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Old 09-29-2013, 05:32 PM   #1
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Have many had major condensation & mold problems in east Texas?

I've known of many horror stories involving condensation and mold problems even in high-priced dream homes in the Austin, TX area so even the engineers get it very wrong sometimes. In the case of large fifth-wheels, is careful ventilation sufficient or have many of you found it an ongoing struggle? (Yes, I understand the physics and have designed computer-monitored energy monitoring systems for large buildings in the past but just wondered what east and central Texans have experienced with their RVs.)

Do any of the RV central air systems use the newer high-efficiency fans which can be run to economically circulate the air 24/7 during vulnerable climate periods? I've been told that any AC system older than 10 years should be replaced because of the more efficient technology now but I've not seen any specific references to the blower efficiencies like I have on conventional home systems.

[And thank you all for your great friendliness extended to this newcomer in this forum. This site is definitely more neighborly than many online forums and I appreciate that!]
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Old 09-29-2013, 05:35 PM   #2
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Working at a service facility (that is very busy), I rarely have any sort of complaints about this.
All A/Cs can keep the fan running 24/7, but they aren't "economical." Just fan on/off with compressor, or fan on all the time.
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Old 09-29-2013, 06:23 PM   #3
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We live in central TX and spend time each year in the RV both here and in east TX. Never had any problem with condensation or mold in the RV in either location
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Old 09-29-2013, 06:25 PM   #4
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Working at a service facility (that is very busy), I rarely have any sort of complaints about this.
All A/Cs can keep the fan running 24/7, but they aren't "economical." Just fan on/off with compressor, or fan on all the time.
Thanks for that information, Jesilvas! When I had my 2story home in a somewhat similar climate elsewhere, my new heat-pump with variable speed fan was an amazingly efficient solution for such things. No more hot/cold oscillations, it made me wonder if something similar would be possible in a 36' RV. Setting the continuous air-movement at a low level makes it rarely noticeable and yet the comfortable temperature rarely varied. I never saw such a high-efficiency blower. (I think it was a TRANE system.) The KWH costs per month for running that blower was incredibly low. I've seen tiny new attic vents use far more electricity to do far less work.)

Jesilvas, is there any easy way for me to know which manufacturers tend to use well-deployed central air systems that circulate well? (For that matter, I'm interested in summaries and charts which will help me in shopping for an RV. I like to know which makes tend to be best adaptable to full-timing in an east Texas climate, which are better caulked/sealed, insulated, warmer floors, etc. I don't mind doing my own work adding insulation underneath etc. if I know that I don't have to tear a unit apart to access what I need to do. I will rarely move the unit and I simply don't want to have to fuss unduly over condensation and mold issues---especially if I want to leave for weeks at a time in the winter.]
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Old 09-29-2013, 06:32 PM   #5
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We live in central TX and spend time each year in the RV both here and in east TX. Never had any problem with condensation or mold in the RV in either location
Thanks that information. May I ask what brand/type of unit you have? (Is your unit generally considered a "full-timer" or "snow-bird" unit by the RV guides? I realize that those classifications are very subjective and questionable but it is nice to know what kinds of units are generally adaptive to this climate and which might be less suitable. I"m concerned because of the wide range opinions I've seen posted online from Texas snowbirders.)
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Old 09-29-2013, 06:37 PM   #6
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Thanks that information. May I ask what brand/type of unit you have? (Is your unit generally considered a "full-timer" or "snow-bird" unit by the RV guides? I realize that those classifications are very subjective and questionable but it is nice to know what kinds of units are generally adaptive to this climate and which might be less suitable. I"m concerned because of the wide range opinions I've seen posted online from Texas snowbirders.)
2007 Jayco Eagle, classified as a snow bird unit.
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Old 09-29-2013, 07:06 PM   #7
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Jesilvas, is there any easy way for me to know which manufacturers tend to use well-deployed central air systems that circulate well? Majority of trailers have ducted roof A/C units. (For that matter, I'm interested in summaries and charts which will help me in shopping for an RV. I've never seen any. I like to know which makes tend to be best adaptable to full-timing in an east Texas climate, which are better caulked/sealed, insulated, warmer floors, etc. Those will be New Horizon, DRV, Excel, older Carriage, Newmar, Travel Supreme units, and I'm sure a few others. You might find a few in your price range. I don't mind doing my own work adding insulation underneath etc. if I know that I don't have to tear a unit apart to access what I need to do. I will rarely move the unit and I simply don't want to have to fuss unduly over condensation and mold issues---especially if I want to leave for weeks at a time in the winter.]
You're not going to find guides and things like that comparing all the units. That's what the forum is for.
I wouldn't worry about mold or condensation. I think you need to go to a few dealers and look at different units just to get a feel of how the systems are set up and laid out first.
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Old 09-29-2013, 09:18 PM   #8
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I have a now 8-yr-old fiver that has never had a problem with mold or mildew--and I'm not too far from E. TX. However, the most vulnerable part of an RV is the roof seams and caulking, and no mfg can guarantee no leaks forever. It will be up to you to inspect and recaulk annually where needed. Some have 1-piece fiberglass roofing, some have rubber, some have aluminum and now there is the Rhino/Linex roof coming on the market.
Whatever you get, take care of the roof and seams--that will minimize leak potential.
Joe
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Old 09-30-2013, 01:30 AM   #9
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You're not going to find guides and things like that comparing all the units. That's what the forum is for.
I wouldn't worry about mold or condensation. I think you need to go to a few dealers and look at different units just to get a feel of how the systems are set up and laid out first.
I've looked at many. And I know my layout preferences quite well. But because I can't see inside the walls, it is hard for me to get a good idea of how well they are built (other than from what I can see by looking underneath, which helps somewhat.)
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Old 09-30-2013, 01:43 AM   #10
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Thank you, Jesilvas (and everybody else) for your advice. Much appreciated. So I can't help but tap your knowledge further.

Every now and then I see a private listing for a unit which seems remarkably low priced and I'm not familiar enough with the brand to know the reasons behind the low price. (Obviously, I can only tell a limited amount from the copious photos of the unit but the NADA guides suggest that some of those brands tend to price quite low.)

For example, Craigslist shows a 2004 New Vision 32ft with 3-slide-outs (but doesn't indicate the model number, which always amazes me in ads) for just $9,000. Its in on the east Texas coast so not too far a drive for me to take a look but I assume it is a Sportster (??). But even though it is being lived in by a full-timer in a park, I assume that is an "economy" type of brand that was built for the occasional weekender rather than for full-time, permanent site use----but I assume the milder climate in Texas attracts such long-term use. I don't mind doing extra work to winterize a unit for east Texas but have wondered if condensation and mold would be be problematic when walls are poorly insulated and/or have lots of wall/floor leaks. (If I have a spend hours caulking once a year, I'm ok with that.) I've just generally wondered if the extra cost for a well-built, well-winterized unit is worth the premium if I'm staying in one place long-term and not towing it every few days.

Frankly, in terms of layouts and storage, I've seen some economical units which please me more than the $35,000 units I've considered. I'm not afraid to pay $40,000+ if necessary but if I can get spend $15,000 and do a little DIY winterizing (and even add more electrical circuits and a second AC unit), I"m willing to do it.)
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Old 09-30-2013, 01:48 AM   #11
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I have a now 8-yr-old fiver that has never had a problem with mold or mildew--and I'm not too far from E. TX. However, the most vulnerable part of an RV is the roof seams and caulking, and no mfg can guarantee no leaks forever. It will be up to you to inspect and recaulk annually where needed. Some have 1-piece fiberglass roofing, some have rubber, some have aluminum and now there is the Rhino/Linex roof coming on the market.
Whatever you get, take care of the roof and seams--that will minimize leak potential.
Joe
Thanks. Yes, I'm planning to devote a lot of effort to sealing and maintenance of the roof (and building a roof-structure and windbreak if I'm pleased with my location after a half year or so in that location.) One variable is that my fantastic rural location will have some noise issues a half dozen days per month and I'm not sure if I want to "retreat" my RV site on into the woods in order to get more sound proofing----or if I will resort to ear plugs and noise-cancelling headphones. (The advantages of the rural location should outweigh the disadvantages but I figure I must live it to know for sure.)
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Old 09-30-2013, 01:57 AM   #12
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I'm hoping that during the weather/climate periods when condensation in my walls might be at issue, I will just invest in runnng dehumidifiers at both ends of the RV and maximize circulation of the air and also avoid any and all indoor moisture producers. (That is, I don't plan to burn any propane and I plan to route my humidified CPAP medical device exhaust out into the outdoors....or directly towards dehumidifer coils so it condensers there and not on windows. Of course, I plan to cover/insulate as many windows as possible, especially under vulnerable weather conditions. I had some freak winters in Austin where daytime temps barely warmed up enough. Yes, those winter-time longer cold snaps are rare but when they do hit, some million-dollar homes had permanent damage from condensation that started molds that couldn't be remedied. I had a client who was involved with the Texas court cases. So I saw first hand how most winters can be no problem and then a rare climate event can throw engineers for a loop. I saw a $3 million dollar home get bulldozed because of the mold that couldn't be stopped.)

Of course, the fact that I'm alone and have no big dogs means that I'm not exhaling a lot of humidity either.

So, on the other hand, if an RV only costs me $9,000, I can afford to waste some electricity during a fluke climate event and over-compensate and not have much at risk. I'm still young enough to exert some diligence until I know how my microclimate will impact me.
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Old 09-30-2013, 06:54 AM   #13
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I've looked at many. And I know my layout preferences quite well. But because I can't see inside the walls, it is hard for me to get a good idea of how well they are built (other than from what I can see by looking underneath, which helps somewhat.)
Manufacturers websites show how the walls are constructed.


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Every now and then I see a private listing for a unit which seems remarkably low priced and I'm not familiar enough with the brand to know the reasons behind the low price. (Obviously, I can only tell a limited amount from the copious photos of the unit but the NADA guides suggest that some of those brands tend to price quite low.)

NADA helps to at least let you know if it is actually a cheap line or if it is a good deal or possible a rotted out trailer.

But I assume the milder climate in Texas attracts such long-term use. I don't mind doing extra work to winterize a unit for east Texas but have wondered if condensation and mold would be be problematic when walls are poorly insulated and/or have lots of wall/floor leaks.
Honestly, you're way too hung up on mold/condensation in the walls. I don't see that as an issue, and I've had a lot taken apart.
The issues are water getting into the roof/walls. Cover it and seal it well, and you'll be fine.

Most walls are a filon/lauan vacuum bonded outer sheet (fiberglass). Then you have the metal sided trailers.
Both can be on top of walls with either insulation batts or styrofoam blocks.
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Old 09-30-2013, 08:07 AM   #14
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Simple answer, if you don't change the air in it, bad things will start happening, particularly if it's "somewhat insulated" or "well insulated" and especially if it sits in an area of any humidity. Common problem for people who "store their units" for extended period of time, they go into it 11 months later to take it "on the vacation" open the door and it stinks to high heaven. Worse if you store it in area of high humidity (like Florida), but will happen if you store it in the north too.
You have to open the doors and windows occasionally and air them out, even it they just sit. People who have winter houses in Florida know that they have to leave the air conditioning on during the summer (when they are not there) at minimum of 78 degrees, or the house will not be livable when they come back for the winter.
I stored my rig in Florida this summer in Florida, stored it in a campground so I could have power to it and run the air in it all summer long.

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