More RV owners are stretching their camping season by taking more trips in the Fall and Winter months as insulation of the RVs has been upgraded, dual pane windows help insulate the rig, and more efficient heaters keep the unit warm with less noise.
During these cool temperatures, moisture in the form of condensation can collect on the walls, windows, and inside compartments and cabinetry. Cooking, taking a shower, and especially doing laundry in units with a washer and dryer can create humidity and condensation.
Controlling this humidity not only reduces condensation but can also reduce deterioration of wood and insulation where the condensation collects. Humidity is the amount of water vapor that is in the air. According to HVAC experts, indoor humidity should be approximately 55%. Anything above that will be uncomfortable and help create condensation. Anything below 25% will reduce comfort. Plus keeping humidity in the recommended percentage range will help control bacteria, fungi, allergies, and asthma.
A humidity monitoring device is called a hygrometer which can be as simple as the old-fashioned analog version with a dial face connected to a coil. The coil or spring controls a needle that gives a reading on a circular gauge. They are inexpensive, but not as accurate as digital models and usually have a +/- 10% range.
Digital hygrometers measure the relative humidity with a sensor that measures an electrical current that is affected by moisture levels. They can keep track of high and low humidity levels throughout the day and are usually part of a more elaborate weather station showing temperature highs and lows as well. Some models such as the Accurite premier Temperature and Humidity Environment Systems includes an indoor or outdoor wireless sensor and the AcuLink Internet Bridge, which captures environmental data, historical records and trends, and allows for remote monitoring. Now that’s for the “SERIOUS” weather buff!
With improved technology and better manufacturing construction methods, RVs are becoming more airtight which prevents moist air from getting out of your rig. The best way to reduce condensation is to provide some ventilation for the warm, moist air to escape. Metal framework around windows, doors, and roof vents, as well as metal framework in the roof and sidewall, will conduct with the cold air and create moisture. This can create fogged up windows, wet walls, and damp closets that can quickly create mold and mildew. In severe cases, interior walls can create dry rot with extensive damage to the wood and insulation.
To control condensation:
- Limit the amount of moisture you bring into your rig such as wet clothing, snow or moisture on boots and shoes, and washing clothes and letting them hang dry.
- Limit the amount of cooking you do that includes boiling water or creating steam on the stove top and the microwave oven.
- Open your roof vent slightly or the stove vent to help remove moist air for limited periods of time.
- Open the bathroom vent when taking a shower to remove the warm moist air.
- Provide ventilation in cabinets by opening the door and allowing air circulation.
- Clean out any areas that do accumulate mold immediately with soap and water or an approved mold reduction method such as bleach and water. Use rubber gloves and follow the proper procedure.
- Use a couple of interior fans to circulate the air.
- Many seasoned RV owners have had great success with a product called DampRid. DampRid is a salt solution of white calcium chloride crystals that will absorb excess moisture and is non-toxic, septic safe, and friendly to the environment. It comes in a wide variety of tubs, hanging packets, and refillable systems.
About the author:
Dave Solberg: Managing Editor, RV Repair Club
For the last 25 years, Dave has conducted RV maintenance and safety seminars, developed dealer and owner training programs, written RV safety and handyman articles, authored an RV handbook reference guide and logged over 100,000 miles on the road in an RV.
RV Repair Club is your go-to online resource for enthusiasts who want quality RV maintenance, repair, and upgrade information – a community where passionate RVers can come together to gather knowledge and share their experiences.
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