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Old 12-12-2011, 10:08 AM   #1
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Interior walls sweating in cold

A friend of mine when camping in cold weather reports the walls of his trailer sweat

They are all aluminum.

He has a flying cloud 28'. What can he do and is this common?
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Old 12-12-2011, 10:27 AM   #2
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It is simply condensation from the humidity in the trailer and occurs more easily with the bare aluminum walls in comparison with walls covered in some fashion.

The easiest solution is good ventilation all the time. Even in the coldest weather, we have one roof vent and one window slightly open. With the heat on, that moves fresh (and dry) outside air in and lets humid inside air out. The humidity inside the trailer comes not only from cooking and such, but also from the occupants themselves. From breathing, for example.

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Old 12-12-2011, 10:29 AM   #3
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Do you think a small dehumidifier would help him, perhaps draining into sink?
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Old 12-12-2011, 11:11 AM   #4
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If the walls are sweating, the windows must be dripping. They must control the moisture inside or risk damage to their unit.

There are two ways to control moisture and both are needed. Prevention and ventilation.

Use the range hood fan and limit cooking that releases large amounts of moisture (boiling). Wipe down the shower after use and hang towels outside. The furnace seems to be a dryer heat source than electric heaters or heat pump, I don't know why.
Set the temperature at lower levels, especially at night.

Open the vents, use the range hood fan, as needed to ventilate.

The number of occupants also matters a great deal. There simply is not enough interior volume to live the same way you might in a house.

doug k
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Old 12-12-2011, 12:20 PM   #5
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Tim's advice is good. Heat on but ceiling vent open a little to move the air about. There are ways of reducing condensation but you'll never eliminate it completely in cold weather.
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Old 12-12-2011, 12:25 PM   #6
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And you'd be surprised at how much moisture simply breathing puts into the air! A night in a small tent with all the windows closed in the wintertime can mean a soggy sleeping bag simply from breathing - ventilation is the key!
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Old 12-12-2011, 12:38 PM   #7
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Yes, a small dehumidifier will help greatly.
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Old 12-12-2011, 12:39 PM   #8
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A dehumidifier on a timer to operate when the trailer is empty will make a great heater too - if the unit takes 500 or 600 watts to run it will give off at least 1000 or 1200 watts worth of heat from the refrigerant phase change. Think heat pump with benefits, but usually too noisy to live with.

If there is that much condensation coming out be careful with bedding, outdoors clothing and shoes - once they get that 'damp' feeling it takes ~75% more energy to warm them up and feel comfortable than if they weren't.
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Old 12-12-2011, 03:51 PM   #9
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All Good Advice...

but let me add one more thing.
In building science we refer to the "first condensing surface."
In a house (or an Airstream) this will be an uninsulated wall or a window the outside suface of which is exposed to the cold outside temperature.

So, you story tells us a couple things:
1. Your friend's Airstream is not well insulated.
2. Your friend is cooking too much pasta (just kidding... sorta)

In a typical, semi-well insulated Airstream, moisture laden air will pass through the seams of the interior skin, pass through the porous insulation, and whamo hit the first condensing surface, the inside surface of the outside skin!

The moisture condenses and runs down the inside surface of the outside skin where it soaks into the subfloor and causes the famous Airstream floor rot. So, not every Airstream with a rotten floor necessarily has leaks, though most do.

Inside moisture control is critical as discussed in the earlier posts. If we cook pasta we must vent the steam outside through the exhaust fan. If we take a shower, we must run the exhaust fan. Even heating the water in a tea kettle generates moist air.

Since most Airstreams are used for summer recreation, this is not usually an issue since they are parked, unused through the cold winter months.
It becomes a huge issue when folks try to live in their Airstreams in the winter in places like New York. This is why Airstreams that have been lived in year round may have "issues" shall we say.
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Old 12-12-2011, 03:58 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alumaholic View Post
but let me add one more thing.
In building science we refer to the "first condensing surface."
In a house (or an Airstream) this will be an uninsulated wall or a window the outside suface of which is exposed to the cold outside temperature.

So, you story tells us a couple things:
1. Your friend's Airstream is not well insulated.
2. Your friend is cooking too much pasta (just kidding... sorta)

In a typical, well insulated Airstream, moisture laden air will pass through the seams of the interior skin, pass through the porous insulation, and whamo hit the first condensing surface, the inside surface of the outside skin!

The moisture condenses and runs down the inside surface of the outside skin where it soaks into the subfloor and causes the famous Airstream floor rot. So, not every Airstream with a rotten floor necessarily has leaks, though most do.

Inside moisture control is critical as discussed in the earlier posts. If we cook pasta we must vent the steam outside through the exhaust fan. If we take a shower, we must run the exhaust fan. Even heating the water in a tea kettle generates moist air.

Since most Airstreams are used for summer recreation, this is not usually an issue since they are parked, unused through the cold winter months.
It becomes a huge issue when folks try to live in their Airstreams in the winter in places like New York. This is why Airstreams that have been lived in year round may have "issues" shall we say.

OK,

1) NONE of them are insulated well!
2) I like Pasta!

Get a 25 litre compressor style dehumidifer. (the smallest I can find)

Do not waste your time and money on the little "mini" ones....if you like pasta or have more than one person living in the AS.
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Old 12-12-2011, 04:16 PM   #11
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dznf0g is Right, of Course

Quote:
Originally Posted by dznf0g View Post
OK,

1) NONE of them are insulated well!
2) I like Pasta!

Get a 25 litre compressor style dehumidifer. (the smallest I can find)

Do not waste your time and money on the little "mini" ones....if you like pasta or have more than one person living in the AS.
To describe any Airstream as well insulated is like describing a well-washed garbage truck.
I have edited my post.
It now says "semi-well insulated Airstream."
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Old 12-12-2011, 04:24 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alumaholic View Post
To describe any Airstream as well insulated is like describing a well-washed garbage truck.
I have edited my post.
It now says "semi-well insulated Airstream."
"No worries, Mate....."

You guys in the SW probably haven't really had to deal with a real "sweater", like I have never had a "my 13.5 A/C doesn't keep my 30'er cold".....
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Old 12-22-2011, 12:10 PM   #13
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Very informative. My wife and I have been living in ours and we have had serious sweating going on initially on the windows, but as I concluded and you have confirmed.... The condensing of the moisture on the inside of the outer wall has been mixing with a water-based glue used in our 2012 AS and leaking the sticky solution down through the frame of the window screen. At first I thought we had a bad leak (which was also true) but now that it has been repaired and it hasn't been raining, the leaking has returned.

Thank you for your post. My wife will crack a window, leave open a vent and purchased a compressor style dehumidifier.

Any recommendations for dehumidifiers that are small and amazing?
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Old 12-22-2011, 12:59 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrandonJenna View Post
Very informative. My wife and I have been living in ours and we have had serious sweating going on initially on the windows, but as I concluded and you have confirmed.... The condensing of the moisture on the inside of the outer wall has been mixing with a water-based glue used in our 2012 AS and leaking the sticky solution down through the frame of the window screen. At first I thought we had a bad leak (which was also true) but now that it has been repaired and it hasn't been raining, the leaking has returned.

Thank you for your post. My wife will crack a window, leave open a vent and purchased a compressor style dehumidifier.

Any recommendations for dehumidifiers that are small and amazing?
I've done a lot of online shopping and I think I am going to do these:

NewAir AD-250 25 Pint Portable Room Dehumidifier With Automatic Shut-Off - FREE GROUND SHIPPING!

It's the smallest I have found, dimensionally. It gets great reviews from a lot of boaters and RVers. However, it does not have a humidistat, meaning it is always on.

So , I'll get one of these too.

Dayton 1UHG2 Dehumidifier Control, Plug In 120 V

There are other 25 pint units out there, but this one is quite a bit smaller and a lot lighter.
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