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Old 12-01-2011, 05:34 AM   #1
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2010 28' International
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Hypoluxo , Florida
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Mattress Moisture Problem?

The bottom of our mattress is collecting a lot of moisture on the portion of it that is adjacent to the outside cargo compartment and has developed mold and mildew as a result. Airstream replaced the ply-wood and is shipping us a new mattress. They thought the moisture issue was due to a window leak which they repaired. But now, six weeks later, the mattress is still getting soaking wet. We have had no rain, so it appears to be a condensation problem. On cold evenings the mattress over the cargo compartment gets extremely cold. When we sleep in the bed, we warm the mattress with body heat and the next morning the ply-wood is wet and the mattress is dripping water. Lately, we have started turning on the cargo compartment light in an effort to add a little heat to the area and maybe help correct the temperature differential. This morning we checked under the mattress and it is dripping with water, again! We have tried to protect the plywood with plastic bags. We also have a mattress topper and pad on the mattress. We have dried out the mattress twice and regularly leave the mattress raised up to allow for air circulation. We regularly check the humidity gauge to insure that the humidity stays below 65% by using the heat pump. What could be causing the mattress to collect so much water? Does anyone else have this problem?

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Old 12-01-2011, 06:02 AM   #2
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If you have access to a dehumidifyer, you could put that on the floor during times you are not staying in it and see if it removes enough moisture from the air to prevent condensation.

You could also line the cargo compartment with styrofoam to insulate it better. This might prevent the condensation on the cooler surface.

Good luck!

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Old 12-01-2011, 06:03 AM   #3
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Fountain Inn , South Carolina
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I have had this problem in a different brand trailer. I need to start checking under the mattress of our AS. I improved the problem in our old trailer by placing a layer of reflectix insulation under the mattress. Reflectix comes in a roll from Home Depot or Lowes. It looks like shiny bubble wrap. Other types of insulation may work.... for example a sheet of styrofoam siding.

How it works is that the reflectix keeps the warm mattress from contacting the cool plywood surface.

Another thing we found in the past that helped was to take steps to reduce humidity inside the camper. For example: use range exhaust hood while cooking, use bathroom exhaust fan when showering, keep a couple of windows cracked to allow circulation (of course this won't work if the outside humidity is high).

This condensate was most common for us when the humidity inside the camper is high and the outside air is cooler than the inside temperature. Cooler outside temperatures made the problem worse. There were times when we needed to flip the mattress everyday when we got up so that it could dry during the day.

Are there any open seams in the plywood deck of your bed that maybe allowing cool air to contact your mattress? You may want to see if there are any steps you can take to reduce outside air in leakage into the compartment under the bed. Is there any way you could open the compartment under the bed to the inside of the AS to allow the temperature and humidity to equalize with the inside of the camper.

Good luck.
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Old 12-01-2011, 06:10 AM   #4
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You could ventilate the area under the bed so it would dry it out. Insulation is always good as well. Anytime you have one surface cooler than another you are going to have condensation. You could put in a 12V computer fan to circulate air between the compartment under the bed and the rest of the trailer. The reflective material under the bed can't hurt.

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Old 12-01-2011, 06:15 AM   #5
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I would get a piece of 1" pink or blue styrofoam the size of the plywood, and put that between the mattress and the plywood. That should insulate the mattress from the cold. You could also try to circulate warm air into the cargo compartment with a computer fan. They use very little power and are very quiet. Let us know if you find a solution that solves the problem.
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Old 12-01-2011, 06:32 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by palmer51
The bottom of our mattress is collecting a lot of moisture on the portion of it that is adjacent to the outside cargo compartment and has developed mold and mildew as a result. Airstream replaced the ply-wood and is shipping us a new mattress. They thought the moisture issue was due to a window leak which they repaired....
Have you ruled out condensation on the inside of the window running down the wall and onto the platform?
65% humidity seems pretty high to me. I would try leaving the roof vents open 24X7 to see for a week or so to see if that helps reduce overall indoor humidity. People, showers and cooking are the primary sources for added humidity in a closed space. Ventilation is effective in disbursing excess humidity to the outside.

If your humidity is 60% at 68 degrees, its dew point is only 54 degrees. If you can get the humidity down to 40% at 68 degrees, the dew point will drop to 41 degrees.

The A/C is an effective dehumidifier, but in heat pump mode the interior air is simply circulated through the heated coils and it neither adds or removes moisture.

As others have suggested, equalizing the temperature of the outside compartment with the room will also be helpful. Efforts to substantially reduce the humidity level inside may be your best bet.
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Old 12-01-2011, 07:00 AM   #7
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New Market , Virginia
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Is the water/moisture just on one side, or worse on one side? Asking because on our new AS had the same problem, but on one side. Closer inspection of the window, from the outside and along the window rim with the window open, showed two small holes. Will get it replaced but with clear silicone and a Qtip, plugged the holes and the problem has stopped.

Hope your problem is just as easily solved.
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Old 12-01-2011, 07:21 AM   #8
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If you are certain there are no leaks, and that can be hard to determine, then there is too much humidity in the trailer at night. Open all the vents at least a bit, wipe out the shower when done, put the wet towels outside at night, whatever it takes to get the inside air moisture down.

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Old 12-02-2011, 07:45 AM   #9
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Hypoluxo , Florida
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Update, 11/2/2011, we set the mattress on its side between the shower and head and turned the heat-pump up to 75 degrees, left the cargo compartment light on and lifted the ply-wood hinged mattress platform and left for the day for downtown Atlanta. When we returned the mattress seemed dry and the humidity in the trailer was reading 45%. We made the bed and turned the furnace on and turned in for the evening. This morning the temperature in the AS was 60 degrees with 45% humidity with the outside temperature 35 degrees. Once again the mattress was soaking wet in the area of the hinged plywood deck opening over the cargo compartment. We are thinking that the idea of styrofoam and reflectix is a good start that we can do today. We will keep you posted.
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Old 12-02-2011, 07:56 AM   #10
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I think you have a leak. That seems like way too much water. If the humidity was higher I could see this happening but its is not that high. Is this rear bath or center bath?

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Old 12-02-2011, 08:28 AM   #11
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It is good to hear that Airstream is helping you. Comforting. I used to help people with water intrusion problems in homes and I offer the following to try to help. Based on your description, I suggest this: there may still be a leak in another area (keep looking – just because you found one doesn’t mean there aren’t more!) and the old leak may have left a reservoir of water somewhere in or near that storage locker. This reservoir may be maintaining this high humidity in this lower locker. Perhaps you have a collection of water under this locker. This may be why your problem persists even when it doesn't rain. Your humidity is too high by indoor air quality standards.

You may want to invest in a moisture meter with a probe (may be able to rent them?). You can place the probe in/on different materials in the trailer that appear "uneffected" (what would be considered normal= baseline) and compare it to your "effected" area. This may lead you to the problem (or a wild goose chase). Have you (or can you) look under the storage locker? Is water accumulating under the floor of the locker from somewhere?

As already mentioned, the temperature differentials are driving the condensation in “one area” but the water source is driving the whole issue. As many can attest, in an Airstream, the water may be appearing in one area but the source may be in an entirely different location. Who knows, you may have an internal water leak.... Sorry to suggest it. Anything is possible.

Good luck and keep hunting.
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Old 12-02-2011, 08:32 AM   #12
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I stop drinking everything (water, coffee, beer, etc.) at 5:00 p.m. and have had no wet areas on the mattress (Sorry, the door was open and I just HAD to go through it!)
Steve & Susan
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Old 12-02-2011, 08:33 AM   #13
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Interesting... palmer51, thanks for posting about this. I've wondered a few times whether I was observing the same thing. My FB twin bed model has 3 different outside storage compartments under both beds -- a lot of 'cool' operating there.

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Old 12-02-2011, 09:04 AM   #14
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I think I would heat the compartment with an electric heater and see if it continues.

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