Find the Right Motorhome Roof Vent and Roof Fans
August 31, 2012
Filed under Gear
Your motorhome can be many things: home base during much-needed vacations, a guest bedroom, a mobile office or even a permanent dwelling. But, when the summer heat settles in and the sun shows no mercy, making your motorhome cool is often difficult. Of course, flipping the switch on the air conditioner (sometimes two, depending on coach size) is usually a quick solution, but that requires 120-volt AC power or an AC generator. So, if you’re not hooked up to shorepower, you plan on being away from the coach for most of the day and don’t want to run your genset to burn fuel, it becomes even more important to have a roof vent/fan that can move a considerable amount of air without running down the house batteries.
Opening a vent and/or running the fan won’t exactly help the climate inside reach frigid temperatures, but a well-placed fan and a few open windows to create a cross-breeze can keep the temps at a manageable — and hospitable — level, for you and for any four-legged family members that may accompany you. Sometimes, that’s all it takes to keep you at the campsite rather than packing up and heading for cooler environs.
There are many types of roof fans, with varying degrees of functionality. Some are straightforward air movers, while others include high-tech systems with rain sensors that will shut off and close down when the clouds roll in. However, they all fit basically the same template: they’re low-battery-draw units that will fit into a standard 14-inch roof opening; they can often be found in the bathroom and the galley, and sometimes over the living area; and they’re downright life savers when it comes to the sweltering dog days of summer.
Following are some top fans from the “Big Three” of the fan segment, and with a little follow-up research on the phone, at your local Camping World store or even at www.motorhomemagazine.com, we’re sure you can find the perfect model to fit your needs and your budget.
Perhaps the most recognizable name in the roof-fan segment, Fan-Tastic Vents offers a wide variety of fans designed to keep things cool. The 6600R High Powered Vent Fan is Fan-Tastic’s top-of-the-line model and provides 14 speeds and up to 920 cubic-feet-per-minute air circulation. The radio frequency (RF) handheld remote allows users to activate the fan and raise the dome by pressing the mode pad. The unit’s automatic mode allows users to select a comfort setting, and the blades will automatically turn on, off, increase or decrease speed to maintain the temperature choice. The 6600R vent is equipped with a reversible airflow switch and a rain sensor, which closes the dome and turns off the fan blade when the sensor becomes wet (the dome reopens when the sensor dries). A rain sensor shut off switch and a backup manual dome open/close knob are also provided. MSRP starts at $258.99. Not ready to lay down that much cash? Owners of standard Fan-Tastic vents can upgrade their existing models to a 6600R using a kit ($155-$185).
Other Fan-Tastic models offer the same level of performance, with a decrease in cost based on the amount of included features. The 6000RBTA ($216.99-$230.99) features three fan blade speeds, a reverse switch, a built-in thermostat, automatic dome open/close switch and a rain sensor.
The 5000RBT ($169.99-$180.99) offers the same functions, less the auto lifting dome and the rain sensor, while the 400R is a three-speed fan with a manual-lifting knob ($149.99-$155.99).
Fan-Tastic also offers the portable Endless Breeze, a high-volume, 12-volt DC fan operating with a three-speed, 12-inch blade. Standing only 14 inches tall on retractable legs, it travels and stores easily and weighs less than 5 pounds. The Endless Breeze offers air movement of up to 900 CFM, and can be powered by any 12-volt DC power source. Plus, the Endless Breeze is equipped with an innovative pet-friendly feature, the Swing-Out Hanger Arm, which allows easy attachment of the fan to the side or front of your pet crate. MSRP: $54.99-$67.99.
Fan-Tastic Vents, a division of Atwood Mobile Products,
Vortex fans from Heng’s Industries offer an affordable upgrade to improve coach air circulation. The fans are easy to install without compromising the rooftop seal, and work with a variety of powered vents, including those from Ventline, Jensen and Elixir. The entry-level Vortex I is a single-speed fan with a 9-inch blade; Vortex II offers three forward speeds and two in reverse; Vortex III is a single-speed fan with a 12-inch blade; and Vortex IV features three forward speeds and one reverse, with a 12-inch blade. All Vortex fan speeds are 188-cubic-feet-per-minute circulation, and the self-centering metal base is designed with radius corners for improved aesthetics. Installation is simple and only requires a Phillips screwdriver, according to the company. Vortex fans are available at Camping World stores, with MSRPs beginning at $74.99.
Heng’s Industries, 877-295-1205,
MaxxAir Vent Corporation
The MaxxFan is available in a variety of functionalities, from the Standard model (manual or remote-operated, $249.95-$349.95) to the Deluxe Remote Control unit and all the way up to the Turbo/Maxx. All MaxxFans provide more than 900 cubic-feet-per-minute air circulation to keep users comfortable and control odors inside. Each model features a fuse-protected, sealed-ball-bearing, 12-volt DC fan motor and a 12-inch, 10-blade fan, in addition to an easy-to-clean keypad to control the thermostat and air intake and exhaust functions. An easy-to-remove insect screen aids in cleaning and maintenance. The remote-controlled units also feature a rain sensor. MaxxAir’s remote can be used to turn the fan on/off and select any of 10 fan speeds, open/close the vent lid, reverse the fan from intake to exhaust and place the fan in Auto (thermostat) Mode. When Auto Mode is selected, the initial set point is 78 degrees Fahrenheit and can be adjusted in 1-degree increments. During Auto Mode, the fan changes speed automatically as the cabin temperature nears the thermostat set point. The MaxxFan Deluxe ($322.95-$416.95) is an all-in-one ventilator system that features a high-powered 10-speed fan. The Turbo/Maxx ($255-$305) features a 4-amp motor to drive the fan, which is actually mounted along with the motor outside the coach to reduce noise. All MaxxFans are backed by a two-year limited warranty, with a limited lifetime warranty available on the lid. MaxxAir Vent Corporation,