How Do I Keep My Caravan Damp Free
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If you are a caravan or motorhome owner, you may have asked: how do I keep my caravan damp free? This article offers maintenance tips to keep moisture out of your caravan while not in use.
To prevent damp and remove moisture from your caravan you must follow some crucial steps, as it's more than unsightly and poses serious health risks. If left untreated, this can be expensive to repair and end in respiratory illnesses.
Today, we're asking how to remove damp from your caravan for good?
Damp, Mould and Mildew - What's The Harm?
Every caravan owner knows the sometimes irreparable damage caused by high winds and moist air during the winter months. Our wet clothes absorb moisture and bring this into our caravans and motorhomes.
Preventing damp in your caravan can be challenging, but this article is here today to guide you through the process and stop musty smells developing and mildew forming.
You'll be glad to know that excess moisture, damp patches, mould, and mildew are common in caravans and isn't a sign that you have done something wrong. It can form on our soft furnishings, caravan covers, and leave us with musty smells and all the windows open.
While good airing and fresh air will help, dangerous fungi will cause serious health problems and must be treated professionally.
Tiny spores are released into the air from the mould and mildew into the air that you breathe in your caravan.
Some of the more dangerous health hazards of mould and mildew exposure are:
Some caravan owners have been known to break out in hives, eczema and skin rashes from the prolonged exposure and circulation of mould.
Other bacterial and viral infections can affect humans nearby.
If you suffer from allergies, you are more prone to these symptoms. Inhaling the mildew spores can cause swollen nasal passages and mucus membranes, alongside coughing, runny nose, itchy eyes and other issues.
Those with asthma can experience severe coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and tightening of the chest when inhaling spores from mould. These spores cause bronchial spasms, leading to asthma attacks.
Some people have identified chronic fatigue, migraines, mood swings and even memory loss when prolonged exposure to mould has been present.
It is worth investing in moisture traps and moisture control products, such as a caravan damp meter. Tools such as these can keep your caravan guarded against mould while performing regular, preventative action. Routine maintenance and cleaning of your caravan are essential, primarily focusing on areas in your bathroom, kitchen and windows.
Washing and clearing out cupboards, the fridge, window sills and ensuring no pipes are leaking are all things you should be doing as the winter season arrives. You can save yourself money and future costs before the mould spreads to all corners of the caravan by preparing your unit for the elements.
What Are The Signs Of Damp?
There are some signs of damp that you can look out for when entering your static caravan after a period of time. Dealing with a mould-prone caravan is a process of some simple steps, but you must be careful while doing so.
Here are some of the common signs of damp:
Black marks on doors, windows and walls.
Walls that appear and feel soft when pressed against.
Stains on walls and doorframes.
Damp-looking patches on ceilings and walls.
As mentioned above, buying a damp meter is a good investment and can be a reliable way of checking for dampness in the unit. You can buy one from most hardware stores and other outlets for cheaper than repairing the mould issue in the first place.
Mould can form and spread in strange areas, so you should check every cupboard, sofa, cushion, drawer, and even place you don't think could grow fungus.
Preventing Damp In Your Caravan
Our advice is to invest in preventative measures and not a cure at the end because getting rid of mould is much more challenging than preventing it in the first place. Whether you have never experienced mould, mildew or fungus in your caravan before or not, these simple steps can help you from being in that situation:
Wipe down all surfaces in the kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and surrounding areas with an anti-bacterial wipe or similar disinfectant product.
Vacuum the caravan's interior regularly, especially before you plan to lock it and store it away for long periods.
Allow air flow and circulation regularly, even when locked up for periods. If you enlist a storage facility or campsite to keep your caravan secure, you can always ask them for help.
Wipe condensation from windows as soon as you notice it, which can be an ongoing process in the winter months.
Investing in dehumidifiers or other moisture control products can help maintain water levels in your absence.
Be sure to wash down the caravan's exterior before and after the off-season. This includes the winter wheels, roof vents and along the walls. Do the same with the interior, covering areas like cupboard doors and under furniture.
Open windows in the bathroom and kitchen as often as you can. If you have a shower inside or have had warm water running, be sure to open them then too. Tumble dryers can also cause trapped moisture and condensation, so don't let moisture build-up over time.
If you have experienced mould before, it could be worth wearing protective clothing while using a scrubbing brush throughout the interior.
For everyone, this level of cleanliness won't be possible as often as others. Regulated cleaning of all surfaces and moisture prevention are the best ways to go here.
Be sure there is no water left when leaving your caravan for extended periods, so draining your water heater is advisable. Your caravan insurance may cover you in the case of mould, but be sure to check this sooner rather than later.
How To Maintain Caravan Ventilation
When the humidity rises, and there is little air to circulate the caravan, water and moisture can form. In best-case scenarios, this results in condensation on the windows that you wipe off the following morning.
Worst case, damp floorboards, walls, doors, and mould spread through the caravan. To prevent this, you need good ventilation - but how do you achieve this?
The simple way moisture and damp is formed is when we shower, wash up, cook or even sleep inside the caravan. The best solution is to open windows and doors or a roof vent if you have one.
Warm and moist air is created during cooking and showering, so opening a window to allow steam to escape can stop it from collecting and forming on walls and doors. It's tempting to hang wet clothes inside the caravan but try as best as you can not to and use a laundrette and exterior tumble dryer.
Preventing Dampness When The Caravan Is Not In Use
Whether you are leaving your caravan for a few hours, a day, or more extended periods, you should continue to practise good ventilation.
In Spring, Summer and Autumn, you should aim to leave a window or two open on the safety or 'night latch' setting. This allows a small air flow into the caravan but not enough of a gap to let thieves or pests in.
When you store your caravan for long periods during winter, perhaps on a storage facility or at your property on the driveway or garage, you shouldn't open windows. Unlike summer, this will let damp air into the caravan and cause moisture to collect.
Close all vents and windows if you can and open all cupboard doors and doors inside the caravan, boosting what little ventilation there may be. Remove bedding and clothing from the interior as these can collect moisture. During this time, moisture traps such as moisture-absorbing crystals and dehumidifiers are your best friends.
When you notice water ingress, that is, water penetrating its way through the walls and into your caravan, you can be in for an expensive repair.
Water ingress can affect under panels and the flooring, and a professional engineer will need to inspect the caravan to assess the best solution.
When left unattended, water ingress can damage furniture, decorations and cause fungal decay and damp issues in the long term. In the case of caravans, water most likely seeped through the walls or windows, or in some cases, through the floor from the damp ground or grass.
You could have water ingress if you have peeling walls, damp patches, mould growth, or notice a damp smell. The caravan will need to be thoroughly drained and repaired where the water damage has taken effect.
Removing Mould And Mildew
Here are our top tips for removing mould and mildew from your caravan:
Wear protective clothing before attempting to get rid of mould. This includes a face mask, gloves, and perhaps an apron or some other form of overall.
Bleach can harm the caravan, so do not use it. Using warm water and washing up liquid or mixing one part vinegar to one part warm water can help deal with mould.
To stop damp from returning to the same area, as this is a weak spot, use a spray bottle and fill with one tablespoon of clove oil for every 1 litre of water. Leave the solution on the area for approximately 20 minutes and wipe off.
Dry the affected area down before moving on.
Scrubbing brushes should be used on the affected areas, gently on delicate surfaces.
These are all DIY solutions to removing mould or mildew from your static caravans, but if the problem persists or is more significant, you should contact a professional mould removal team.
Storing your caravan in a suitable place will achieve the best results during the cold months. If you are laying the caravan somewhere with dirt and moist ground, you will more commonly experience mould and fungi growth, putting you and your family at risk.
Are you looking for caravan and motorhome storage in East Lothian or Scotland? We offer secure storage facilities with 24 hour CCTV security with 7 day access.