How to control condensation in a caravan
At some point in your life as an owner, you may notice small droplets of water forming on the inside of your caravan, particularly in the winter. Welcome to the wonderful world of condensation.
Condensation in static caravans occurs primarily in confined spaces, but in order to fully grasp the impact of condensation, as well as explore the potential problems and outline control methods, it’s important to first understand what we’re dealing with.
What causes condensation?
Condensation is caused by high moisture content in the air. When warm air comes into contact with cold surfaces, the water vapour is turned back into a liquid. This is also why it tends to be a greater challenge in winter, when there’s a larger temperature gap between the heated interior of your holiday home and the cold weather outside.
In caravans there are loads of ways condensation can occur. Some of the routine processes and activities that cause condensation in a caravan are:
Poor ventilation, especially on colder days when heating up the caravan is required. When doors and windows are kept closed it prevents moisture from escaping and fresh air from coming into the caravan.
Cooking, as well as other activities such as showering or boiling water in the kettle will also cause condensation. These activities will release moisture in the air, and also naturally heat up the air in the caravan.
The weather. Besides the fact that colder weather has the effect of making surfaces such as windows cold, it also ordinarily forces us to keep the windows and doors closed, which circles back to the issue of poor ventilation.
Wet items, such as towels or laundry, or even dogs which have been in the sea, will contribute to condensation. These can all create a more humid atmosphere inside the caravan.
People themselves are a contributing factor to condensation due to the most naturally occurring process of all: breathing. The more time people spend inside a caravan and the more of them there are (say for example, you have guests round), the moister the air inside it will be.
It’s important to limit condensation for several reasons, but chief amongst these is preventing mould. Mould inside your static caravan is not only an eyesore but isn’t great for health either. It can damage a lot of items in your caravan, from curtains to mattresses. If condensation is allowed to build up over days and weeks, it can also cause damp patches or even small pools of water. These will eventually cause stains and rot.
Condensation is always going to occur in your static caravan, but it can always be prevented from doing damage. Here are some of our top tips for controlling static caravan condensation while the caravan is in use:
Ventilation, which is essentially just encouraging airflow throughout the caravan. Do this by opening some windows as soon as you arrive back after a period away, and whenever possible while you’re in your van. This will allow the moisture to escape rather than build up on interior surfaces. It will also enable damp places to dry out more quickly.
Using fans and vents is a great way to encourage the airflow. Cooker hoods and bathroom extractor fans are both vital tools for removing moisture. Always switch them on when cooking or showering and leave them on for a while afterwards as getting rid of the moisture can take longer than you’d expect.
Wipe down all surfaces. Appreciate that your static caravan is a cosy space and naturally prone to condensation. Make a habit of using kitchen roll, or a clean cloth, to remove moisture wherever it has settled before it has the chance to become a mould problem.
Should you need to do any laundry, avoid drying clothes inside, as this will increase the moisture in the air. If you have a tumble dryer, make sure it vents to the outside.
Put lids on pans when cooking, reducing the steam and preventing the air inside the caravan from being heated up faster.
Regulate your heating patterns so the caravan warms up gently, rather than all at once.
Invest in a dehumidifier.
Here are some more hints and tips to help prevent condensation in a caravan courtesy of Lindsay, one of our experienced owners at our Hopton Holiday Park in Norfolk:
Leaving bowls of salt in every room in the caravan, to absorb moisture. Cat litter can also be used, but salt works best.
All curtains and fabrics should be moved away from windows to avoid them getting mouldy. In the event that they do attract mould, using sterilising liquid is the best solution.
Move all mattresses away from walls to avoid them getting damp, and subsequently mouldy.
Make sure to thoroughly clean and hoover carpets before leaving the caravan over an extended period of time to avoid mould.
Stack all seat cushions, pillows, and anything similar in the middle of the room.
Leave all cupboard and wardrobe doors open to avoid the confinement that will lead to dampness.
Vacuum seal duvets, or hang them up on doors, and remove all fabrics such as beddings from wardrobes and away from walls.
Ensure that you leave all the beds up when you go.
Leave all taps open, with main water lines closed, to ensure any water still in the pipes can escape and empty out.
Finally, make sure to put antifreeze in the toilets and into the pipes.
These tips are even more essential for any caravan owners who do not have double glazed windows, as this will help to avoid major issues with mould. If any black mould spots do appear on walls once you are back inside your caravan after a long period of time. Lindsay recommends wiping them down with Milton’s sterilising solution that should take it right off.
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