The first Winter I lived in my RV (this is my third) I wondered why my walls were getting wet. I’m grateful I’ve found solutions!
There’s a time of year in the Pacific Northwest I call “The Dampening.” This is my fourth Winter living up here (the first year I was in a tiny house with insulated walls) and reliably there’s a drop in temperature and increase in humidity.
Regardless of whether it rained overnight in the morning everything is damp. (Cue Morning Dew by Grateful Dead.) And if it doesn’t get sunny during the day it might not dry up again. And probably won’t dry up until next summer.
There’s science around condensation. When a glass of water is cold it will get wet on the outside. Why? Condensation.
That affects RV walls! On the inside and outside, but most insidious inside. I had neighbors whose trailer had to be demolished because the entire closet walls were moldy beyond repair. A whole house uninhabitable because previous owners didn’t take precautions! (😳)
A stitch in time saves 9! The Dampening also affects buildings, too. A friend who is a property manager in the PNW explained apartments deal with this a lot as well.
This is what worked for me! A homelabs medium to large room dehumidifier. My Mom and her spouse Pat bought it for me as an early birthday present in 2020 (exactly 2 years ago this week) and it did the trick swiftly. PERFECT for this problem! It has wheels, is easy to empty and maintain.
The other essential device I use is my Eden Pure space heater. Mine is an older model but this link was the equivalent I could find on Amazon.
If you are lucky enough to live in a lesbian retirement village and tell people you’re Wintering in an RV you will hear common unsolicited advice: do NOT use propane heat! Instead use electric!
Why? Moisture! Propane heat is releasing water and contributes to The Dampening.
Here’s another good reason–we could all have access to carbon neutral renewable energy through solar or wind power. That’s way better for the environment than using fossil fuels to heat. This is not my case because my community hasn’t prioritized collectively shifting to solar or wind power. Hopefully someday!
I have owned a dozen different types of space heaters over the years and the Eden Pure (this one was a hand me down from Mom & Pat) was a game changer. It’s sturdy, has lots of safety features like auto temperature and it will not let you trip over the heater or the cord without turning off. It’s a perfect little heater for inside.
I do a kind of dance with the heater and my dehumidifier because I need to keep them on different electrical circuits. I move the dehumidifier between the bedroom and my living room (she has wheels).
Have you ever noticed that cooking is basically exciting water until it evaporates from the food? Have you ever wondered where that air goes? It’s to your walls if it’s Winter in an RV.
Living and breathing is also all water vaporizing. Water is life!! Water is an essential resource!
I start my day with the dehumidifier on while I make my tea and porridge. Hot liquids going right into the air and getting neutralized by the dehumidifier. I keep it going for an hour or two. When I shower the dehumidifier goes to the bedroom (where the shower air goes), I usually leave it going in the bedroom (with closet doors left open a crack to circulate air) while I take my daily forest walk. Then it has some time in the living room when I make dinner, and then some time on again before bed.
I don’t sleep with the dehumidifier on because I notice I wake up dry in my throat and that’s not good for a time when respiratory and vascular viruses are running rampant. Plus I live frugally (so I can devote myself to my art and activism) and I’m not trying to rack up a giant energy bill.
I think the energy star rating is right for the dehumidifier because while it needs electricity it is not a big hog of the electric bill. (My space heater is!)
Before I was blessed with my dehumidifier the first thing I tried to reduce the humidity in the air was getting this Eva Dry baby for my closet. It made very little difference and takes about 2 days to fully recharge so to speak (it’s a bunch of silica gel inside an appliance that heats up when you plug it in and dries out the silica). It’s good as back up in my closets now and I use it in my car. Ideally I would get a team of them to have in each closet where I have clothing.
Okay I hope this helps! It’s been really cool to live where I live and even though in the winter glamping is kind of uncomfortable and sometimes I get a little neuropathy from being too cold I’m learning more tips and tricks! Stay tuned to my blog for more I’m posting every day!
If you have RV life questions send me a note fatkiddanceparty at gmail dot com!
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