How to Stop Condensation in Your RV

RV Condensation on Window

Condensation is one of the biggest causes of damage to an RV or camper. But also, it can eventually lead to health issues due to mold and mildew in a confined space. So, we’ve put together a helpful guide on how to keep condensation and humidity out of your RV.

How to STOP Condensation and in Your RV!

What is Condensation?

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.

Window Condensation

Over time, the process of condensation and excess humidity can wreak havoc inside your RV; costing you a lot of money. 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 mitigate condensation in your camper.

Condensation Prevention

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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. Check your RV ceiling for leaks; even inside cabinets and closets.

Get up on the roof to inspect and seal any possible water intrusion points. You should do this anyway at least twice a year under normal use as we’ve discussed this in our RV Roof Inspection and Maintenance blog tutorial.

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. Just make sure you get the appropriate color for your RV (black or white) based on whether it’s on the roof or window and door frames.

Ventilate by cracking a window

RV Skylight Window

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.

RV Air Conditioner

Run your air conditioner

Running your RV air conditioner is a form of dehumidification. If you’ve ever seen water dripping off your roof while operating your RV air conditioner, appreciate that moisture came from the inside of your RV.

To further alleviate condensation from happening, make certain all of your fantastic fans are off and windows or closed or you’re just inviting more condensation.

That said, we can’t stress enough to keep your RV air conditioner in tip top shape by keeping up with regular inspections and maintenance and frequent cleanings of your RV ceiling vents.

Cook outside

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? 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.

Check out our blog How to Create an Outdoor Living Space:

Outdoor Living Space Outdoor Kitchen

Wipe down your shower

Another good way of keeping moisture at a minimum is to wipe down your shower after use. We use a simple window squeegee to wipe down water and then dry the shower stall floor.  We’ll then take the damp towel and clip them outside to dry.

Dry clothing outside

Sometimes RV park or campground dryers don’t dry our clothes enough, especially if they are thick fabrics. Or, we just don’t want to put that nice sweater or sweatshirt in the dryer because fear of it shrinking. And, let’s not forget those wet towels from a day at the pool. Instead of hanging them inside, hang them outside or dry them on a clothes drying rack that folds flat when not in use.

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 has to go somewhere. And the you don’t want that somewhere to be inside your RV. For your Splendide, check out this RV dryer vent kit. Depending on the exterior color(s) of your RV, you’ll want to 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.

Use a dehumidifier

Dehumidifiers have come a long way! No longer are they huge, heavy and clunky. And who needs one of those in a small RV anyway? Now, you can get a small portable dehumidifier that’s less than the size of a gallon of milk! When we had our fifth wheel, we kept a 2200 watt mid-size dehumidifier in the living area. And in the bedroom area, we kept a smaller 1100 petite dehumidifier. Both were so quiet, we barely knew they were on.

If you’re looking for smaller desktop dehumidifier that doesn’t use electricity or batteries, there are small dehumidifiers that use renewable silica gel technology. They’re great for keeping inside your clothes closets.

Check out our product review on these portable dehumidifiers for a better idea of how they work for our RV.

Use moisture absorbers

If you don’t want to spend a lot of money or are looking for a quick fix, there’s the old Damp Rid standby. However, I have a Damp Rid moisture absorber with activated charcoal in our clothing and linen closet because it absorbs odors as well as suck up moisture from the air. Considering we spend a lot of time on the east coast in the spring, these are a huge Godsend.

Now, if you have a clothes closet where you hang your clothing and jackets, you’ll probably want to hang a couple unscented moisture absorbers as well. We all know, closets tend to collect moisture because they’re not kept open for long periods of time and allow for very little or no ventilation.

What’s great about the container moisture absorbers is they are disposable. Just toss them in the trash when they’ve reached their end of use time.

Oh, and we keep silica gel desi packs tucked in smaller compartments, cabinets or drawers. We also keep them in the tool box, small luggage, computer case, jewelry bag and any other small cases or bags we want to keep dry.

Monitor humidity levels

In our YouTube Video “2019 RV & Camper Holiday Gift Buying Guide”, our friends Phil and Stacy from You, Me and the RV shared their digital humidity and temperature monitor that operates via bluetooth or through WiFi. It will alert you of escalated humidity levels so you can mitigate it using any of the methods we suggested above in this article.

Air everything out

We saved this one for last. On dry days of no humidity or precipitation, go ahead and open those windows to air your RV out. Not only is it good for your RV but it’s good to get fresh air circulating.

We hope these tips on how to how to keep the humidity and condensation controlled in your RV will help keep condensation and humidity out of your RV or camper. Just remember that anything that’s wet inside your RV is going to eventually dry causing the moisture to go somewhere. Do you really want it to stay inside your motorhome, fifth wheel or travel trailer?

 

 

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4 Replies to “How to Stop Condensation in Your RV”

  1. 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!

    1. 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

  2. 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!

    1. 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.

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