4 Tips For Tackling Humidity & Moisture In Your RV On The Coast
Paul’s away in Portland picking up his niece (who you may remember from last year) while I while away the day hanging by the beach and rocking out to The Cure (yes, I regress whenever hubby leaves town….as long as the thick black eyeliner doesn’t come out I consider it just a minor aberration). Not much to report apart from more beach goodness and a few very humid days, the latter of which makes for a good blog topic.
You see moisture is a thing of inevitability on the coast. Many Oregonians, especially those who reside on the “dry” side joke about the Westerners walking around with webbing on their feet. I’ve never been one to mind the moisture having grown up in Asia (where humidity often exceeds 100%…yes, this can happen) and living for 10 years in San Francisco where the thick fog that rolls over the city is a daily event. In summer it gets even worse when the marine layer sucks right into the coast creating May Grey and June Gloom, the foggiest months of the year! No, I don’t mind this at all and in fact I find the thick air almost comforting. The fog seals in sounds and muffles the waves, creating a silent microcosm. On particularly thick days you can walk the beach and lose sight of the shore making it seem like you’re in a manufactured bubble, miles from anything living. It’s really kinda cool…
But it does make for interesting living in the RV. There’s no doubt that marine moisture can be a bane for metal objects and I often get asked what we do to prevent corrosion and damp in the RV. I don’t claim to have the magic solution, water is water after all, but I do think there are things you can do to prepare your rig and manage excessive moistness. Here are my top tips:
1/ Wash & Wax (and Rinse!) -> One of the easiest things you can do for the outside of your rig is wash and wax it. We typically wash and wax before we get on the coast, and will try to rinse whenever we can while we’re here. A simple rinse will get rid of any salt accumulation from sea air and goes a long way to limiting corrosion. The wax helps to seal everything in.
2/ Protective Spray on Moving Metal Bits -> We use T-9 Boeshield on all of our exposed and moving metal bits including our jacks & tow bar. It keeps everything slick as well as providing a great barrier against moisture. Wherever we’ve used it we’ve never seen corrosion so I take that as a testament to it’s effectiveness. We really like this product.
3/ Ventilation, Ventilation, Ventilation -> Internally to the RV heavy moisture is not only uncomfortable, but encourages mold/mildew growth as well as clothing and linen destruction. On days when the sun is out and the air is dryer nothing works better to clear out your RV than simple ventilation. Open up the windows, air out your closets, fluff out your bedding in the sun and get the air moving in your RV. We have vent fans in the bathroom & living room which we’ll run on a sunny days plus we have a large ceiling fan in our bedroom. If you have neither any kind of cheap plug-in fan will work. The key is to get that air moving so you exchange dead, moist air (from inside) with dryer air (from outside). Propane releases moisture to the air too, so everytime you cook make sure to open and run those ceiling vents. Moving air is dry(er) air.
4/ Dehumidifiers -> Sometimes ventilation simply isn’t a viable option especially when it’s raining and the outside air humidity is over 80%. In these cases there’s not much to do except close up the rig and look at additional options. Your air conditioner will definitely do the job and is a great option in hot places like FL, but on the OR/WA coast where it’s typically cool (around 60-70 degrees all summer), running the air all day really isn’t practical. A decent ceramic heater will also dry the air some, but again may not be practical all the time depending on temperature. We use Damp Rid in our closets (both the bucket and the hanging kind) and recommend a dehumidifier for the main rooms. The Eva-Air dehumidifiers are compact, quiet and get decent reviews, but are not nearly as effective as the noisy good old-fashioned compressor-based versions. Which one you chose just depends on whether you can handle the noise of a compressor and how dry you want your RV to be (you’ll feel best if you can get below ~60% humidity). As a bonus, a dehumidifier is a great addition if you decide to winter in a cold, humid spot with your RV.
Of the course the ultimate protection against humidity? Just don’t RV anywhere humid at all, and definitely (of all places) avoid the coast. Then again who would want to do that? With a bit of planning & just a few extra items you can happily while away the summer with your feet in the water and your butt in the sand. Just be ready for some moisture and prepare yourself to bask in it all 🙂
Extra Notice: Did You Know You Have To Register Your Cellular Internet/Phone Boosters Now?
Those of you travelling with cellular boosters may not know that it’s now an FCC requirement to register those same boosters with your cellphone provider. The new rules went into effect May 1st so it’s way past time to act. Thankfully our buddies Technomadia wrote a comprehensive guide which means we’re now “legal” (our Wilson Sleek & Wilson Amp are now both registered with Millenicom), plus I don’t have to write it myself (love it when that happens). If you have a booster and/or are planning to get one, definitely read this -> The Definitive Guide to Cellular Booster Registration
- Chance of Precipitation: 100% -> Musings On The OR Coast Weather
- Washing the RV – How the Beast gets Gleaming Clean
- “The Beast” Gets A Super-Shiny Wax-Job
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We LOooVE Comments, So Please Do
Good to know about the booster…thanks. Yes, as long time Bay Area residents, now visitors, we’re familiar with the June Gloom syndrome!
Out-of-coast folks always find it odd that June is so “grey”, esp. in Southern California, but the locals know the deal all too well.
Great info to add to the RV Notes for long stays and fulltiming in the damp areas of the country. Thanks for the info.
Glad it’s helpful. I feel we have an “edge” on this given our many years in humid Asia & the coastal regions of CA LOL. You learn to love your dehumidifier 🙂
Growing up in Washington, I used to love our family outings to the ocean shore. Being a bit of an introvert, I used to love to walk down along the beach and lose myself. If there was a bit of mist in the air, so much the better.
I definitely find the mist gives you that deep sense of being really alone…somehow comforting. I like that too.
Lynne (WinnieViews) says
Thanks Nina– I plan to spend a lot more time parked near beaches in the coming years, so these tips will surely help a lot!
Cool. Happy the post will come in handy.
Hey guys. Don’t let that Western OR/WA mold get too thick between your fingers and toes before you scrape it off (-:
We are finally getting some rain in the Bend area too.
Very funny, Steve. We know what you “Easterners” are like LOL. Glad you’re getting to enjoy a bit of moisture even out on the dry side of the state.
We use this rechargeable dehumidifier, along with leaving our two covered roof vents open year around. This is storing our trailer outdoors in OR. and haven’t had a bit of a problem.
I’ve looked at that little renewable, but always thought it was too small/low-power to make any difference. Nice to know it works as advertised. I could see this being handy in our bathroom, for example.
Mold? What’s that? Thanks for the information, Nina. We’ll definitely keep this in mind for our future travels to places that have moisture. Grace (in Tucson)
I’m always kind of amused by the extremes we go through. We spend all winter in the desert hovering between 10-30% humidity and then all summer at 60-90%. We sure get a bit of everything. I think the highest we ever saw in Tuscon was around 45%…it snowed that day LOL.
Derek Weiss says
We lived in Washington for three months last year (Sept-Dec) and ran a big humidifier pretty much 24/7. With temps averaging 47 degrees, there really was no other option.
Another tip, take your screens off! We had tons of mold growing on them. You can’t wipe the windows down with the screens on.
Good tip on the screens. Moisture gets stuck in those areas and grows mold. We find the same thing happens by the front window and make sure to wipe that area regularly.
Derek Weiss says
In my opinion, if you’re living in your motorhome in the Pacific Northwest in the cooler months with more than two people, a fairly robust dehumidifier is mandatory, not a small one.
The temperature variance between the indoor heat and the outdoor temps, plus the exhalation moisture from the humans, propane heat, etc, is too much for the little dehumidifiers most use for their weekend get-a-way. Not to mention propane combustion yields water.
Use electric heaters………..
I would have to agree. I’m partial to the proper compressor-type dehumidifiers and preferably those that allow you to attach a hose and auto-drain. We run them at all the lighthouses we’ve volunteered at, and they’re pretty much a necessity. When we lived in Asia we relied heavily on our dehumidifier too. They’re noisy, but they really get the job done.
Jodee Gravel says
Great, simple tips – thanks! I always loved the Pt Reyes Peninsula in June. We would leave 100+ temps in the valley and wrap ourselves in a fog blanket for a couple days. It is a wonderful “otherworldly” experience :-).
Exactly how I feel. Outerworldly is a great way to describe it.
Nina…In the past you hit on diesel fuel additive for the grunge…Will you update your thoughts on that subject?
Still using the same stuff (Biobor JF) and still very happy with it. We filled our tank, added in the biocide and ran the generator right before we got to Cape D.
For those who have no idea what I’m talking about, this is the blog post that references this:
Linda Cicenas says
Hey Nina, just saw an advertisement on the Weather Channel for a show they will run on Monday, June 30th, at 6 PM (repeat at 11 PM)(Arizona time) called Coast Guard: Cape Disappointment. Didn’t say what they will cover but thought it was interesting since that is the very place you and Paul are at now. Just wanted to mention it. Enjoy your blog, thanks for writing. Linda
Oh how NEAT!! I had not noticed this, so I will definitely tune in tomorrow to see it. Thanks for the tip!
Karen @ Sock Monkey Trekkers from NM says
Nina – just made two batches (one for hubby and one for me)of your DEO recipe. I used the peppermint essential oil. I haven’t used makeup or hair dye in over 10 years. Have always bought “natural deo” but still didn’t like the ingredients. My hubby is super sensitive to hops which are in most deodorants on the market today. Thank you and I am sure we will love this product. I sure love the price!
Oh cool! We’re still using that same recipe (hubby uses it too) and we both still love it. You’ll need to reapply more regularly than one of those prescription strength deodorants, but you’ll adapt quickly. It is so much nicer IMHO than store-bought stuff.
Bill Joyce says
Nina: It was great to finally meet you today.
Thanks for coming by the lighthouse Bill. It was great to meet you too!
Great tips! Thanks for sharing. My Eva-dry does a great job for its small size, but sometimes I do think about upgrading to a big one. I’ve also found that those little buckets of damp-rid work well for under the kitchen sink and other closed spaces.
Yeah I think for moderate-level humidity a combo of Damp-Rid and Peltier-type dehumidifiers (like the Eva-dry) do an OK job, but for anything more substantial a “real” compressor-type dehumidifier is the only way. I just wish the compressor-type weren’t so noisy.
My girlfriend and i are just getting used to fulltime trailer life.. we have two peltier type dehumidifiers, and damprid in all the closed spaces. Everything feels a ton drier, but we still have an insane amount of condensation buildup.
Its pooring out and our gizmo says 60% humidity inside. Does the condensation go away with a big compressor unit?
Condensation only on windows*
The big compressor units definitely draw out way more moisture than the Peltier types. Having lived in Asia in over 100% humidity for many years I can attest to that. With a big dehumidier in our RV we’ve not seen any major condensation inside the rig, even on the moist OR coast and more recently in our trip thro MI (our dehumidifier was running pretty much 24/7 when we were there and our internal humidity kept at ~40%).
Now I can’t say for sure that it’ll completely solve the problem for you, especially if you have any small openings or leaks that might be contributing. Even a bit of leaky air flow by the window seals can/will impact you. But you should see a significant improvement with a condenser type dehumidifier. Just be prepared for the noise difference. They’re much noisier than the Peltier types.