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Old 05-25-2009, 08:19 PM   #1
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Too humid too sleep even with A/C on

Yeah, this is somewhat of a re-visit topic. I've read all the stuff here about humidity in our trailers. In my case, internal condensation and so forth is not a huge problem on a regular basis. It is however an issue when I'm sleeping. It is cold enough to need to cover up and snuggle up to my wife, but yet I'm still laying in what feels like sleeping in a sweat-soaked bed. I'm not sure what's worse...hot and sweaty or cold and clammy. Either way, one of the primary reasons for getting a trailer was to have A/C vs. the hot & sweaty condition that we always had as tent campers. Now I still wake up uncomfortable, just now on the cold and clammy side. So I was thinking of one of these small dehumidifiers that are supposed to be small and relatively quiet. I read some stuff here on the forums and yes, the idea of running a furnace / space heater to force the A/C to run more is a decent idea. But, seems to me that a dehumidifier that makes (a small amount of) heat + removes humidity while making heat is a good idea. Has anyone had FIRST HAND experience with the same issue and found a good / viable solution? Anyone have recommendations for a mini-dehumidifier?
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Old 05-25-2009, 08:29 PM   #2
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We experienced the same issue with our 2006 Safari. I determined the cause was the AC unit running all of the time, creating a bit of a vacuum in the condensate line. When the unit was turned off you could hear a lot of condensate exiting the unit, almost a gurgle. I took the exterior cover off and could see standing water in the condensate tray. I was going to install a Hunter thermostat to take care of the problem but traded AS's instead (not for that reason). The new thermostat would have turned off the entire unit, allowing the condensate to drain. Hope this helps some.
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Old 05-25-2009, 08:37 PM   #3
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hmmm...will have to verify that on mine. I haven't notice such and issue, but haven't been looking/listening for it either.
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Old 05-25-2009, 09:31 PM   #4
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I've noticed similar nights in ours as well. I was hoping the AC would dry it out but it didn't seem to be helping. I cracked the windows and turned on the fantastic fans that evening and that seemed to make it worse. Could be a combination of the mountain air and the memory top foam mattress pad. I will revisit the situation this summer and see if I can make it comfortable.

It seems we always have windows open during the dinner hour and into the campfire/s'more time, and then when we go in to wash up and move into the quiet hours we close the windows and kick on the AC to get the trailer down to a comfy 68 for sleeping. In that amount of time, I'm curious to see what our % humidity would change. Maybe I'll start carrying a humidistat?

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Old 05-25-2009, 09:44 PM   #5
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Suck the hose...

So, in Virginia black mold grows on everything. Air conditioner drains literally clog up every year and cause floods in attics. With an RV it can happen faster. I take my little wet-dry vac out and hold the nozzle next to my Air conditioner drain (roadside under the wheel well) and one big glop of black stuff is followed by a flood, then the normal drip resumes. I suppose I could also pour bleach into the reservoir, but that plastic is thin and bleach could damage it.

Other causes - damp mattress. If your mattress is foam, problems can get worse fast. It can get saturated with your sweat. Several solutions:
  • frequently strip the bed and let the mattress thoroughly dry, prop it up off the board and point a fan at the bottom side too.
  • put a waterproof cover on the dried out mattress, topped by a mattress pad, then your sheets. Instead of making your bed, roll the covers down neatly to the foot and let the sheets air out - open the vent or ceiling fan cover whenever the weather is nice.
  • Look at the sheets - Some of these premium 100% cotton 400 thread count sheets DO feel "slimey" (way too soft and not crisp) especially if you're not used to them. I went to Sams and bought plain white "hotel sheets" which are a cotton poly blend that have more of a starched feel to them. Since all were flat, I simply radiused the corners and sewed on stretched elastic to make them into tightly fitted bottom sheets. Made a substantial difference.
  • Memory Foam - it's nice in winter, but sticky in summer - if you've got a topper on in hot weather, either toss it or put on a very heavy mattress pad over it.
  • Aging and/or small bedroom - your circulation isn't what it was when you were a teenager - you'll feel chilly when you get into bed, but over time your own body heat will gradually heat the interior of your bedroom... which is only 20% the size of your home's bedroom. Do without the covers - do something that will warm you up within minutes of getting horizontal.
  • Leave your shower and bath vents open all the time, crack a window on your bedroom - A/C or not the exchange of air is important - you BREATHE out about a gallon of moisture daily.
  • Check The plywood under your mattress - if it's wet, your mattress is soaked. There is a permeable padding that is about 1 inch thick designed to fit under a bed and add air circulation. I don't know what it's called but it looks like a gigantic version of a 3M scrubbing pad.
Hope those suggestions help.

Paula
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Old 05-25-2009, 09:57 PM   #6
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Look Down.

Bed Warmer heating pad from Battle Creek

This goes under the sheets on the bed, and slightly warms the mattress and sheets. No more clammy feeling bed.
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Old 05-25-2009, 11:24 PM   #7
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If your air conditioner is like my Dometic Penguin, the compressor cycles off but the blower runs constantly. This reintroduces humidity into the trailer during the compressor off phase.

I can think of two solutions-one is to wire the air conditioner to cycle the fan and the compressor at the same time.

The other (which will be the most effective), assuming you're on RV park power, would be to run some degree of electric heat to force the AC compressor to run continuously (which is dehumidifying all the time). You'll have to experiment with the amount of reheat appropriate-not enough to blow the main breaker and not enough to overheat the interior-just enough to force the compressor to run nearly continuously. Of course you would not use the electric reheat during the day or any time the compressor is running continuously without the heat.
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Old 05-26-2009, 12:03 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by tpi View Post
If your air conditioner is like my Dometic Penguin, the compressor cycles off but the blower runs constantly. This reintroduces humidity into the trailer during the compressor off phase.
If his a/c is the original Armstrong, he can get a household a/c thermostat, and mount it in place of the r/v thermostat. That will turn off the fan when desired temperature is reached.
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Old 05-26-2009, 07:22 AM   #9
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I would like the answer to your ?, ref dehumidifier. Would it work, and possible model for the job. woppa4
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Old 05-26-2009, 07:29 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tpi View Post
If your air conditioner is like my Dometic Penguin, the compressor cycles off but the blower runs constantly. This reintroduces humidity into the trailer during the compressor off phase.
I thought that fan just recirculates the air and it doesn't bring in fresh air from outside. If that's true then it wouldn't be bringing in any new humid air, just recirculating the interior, dehumidified air.
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Old 05-26-2009, 07:34 AM   #11
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Opt for the AC Thermostat

Hi Atobols, I would opt for the thermostat. The AC in itself is a dehumidifier if the ac is allowed to do it's job and cycle off when temperature is reached. We have had humidifiers (which are basically little ACs, just as heavy and noisy) for a previous RV and it was a pain. They have to drain the condensation, just like an AC and then there is the heat to contend with that is fanned from the dehumidifier. I have had no problem with a 19' bambi or the 23' safari due to moisture and have traveled extensively all up and down the East from North to South. The South in the most humid of conditions as well.

So, Duotherm AC with thermostat controls, or if you have to go the dehumidifier, be prepared, you are replacing one problem with another.
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Old 05-26-2009, 07:37 AM   #12
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meant to say dehumidifiers in the above post!
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Old 05-26-2009, 08:21 AM   #13
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I think you can buy a relatively small marine dehumidifier. Without much trouble, I found one that is about 1' square, weighs less than 40 pounds and draws about 150 watts. Yes, you have to drain the condensate. If we were staying in MD, I would consider this a "must" item... just because the ambient humidity is so high.
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Old 05-26-2009, 07:52 PM   #14
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whew, so many replies. I'll try to be brief, which is difficult for me. I've seen the suggestion of making sure the condensate hose is clear about 3 times now in everything I've read everywhere. I will check that first. Nevertheless, since I do not have the original A/C unit (now a Carrier w/ controls on the unit itself) which means that yes, the fan runs constantly and the compressor kicks on/off as required...I'm kinda screwed when it comes to the issue of having non-cooled, non-dehumidified air coming in. Yes, it is oversized. The darn thing will practically freeze you out even on "low" AC. I think the "high" AC could make the Overlander a Popsicle and my family into blocks of ice. But, I didn't choose it or size it...the PO did that.

I really like the idea of these new, small dehumidifiers that do not use the traditional compressor, etc. I could have that running in the tub and just let the condensate run off into the tub drain. However, that's why I posted here about getting one of these. I've not seen / heard much about them and considering that no one has posted here w/ a resounding, "yeah, I have one and I love it"...I'm skeptical. However, it's only $50 on amazon.com. I've spent more $ on things that I found to be crappy or broke quickly.

Paula: thanks for the suggestions. I can already check off most of them, but I will make sure to point out to Andrea that there's ways we can get things "warm" while horizontal. Then again, I'm not sure the folding door/curtain between our bedroom and the front gaucho where the kids sleep is enough to keep from waking them.
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