Dear RV Doctor, I am new to owning and living in an RV so I am not familiar with propane heat. I have read that propane heat also puts out moisture. What is the best way, easiest and most economical, to handle moisture and condensation in an RV? Thanks! Jacki
Hey Doc, I have a 25-foot RV with a new 13,500 btu air conditioning unit. The problem is at night time the humidity level is high, over 80%, with the temperature around 70-degrees. What should I do? Dustin
Well Jacki and Dustin, it's true any gas-fired burner emits moisture (propane, natural gas, etc.), as well as rooftop air conditioners. And indeed moisture can be problematic in and around any RV. There are a multitude of desiccants commercially available that can help reduce moisture accumulation and I've experimented with many over the years since pervasive moisture/condensation have been a never-ending battle for RVers in most climates.
I recently completed a test of a renewable dehumidifier that uses no electricity and does not require messing dumping of the water it collected. It's called H2Out. The nice thing is that it is available in varying sizes/capacities making it the perfect companion for RV travelers. And since there is no water collecting there's no fear of spillage as you travel up and down hills in the RV. And the best part; it works!
The H2Out is comprised of silica gel modules as opposed to solid silica clay particles. Silica gel can absorb up to one third its own weight. And each H2Out dehumidifier contains thousands of gel beads encased in a stainless steel canister that is easily stored, used and renewed. Renewed properly periodically, each canister will likely last the life of your RV.
The gel beads are normally blue in color and turn to pink as they absorb the moisture in the air. Depending on the size of the canister, they should easily last 30-60 days before needing renewing. At least that's what their literature stated. I ran my tests for a full 90 days just to see what would happen.
For my review of the SD309, I first ran a three-month test of an unheated space, unprotected by a dehumidifier. I measured the humidity and temperature extremes during this benchmark test. I then placed the H2Out in the same space for another 90 days and measured both extremes again.
Here are the overall results:
Without Dehumidification With the H2Out in Place
Temperature Extremes: 68 - 79-degrees Temperature Extremes: 54 - 81-degrees
Humidity Extremes: 31 - 43% Humidity Extremes: 24 - 69%
The test was performed in Seattle, WA where the moisture content can vary drastically over the course of the year. Clearly the H2Out obtained the lowest humidity measurement. The benchmark test was performed from late spring to early summer (May - July). The time period for the H2Out test ran from July to September.
The beads began turning slightly pink within a week, which is normal since the moisture is absorbed from the outside to the inside. After 90 days, it was clear it was time to recharge the canister. I'm convinced I would have gotten better results had I recharged the H2Out at the recommended 60-day mark.
The renewing process is quite simple if you have an electric oven, (uh...don't place the stainless steel canister in a microwave!). It was a little more detailed with my gas cooktop. Do read the recharging instructions carefully! My test canister is now back in my controlled space to see how it performs during a 60-day run of a NW winter.
I am convinced the H2Out is quite worthy of its stout price since it will literally last for years with proper renewing. At the suggestion of a rep friend, I even stuck an SD106 in my refrigerator. Though it's probably harder to quantify since I recorded no measurements, I have not found one drop of moisture inside the food compartment yet. Well, other than when I spilled my coffee creamer.
I'd recommend readers visit the H2Out website and read through the informative pages. Though more costly than other, higher maintenance dehumidifiers, I feel serious RVers need to at least check it out.