Controlling RV condensation is more important than you might think, and here’s why. Excess moisture builds up on hard surfaces and accumulates on soft surfaces. If this moisture is left unchecked, it will cause mold and mildew. That’s not good for you or your RV.
Let’s get a handle on that RV condensation now before it ruins your property or worse, makes you sick.
I’m currently in the Pacific Northwest and we are having some serious rain. It’s bad enough to cause flooding. Excess moisture is nothing new here but wintering in such wet conditions presents challenges you don’t have in dryer climates.
Get a Hygrometer
You can tell when there is too much moisture in the air by the dampness you feel, the moisture that collects on the windows, and that musty smell. It’s a good idea to know the actual moisture level in your RV. This super inexpensive device will tell you.
The humidity level you’re looking for is below 60%. Ideally between 30% and 50%. I have mine set on 50%. I find that is comfortable without being too drying for my skin and sinus passages while keeping condensation at bay.
Run A Dehumidifier
Dehumidifiers actually pull moisture from the air. They come in many sizes based on the number of square feet they are able to dehumidify.
Several years ago I purchased a good quality humidifier to help with RV condensation. Much of the year it stays packed away under the bed but when I have to get it out, it’s a game-changer. My Airstream is only 25′ and many would consider my dehumidifier overkill. I tried one of those little blue and white ones you see RVers talking about but it just wasn’t up to the task.
It’s small enough to sit on my counter without taking up too much space and it’s a workhorse. The tank holds about two liters and is normally almost full when I dump it twice daily. The machine shuts off when the tank is full. Optionally, you can attach an included hose to the dehumidifier and let the water go down the drain.
I consider it mandatory equipment. Mine has a setting for the percentage of humidity I want to target and it shuts off when it reaches the target.
Avoid Propane Heat
Burning propane creates water vapor so your propane furnace adds moisture to the air. If at all possible, use your heat pump or electric heat. These alternatives to your propane furnace actually dry the air.
If you choose to use an electric space heater, make sure you read and follow the directions carefully. Never plug it into a power strip or extension cord as it can overheat and cause a fire.
Circulate the Air
Circulating the air in your RV will help with moisture control by drawing out stagnant cool air and mixing it with the dryer air and moving it around. This helps it shed some of the moisture and will keep those nooks and crannies dryer.
Many people will advise you to keep a vent or window cracked open. I disagree. If you’re in a very wet climate, allowing in more damp air isn’t helping. I like to use a fan to move the air. I keep a small fan, on the lowest setting under the dinette. It really helps keep air circulating and those hard-to-reach spaces are dryer.
Cooking and RV Consensation
The fastest way to fill your RV with steamy air is cooking. I have learned using my Instant Pot is the least moisture-producing option. The steam is contained until you’re finished cooking. When you release the steam, place the Instant Pot directly under the running stove vent and release the steam. That way, it all goes outside.
I love my Instant Pot because it’s a great way to make winter meals like soups and stews, hard-boiled eggs, even chicken, or pot roast. The fact that it’s super fast is just icing on the cake. By the way, you can also make cake in an Instant Pot. They even make on with an air fryer attachment now.
Using your propane oven will create some moisture but not nearly as much as cooking on the stovetop. If you have a convection oven, that’s the best way to cook to reduce moisture.
Check your storage areas for moisture and that musty smell (you know the smell) frequently. If you have a spot that tends to get musty and you have ruled out a leak, try placing a moisture absorber like Damp Rid there. it will collect the moisture and keep your belonging dry and fresh smelling.
They make so many different types of these moisture absorbers. There are hanging ones for closets, and many sizes for whatever you need to keep dry.
Use The Vent While Showering
The only time I actually use the vents when it’s really damp outside is when I’m showering. Pulling out that warm, moist air is important when you’re fighting RV condensation. Be sure to close it again after you finish showering.
Consider Skirting Your RV
Keep your floor warmer by skirting your RV if you’re stationary. Keeping your floor warmer will raise the overall temperature in your RV and this will help lower condensation.
For more information about skirting your RV, see RV Skirting for Winter – How To Skirt Your RV On The Cheap.
Insulate Your Windows
In my mind, this is the most effective thing you can do to reduce RV condensation. Many RVs have single-pane windows. A piece of glass with warm air on one side and cold air on the other will sweat. The good news is, it’s not hard or expensive to remedy this.
I’m wintering in a very gray, drab place this winter so cutting out what little sunlight there is here was unthinkable. I decided to insulate my windows with plastic. It’s transparent so the light still comes through but since I applied it, I have not had any moisture on my windows at all. I would recommend this for controlling RV condensation on windows.
It was tricky installing it on my curved windows but I managed it. It makes a world of difference. Keep in mind, there are two types of this insulation. One is “stretch” and the other is “shrink”. Stretch is just taped in place using included double-sided tape. Shrink is basically put up the same way but after you apply it, you use a hairdryer to shrink it removing wrinkles and making the plastic tight.
I’m not terribly impressed with my installation job but it’s just me and I can still see out so I’ll live with it. It was pretty quick and easy to install but working around the window lift levers and the curved windows made for some less than attractive areas.
My bedroom windows are covered with Reflectix to keep the cold air out.
I hope this helps you keep RV condensation at bay. Please, feel free to comment below with additional tips and tricks.
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