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Old 12-20-2015, 01:45 PM   #1
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Mildew in 61 Tradewind

Just went to visit my 1961 Tradewind in winter storage. The zolatone in the living room area was very mildewed. I have the power vent going. Did not smell damp or mildewy. I wiped it all down with bathroom cleaner and it all came off pretty easily. We are in Savannah, so no cold to kill the moisture. I tried some "damp rid" but it just fills with water as the trailer is not very air-tight due to the jalouise window. Maybe a fan left on the living room? Ideas?
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Old 12-20-2015, 02:31 PM   #2
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I tried some "damp rid" but it just fills with water as the trailer is not very air-tight due to the jalouise window. Maybe a fan left on the living room? Ideas?
There are two ways to control condensation, and by extension mildew.

First and most important, reduce the relative humidity. There are two ways to do this. You're already doing one of them by using Damp Rid. But you may not be using enough of it and/or you may not be replacing it often enough. A Damp Rid tub that's already full of water stops working.

The other way to reduce relative humidity is by heating the air. If the amount of water in the air remains the same, humidity goes down as heat goes up. An inside air temperature that is at least 5°F above the dew point (which can be determined by watching your local weather reports and forecasts) should be enough to prevent condensation on surfaces. But don't use propane to provide the heat— water vapor is a combustion byproduct of burning propane, so that makes the air more humid. Use electric heat instead.

The other solution is to keep the air moving, because moving air will not deposit water vapor on surfaces. If you have a source of electricity, running your ceiling exhaust fans should do the trick, as long as you've got at least one window open to let in air to replace what the fans suck out.

How can you tell if you've got enough ventilation? If you can feel even a slight breeze on exposed skin, you've got enough ventilation. If you can't feel a breeze, the air is too still and it can deposit water on colder surfaces. Since the air flow inside a trailer isn't exactly ideal, portable fans in strategic locations can help bring air flow to dead spaces where the exhaust fans don't make a breeze.

Even in the balmy Gulf Coast areas like where I live, the right combination of heat, Damp Rid, and/or air circulation should keep your trailer fresh and clean.

Though if all else fails, I suppose you could bring in snails to eat the mildew…
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Old 12-20-2015, 02:45 PM   #3
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Here in Florida I leave a fan on high at all times. I have hookups at home. I move the fan occasionally and leave drawers a cabinets open at least a crack to ensure air flow. With hookups I can run the Air every few weeks or so to help dehumidify the air. If it's cold enough I run the furnace. I use a box fan, not the exhaust fans. The roof fans seem to let more wet in than they circulate air. Just my opinion.
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Old 12-20-2015, 03:54 PM   #4
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The roof fans seem to let more wet in than they circulate air.
If they're not weatherproof, then that is a problem. My MaxxFan can be left open in any weather short of a hurricane, and never lets in the rain. It really didn't occur to me that other roof vent fans used by Airstream might not be similarly weatherproof.
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Old 12-20-2015, 07:18 PM   #5
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If they're not weatherproof, then that is a problem. My MaxxFan can be left open in any weather short of a hurricane, and never lets in the rain. It really didn't occur to me that other roof vent fans used by Airstream might not be similarly weatherproof.
Didn't make myself clear, I meant if you leave the roof fans on with a window cracked it seems to bring in more damp air through the window. Just using a box fan with no windows open has worked for me for years, winter and summer.
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Old 12-20-2015, 07:52 PM   #6
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Didn't make myself clear, I meant if you leave the roof fans on with a window cracked it seems to bring in more damp air through the window. Just using a box fan with no windows open has worked for me for years, winter and summer.
Well, between dehumidifying, possibly heating, and using interior fans to keep the air circulating, it should work to keep mildew at bay even with all of the windows and vents closed. But here in the humid New Orleans metro area, I still keep my vents open while my Airstream is stored, without a mildew problem; the number of foggy mornings where the air is so humid you can drink it are few— and no matter how humid the outside air is, as long as the interior air is kept at least 5°F above the dew point there still won't be any significant condensation inside the Airstream even when the outside air is thick with fog and the vents are open.
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