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Old 01-23-2005, 01:28 PM   #1
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Unhappy Wet and moldy under bed - already

Hi ASers,

This morning while wrestling with the fitted sheets on the corner bed I noticed it seemed a bit damp underneath. I lifted the mattress fully and found a large wet spot and mold both on the wood and the mattress.

I’ve been living in the trailer for a little over three weeks now. It was raining hard and non-stop my first week, but has been dry since. I open the vents and leave my fans running while I’m away at work.

Yesterday I noticed a couple of drips coming from the hot water tank and it was dripping a bit right at the valve (see photo).

Any clues? Any advice? Taking it in to the dealer is not an easy option at this point since a) I’m living in it, b) the nearest dealer is about 2 hours away and c) I have no tow vehicle.

Thank you in advance.
Jill
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Old 01-23-2005, 02:05 PM   #2
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Although your Airstream is incredibly newer than mine, the location of your dampness strikes me as liquid that dripped through the mattress. Now whether it came from an overhead vent or from something spilled is your call.

The dripping valve on your water heater is an overtemp/overpressure relief valve. When the water heater heats water, the heat will raise the pressure in the lines. I would have thought this pressure would bleed out the over pressure relief valve on your Airstream's plumbing. In the short term, it is not that big of a problem.

At face value, the device is doing what it is supposed to do. The problem is that over time, the valve may build up mineral deposits on its sealing surfaces, and after a while may dribble all the time. The solution to this problem may be as simple as maintaining a pocket of air inside the water heater. There is at least one post on that topic as I remember reading it many months ago.

I would like to advise you to check your Airstream's overpressure relief valve, but I have no idea of where to tell you to look for it since your coach is so new.

Sorry,
Tom
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Old 01-23-2005, 03:25 PM   #3
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I know in our Argosy, the cool air does have a tendency to make condensation inside on our cool walls (especially close to the windows) and drip down). Do you notice water collecting on the inside of your windows at night? Is there an uninsulated compartment under your bed? Possibly the cool air under mixes with the warm air on the bed, and makes condensation under the mattress. In the short term, I'd prop up the mattress with a book or pot while away at work to allow it to breath.

Where you are, is there a moist air present?

I think the hot water tank is doing is job... I'd just turn down the heat control lever a bit. I know there is a way to make this "air pocket"... I just can't remember the procedure. Your dealer should be able to tell you over the phone.
Good luck!
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Old 01-23-2005, 03:53 PM   #4
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That is an odd place for moisture to appear. Clean it with soapy water, dry it the best you can, and mist it with a weak bleach/water solution to kill remaining mold. Let it dry completely.

Was there a drip from overhead?

The water heater causes the water to expand, building pressure. The relief valve spits out a little water to keep the pressure okay. Normal stuff.
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Old 01-23-2005, 04:45 PM   #5
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I'm in Buellton, CA, and it's been warm and dry for the last two weeks. It's about 72 degrees currently. I have the bed propped up so it is airing out with both fans running.

I thought of leakage from above, but I have never felt any dampness on the top-side of the bed and it does not line up with the overhead fan.

There was some condensation on the windows during the wet week, but not recently, and again this is in the middle of the bed; the areas around the walls are dry.

I checked both outside storage compartments, and I don't see any wetness around the pipes that would indicate a leak.

I'll stop freaking out, then, chalk it up so residual dampness, bleach the mold, keep an eye on it and keep air flowing around it.

Thanks! Jill
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Old 01-23-2005, 05:07 PM   #6
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That just seems like the most unlikely spot... unless, of course, you have a enuresis problem, LOL...

A couple of things come to mind;

Is it possible that the residual moisture originated before you owned it? Have you only owned the trailer for three weeks?

Did you or someone (the dealer) clean the windows, etc, using a bucket of water that could have spilled weeks ago and left the residual moisture in the mattress?

Now that you've had a chance to dry things out, have you noticed anything new developing?

Curious!

X
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Old 01-23-2005, 06:20 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by halobender
Yesterday I noticed a couple of drips coming from the hot water tank and it was dripping a bit right at the valve (see photo)....Any clues? Any advice?
The over pressure/over temp drip should be easy...

First, turn the Water Heater off, then remove the water source (hose) and completely drain the water heater (should be a drain manifold adjacent to the WH) - close the drain and repressurize. Turn the unit back on and check for proper operation.

This allows a volume of "air" to be trapped in the WH - sort of like an expansion chamber - helps with the water hammer also.
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Old 01-24-2005, 01:37 AM   #8
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Dear Halobender,

to me, your problems seems to stem from condensation. The human body produces up to a approx a quart of water (or its steam equivilant) per night - a part of this will be sucked up by the mattress - and has to leave it again.

I noticed (with some astonishment) that in american RVs the mattresses usualy are placed directly on wood boards.
Over here in europe the mattresses are placed on devices that assure an air space underneath them. Typically a system of flexible wood arches, providing additional flexibility (sort of a "suspension") and ventilation. An alternative would be little plastic springs (palm size) that are connected with clips and can be adjusted (e.g. Froli-system: http://www.froli.com/sites/english/leisure.php) to the desired stiffness.
I first learned about the need of under-bed-ventilation when cunsulting a doctor, seeking help against my allergies (household dust etc.).
My father-in-law then explained that aboard yachts/boats this has long been recognised. There, mattress-ventilation is a no-brainer.
Therefore even Middle-class RVs also usually have a vent of the furnace under the bed to provide ventilation and heating and to fight condensation.

May I suggest that you consider some device to lift the mattress and to force ventilation underneath it (marine or boating supply?)?

Good luck with your solution!

Martin
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Old 01-24-2005, 04:44 AM   #9
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Wow Martin! That makes perfect sense! Thanks for the link!
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Old 01-24-2005, 10:28 AM   #10
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I agree that the mattress moisture is human-produced.

It is a common problem wherever bedding is directly against a cool, solid surface. For example, futons on a floor, plywood bunks and so on. A low-tech, low-cost fix is to provide through ventilation by drilling a polka dot pattern of approximately one inch holes in the surface.
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Old 01-24-2005, 10:58 AM   #11
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winners!

I think we have solved the mystery. The moist area is right over the uninsulated, cold-at-night, outside-accessible storage - and under right where I sleep. I again lifted the bed this morning to circulate some air underneath the mattress and will look for a more permanent fix to improve circulation.

Thank you! Jill
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Old 01-24-2005, 11:30 AM   #12
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I may be in danger

of sounding like a salesman for Electrowarmth bedwarmers but I LOVE the product. Here's what the site says about moisture.

Testimonial: I like the ElectroWarmth® very well. Besides keeping me warm it also keeps the musty smell from our mattress. As the climate here in Florida does tend to give the bed that musty odor and damp feeling. Thank goodness it's all gone due to ElectroWarmth®."

Excert: an ElectroWarmth® bedwarmer

drives the dampness from the bedding which builds from the normal nightly perspiration of about one pint per person. This heat drives the moisture to the surface of the bedding where it can evaporate into the bedroom air.
Doctors recommend ElectroWarmth® bedwarmers because they dry the bedding and protect the user from becoming chilled at night, on a year-round basis.

http://www.electrowarmth.com/index.htm

I don't know if that is sufficient but worth a try perhaps until you get the permanent spacer between the wood and mattress that was suggested, and BONUS it keeps you warm.



Quote:
Originally Posted by halobender
I think we have solved the mystery. The moist area is right over the uninsulated, cold-at-night, outside-accessible storage - and under right where I sleep. I again lifted the bed this morning to circulate some air underneath the mattress and will look for a more permanent fix to improve circulation.

Thank you! Jill
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Old 01-24-2005, 12:27 PM   #13
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What do I win?

I can't wait for the prize.... musty socks, blue cheese, ahhh, the list of mold goes on!

Seriously, I'm glad you found the source. I think if one made a row of 1x2's going across the bottom of the bed with 1" between them (the ends pointing to the aisle but not sticking out (to protect your shins), that should give enough support for the mattress and let it breathe. It would look sort of like railroad track ties laid down without the tracks.
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Old 01-24-2005, 01:47 PM   #14
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Drilled holes work & are easy

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobechs
...A low-tech, low-cost fix is to provide through ventilation by drilling a polka dot pattern of approximately one inch holes in the surface.
I second this solution as bobechs beat me to the punch in posting it.

Tom
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Old 01-27-2005, 01:58 AM   #15
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another low-cost-fix

Dear Halobender,

I forgot to mention an often used solution for the ventilation problem:
"Artifical lawn/grass"
I am trying to describe a plastic flooring product that looks like lawn (well, almost) and usually feels "prickly" under your feet (read: stiff, sharp points). I believe it's called "Astroturf" in the US ?!
That stuff - turned upside down - will support a mattress, provide ventilation (esp. in combination with the holes mentioned by other posters) and can NOT be feeled through the mattress (because it will support the entire surface - not just sections of it).
So, if your mattress should be too soft for the "railroad"-approach, the astroturf (?) could be a simple solution.
Generally, forced ventilation into all the dead spaces in storage bins, cabinetry, installation enclosures etc. helps a lot in fighting moisture, condensation and heating problems that typically arise during long-term (winter) camping.

I remember I had wet matresses every night in my weekender-like van when winter camping. Had to lift the mattresses to air out for approx. 1 h every morning.

Again, good luck and keep us posted.

Martin
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Old 01-27-2005, 06:18 AM   #16
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I would also consider using a small piece of insulation, foam board, inside the compartment to prevent such a cool surface under the mattress.
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Old 01-27-2005, 07:46 AM   #17
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This is also a problem in boats. Some put Dri-Dek under the mattress, while others use products like HyperVent, VentAir, or Dry Bunk.
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Old 01-27-2005, 09:20 AM   #18
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I wonder

if the extra thick skid cloth would work too. After checking Moe's links it looks similar to some of those products. I used to put skid cloth under the matress and dinette cushions in our SOB to prevent them from "walking" out. In the Airstream I put skid cloth in to stop the stain and slivers from contacting the bottom of the mattress initially, but then it made the bed impossible to pull out to tuck in bedding without disrupting the skid cloth.


Quote:
Originally Posted by RoadKingMoe
This is also a problem in boats. Some put Dri-Dek under the mattress, while others use products like HyperVent, VentAir, or Dry Bunk.
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Old 01-28-2005, 09:13 AM   #19
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Great info Moe. I'll be using that. The Defender warehouse is about an hour from me and now I'll really have to stop by. I've burned out on home depot trips, this could be a new hang out.
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Old 02-11-2005, 05:03 PM   #20
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It's Sweat - A Wee Bit Embarrassing...

I had the IDENTICAL situation - re: after less than a month of living in the QPod, my mattress, too, became a science experiment. . .and I found out the exact same way - fighting like the dickens to get a fitted sheet on. Airstream guy said: "I believe it is perspiration." Mmmmmm - perimenopause? Or maybe that I sleep with 2 cats AND a whippet. Yadzooks. Great advice from all - I'll be doing some drilling tonight.

Susan Quinn
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