Condensation UGH!

Converting Cargo Trailers into TTTs

Condensation UGH!

Postby hunter535 » Fri Oct 16, 2009 9:01 pm

Here is one thing that I did not think of at all. :thinking:

While camping with our CT on Columbus weekend, the outside temperature dropped down to freezing and below freezing on 2 nights. In the morning I noticed that there was condensation build up on the selftapping screwheads that hold the luan in place. Also there was some condensation on the luan walls where the metal studs are against the luan. The cold must have radiated through the studs and the luan. Both morning I had to wipe down the screws and the luan in places. I only had a catalytic tent heater. It helped to keep it bearable inside the CT but it wasstill cold inside. I plan on getting a bigger heater for future trips when it is going to be cold like that.

Has anyone run into this problem? If so, is there a fix? Or do I just have to not camp in freezing weather? I prefer to not camp in freezing weather but we were itching to go camping!
Would a bigger heater help to heat the walls better and thus avoid condensation build up inside?
All in all, we had a great time. :thumbsup:

I felt sorry for the tent campers that one morning, 26 degrees, BURRRRR! :snow
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Postby mikeschn » Fri Oct 16, 2009 9:12 pm

Here's the fix...

http://www.ducktec.com/itmidx14.htm

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Postby Prem » Fri Oct 16, 2009 9:54 pm

Fabulous, compact heater Mike!

12v and self-igniting.

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Postby edcasey » Fri Oct 16, 2009 10:13 pm

Unfortunately condensation is a common problem in campers when you run heat. Our conversions are prone to it because of the thin walls and metal structure. Like you said, the cold conducts through the wall studs and the screws. The warm moist air comes in contact with the screw causing it to condense and drip. The only way to stop this is to keep the interior air from contacting the cold screw. I copied what several older camper manufacturers did to solve this problem and covered every screw that goes into a wall stud with a plastic washer and cap. They're available in a lot of colors so i was able to get some that nearly perfectly match the wall color. They work well as I have never had a problem with condensation on the screws. They even use the same caps on Air Force One.


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I'm running a 7900 series furnace like Mike suggested and it definitely helps to warm the walls and ceiling more than the electric heater I used before. It's a very reliable furnace and easy to install, service and repair. It warms the walls enough that I don't have condensation where the wall studs are anymore. I always keep the roof vent opened a little bit to allow the moisture to escape. A little bit of ventilation helps quite a bit.

The only place I get condensation now is, besides the windows of course, on my screen door frame. It's not too bad so I just wipe it off in the morning.

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Postby Ageless » Sat Oct 17, 2009 12:16 am

catalytic tent heater says it all; combustion creates water

A furnace as shown; vents that water outside and heats the interior air.

Now where did I store that little cast iron woodstove?
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Postby bobhenry » Sat Oct 17, 2009 1:27 am

Ageless wrote:catalytic tent heater says it all; combustion creates water

A furnace as shown; vents that water outside and heats the interior air.

Now where did I store that little cast iron woodstove?


Mine is on the front porch :thumbsup:

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Postby hunter535 » Sun Oct 18, 2009 7:11 pm

Mike,
Thanx for the info on the heater. :thumbsup:


Edcasey,
Thanx for the info on the plastic screw caps. :thumbsup:

I know what I will be installing on the screw heads in my CT. My screen door frame also condensated and that was whats I did, wiped it down.


Ageless,
Good information, Thanx. :)
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Postby hunter535 » Sun Oct 18, 2009 7:14 pm

bobhenry wrote:
Ageless wrote:catalytic tent heater says it all; combustion creates water

A furnace as shown; vents that water outside and heats the interior air.

Now where did I store that little cast iron woodstove?


Mine is on the front porch :thumbsup:

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Bobhenry,
Does that stove put off enough heat to keep you warm in the winter? Looks like you may be up every hour stoking it up! Or maybe every 1/2 hour?
Interesting though. :thinking:
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Postby Ageless » Sun Oct 18, 2009 8:29 pm

Hunter; it's cast iron. You don't need a 'HUGE' fire. If ya know how to 'bank' a fire; it will still be giving off heat 8 hours later
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HTT have this same issue...

Postby WTW » Sun Oct 18, 2009 9:55 pm

As stated in other post, I am looking to come from a hybrid tt, to a CT. Hybrids are known for their sweating on the inside. We always left open the roof vent and had no problems with condensation. If the roof vent got closed for some reason we would wake up wet. Yes we lost some heat out the top but less problem with condensation. just a thought....Tomm
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Postby bobhenry » Mon Oct 19, 2009 3:42 am

hunter535 wrote: Does that stove put off enough heat to keep you warm in the winter? Looks like you may be up every hour stoking it up! Or maybe every 1/2 hour?
Interesting though. :thinking:


Logs are small 3-4 " but it will hold several and it took the trailer from 28 degrees to 76 in 12 minutes from a cold start at the 08 shivaree.

Those results amazed even me and I have had wood heat since the oil embargo of 78.

Cycle time was about every 3 hours I am up and down that often with an electric heater turning it off and on to keep from getting too warm.
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Postby Arne » Mon Oct 19, 2009 7:56 am

recently, in up state NY, we got into the 20s.. I could see all the studs in the frost on the outside. The heat from inside transfers through the studs and melted the frost... It can't cause any damage to the exterior, but it sure showed how bad an insulator wood is. Metal is even worse, by a lot.
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Another condensation question

Postby grubbr » Fri Oct 30, 2009 11:42 pm

I did not see any references in anyones post about insulation. Does Insulation on the sides, bottom and top help? We am in the planing stages of building up here in the Pacific NorthWest and we plan to camp all year.
We were thinking of 1 in to 1 1/2 of rigid insulation all around. Too much? not enough? Are there any other features we can incorperate into the design besides a heater to reduce or eliminate condensation?
Any thoughts or advice would be great! Thanks!
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Postby dreadcptflint » Sat Oct 31, 2009 12:08 am

Anytime that you have cold and warm colliding you will have condensation. The best thing that you can do is insure that there is proper air flow.
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Postby Ageless » Sat Oct 31, 2009 12:19 am

Grubbr; Do you have space below the metal floor for insulation? If you can isolate the metal; that will help a lot.

With our climate; most of our 'cold' is also damp. Moisture transfer heat/cold as well as metal. While you don't want an airtight envelope; bodies give off water; we need to restrict heat transfer. Anything you can do below the metal floor will help.
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