What Causes Campervan Condensation?
If you’re struggling with condensation in your campervan our motorhome, find out what you can do to prevent and resolve the problem.
Campervan and motorhome condensation is caused by introducing moisture into the warm environment of your campervan. The types of things that cause condensation are;
- Wet clothing left to dry
- Towels drying after being used
- Wet pets
- Overnight breathing and body heat
- Boiling the kettle
- Washing-up in hot water
- Water ingress which leads to damp floors, walls and ceilings.
This moisture becomes trapped in the air and eventually settles as condensation inside a campervan, on any surface that is colder than the dew point, unless there is circulating air to move it around and take the moisture laden air away.
What Are the Signs of Campervan Condensation?
The most obvious sign is condensation on your windows, anything from a slight mist to heavy droplets, depending on how much moisture is in the air.
You may also notice that your motorhome bedding feel slightly damp at night and your clothes may also have the same feel.
If the condensation is on-going, then you may also see patches of mould, particularly around places where air struggles to circulate, such as above a drop down bed. This can usually be cleaned off with a specialist mould cleaner, but will continue to re-appear until the root cause of the issue is fixed.
If you have mould, black marks or damp patches along seams and joints in your walls and ceilings, which also feel spongy to touch, and a musty odour is present, then you may have water ingress and should get a damp check done.
It can take years for this to become noticeable, especially if it’s a small leak, which they usually are, which is why you should get an independent habitation and damp in motorhome check done regularly. You can also do this yourself using a damp meter and following this basic guidance;
- 0-15% – no cause for concern.
- 15-20% – professional investigation required.
- 21-30% – remedial action possibly required. Motorhome may show signs of damp or water ingress.
- Over 30% – severe structural damage may be occurring.
You should approach your insurance company if damp or water damage is found, you may be covered (if not for the issue itself, possibly for the cost of rectifying the damage caused).
Gadgets to Help With Condensation
How Do You Prevent Condensation in a Campervan?
Getting rid of condensation and mould and reducing damp in the air of your campervan can be tricky, unless you want to stop breathing! The best way to stop condensation inside of a camper is to follow these tips;
- Always have a window or roof light open, even if just a crack, to allow a trickle of fresh air (unless driving). Where possible, have two open to allow for cross-flow ventilation inside of your camper…the best type! It may seem counter intuitive to allow cold air in if your heating is on, but as the cold air pushes in it replaces the wet and warm air. Over time, this balance equalises leaving your with dry warm air, just what you want.
- Hang washing, wet clothing and towels outside or under your awning to dry.
- There are lots of damp in wardrobes cures, but the simplest thing is to manage condensation in wardrobes is by not storing your clothes too close together, making sure they are dry before being hung up and using condensation remedies such as dehumidifying crystals.
- Manage condensation in other storage areas by making sure your clothes and items are thoroughly dry before being put away.
- Clean your motorhome inside on a breezy day when you can have the windows and roof lights open.
- Leave wet dogs and other pets outside (possibly not a popular suggestion though!).
- If you have an extractor fan, use it when you cook or boil the kettle. If you don’t have an extractor, open the window or door by your cooking area as wide as possible.
- Panels with air vents which are usually sited underneath your campervan furniture should not be blocked up as they are a vital source of ventilation.
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- Open roof lights or windows fully when you shower in your van and leave them open for 30 minutes after you’ve finished.
- Turn cushions and mattresses regularly and consider storing them elsewhere if you’re storing your motorhome.
- Try a mattress underlay like this one to help with air circulation.
- Try using dehumidifying crystals or a 12v motorhome dehumidifier like this one, which will help prevent condensation by drawing moisture out of the air. Remember that a camper dehumidifier does not cure condensation, just removes the damp from the air.
- Place a few bowls of salt around your motorhome, Place a few bowls of salt around your campervan, this is the cheapest homemade moisture absorber you can get!
- Check under your bathroom and kitchen sink for leaking taps and get any leaks repaired.
- Do not attempt any external fittings yourself where you are required to make a hole in the exterior of your motorhome. If this leads to water ingress and subsequent damp in your motorhome, you may well not be covered by your insurance.
How Do I Stop Condensation Forming On My Windows Overnight?
Try using external silver screens on your windscreen and cab windows. This provides insulation to the motorhome windows and windscreen from outside so that the warm inner air does not meet the cold outer air which then forms condensation, giving you damp windows on the inside of your van. These thermal screens come into their own when travelling in colder countries or in November or December for example, when the external air temperature can be below zero.
You can buy generic sizes like this one but you will achieve better results buying the specific fit for your van, although they are much more expensive.
If you have fitted cab blinds, these also help in reverse, by not allowing the warm inner air onto the windscreen although they are not as effective as a good quality external silver screen.
You can also use a window vac like this one to suck up any moisture and condensation from your windows internally. This is a great tool if you need to be up and away in the morning and don’t have time for any condensation to dry naturally.