Motorhome Blowing Particles Out Of Vent (How To Clean Vents)

Once you think that you got all the problems worked out, along comes another one. This new issue may have you wondering how snow got inside your RV and why it is not melting right away. It may take you a while to figure out where it came from.

If the color is white, the most likely source will be styrofoam. This product has a way of taking years to disintegrate and become a nuisance. One way to clean it up is to remove the vents and vacuum the space behind them.

To learn more about this topic, just continue to read our article. It has the information you want to know about so when it happens to you, you know what to do. Take a few minutes to see how this important information can help you solve a problem

Motorhome Blowing Particles Out Of a Vent


This is not a rare problem that only comes up once in a blue moon. Many RV owners experience this situation at some point in time. It is not a serious problem and by that we mean, the operation of your RV is not at risk.

However, it is a sign that you do have a problem that needs to be cleared up as quickly as possible. It is only a risk if you run your AC at night and some particles fall into your mouth. Other than that, it is a harmless issue that doesn’t take a lot of effort to clean up or stop.

It doesn’t take much to clean up the mess. A vacuum cleaner is your best cleaning tool to use. It will suck up almost all the white stuff and solve the issue for a little while at least.

Finding the actual source of the problem will help you address the issue more thoroughly and keep it from happening again. Many times, RV vents are only made from styrofoam, and replacing those can be fairly expensive.

White Stuff Blowing Out of The Air Conditioner

As we just said, the vents of many RVs and travel trailers are made from styrofoam. RV makers like to find the cheapest and lightest options possible. This is one method that does work to transport air and meet the RV maker’s requirements.

However, when they are made from styrofoam, you will get a problem eventually. One owner faced this problem 5 weeks after buying his RV. It can happen at any time. The reason you get this styrofoam snow is due to different sources.

One, the ducting is deteriorating and little bits are falling off the walls and into the path of the AC airflow. This is normal as styrofoam will break down in time and continue to break down for years if you do not stop it.

Or as some RV owners have found out, mice or other rodents have gotten inside your RV or travel trailer and decided to lunch on the white material. Some owners say this is rare but it is a possibility. You would have to check for mouse droppings to confirm this as a source.

Other owners have said that ants have gotten inside their ducting and were tearing the styrofoam apart for their own purposes. Ant bait is about the only way to get rid of those invading creatures.

With mice and rodents, you will have to use traps.

What is The White Stuff in My Vents?


There is a more dangerous situation that may be causing the white stuff to come out of your vents. Since the AC unit is not the only appliance that uses vents, you may want to check your furnace.

You may have a faulty burner or cracked heat exchange in that appliance. When those two items get in that condition, they do not burn the fuel as efficiently as they should. That situation causes carbon monoxide.

The white stuff may be carbon monoxide residue and it tells you that you have a very dangerous situation on your hands. This is one that needs to be fixed right away. To check these parts to see if they are functioning properly, you should check the pilot light.

If it is blue and almost invisible, then everything is working as it should. However, if the flame is yellow or orange, then those parts are not working right and carbon monoxide is being produced and sent out through your vents.

If you have a gas water heater, you should check those burners as well. Then, if your RV is new, it shouldn’t be carbon monoxide. The white residue may be due to the lubricants used to make the AC and furnace.

The lubricant is heated and cooled by the operation of those appliances and eventually, they give off a white powder-like substance. This white powder is non-toxic and poses no threat to you or your family.

This possibility will resolve itself once the lubricant has disappeared.

Why is Dust Coming Out Of My Air Vents?


There are two sources for this situation. The first is that the dust is actually sawdust and it is leftover construction material. It is telling you that the RV makers or mechanics did not clean up after themselves.

One owner had this situation and he said that it took a little vacuuming to remove than a little sawdust from his vents. This is always a possibility and while it is no threat, you should clean up your vents as quickly as possible.

When it is actually dust, you need to remember that there is nothing in an AC unit that will produce dust. The dust is coming from another source and the AC is just the tool to move it from one place to inside your RV.

When you examine the AC unit, look for an opening between the rooftop and the interior ceiling. Usually, this opening is behind the AC filter and nothing is in place to stop the unit from transporting dust from that opening to your RV living room or bedroom, etc.

To stop the dust, you will have to find some way that will seal the hole without interfering with the operation of the AC unit. One method to use would be AC foil tape. Make sure to seal all the gaps you find.

Do You Take The Styrofoam Out Of The Air Conditioner?


No, you should not take the styrofoam out of the AC unit if your unit is not a ventless model. A ventless AC unit does not need styrofoam to insulate it but those units with vents do.

It is possible that the white material is not styrofoam but Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) instead. This is a material used in coolers and insulated coffee cups. If it has been removed, then you will need a technician to come in and replace what was removed with new EPS.

It is not a DIY project you can handle on your own. If your unit has actual styrofoam inside, it is placed there on purpose as this is a good material to stop moisture build-up and provide good insulation.

That may be the reason you see styrofoam as ducting in your RV. It is supposed to keep the moisture levels low so your RV does not suffer any damage. You will see sunlight coming through both of these materials. That is normal as well.

Do not panic if you see some sunlight coming through this material. This is an insulating material, not a black-out fabric.

How do You Clean Air Vents in an RV?

Vacuuming is a good start. If the vent is large enough you should be able to get the vacuum wand inside the area and suck up all the styrofoam, dust, or white powder you find. It will also get the sawdust that has piled up as well.

Then, you can fit your hand inside and use a cleaning cloth to wipe up anything the vacuum missed. This can be done if the vacuum won’t fit up there. You want to wipe the vents and ducting well to have the air feel like new again.

There will be times that debris and leaves, etc., will get lodged inside your vents. Your hands will be the tool needed to clear those items away. make sure to reseal the screens on your vents well. You do not want rodents, ants, or debris getting inside again.

Some Final Words

Do not panic. Those are the keywords when you see white powder or dust coming from your air vents. Most of the time, this stuff is harmless and just makes your bed, floors, and furniture dirty.

The only time you should worry is if you discover a problem with your furnace or water heater’s burners. The solutions are easy to do and should solve the problem.

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