How To Use Your RV Vent Fan (Fan Speed, Amp Draw, Cleaning)

One of the things about smaller RVs and trailers is that the air can get pretty stale inside. You need a good vent as well as a vent fan to make sure the air stays crisp, clean, and odor free. Something not always obtainable in your traditional home.

The roof vent fan usually uses only 3 amps of power and can be run off of 12-volt DC power. That makes them a perfect addition to any RV when you do a lot of boondocking. These fans help keep the air clean and cool inside your RV.

To learn more about these vent fans, just continue to read our article. It has the information you want to know about so you can install a vent fan if your RV lacks one. They are a good addition when you camp in very hot weather.

How To Use Your RV Vent Fan


One of the nicer aspects of these fans is that you should be able to use them in any weather. When the air inside gets hot and filled with odors, even if it is raining you can open the hatch and turn the fan on to clear the air.

Then you should be able to find a good design as the standard for RV vents is 14 by 14 inches. The vent fans are made to that standard. To use one, you can get vent fans that operate by remote control and all you have to do is push a button and the fan does its thing.

Manual vent fans only need you to open the vent cover and then flip a switch. Some people say these fans are not waterproof so you may have to check carefully to see if they will be ruined if you use them in the rain.

Then if you are not that tall and have a high ceiling in your RV, either buy a step ladder to reach the fan or go with a remote control option. These devices are not that hard to use and you will need to wire them correctly for them to work properly.

Then, turn the vent on when you are cooking, too hot, or just need to clear the air. That is all there is to it with these devices. Some of these vent fans will have a reverse operation. That enables you to draw cooler air inside your RV and help keep everything including you cool.

The instructions will explain how those dials and switches work.

Do I Run The RV Vent Fan With AC?

No, you should not. RV air conditioners work on the same principle as traditional home AC units. You need to close the windows and doors for the AC to work right at home thus you need to close the vents, windows, and doors in your RV.

That is if you want your RV air conditioner to work right and not overwork. Here is one tip that will help you keep your AC unit from overworking. If the RV is hot inside, turn the vent fan on first.

Let it clear some of the hot air out of the RV and once the temperature is lowered a little bit, turn your AC unit on and close the vents. Your AC won’t work as hard and you can save on your energy bill.

At no time should you have the vent open and the fan going as all you will be doing is clearing out the cool air and making your AC unit use more power.

How To Control The RV Vent Fan Speed


Many vent fan models should come with variable speeds. That means that there should be a speed control dial on the fan itself. When you want it to go faster or slower, you just turn the dial to the speed setting you want.

You may pay a little extra for this feature but it may be worth it in the long run. If there is no speed control, then the vent fan may only have one speed. There may not be much you can do to control the speed. It is what it is.

There are ways to give you greater control over the speed of the vent fan. If it comes with a 3-speed option, you can replace that switch with an infinity switch giving you more or less fan speed at any given time.

The drawback to exchanging the speed control switch is that the remote if one came with the device, may not work. There are some vent fan models that come with more than 3-speeds thus you may not want to change the speed control on the fan.

It will depend on what you want as the vent fan is there for your convenience and you can adapt it without worry.

RV Vent Fan Amp Draw

Like many appliances and your computers, there are two amperage figures you need to be concerned about. Those two figures are start-up amps and running amps.

For example, the Maxx MaxxFan Deluxe # MA00-06401K needs 9 amps to start and once it is up and running, it will need only 4 1/2 amps to remain on. But the Maxx brand does make more powerful fans with plenty of speed options than its competitors.

Some vent fans only need 3 amps for running power and their start-up power will vary depending on speeds, and other factors. All Dometic says about its Dometic FanTastic Vent 3350 is ‘low amp draw’. You may have to look at the instruction sheet or owner’s manual to get an exact figure.

Do some comparison shopping and look for the amp draws on the box under any specs the companies placed on their packaging. You will want to know these figures so you know how much power you are using when you are boondocking.

How To Clean a Bathroom Vent Fan in My RV


As you know, the vent fan moves a lot of air. When it moves that air, a lot of dirt and dust goes through those blades. It is essential for smooth operation to keep those blades and the fan clean.

There is a process to follow, depending on the type of vent fan you own and have in your bathroom. The most important step would be to shut the power off to the fan while you are disassembling it and putting the fan back together.

Step one- remove the inside screen- there may be some screws for you to remove to do this

Step two- go to the roof and remove the vent cover. This also should not be a tough task as there may only be 2 screws to remove. Set the cover in a safe spot or put it somewhere for easy cleaning.

Step three- Remove the bracket from the lid. There should be two screws for this as well, depending on your model, and you just have to loosen one while removing the other one. This should give you more room to work

Step four- lift the lid up and tighten that loosened screw so you do not lose either piece. This will also keep the lid out of your way.

Step five- now you should have clear access to the fan screws. Remove those one by one and make sure not to lose any of these screws. Have a sealable container to hold your loose screws when you are working.

There should be four of these screws.

Step six- once the fan is loose, remove any power wires from the device. These may be held in place with plastic clips. Make sure not to touch them together. There are also cases where the factory-installed fans were put in without these clips. You may have to cut the wires

Step seven- at this point you should be able to remove the fan. Do so carefully so you do not damage or drop it. This may take a little effort as you will have to tilt, jiggle and lift to get the blades out. They may be the same size or almost the same size as the opening.

Step eight- time for a soft, damp rag to clean the area around the fan. You do have to remove the fan to clean this area thoroughly.

Step nine- now remove the fan blades from the motor, and there should be an Allan wrench nut you need to remove to do this.

Step ten- you have now reached the cleaning stage for the blades and the motor assembly. Use a damp, not soaking, rag to clean the motor assembly. Then hand the blades down to someone who can clean them in the kitchen sink.

Step eleven- the same person cleaning the blades can clean or rinse the interior screen at the same time. Make sure to get all the dust and dirt off these parts.

Step twelve- now is the hard part. Reverse your steps and put the fan and motor back together, reinsert it into the housing, put the lid and cover back on, and finally put the interior screen back in place.

Make sure not to leave a part out or the fan may not work well. Also, watch those screws so they do not get lost, as well as make sure to reconnect the wires in their correct spots.

Once this is done, you are done. Keep in mind that different vent fans have different cleaning methods so read your owner’s manual to find out what they are.

Are RV Vent Fans Quiet?

For the most part, these fan options are very quiet. You should not hear them in case someone left one on at night when you are asleep. The motors are not very powerful but they do a good job clearing out the air when you need your RV smelling nicer and feeling cooler.

There will be some models that will be noisy. Look on the box for any decibel rating for those particular fans so you have an idea of how loud they will be. Pick the one that is going to be the quietest as well as other factors.

Each type of fan will come with their own features and accessories. Take a close look at what is built into the device as some seem to come with a thermostat. That feature may help you control your energy use better.

The cheaper you go the more likely the noisier it will be. Also, the fewer features it will have. You have to decide what features will be important to you and your RV situation.

What To Look For in Buying an RV Vent Fan


Here are some criteria to help you decide which vent fan is right for you:

1. Price- pick the one that will fit your budget. Not everyone needs all the bells and whistles on their vent fan so save some money and go with fewer features.

2. Power draw- try to stick to the middle of the road and get one that only uses 5 amps at best

3. Reversible - this is one feature that may not be able to be left out. It is a good feature to have when you want to draw cooler air inside.

4. Rain cover- not all vent fans can stop the rain from entering your RV. If they come with a rain cover, that means you can leave the vent open and use it when it is raining

5. Manual or remote- this is your decision and it will be made based on your preference. The remote is just one more item to buy batteries for so manual may be better.

Some Additional Words

Using the vent fan in your RV is not unlike your traditional home’s vent fan. The one in your RV may be better as it is directly connected to the outside. Remote is fine as you may not be able to reach the ceiling even if you stand on your toes.

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