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Old 09-18-2016, 08:17 AM   #1
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To Dehumidify or Not to Dehumidify and with what??

So we live in Arkansas which can be very very humid... Halfway through the 20months we owned our first motorhome (a new to us 99 Coachman Catalina Class A) I learned of the importance to reduce the humidity for the overall health of our coach. I went to the local Dollar General and bought a few boxes of damp rid and put them through the coach when stored. While cheap enough, these do not last long...like two weeks if I am lucky. We have now upgraded to a 2003 Monaco Windsor and I want to improve how we dehumidify by purchasing a small unit and maybe a mini for the closet but I am at a loss for what kind to buy... I am looking at the Ivation IVADM20 Small-Size Thermo-Electric Intelligent Dehumidifier with Auto Humidistat - for Bath & Laundry Rooms, Basement, Attic, RV & Boats. Does anyone have any experience or recommendations for one over the other...this one is on sale for about $70 which I would like to keep it in that price range if possible because again, I would like to buy a second smaller one that is maybe rechargeable to put in the closet?? Thoughts from the experts???
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Old 09-18-2016, 09:01 AM   #2
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You probably want a model that has an external drain, cause a dehumidifier in a damp climate produces a lot of water every day. Even then, you have the problem of where to drain it. If it goes into a sink or toilet, the waste tanks fill up soon too. Outside is better, but harder to arrange.

Note that a dehumidifier is basically an air conditioner anyway, so have you considered leaving the a/c on at a fair high temperature? Just enough so that it runs now and then?

We live in Florida and don't bother to dehumidify. Ventilation is usually sufficient to avoid problems, but once in awhile we get some mold if whether conditions are just right (or wrong?). Leave a vent or window open when possible, leave closet doors open, etc. We don't use a dehumidifier because we think that we can't reduce humidity enough to have much effect anyway. We are in and out of the coach often enough that new moist air gets in all the time, so the relative humidity remains pretty high no matter what. 55% RH is a dry day where we live!
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Old 09-18-2016, 09:52 AM   #3
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Another (part time) Florida resident. Our coach spends 6 months stored there (Nov.- April) under a fabric cover in a fairly protected area. For the last 3 seasons, roof vents (2) are open and 3 side windows are cracked to encourage ventilation from front to rear. Same issue As Gary (above) where we are picking up a little mold/mildew on occasion. Nothing huge, but I'd like to avoid it if I can. The coach does have power available.

I'm considering closing the vents and windows, and setting a small dehumidifier on the kitchen counter with the drain emptying into the sink. Gray water tank to be left open. History has proven we have a rather active squirrel population, so new steps will be taken to make sure none take up residency in the gray water tank (ongoing battle here).

Though unproven, that's my plan for this coming winter season.
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Old 09-18-2016, 10:06 AM   #4
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We have ran the air set close to 90 degrees through the hottest months here in Arkansas. I usually have a pretty health electric Jill anyway because of the size of our home and shops that are cooled but it increases my bill about $200 to run the Motorhome air and quite frankly that $700+ electric bill is hard to swallow... So I thought a dehumidifier might help. Also what about in the winter. Any moisture problems then? Again this is a new coach to us so I am not sure how it will compare to the other but I assume it will be similar.
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Old 09-18-2016, 10:34 AM   #5
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I am in Montgomery AL so I deal with this issue also. I decided against a dehumidifier because it has to have a drain outside or you risk flooding your mh. I keep the slides closed when stored and my concern is that the drain line would pinch or that my slide seal would get compromised. On our first mh I just used Damp Rid but that meant emptying it a lot and I got some mold anyway. So for this one I decided to get the hanging Damp Rid from Costco and run the ac's on 85. My power bill increased only $41 per month average over what it was with the old one and that was the hot months. The hanging Damp Rid lasts a month using two hangers and doesn't require dumping and refilling, costs around $8 for 4. The winter is less power but I keep the heat pumps going turned down to 40. No mold, no frozen pipes and no heat damage to the wood. Has worked great for almost 7 years now.

My friend using the dehumidifier just down the road has noticed he pays about $19 a month to run it. He checks on it all the time because he had the drain line come loose once. He is going to ditch it and try my way this fall. Not a lot of money to spend to protect you investment.
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Old 09-18-2016, 10:45 AM   #6
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FWIW - I looked at the unit you mentioned. 13 oz/day or 150 sq ft sounds small. Given you are storing not living in the closed up unit it might work. I would drain into a large bucket inside a larger one in case of a leak. Empty daily until I had a better sense of how fast it filled up. YMMV.
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Old 09-18-2016, 10:49 AM   #7
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Ok the units I have looked at promote an auto shutoff when the canister is full...does this not work? The unit also has a humidistat and that shuts the Machine on and off automatically to maintain a desired humidity... So it would not run continuously. Does anyone have experience with this because it does not sound like we are comparing like systems...
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Old 09-18-2016, 11:10 AM   #8
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IMO humidity should be one of the biggest concerns if using the unit for extended periods of time. Coaches are not constructed with vapor barrier so units, especially with bat insulation, would/could be prone to condensation in the walls. This is true whether the unit is used in warm or cold environments.

It will be difficult to achieve the correct balance of humidity. Too humid and mold is a problem, too dry and the wood will start to shrink.
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Old 09-18-2016, 11:59 AM   #9
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I come from the boating industry. Lots of people make their own dehumidifiers with calcium chloride.

Look at that Damp Rid container and then just fabricate a larger one to hold a whole bunch of calcium chloride and suspend it in a 5 gallon pail. Empty the pail when it gets full or when the calcium chloride dissolves. A small fan blowing across the bucket will aid in the process.

The key is a bunch of small holes in the container holding the calcium chloride to allow the water to drip into the pail.

Most people put something like that in the boat for storage during winter months. It's amazing how much water they will pull out and prevent mold and mildew.

An electric dehumidifier or an ac unit is probablly a better way to go but if you're looking for non electrical give it a try.

One other thing, most newer boat ac units have a dehumidify setting I wonder if there are motorhome ac units that have that feature.
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Old 09-18-2016, 01:11 PM   #10
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Look at that Damp Rid container and then just fabricate a larger one to hold a whole bunch of calcium chloride and suspend it in a 5 gallon pail. Empty the pail when it gets full or when the calcium chloride dissolves. A small fan blowing across the bucket will aid in the process.

I appreciate the suggestion but it is impractical for me in limited space. I wanted something small, portable and light weight that could be used when the unit is stored or that could be moved from area to area when it's in use and under higher humidity uses such as steam from cooking, showers and laundry loads. While your suggestion is innovative, it's simply not practice for my purpose.
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Old 09-18-2016, 01:13 PM   #11
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It will be difficult to achieve the correct balance of humidity. Too humid and mold is a problem, too dry and the wood will start to shrink.

I actually believe my owners manual has a recommended humidity range in it. My goal would be to try to stay within that range.
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Old 10-09-2016, 02:17 PM   #12
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This summer, we purchased a 35 pint dehumidifier from Walmart. We set it to 55% humidity and leave it run all the time when the coach is parked. It has a hook up for a hose drain. We leave the dehumidifier in the bathroom with the drain hose going into the shower. So far, it has really helped with the humidity problem in our parked motorhome. The brand of the dehumidifier is Midea. I never heard of them, but it works great and I am very pleased with the results.
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Old 10-11-2016, 11:21 PM   #13
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We use a dehumidifier sitting in the kitchen sink with the drain hose dripping into the sink. With the drain valve left open, the water just drips out onto the gravel parking pad.

Not all dehumidifier's will recover from a power failure. Look for this feature if you will be leaving the dehumidifier unattended for several days at a time. Most newer electronic control units will restart with the previous settings.

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Old 10-12-2016, 10:59 AM   #14
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we bought a frigidaire 30 pint dehumidifier for last winter. it worked great, took out a couple buskets of water a day.
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