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Old 03-13-2014, 01:40 PM   #1
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Severna Park , Maryland
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Melting Snow Question

Can melting snow cause a leak that would not otherwise happen?

Have had the first heavy snow winter here in Maryland since we purchased our new 28' AS new in 2009. Found evidence of a leak(immediately after a recent melt that is a brand new problem) at a the overlapping metal interior skin near the stove/counter top area which is next to the refrigerator. The seal on the range hood exhaust fan outlet looked good; but, I recaulked anyway. Had a nice shower last night and no evidence of any leak this morning.

I know my skylight and a/c shroud cover are good(replaced both last season). I am suspicious of the refrigerator vent/exhaust; but, would think water going down the open exhaust would end up in the exterior compartment behind the refrigerator(which it did not).

Can snow be the culprit or do I need to simply start stripping and recaulking roof penetrations in the areas above the discovered leak? Any thoughts would be appreciated.
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Old 03-13-2014, 02:29 PM   #2
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Can melting snow cause a leak that would not otherwise happen?

Have had the first heavy snow winter here in Maryland since we purchased our new 28' AS new in 2009. Found evidence of a leak(immediately after a recent melt that is a brand new problem) at a the overlapping metal interior skin near the stove/counter top area which is next to the refrigerator. The seal on the range hood exhaust fan outlet looked good; but, I recaulked anyway. Had a nice shower last night and no evidence of any leak this morning.

I know my skylight and a/c shroud cover are good(replaced both last season). I am suspicious of the refrigerator vent/exhaust; but, would think water going down the open exhaust would end up in the exterior compartment behind the refrigerator(which it did not).

Can snow be the culprit or do I need to simply start stripping and recaulking roof penetrations in the areas above the discovered leak? Any thoughts would be appreciated.
Snow can cause new leaks and also cause existing gaps to leak more or for the first time.

These are two effects that can happen:

Melted snow or other moisture can seep under the outer aluminum skin, rivets or overlapped joints. If that moisture then freezes, it will expand and force the gap between the overlapped joint to increase. That could be enough to break a seal and allow the water inside where it did not before.

Depending on where the snow is melting first, dams, can be formed by unmelted or refreezing snow/ice. This will form small puddles, and if the puddles form over any type of joint or hole, water can seep where it might not otherwise.

Either type may not recur until the situation is recreated. I would recheck the area you suspect with a hose. If the leak does not persist, I would just keep an eye on that area. Otherwise hunt it down and reseal it.

Ken
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Old 03-13-2014, 03:43 PM   #3
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Thanks for the information, Ag and Au. Was focused on the vents, etc. where they penetrate the roof rather than the seams were the metal roof panels are joined together. Actually thought that was more of an issue on the vintage trailers.

Other than the caulking where the refrigerator vent comes through the roof, think that is likely not an issue?

Appreciate the ideas.
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Old 03-13-2014, 04:17 PM   #4
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enosburg , Vermont
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We deal with this a lot in Vermont. The worst seems to be the freeze/thaw cycle late season. Creates little "ice dams" that impound small amounts of water that can find entry points. Seems worst around vent and window frames. I make a effort to broom off the snow late winter before it ices.
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Old 03-13-2014, 04:31 PM   #5
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Thanks for the information, Ag and Au. Was focused on the vents, etc. where they penetrate the roof rather than the seams were the metal roof panels are joined together. Actually thought that was more of an issue on the vintage trailers.

Other than the caulking where the refrigerator vent comes through the roof, think that is likely not an issue?

Appreciate the ideas.
The vents that penetrate the walls and roof are overlapping metal (or plastic). The principle is the same. Any of those could be an issue. I suggest you test with a hose simulating a heavy rain, before you get busy with a caulking gun. I have yet to find a permanent leak that was not visually identifiable as improper caulking. One leak was caused by the factory building a dam with caulk that created a lake.

Ken
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Old 04-05-2014, 02:13 PM   #6
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Ag&Au and putback,


With 2 good weather days predicted, your good advice and caulk ordered from Airstream, tackled my problem today.


The most likely suspect area was the little aluminum "diverter" that keeps the A/C air from blowing over the opening of the refrigerator roof vent. Caulk job was sloppy to begin with and looked deteriorated. When I started scraping off the old caulk, my problem became clear. The part had been attached with 5 drill screws and then for whatever reason, it was removed and moved over an inch. The drill screws were run back in the wallowed out holes and caulked over. After I got the caulk off, I simply lifted the loose screws out of the holes-no screw driver required. This "repair" never had a chance of working-surprised it lasted as long as it did.


Anyway, I am 95% confident that fixed the problem. Well, I still love my Airstream. Airstream Inc.....not so much.


Thanks again for your help.
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Old 04-05-2014, 04:00 PM   #7
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Ag&Au and putback,


With 2 good weather days predicted, your good advice and caulk ordered from Airstream, tackled my problem today.


The most likely suspect area was the little aluminum "diverter" that keeps the A/C air from blowing over the opening of the refrigerator roof vent. Caulk job was sloppy to begin with and looked deteriorated. When I started scraping off the old caulk, my problem became clear. The part had been attached with 5 drill screws and then for whatever reason, it was removed and moved over an inch. The drill screws were run back in the wallowed out holes and caulked over. After I got the caulk off, I simply lifted the loose screws out of the holes-no screw driver required. This "repair" never had a chance of working-surprised it lasted as long as it did.


Anyway, I am 95% confident that fixed the problem. Well, I still love my Airstream. Airstream Inc.....not so much.


Thanks again for your help.
Thanks for the follow up. It is a shame, but that type of stupid work doesn't surprise me.

Ken
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