is to always assess the common water leak locations first when trying to find a leak in your motorhome.
This means you need to look in the following places first:
- Assess all the seals in your motorhome to uncover if any have deteriorated enough to cause a water leak.
- Assess the high-traffic areas like the kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom for thinning, cracks, and worn spots that could allow water to seep through.
- Assess the areas of your motorhome where sealant or caulk has been used, like around moldings, windows, skylights, doors, roof seams, and vents. These areas often leak as an RV ages when the sealant or caulk fails.
Additionally, it would be best if you remembered that not all water leaks would come from the structure and exterior of your motorhome. You should also always check to see if there is a leak in your city water inlet, furnace, outside shower, water heater, or portable water fill.
You can usually confirm a leak at these locations by visual damage inside your motorhome or around these openings.
Inspect The Places You Wouldn’t Normally:
Lastly, it would help to inspect the places you might not always check for a water leak.
See below to learn more about the unique places you should look for a water leak in your motorhome:
- Inspect around the antennae for cracked or damaged sealant or caulking.
- Inspect your motorhome’s slide-outs, as often damaged slide parts could allow water to seep into an RV.
- Inspect the water inlets in your motorhome, including in your kitchen and shower.
- Inspect the outside of your RV for delamination. You can do this by standing outside on one end to see if there are any irregularities or ripples in the fiberglass. Water is likely between the exterior panels and the interior walling if you see ripples or irregularities.
- Inspect all the cabinetry in your RV but pay the most attention to the top inside corners that meet the ceiling.
- Inspect the inside of your storage compartments, as many RVs experience water damage in these areas.