It has been several weeks since I last posted. #vandog and I headed out on my first travel nurse adventure and have been settling in to our new life. So far, I am loving being in a new town, on the road, and meeting new people. The newness of the adventure is stimulating and has had some expectedly unexpected turns. One of those unexpected turns came in the form of weather.
I chose my first contract location in hopes of better weather so I could start riding my bike earlier in the season this year. I love mother nature’s temperamental behavior, because, try as we might, humanity still cannot not dial in the predictably of her weather patterns. She has had California in a drought for several years, so, I thought heading to Northern California would mean dryer, warmer winter/spring weather. Unfortunately for me (but fortunately for California), upon arrival, the soggy weather pattern continued for weeks, causing me to continue being held up in the van for more long periods of time. As the sunny weather finally hit and I was able to release the battened-down hatches, I realized I had a moisture problem.
I have learned, thanks to Tom Doran at Freedom Vans, that the first and foremost step in preventing moisture build up is proper insulation and ventilation. Amelia (my van) is very well insulated and ventilated. Her insulation is a combination of R-13, R-15, and radiant insulation including the forehead front of the van. She also has 2 screened windows: one located in the slider door and the other in my sleep area towards the rear of the van. She is also equipped with the awesome Maxxfan ceiling vent (check with Tom for any installation needs). Typically, I do not worry about condensation and moisture build up in the main cabin as long I remember to turn the fan on and slightly crack the windows. (Sometimes, when I forget to crack the windows, the driving window gets all steamed over!)
My main problem area was in Amelia's "garage" space. Small patches of white fuzzy mold was beginning to proliferate. After being sealed off for so many months, growth was beginning to creep along the interior of the doors and at the edge of the flooring. After cleaning the space up with vinegar laden rags (I try to avoid bleach, but that is the “Google” recommended route for killing growth), I hit the search engine to see what could be done to keep the moisture levels down in the less ventilated area of the van. I considered the Eva-Dry plug in dehumidifier, Damp Rid canisters, or a Petite Electric dehumidifier. I went with 2 small Damp Rid canisters and a Petite Electric dehumidifier. Here are some pros and cons of each to consider:
**I had a small amount of Damp Rid spill in the garage space of Amelia and it took a whole day to clean it up! Damp Rid is made of calcium chloride pellets (same stuff as road de-icer). The pellets attract the water molecules and as they collect them, transition to a slimy, greasy liquid form. This liquid form can hold a lot of water molecules, so even once it is in this state, the liquid continues to attract moisture. If it spills and soaks into any wood, there is no way to clean it out and will continue to attract moisture, eventually warping the wood. It also is extremely corrosive to metal, so if it spills into an area that cannot be reached and touches metal, rust and corrosion will occur.
Petite Electric Dehumidifier
Damp Rid it did an excellent job absorbing the moisture from the rain and ice build up on the back doors of the van, but the spill factor is a problem. As for the dehumidifier, I will continue to use it regularly (as long as it is not freezing). In summary, ventilation is one of a Amelia's best friends. After that, there are other moisture control options, but they do have their limitations, so you have to decide what will work best for your home on wheels.
~Cheers till next time!~
PS: If there is something you are wondering about in regards to van life, let me know by posting a comment or hitting the email button below. I would be happy to try and write posts satiating people's curiosities about #vanliving.
This is the story of life with "Amelia" my 170 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van home. The adventure is just beginning. Join me as I share experienes and van lessons.
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