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Old 12-02-2011, 12:28 PM   #15
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At one time there were 12 volt electric heating elements that you could put under the mattress but I am not sure they are still available or how fast they ran down your battery.
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Old 12-02-2011, 12:56 PM   #16
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My bathroom mirror was showing a lot of condensation last winter, put two dehumidifiers(heater with equivalent of a couple 100 watt lightbulbs) used a timer had them come on at 6am and off by 10 and condensate stopped.
Since them I have found a loose connection behind toilet, supply line tightened so I will wait for winter to see if condensate forms before turning on dehumidifiers.

You do turn off water supply when storing. My tank is under the bed so emptying it would stop a lot of condensate.
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Old 12-02-2011, 03:07 PM   #17
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I'm betting on a leak

May I humbly suggest a test with gift wrap tissue paper. Stuff it around the inside of the access door, and stuff it around the bed platform where it meets the wall - top and bottom. Go away. Come back in 30 minutes and inspect. If you find any that is sodden, you've found the reservoir from the leak. Believe me, a bad leak can FILL the insulation between two ribs with water. It drains out at the nearest convenient opening - like a screw hole for the bed platform.


I just had floor damage repaired that arose from leaks - I'd caught a few here and there - but there were more that I didn't know about.
  • What can leak on a 5 year old airstream?
  • Everything.
  • Why can't I easily locate leaks?
  • They Travel - sideways sometimes, down eventually.
At least you have an International which doesn't have mouse fur or vinyl hiding the leak.

It's a real pity Airstream doesn't have an edging for the floor that not only aligns and trims the inside layer of aluminum, but also protects the plywood and creates weep holes on the OUTSIDE for moisture that penetrates EITHER layer of aluminum. Of course what would make that expensive is radiusing it for the corners.


I recommend you also check your access door's gasket. If it's misaligned or partially missing condensation from the outside could run down the side of your Airstream and straght into the storage compartment. The wet tissue test may take all night there. Tightening up the lock, replacing or doubling the gasket is an easy fix. The access door is only about 1 inch thick, and I've never taken it apart to see if there's any insulation in the door itself. Why not insulate BEHIND the access door? A sheet of styrofoam that could be crammed between the floor and bottom of the bed platform from under the bed could reduce heat loss under the bed. Just make sure the light isn't covered.

Paula
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Old 12-02-2011, 03:55 PM   #18
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Well, if it's temperature and moisture causing it, you could try sleeping in seperate beds!
Just kidding!
Actually, I had this same problem in a cab-over camper. The area under the mattress was cold enough to cause condensation from our body heat.
The answer (which worked), was putting foil-lined closed-cell insulation on the plywood to reflect as much heat as possible, and provide added insulation. Then I built a frame to keep the mattress OFF the surface. Much like a pallet, with a lot of narrow strips. I used 2x3's for the cross members.
This allowed constant air circulation between the plywood and mattress.
We still had condensation on the aluminum window frames, but the bed stayed dry.
Hope that helps!
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Old 12-03-2011, 06:38 AM   #19
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Update, 12/3/11: When we got up yesterday, both the underside of the mattress and plywood platform were dripping wet. So, we leaned the mattress upright between the shower and the head and directed two fans towards the plywood to dry it out. We opened windows in the bedroom and turned on the forward Fantastic Fan. At noon, the interior temp was 70 degrees w/ 47% humidity.

We went to Lowe's to check out available insulation materials. We considered the Reflectix product. The ease of installation was very applealing. Our concern was that the R factor was a bit low and that the bubble wrap might deteriorate over time with the weight of the mattress and our bodies. We decided that the 3/4" reflective foil-backed styrofoam insulation with a 2.9 R factor would be a good option. We purchased two 4 by 8 pieces, a roll of reflective foil tape, a roll of double sided duct tape, a utility knife, and a straight edge. Total cost of construction materials was around $30.

We constructed two pieces of the insulation to fit the plywood platform, butting constructed edges together whenever possible for a tighter, more uniform fit, and sealing all seams with the foil tape. Then, we placed the two finished pieces, one on top of the other, styrofoam facing in w/ reflective foil facing out using the double-sided duct tape for adhesion. The final step was to cover all outside edges with the foil tape.

The finished piece is 1 1/2" thick w/ a 5.8 R rating.

When we retired for the evening, at around 10 pm, the mattress felt comfortable to the touch. In the past, it has been as cold as an icicle, so cold in fact that primal screams ususally accompany our dive in between the sheets. The interior temp was 60 degrees w/ 40% humidity and an exterior temp of 47 degrees.

At 4 am, we woke up all toasty and warm and ever so curious to find out if the project had been successful. The interior temp was 60 degrees w/ 50% humidity and an exterior temp of 37 degrees. When we checked between the mattress and insulation, it was warm and dry. When we checked between the insulation and the plywood platform, it was cold and dry. The word for the day: DRY!

It appears that the extremes in temperature differentials have been causing condensatioin to form.

Footnote: We were unaware of a problem until about two months ago, when we decided to flip the mattress over. It was then that we discovered that the underside felt damp. We took it outside and dried it out in the sun.

When we visited the Airstream Factory in Jackson Center, in late October, they determined that a leak around the back window over the bed might be the culprit. A few days after the repair, we checked under the mattress and it was soaking wet again, and mildew and mold had begun to grow on the mattress and the plywood. We discussed the possibility of an insulation/condensation issue with them at that time.

Airstream replaced the plywood and is shipping us a new mattress for pickup in a couple of weeks in Florida. In the meantime, we removed the moldy mattress underside fabric and discarded it. We appreciate Airstream's willingness to replace the damaged plywood and mattress, but are confused and disappointed about their reluctance to address the condensation issue since we feel that this is a design problem that Airstream should address.

The input and suggestions offered by all of you here on this post are sincerely appreciated! We have spent untold hours researching and agonizing over this issue. On numerous occasions, we have torn up the bed, dragged the mattress outside or set up a heater near it, wiped everything down for possible mold, washed everthing in hot water and bleach, etcetera, etcetera. Now, we have piece of mind that this serious problem has been resolved. Thanks again for your helpful ideas!
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Old 12-03-2011, 06:51 AM   #20
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It is great news that you were able to solve this with insulation under the mattress. As I posted earlier, we had a similar problem in our old SOB. I need to start checking under the AS mattress to see if this condensation issue has followed us to the AS.
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Old 12-03-2011, 09:50 AM   #21
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Glad you solved the problem. Brian
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Old 12-03-2011, 09:58 AM   #22
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Palmer51,

I'm wondering, have you been running the furnace when you had these moisture problems, or have you been using a space heater or heat pump just heating the interior space? Would this have happen if some warm air would have been circulating in the pan and storage compartments when the furnace was running?

The reason I'm asking: We are getting ready to head south after Christmas, for the winter. Before we leave, I'm thinking about adding a sheet of foam insulation under the bed. We use an electric space heater a lot, but I have never noticed condensation under the mattress (never checked) on any of the four Airstreams I have owned. I will be checking now.

Thanks for sharing!
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Old 12-04-2011, 07:53 AM   #23
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(I'm wondering, have you been running the furnace when you had these moisture problems, or have you been using a space heater or heat pump just heating the interior space? Would this have happen if some warm air would have been circulating in the pan and storage compartments when the furnace was running?)

A W Warn,

Good question! We try to run the heat pump as much as possible when we are hooked up to shore power to save on propane, but we always opt for using the furnace when the temperature plummets below 40 degrees. The furnace vent in the bedroom is located off the front/left lower wall under the shower (as your looking forward from the bedroom). Therefore, the heat would be circulating well under the bed storage compartment, but not in the rear cargo compartment. The moisture under the mattress was collecting on the plywood on the left side (where my wife and I spoon, haha) over the cargo compartment. We have a electric parabolic dish heater that we use sometimes but never in the evening when we go to bed.

My wife and I discussed other options. Cutting holes in the plywood over the bed storage compartment close to where the rear cargo compartment but decided not, WARRANTY ISSUE and possible wet clothes. Insulating the rear cargo compartment, a lot of work, and also the issue of the hole, plywood break, when you raise the mattress, WARRANTY ISSUE. Ultimately, it always came down to WARRANTY ISSUE and why doesn't the EXPERTS AT AIRSTREAM get back in touch with us about this problem with a good solution.

Thanks for your question, I hope this helps.

palmer51
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Old 12-04-2011, 08:24 AM   #24
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added breathing layer

After we saw this post http://www.airforums.com/forums/f293...ady-15283.html
we added a breathing layer between the plywood and the mattresses. This was a plastic sheet of about 1/2 inch cups on a solid plastic base. The raised cups have slit on 4 sides so they let air pass under and thru the raised cups. The surface looks a little like small tulips across the entire surface of the sheet.
We have had no condensation problems with this "breathing" layer under the twin mattresses.
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Old 12-04-2011, 08:39 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by palmer51
... We try to run the heat pump as much as possible when we are hooked up to shore power to save on propane, but we always opt for using the furnace when the temperature plummets below 40 degrees. ...
It's good to hear that you found a simple solution to the problem and it is especially heartening to hear you have pretty much ruled out the likelihood of an elusive water leak.

Your setup sounds similar to mine. Check the owners guide for the CCC. Both the 5-button and CCC2 support the Aux Heat Mode where the CCC will automatically switch from Heat Pump to Furnace when the outside temp drops below freezing and will switch back when the outside temperature rises.

This will reduce your need for propane further and you don't have to do anything except leave the CCC in Heat Pump mode. Be aware that below 40 degrees, the H/P will periodically go through a defrost cycle. You will hear the compressor running, but the blower stops for about 4 minutes. The 1st time you hear that you may think something is wrong, but it's normal.
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Old 12-04-2011, 03:16 PM   #26
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Below 40 degrees especially if the humidity is high you might as well use the furnance. The efficiency of the heat pump goes south about there and what little you save is wasted in the defrost cycle were the system actually starts cooling to defrost the outer coils. The heater strips come on to counter the effect.

Perry
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Old 12-04-2011, 03:21 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Silver Goose View Post
It's good to hear that you found a simple solution to the problem and it is especially heartening to hear you have pretty much ruled out the likelihood of an elusive water leak.

Your setup sounds similar to mine. Check the owners guide for the CCC. Both the 5-button and CCC2 support the Aux Heat Mode where the CCC will automatically switch from Heat Pump to Furnace when the outside temp drops below freezing and will switch back when the outside temperature rises.

This will reduce your need for propane further and you don't have to do anything except leave the CCC in Heat Pump mode. Be aware that below 40 degrees, the H/P will periodically go through a defrost cycle. You will hear the compressor running, but the blower stops for about 4 minutes. The 1st time you hear that you may think something is wrong, but it's normal.
However, be aware that if you disconnect your batteries (I think at the post only...I believe there is a live keep alive circuit if you use the disconnect switch) you will need to reprogram this feature upon reconnecting the batteries.
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Old 12-04-2011, 03:22 PM   #28
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Below 40 degrees especially if the humidity is high you might as well use the furnance. The efficiency of the heat pump goes south about there and what little you save is wasted in the defrost cycle were the system actually starts cooling to defrost the outer coils. The heater strips come on to counter the effect.

Perry
Propane = my wallet

Heat pump = campground fee already paid (most locations)
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