One of the best peices of advice that I wish I would have listened to early on in my RV ownership experience was to protect my camper against mud daubers. If I only would have listened to the advice I could have avoided hundreds of dollars in repair costs.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with mud daubers they are a type of wasp that builds their nest out of mud, and they live all across North America. While they are mostly harmless to humans, they can cause a lot of damage to a camper. They like to build their nests away from the elements so they’ll crawl in any sort of crevice they can get into and build their nests inside. An RV has lots of little openings including the furnace intake and exhaust, the water heater, and the refrigerator vent. In the first year of owning a camper I had mud dauber nests in my air conditioner, on the refrigerator coils, and inside my furnace. I have had run-ins with these little creatures down in Mississippi as well as in New Jersey.
I noticed something was going on with the air conditioner when it was making a loud noise and shaking the whole camper after first turning it on for the season. Once I climbed up there, took it apart and looked behind the fan blade it was obvious what the problem was. That fan blade was so out of balance that it was causing all the noise and shaking. Luckily all it took was me to clean out the dirt from the fan blade and it worked just fine after that. I was not so lucky with the furnace.
The first issue with the furnace was that it kept blowing the circuit breaker. I didn’t know it at the time but the reason why I kept blowing the breaker is that the fan inside the furnace was locked up because it had a mud dauber nest in it and as the motor tried to spin the fan it heated up and tripped the breaker. Once the nest broke free and the fan was able to spin, I could hear it clunking around in there and I knew immediately what it was. The mud dauber had crawled so far in there and the furnace was too difficult for me to get out by myself that I had to bring it in to get looked at. It cost me just under $200 in labor just to have them remove the furnace clean out the dirt from inside and then reinstall the furnace. In order to protect against mud daubers, rodents, and any other kind of animal that could get into these openings, I highly recommend that you put some sort of screen over the opening.
You can get some screen material from your local hardware store and install it with zip ties or you can buy a pre-made insect screen from Camco that is already the right size and is easy to install. Above is a picture of the screens that are currently installed on my furnace.
Like previously mentioned, I had a mud dauber nest on the coil of my refrigerator. Luckily that was easy for me to remove, but to prevent it from happening again, I installed these pre-made camco insect screens.
I have not had the mud daubers get into my water heater yet but I did not want to take a chance, this was another pre-made screen from camco. If you are interested in using these screens to protect your camper as well, here are the three that I recommend: