How To Keep Moisture Out Of An RV In Winter (Pro Tips)

Cooking, showering, and even breathing in your RV creates moisture that leads to condensation. Even your camping location can influence the amount of water vapor in the air.

Although these things can raise your RVs moisture levels, they’re most impactful when the temperature drops.

Moisture isn’t something to take lightly. Condensation can damage the walls, furniture, floors, and cabinetry of your RV. It can also lead to health problems down the line if left untreated.

What Causes Condensation Inside An RV?

When warm, moist air inside your RV touches cold surfaces such as windows, window frames, and walls, the moisture in the air cools down to form water droplets.

Sources of condensation in an RV include:

  • Warm, moisture-filled air seeping into a cold RV through open doors, cracks and crevices, windows, and so on.
  • Warm, moisture-filled air inside the RV touches cold walls and windows. This type of moist air can be created from hot showers, cooking, hanging clothes to dry in your RV, etc. RVs with thin walls and single-pane windows being used in colder climates can also lead to condensation

Either way, you’re left with condensation issues that can lead to interior damage and/or mold and mildew issues.

How to Keep Moisture Out Of RV In Winter

Keeping moisture out of your RV involves eliminating its cause. This requires you to do two things:

  • Reduce the level of indoor humidity
  • Reduce the number of cold surfaces in your RV

The trick is to experiment with various options and see what combination works best for your vehicle.

And don’t make it a guessing game. Buy an indoor hygrometer and measure the humidity levels in your RV. If they are above 50%, you definitely have an issue.

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After you’ve experimented with a few of the options below, check your hygrometer and see if there’s any improvement. This will help you identify what the problem was and what worked to fix it.

Here are a few tips on keeping moisture out of your RV in the winter months.

Run A Dehumidifier

Dehumidifiers remove moisture from the air by drawing warm air currents into their refrigerator coils. They come in a wide range of sizes, so be sure to get one that’s designed to fit in the confined space of your RV.

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Use Your Vent Fans

When things start to feel humid, put your vent fans to use. Running a fan helps distribute air evenly and evaporate condensation. If you have your windows or vent open, a fan will help the humid air escape more quickly.

Avoid Hanging Things To Dry Indoors

Drying clothes inside your RV raises the humidity levels. If possible, dry your towels outside and consider using laundry room dryers during the colder months.

Open A Window Or Ceiling Vent

If the air inside your RV is more humid than the surrounding air, opening a window or ceiling vent allows some of the moisture escape. You could invest in a small RV fan and run it two or three times a day to get the air moving. That’s especially critical when doing activities that create lots of water vapor like cooking and showering.

Skip The Gas Furnace

Propane heaters are notorious for emitting lots of moisture. Consider switching to an electric heater that will keep your RV nice and dry.

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Important: If you’re relying on your furnace to keep the RVs underbelly warm to prevent freezing, the furnace should be kept running.

Change The Way You Cook

Avoid using the stovetop as much as possible in winter. And when you do, keep things covered to reduce the steam released by pots or pans on the stove.

Other effective options include:

  • Outdoor cooking: Cooking out in the open eliminates steam issues inside your RV.
  • Instant Pot: Using this electric device instead of a stovetop can significantly reduce the amount of moisture in your RV. Just be sure to release the pressure outdoors.
  • RV oven: Ovens produce much less moisture compared to stoves. That said, propane ovens may produce some steam, so choosing a convection oven is a better option.

Raise The Temperature

Since condensation forms when warm and cold air meet, raising indoor temperatures can reduce moisture in your RV. Higher indoor temperatures raise the temperature of cold surfaces, such as your windows, thus slowing down the condensation process.

Be sure to use dry heat sources when raising the temperature. For example, your RV heat pump or an electric heater. These types of heat sources do not add moisture to the air like propane heaters.

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Insulate RV Slide-Outs

Adding an extra layer of insulation under and/or around your slide seals can also make a difference in sealing any drafts. One way to do this is to tape some foam board to the bottom of all your slides. That will make a significant difference in the temperature of the air near the floor.

Open The Cabinet Doors

Moisture tends to build up in small enclosed spaces. Opening your cabinet doors regularly when it’s cold will help circulate air and equalize the temperatures. It will also help avoid the growth of mold and mildew caused by trapped moisture.

Insulate The Floor

Insulating the floors on your vehicle can help raise the temperature and help to keep your camper warm in winter. In combination with proper air circulation, this can help by warming up areas where condensation is likely to form.

Some effective ways to keep your floor warmer include:

  • Skirting your RV
  • Installing foam board insulation underneath your flooring
  • Installing automotive insulation underneath your flooring

Cover The Windows

Most times, the moisture in your RV will end up on the windows. That’s because the cold air outside lowers the windows’ temperature, causing water droplets to form. Insulating the windows can help to fix the issue.

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Upgrading to energy-efficient, double pane windows is another great way to insulate your camper for winter and reduce condensation. If it fits your budget and makes sense in the long-run, we highly recommend it. If not, then simply insulating your windows with a shrink kit is a good alternative.

Use The Campground’s Facilities

Hot showers are among the leading causes of moisture buildup in motorhomes. If possible, skip the shower in your RV and use the campsite bathhouse as often as possible.

How To Get Rid Of Condensation In Your RV When It’s In Storage

Protecting your mobile home from condensation while it’s parked is a lot easier than reducing humidity levels while it’s in use. That’s because any activities significantly contributing to moisture production, such as showering and cooking, are no longer an issue when the rig is in storage.

Moreover, there’s no need to run the heater when your RV is parked, so the temperature differential between inside and outside air is minimal, making condensation less likely.

Nonetheless, there’s no harm in taking extra precautionary steps to protect your RV from excess moisture.

A simple trick is to use a moisture absorber product like DampRid.

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DampRid controls humidity levels by trapping any excess moisture that forms in your RV.

Pro Tip: Hang the DampRid moisture bags inside cabinets, closets, and other enclosed spaces. Replace once the crystals have been completely dissolved.

How Do I Know If My Camper Has Mold?

As discussed above, mold and mildew can be caused by excess moisture and condensation in your RV. But, how do you know if your RV has developed mold?

Mold and mildew will typically show their ugly faces on hard surfaces. Inspect high moisture areas of the RV, especially the kitchen and bathroom. The same applies to places where leaking water collects.

The most obvious sign of mold in your RV is a strange smell. If there’s a musty odor somewhere in your camper, you may have a mold problem. Another tell-tale sign is the presence of black, green, blue, or white stains on your RV walls, flooring, or carpet.

If you discover mold in your RV, it’s important to get it cleaned up immediately before it spreads any further causing damage and potential health issues.

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