Condensation is one of the biggest causes of damage to an RV or camper’s interior. But also, it can eventually lead to health issues due to mold and mildew in a confined space. This helpful guide will help you to keep unnecessary moisture and humidity out of your RV and stop condensation from happening in your RV.
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How to Stop Condensation in Your RV – Prevent Moisture Problems
What is CONDENSATION? How does condensation occur?
First, let’s understand how condensation happens. Condensation is the process in which gas changes into a liquid when it touches a cooler surface.
It happens on any smooth surface that is cold. Tiny water droplets form on the ceiling and even vertical surfaces such as mirrors, windows and walls. When warm air rises up into the atmosphere, condensation appears.
Over time, the process of condensation and excess humidity can wreak havoc inside your RV; costing you a lot of money as well as causing health issues.
If you start seeing your walls, ceiling or smooth surfaces sweating, that should be your first clue to get humidity and condensation under control.
I mean, who wants mushrooms and toxic molds growing where you eat, sleep and live? We don’t want this happening in our RV (or even your home) and neither should you.
So, let’s talk about how to prevent moisture that leads to condensation problems in your camper.
Check roof, door and window seals
If you’re not cooking, running an essential oil diffuser, humidifier or showering in your RV, then you need to locate the source of where the moisture is entering your RV.
A good place to start is to check the ceiling for leaks. Also, inspect the inside of all of your cabinets and closets.
Another suggestion is to get up on the roof to inspect and seal any possible water intrusion points. You should do this at least twice a year anyways as we’ve discussed in our RV Roof Inspection and Maintenance guide.
Also inspect your window and door caulk. If it’s dry and cracked or even missing, you’ll need to remove the old caulk and replace with new window and door caulk.
And lastly, this is also precisely why we try to discourage using a power washer on your RV. Because the high water pressure may infiltrate seals that are meant to keep water and moisture from intruding the inside of your RV.
Ventilate your space
When you’re cooking, taking a shower or even using an essential oil diffuser, we highly recommend cracking a window open near the moisture emitting source.
Also, if you’re using propane heat, it’s also a good idea to crack a window as well to eliminate window fog or moisture in your RV.
Use your RV Fantastic Fans
To help control the humidity in your RV, it’s imperative that you utilize your motorhome’s or trailer’s fantastic fan(s) while you cook or shower.
As in our case, we have a forward fan and an aft fan in the bathroom. We turn both of them on the setting that sucks out the moisture and leave them on for even a few more minutes after we’re finished cooking or showering.
Run your air conditioner
Running your RV air conditioner is one of the best ways to eliminate moisture from the air in your RV.
That water dripping off your roof while your RV air conditioner is running is moisture that came from the air inside of your RV.
To help alleviate condensation from happening, make certain all of your fantastic fans are off. And, make certain you close all of your windows and doors while you’re running your AC. Otherwise, you’re just inviting more moist air into your RV that eventually turns into condensation.
Which brings us to this point; the importance of keeping your RV air conditioner in perfect working order. Keep up with your RV air conditioner’s regular inspection and maintenance schedule.
And, to make certain you frequently clean all RV ceiling vents. Both will help ensure your air conditioner work properly and efficiently.
Cooking inside your motorhome or travel trailer is one of the most common ways of putting moisture and condensation in your RV.
So, if it’s warm out, why not cook outside instead of steaming up the inside of your RV?
If we’re parked for a few days or longer, we will set up an outdoor kitchen instead so we don’t have to worry about all that steam fogging up the windows.
You can set up an outdoor living space and kitchen and equip it with an electric induction cooktop or 2-burner camp stove to boil water or fry your food instead of cooking inside.
Wipe down your shower after every use
Another effective way of keeping moisture at a minimum is to wipe down your shower after use.
We use a window squeegee to wipe down water. After, we’ll dry the shower stall floor with a separate towel. But, instead of hanging the towel in the shower, oftentimes we’ll hang the damp towel outside to dry.
Dry clothing and towels outside
Air drying wet clothes and sopping those pool towels in your RV puts moisture into the air through evaporation. But then, eventually, that moisture turns into condensation as described earlier..
To avoid putting that moisture into the air, try drying them outside on a clothes drying rack made for RVs.
It’s also great for air drying certain clothes that may shrink or get damaged by the heat in the dryer. Plus, having an outdoor clothing dryer rack is a smart way to save on your laundry bill.
Install a clothes dryer vent
If you have a clothes dryer in your motorhome or fifth wheel, make certain it vents to the outside. Otherwise, all the moisture will be trapped inside your RV.
If you have a Splendide, a RV dryer vent kit is a must. Depending on the exterior color of your RV, you can choose either the black dryer vent kit or white dryer vent kit.
Here’s how our friends, Jim and Melinda of RV with the Tanners installed their dryer vent to help mitigate moisture and humidity inside their RV:
Use a dehumidifier
Dehumidifiers have come a long way since those big, heavy clunkers our parents had in their basements. Really, you don’t need a dehumidifier that size in your RV anyway.
Now, there’s small portable dehumidifiers that are smaller than a gallon of milk!
In our fifth wheel, we had two dehumidifiers; one that was mid-size dehumidier that we kept in the living area. In the bedroom area, we kept a small dehumidifier to keep down the moisture as well. Both were so quiet, we barely knew they were on.
There are other dehumidifiers that you can use in your RV of every size and water collection capacity.
There’s even some small dehumidifiers that don’t use electricity or batteries. Instead, they use renewable silica gel technology which are great for keeping inside your clothes closets, cabinets and drawers.
PRO TIP: Check out which are the best dehumidifiers for RVs. You can then determine which one would be best for your RV, geographical location and lifestyle.
Use Damp Rid moisture absorbers
If you boondock a lot or won’t be hooked up to electricity, it may not be feasible to use an electric dehumidifier.
However, you still need a way to mitigate moisture; especially in small compartments such as closets, drawers, cabinets and even some of your outside basement compartments.
Compartments tend to collect moisture because they have very little to no ventilation. This alone presents potential of mold and mildew problems that will adhere to everything from the walls to the items kept in those compartments, cabinets and closets.
If you have a clothes closet where you keep your shoes, totes and purses, clothing, jackets, hang a couple unscented moisture absorbers. They are also great to put inside drawers and cabinets also.
But, keep an eye on them as once they’re full, they stop their absorption process. You’ll be back to square one trying to eliminate moisture and potential of mildew and mold.
We actually use Damp Rid containers everywhere in our RV; from our pantry, clothes closet, cabinets to our basement compartments that may have exposure moist air or have very little ventilation.
They are great for not only absorbing moisture but also odors as well.
One of the great things about Damp Rid moisture absorbers is they are disposable. Just toss them in the trash when they’ve reached their expiration point.
Another way we keep moisture down in really small compartments is silica gel desi packs. We tuck them in with our clothes, storage bins and baskets.
They are fantastic moisture absorbers to use in your tool box, luggage, computer case, jewelry storage, camera gear, or other small places that it’s imperative to keep dry.
We even keep one or two in our kitchen drawers where we store our silverware, pots and pans and our food dry stores.
Monitor humidity levels
A great way to prevent condensation in your RV is by having a hygrometer. A hygrometer is an instrument used to measure the humidity, or amount of water vapour in the air. The unit of measurement is milliliters per cubic centimeter or the amount of fluid per volume of air.
Or, you may just want to get a temperature and humidity monitor that alerts you via Wifi and/or bluetooth when the moisture levels exceed safe or comfortable conditions inside your RV.
Check out our Video “2019 RV & Camper Holiday Gift Buying Guide”, You, Me and the RV share their digital humidity and temperature monitor.
Air out your camper or RV
It’s super important to occasionally air out your RV on warm dry days. So, pop open those windows and doors! Turn on your fantastic fan to help circulate the air. Also, open up your cabinets, closets and drawers so they can dry out too.
Doing so will help eliminate possible toxic mold growth as well as damage to your RV.
That said, it’s best not to open windows or doors on humid or rainy days.
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Wrapping up these condensation prevention tips
We hope these condensation prevention tips help to keep you and your family healthy and eliminate damage to your RV and belongings.
Just keep in mind, anything that’s wet or even damp inside your RV has great potential of causing toxic mold and mildew issues which are a health hazard as well as will cause extensive damage to your RV.
Other articles that may interest you:
Stinky Motorhome or Camper? How to Eliminate Odors in Your RV
Buy an RV Washer & Dryer vs. Using a Laundromat?
RV Living: CPAP Device Power Solutions for RVs
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4 Replies to “How to Stop Condensation in Your RV *Moisture Prevention Tips*”
This was a great tutorial of sorts about how bad moisture is on the inside of your RV. What you told us really makes a lot of sense. It’s just simple easy steps you can takes to make a huge difference in how your RV holds up over the years and extended use. Thanks again for the tips and great job on this post. Stay well and Happy Trails!
Hi Wesley, we’re thrilled you really like the information we provided. As RV owners, we must protect our investments and prolong the life of our RVs and campers. This is just one part of it but with many facets attached to it. Preventative maintenance is most important and to catch those leaks before they compound into bigger problems. Thanks for reading! -Dan
We use a big GE Dehumidifier, smaller Damp Rid containers and the awesome MaxxAir Fan for the coach. It’s amazing the water it collects. We have not had the problem in the van at this time. It’s one of the reasons we chose wool as our insulation, it manages moisture naturally!
Hi Paul and Nancy, thanks for reading. Big dehumidifiers are great for the big rigs however, as you know for small RVs and vans, there simply isn’t room for the big dehumidifiers. Yes, it is amazing how much water can collect from condensation in an RV.