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  #1  
Old 07-22-2014
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Humidity smell

Hey all!

My boyfriend and I are currently living on our boat part-time as we save up for our circumnavigation (visit us at couchsailors.com if you'd like!) next year. We're based in San Francisco and though we don't have a humid climate, we're battling a lot of humidity inside. We're pretty consistent about wiping everything down, especially when we wake up in the morning, but the smell of humidity is still a constant. I'd love some advice on what we might be able to do to mitigate the odor!

Thanks!
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Old 07-22-2014
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Re: Humidity smell

Ventilation and eucalyptus oil should rid your cabin of that musty humid smell.

My first mate, she uses a couple of drops of eucalyptus oil mixed with a little water and leaves it in an open or ventilated jar. On our 27 ft boat she places a jar in the salon, one more in the "wet" hanging locker, one forward in the V berth and another in the storage locker under the salon seats. I was a doubter when she first did this, but damned if it didn't work. She changes the jars out every couple of weeks or so.

I also keep a fan running circulating airflow when ever I'm not at the boat and do my best to keep a dry bilge.

Hope that helps.
Murman
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Old 07-22-2014
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Re: Humidity smell

Marine Solar Powered Vents on Sale

Easy to install and move some air, get at least two. One intake one exhaust. Haven't tried Eucalyptus mentioned about, but have found Kanberra Gel (although expensive) to work well on our boat. Kanberra Gel - Home
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Old 07-22-2014
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Re: Humidity smell

Well there is really only one solution is to find the source of the moisture. If it is just from normal living on board, then you need to set up some solar vents to get the air moving and fresh air into the boat. But you sound like you are describing more than just that so there are likely some leaks. With a boat like your Beneteau 423, there is a full liner so you may not see water from a leak and it may be finding it's way behind the liner and causing mold or you may see the water but can't tell where it is coming from. I would start with the usual suspects, with an 11 year old boat. First re-bed all stanchions and other other deck hardware with Butyl tape, a la Mainsail:

Re-Bedding Deck Hardware With Bed-It Butyl Tape Photo Gallery by Compass Marine How To at pbase.com

And do any hatches as well, though leaks from them are normally fairly obvious because they drip directly down. Keep in mind humidity does not really have an odor, so it may well be mold you are smelling and that is not healthy. Cleaning up with a caustic cleaner like Borax, and not rinsing on hard surfaces, can help a lot as well.

That should be a good start. For general odor you might try the Kanaberra jell it has good reviews here and elsewhere. Seems to be mostly natural and gets rid of the musty smell. It is based on Tea Tree oil, so you have to like that scent. They kind of make claims that it kills mold but I do not believe that. But I do like Tea Tree oil in general so I would not be afraid to use it.

edit:

Seems T37Cheif and I think a lot alike!
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Old 07-22-2014
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Re: Humidity smell

+1 on ventilation
+1 on Kanberra Gel
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Re: Humidity smell

In the tropics, my boat is painted white. If I leave it white in colder latitudes, the lockers get musty. When I paint her dark green, the hull is warm to the touch ,on sunny days ,even in minus 12 degree temperatures, when the sun shines on her, and the lockers stay dry and must free.
She is very well insulated.
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Re: Humidity smell

Actually, you live in a fairly high relative humidity area. When air with high humidity is cooled, like at night, the relative humidity (RH) goes up. Combine that with your hull sitting in cool water and you have a recipe for condensation. That is why you need to wipe things down in the morning.

You can't change the RH of the air outside or the water temperature. But you can do things to control the air inside the boat. Essentially, you want to keep the air inside your boat higher than the dewpoint. You can do this by raising the air temperature and/or lowering the dewpoint. Removing moisture from the air (dehumidification) will lower the dewpoint. Heating the air will reduce the RH and lower the dewpoint.

So, figure out how you want to do it. A dehumidifier will work. Simply adding heat will work, but not if your heater works by combustion. An unvented cumbustion heater will add moisture to the air and a vented cumbustion heater will draw outdoor air and it's moisture into the boat. You could try some kind of dessicant, but then you would have to figure out how to recharge it.

The use of vent fans works only if the outdoor air is warm/dry enough to absorb the water vapor from the inside of your boat. I doubt that's a reliable occurance in SF Bay.
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Old 07-22-2014
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Re: Humidity smell

Wash all your cushion covers and boat linens, and wash and air out the foam inside the cushions.

For foam, I make a bleach solution, spray it on the foam, and then leave the foam out in the sun to dry.

Rather than spending a fortune on Kanberra, which is a tea-tree oil formulation, just make up your own: 1-2 tsp tea-tree oil in a spray bottle, fill the rest with water. Shake and spray around.
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Last edited by Multihullgirl; 07-22-2014 at 07:15 PM.
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Old 07-22-2014
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Re: Humidity smell

I was about to say san fran has one of the most humid climates ever...

when I was in berkely a dehumidifier was mandatory...and good or bad lots of people left them on for many hours days unattended...a fire or 2 here and there was common.

to combat the physical mold and stuff bleach water all the surfaces...

but I like all the recomendations being mentioned

although I havent used any of those except for the dehumidifier and or a wood stove heater...which did the trick in winter but then you have to deal with soot.
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Re: Humidity smell

Quote:
Originally Posted by mtitus View Post
Ventilation and eucalyptus oil should rid your cabin of that musty humid smell.

My first mate, she uses a couple of drops of eucalyptus oil mixed with a little water and leaves it in an open or ventilated jar. On our 27 ft boat she places a jar in the salon, one more in the "wet" hanging locker, one forward in the V berth and another in the storage locker under the salon seats. I was a doubter when she first did this, but damned if it didn't work. She changes the jars out every couple of weeks or so.

I also keep a fan running circulating airflow when ever I'm not at the boat and do my best to keep a dry bilge.

Hope that helps.
Murman
Ooh that's a great idea! Eucalyptus is quite strong so I bet that even diluted it would cut through the odor. Does it just mask it though? We just cleaned out the blige (we were having a leak from our water tank and went ahead and dried everything out...I hope that helps). Thanks for your input!
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