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Old 11-10-2015, 03:38 PM   #1
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Winter Condensation

Dear Winter Living Streamers,

We, and our 74' Sovereign Landyacht, live in northwestern Washington.
This is our first winter living full-time in our airstream.
Condensation on and around our windows is extreme and is causing a lot of concern. I've removed the window frames and screens so that I can easily wipe down the windows every morning and night before bed. Each morning, there is so much water! It's running down the walls onto the floor. I'm very worried about the subfloor rotting and about molds taking over our home.
I've picked up some tips from the local live-aboard boaters around here, but haven't found airstreamer wisdon about winter condensation in a wet-winter climate (plenty about the dry southwest).

Please share your experiences and strategies.

Thank you so much.

J & P
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Old 11-10-2015, 04:58 PM   #2
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Many have success with leaving vents open, but that didn't help us. Our solution was a dehumidifier. We've had no condensation since we purchased one.


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Old 11-10-2015, 07:55 PM   #3
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Aistreams are not designed for real winter conditions. That is the elephant in the room when it comes to condensation. If you have to, the dehumidifier is your best bet.
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Old 11-10-2015, 08:05 PM   #4
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Winter Condensation

If you'd simply stop bathing, cooking and breathing you'd have no condensation.
It has nothing to do with your Airstream, or whether or not they were intended for winter use. I've wintered in other RVs with similar results.
Get something like this and the humidity problems of your location compounded by your silly need to bathe, cook and breathe will go away.
https://www.eva-dry.com/dehumidifier...-dehumidifier/
The windows on our Colorado mountain home always had dripping condensation on them in the winter until we got one.
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Old 11-10-2015, 08:12 PM   #5
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We're just across the border from you, here's some responses I got on a similar question: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f459...ng-143135.html

I'd get a humidity meter as well as the dehumidifier. It will help you understand what your humidity levels are. The one we have has a remote for outside, so I'm able to compare what is going on. We tend to track about 25% lower than outside without a dehumidifier. Considering I'd like to keep it under 50% if possible, we really need the dehumidifier.
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Old 11-11-2015, 07:57 AM   #6
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There are only two solutions to condensation— ventilation and dehumidifying. If you want the trailer to retain heat there is a limit to the amount of ventilation you can provide. From practical experience, you need to provide enough forced ventilation to provide at least six complete air exchanges an hour, or fifteen air exchanges an hour while you're cooking, to prevent a buildup of condensation. That's enough airflow for you to feel a strong breeze on your skin. Not practical at all if you also want to heat the air.

Dehumidifying means that you can reduce the amount of airflow considerably, perhaps down to one complete air exchange per hour to keep the air from getting stale or stuffy. How much is one air exchange per hour? You can approximate it as the length of the trailer in feet equals the number of cubic feet per minute (cfm) of air that has to move through the exhaust vent.

Damp-Rid tubs draw moisture from the air without using electricity, but they don't work as quickly as electric dehumidifiers and are better for keeping down humidity in a closed-up stored trailer. An electric dehumidifier, set up in your shower stall or galley sink so that overflow runs into your gray tank if you forget to dump the accumulated water, is your best bet for dehumidifying while camping.
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Old 11-11-2015, 10:24 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nrgtrakr View Post
If you'd simply stop bathing, cooking and breathing you'd have no condensation.
It has nothing to do with your Airstream, or whether or not they were intended for winter use. I've wintered in other RVs with similar results.
With a few exceptions RVs are not designed for use in serious winter conditions. I am basing this statement on thin walls with little insulation. This leads to condensation. Airstreams compound this issue with aluminum inner walls. This also means that per cubic foot you are going to use a lot of energy to keep your Airstream warm. But there is less space to heat than a traditional house. Can you spend a winter in your Airstream? yes. Do people do it? yes. Would I want to? no.

Can Airstreams be retrofitted for winter use? Yes, to a degree.
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Old 11-11-2015, 11:19 AM   #8
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Humid Full Timing... lousy at best

I have to agree with the previous posts, although a DE-humidifier is one option I have not needed living in generally dry air environments.

Think of your Airstream as a Clothes Drier. You need heat and air circulation to dry the contents. The more moisture YOU ADD to the already humid air from outside and into the interior... you have to increase the heat and air circulation. You will eventually run out of propane and find yourself in a very disgusting situation.

If you SHOWER within the trailer and hang your towels inside to dry out... BAD.
If you cook and not run your vent over the cooktop... BAD.
If you pull your curtains closed and not vent your windows.... BAD.
If you have frost on the inside of the windows... BAD.
If your upper vents are not open and circulating air... BAD.
If you are trying to keep Propane Costs... down... BAD.

The longer the trailer, the more venting and air flow you need to dry out.
You must be with Full Hookups... otherwise you will not last very long Full Timing.

When the humidity within the trailer is high and the outside temperature drops, increasing outside humidity in the process... a disaster of being wet inside from high humidity and the inability to dry any fabrics that absorb moisture.

This topic has come up several times on the Forum. Seek out their remedies as well to the above.

We have camped in humid environments where the temperature drops enough to create frost on the exterior of the trailer. When frost begins on the lower section of the window... you are already too late. You will find your bed pillow gets "damp" from your head. Your clothes feel and are damp.

Protagonist gave you the solution, and Lumatic, as well.

Think of you being on a lake in a leaky boat. To keep from sinking you must bucket out the water to keep up with the water flowing into the boat. You bucket (ventilate in your case) quicker, the boat is not in peril of sinking (humidity within the trailer). No matter, it is a miserable situation to find yourself.

If I had to chose between Full Timing in Colorado or Missouri for the winter... Colorado would be easier. If you are at a RV Park, check with the Full Timers. They are your best source for local conditions. Better yet... Full time in the Mohave Desert of Nevada and Arizona. You may have to ADD humidity.

Full Timing in an Airstream? Not unless you are willing to move with the seasons. Otherwise you will spend a lot of money just to remain healthy in this humid environment. Next, you will just feel miserable, damp and cold. Dry Cold versus Humid Cold...

We learned quickly with our first Airstream the FIRST year that there are direct costs to winter humid environments to remain comfortable. It was not possible unless you had a large stationary propane tank. Everything was damp inside the trailer and we did not shower inside or bring wet clothing inside. We hung it outside off of the awning supports. It was an "eye opener" that we were not expecting. Full Timing in an Airstream... not if our lives depended on it, we would be moving with the Seasons.
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Old 11-13-2015, 01:12 PM   #9
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" Full Timing in an Airstream... not if our lives depended on it, we would be moving with the Seasons." We call it Chasing 70. If it isn't 70 degrees where you are, move to where it is. <grin>

Obviously, that isn't completely practical, but for many of us full-timers, moving with the seasons is what we want to do. That mitigates the humidity issues somewhat.
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Old 11-13-2015, 03:00 PM   #10
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A teacher of mine once said,"If we had the brains God gave a duck, we'd all go south for the winter."
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Old 11-21-2015, 03:19 PM   #11
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Dehumidifier = good
Insulated/heated RV garage = better
Retire and go South = best
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Old 11-21-2015, 03:31 PM   #12
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A teacher of mine once said,"If we had the brains God gave a duck, we'd all go south for the winter."
Thanks. Now I know why I have to head south. Sal
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Old 11-21-2015, 03:45 PM   #13
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I'm planning on installing the BAL RV heat/air exchanger; should solve any humidity and CO problems.
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Old 11-21-2015, 05:12 PM   #14
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I spent one winter in Golden, Colorado. I used that window film that goes on with double stick tape and tightens up with a hair dryer on all but two operable windows. Cut down considerably on the condensation. But you should still follow through with many of the prior suggestions on reducing interior moisture.
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