Spotting and preventing damp in your caravan or motorhome

Published in Caravan Guard News, Caravanning Top Tips, Motorhoming Top Tips on   - 42 Comments

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  1. Debbie says:

    We have found a caravan, it’s our 1st to see if we like enjoy it, the man selling it said it has 30 percent damp on meter, it looks fine, no smells no mould or stains, patches on any cushions or in cupboards etc, we checked .. would you steer clear or still purchase , please advise. Thank you

  2. graham billington says:

    All above is good sound advice but back to basics, even if you use your caravan or motorhome during autumn/winter months make sure you drain the water closet tank & casset. The condensation that forms on a full or half full tank walls can be quite spectacular, the rest is then up to gravity.

  3. John Case says:

    In reply to “Dave says:
    29/01/2017 at 10:49 am ” – If this is a new van, then IMHO this may be worrying – but don’t panic (and spoil your pleasure of the caravan!). Go to the retailer and have it checked out asap. If not satisfied then the CC do have independent caravan engineers (CC members get a discounted price – see CC website). Good luck.

  4. Vicky lucas says:

    Thankyou for the practical tips I normally use damp crystals but I am going to give cat litter a go.we don’t suffer from damp but it’s good to take precautions especially now we get more rain and wind all year round.

  5. Dave says:

    Thanks for all your feedback there were lots of useful tips
    Happy caravaning

  6. Jenny B says:

    Good article; plenty of good tips, thanks. There is one option left out – an electric dehumidifier. For those of us with caravans on the drive, or otherwise within reach of power, this has to be a great investment. A small one which can cope easily with a smallish van costs about £35 – the one which is Amazon’s Top Buy is brilliant. They switch themselves off when they have extracted enough water to fill the water tank.

    My van is waterproof (single GRP moulding) so a dehumidifier runs for ages without filling up its water tank – it also warms the van slightly. People who have more of a damp problem may be happy to go out every two-three days to empty the water tank. Otherwise, you could get a larger machine (or two small ones), or use a small machine with a minor mod (easy to do on the model above-mentioned). By piping the extracted water not into the tank, but instead into your sink (with the machine standing on the draining board) it will never fill up, and so it will never switch itself off. For a few pence a day in running costs, it has to be worth it. It can be put on a timer plug to come on for just an hour or two a day.

    Obviously, supervise closely at first to make sure there are no problems. Undoubtedly you have your caravan smoke alarms and they are linked to your house and smartphone so you know if they go off!!

    I can leave all the upholstery, cushions and even bedding in place all winter ready for frequent getaways, and it’s always crisp and dry. I have airvents open for a small amount of airflow but still the air inside the caravan remains dry compared to moist air outside.

    I find when I’m caravanning in the winter, there can be significant condensation resulting from coming into the van wearing damp clothes. I try to leave coats/boots in the car, but it can’t be avoided altogether. If I’m off-grid, I use an AlierKin Renewable Wireless Mini Dehumidifier – posh name for some crystals in a smart, slim plastic case which also contains a little heater. To discharge the water from the crystals after a few days, you plug it in (away from the caravan). Doubtless it works no better than a big bowl of crystals or cat-litter but it’s small and neat, can’t spill, and doesn’t raise questions from the neighbours about where the cat has gone!

    Apart from an open bowl of crystals, as mentioned in the article, there are many types of closed ventilated pots which cannot spill, containing either cheap throwaway crystals, or more expensive recyclable ones which you dry out in an oven. People report mixed success in drying them out enough. Amazon has them all – search for dehumidifier or dehumidifier crystals – there are plenty of comments on which ones work best, many of them from caravanners.

  7. David Bell says:

    Have to admit, I don’t agree with the use of damp traps / moisture traps / kitty litter. Think about it, your caravan has multiple gas drop vents, under cooker, fridge, water heater, along with floor vents, wall vents, and rooflight vents. So the air within your caravan, with the slightest breeze is constantly changing.

    So trying to capture any moisture from that air is a fruitless excercise as the air is constantly changing. So your moisture traps will capture as much as their capacity can, and then just sit there, wet. Not able to capture or absorb any more, and the air in your van will have changed again, due to the vents.

    These moisture traps are surely only any use if you can 100% seal up any vents, and then and only would your damp tramps capture air within JUST the van, and not the rest of the world…..

  8. Robert murray says:

    I put 4 £1 dehumidifiers around the inside,and change them once &does the job caravan smells great as they are scented as well. Good advice with article thank you. Happy caravaning to all.

  9. Hazel Johnson says:

    Good tips for new caravaners. Thank you.

  10. Graham Ford says:

    Great advice. I have used the dehydration crystals but I am about to try the cat litter route.

  11. Dave says:

    This is our 1st winter season so reading all the reviews we put down 5 bowls of salt in November
    I went back to check last week to find 5 bowls of water but we did find some drips on the bathroom ceiling
    This is a new van is this right

  12. Peter davidson says:

    Great tips
    Thank you

  13. Sandra says:

    My first year of having a caravan so will visit open all cupboards and put down tray cat litter thankyou for tip

  14. Robert Hayes says:

    Leave the heating setting on low, just to keep it a nice warm temperature unit to keep the interior fine.

  15. Alan Humphries says:

    This is what I do we have a protec cover over the van and when its frosty and foggy I put the ALDI heating on low I have been and checked van today and it is lovely inside I turned the heating off because it is mild here today

  16. Richard Swainston says:

    I leave the heating on at minimum but cushions out and vents open, not had a problem with damp.
    Still early days only been caravanning 42 years!

  17. BARBARA FOSTER says:

    I’ve got an electric dehumidifier which I put in our motorhome at regular intervals, especially if we are going to use it after it’s stood through the winter.

  18. michael fletcher says:

    Really useful practical advice, a timely reminder.

  19. Graham says:

    Good sound advice thank you.we have bought a low wattage tubular heater which just takes the initial chill off the van so hopefully with the crystals acting as a visual check we hope this will be an added deterrant By the way, am going to try cat litter as advised by a previous contributor because of its cheaper price and avoidance of emptying the crystal containers continually if needed.

  20. Anne Mellstrom says:

    Really good advice thank you

  21. Ron says:

    I regularly go to pound shop and purchase a couple of Crystal dehumidifier for a £1 and place two in the van for the winter. I usually collect approx 1/2 litre of weather over winter. Also stand cushions in van + open all cupboard doors. The main objective to allow air to circulate. Also don’t cover air vents under the beds.

  22. Stephen says:

    Thankyou for all tips very useful. Our caravan is due in March.

  23. Margaret Jones says:

    My husband and I have been caravanning for 30+ years and have never had a damp problem with any of our ‘vans. We always leave a large tray of cat litter in the ‘van when not in use, which is far cheaper than damp crystals and if your ‘van is a distance away from home there is no need to go to empty the water chamber!

  24. Kevin says:

    Great practical advice

  25. David Burdon says:

    I have used Prodripoles instead of messy crystals for a number of years and have found them easy to install and handle.A little expensive though.

  26. Ralph Brunjes says:

    Brilliant tips that everyone can and should take on board

  27. Morley says:

    Would it be a good idea if keep caravan at home to keep the heat on low in the winter months

  28. Andrew Sparkes says:

    I found this article very. Helpful and down to earth, good advice given in a easy to follow way,

  29. David ! says:

    Keep up the good work in tackling these common problems instead of just focusing on marketing for the caravan industry. They don’t buy yourcaravan insurance, we do

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