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  #1  
Old 10-08-2012
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New Northeast Liveboard - First Condensation/Mildew Battle

Hi everybody,

My wife, dog, and I are new to this live aboard thing...and we really love it. As the temperature has dropped, we obviously are running into increased condensation and resulting mildew.

I have been scouring the "information super highway" about condensation fixes.

We live in NH in the slip, so we have shore power. It is not my preference right now to rip the boat apart and insulate everything, although I realize that may be a reality in the future.

We are running a small space heater for heat now, when needed, but typically don't use it much as the boat seems to stay relatively warm.

The condensation mostly comes around portholes in the walls, hatches in the ceiling...like the one over our bed, and under our mattress. We just spent the weekend cleaning the ensuing mildew...good times, but the beer was tasty when it was done.

We have considered a product called hypervent for under the mattress and are considering a dehumidifier currently.

I am also considering putting in a espar heating system...but seems like big money. I'm not even sure if that will help or make things worse, but heat of some sort needs to happen soon.

Does anyone have any tips on beating the condensation without ripping out boat apart as well as any tips on a decent heating system?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 10-08-2012
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Re: New Northeast Liveboard - First Condensation/Mildew Battle

If youre at a slip with power, consider a 'small' dehumidifier or use your onboard AC to knock down the humidity level.

You can 'insulate' the inside of hatches, etc. with 'bubble wrap', etc.
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Old 10-08-2012
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Re: New Northeast Liveboard - First Condensation/Mildew Battle

Dinks14: I live in Durham, curious, where is your slip? Wife and I have been kicking around the live aboard idea . . .
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Old 10-08-2012
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Re: New Northeast Liveboard - First Condensation/Mildew Battle

Hypervent - great stuff! Put it under your mattresses and cushions and let it curl up the sides to maximize air flow, you will have zero condensation problems. Or, don't use it, and plan to replace the bedding, which will have grown black mold by spring (you don't want to know how I know this, okay? Our first winter aboard, 2002-2003, was very very challenging. Let's leave it at that.)

Dehumidifier is another excellent suggestion.

Espar or Webasto heaters (similar technologies) are efficient and wonderful if you're at anchor, but burn diesel, which means they are adding moisture to the cabin air. If you are staying at a dock and have electricity, a few of those oil-filled electric heaters (look like an old fashioned radiator) are simple and safe, don't get too hot, and cost a LOT less than an Espar/Webasto.

Get Reflectix insulation (looks like silver-sided bubble wrap) at a hardware store and cut to fit the inside of lockers against the hull to keep the contents dry. Also at a hardware store are window kits containing clear heat-shrink plastic wrap that are good solutions for hatches and ports. Any clothing in lockers that are subject to condensation, can be stored in large ziploc bags.

Congrats on moving aboard, after 10 years, we still love it...
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Re: New Northeast Liveboard - First Condensation/Mildew Battle

Can you put in temporary reflex insulation (reflective foil covered bubble wrap type) perhaps held in place by flexible battens or Velcro? Are you shrink-wrapped? if you are make sure you have lots of vents in place.

If you add a heater that burns fuel, make sure it is vented outside, that will prevent it from adding moisture, and more importantly carbon monoxide.

I saw a very nice small looking dehumidifier at Home Depot last summer, and thought it would be great for a boat.

It may have been this one:

25-Pint Dehumidifier-SG-DEH-25-4 at The Home Depot


looked nice and compact. I have no idea if it was any good.
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Old 10-08-2012
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Re: New Northeast Liveboard - First Condensation/Mildew Battle

We live aboard in Portland and we do a few things to tackle the humidity. First, our heater is a diesel fired hydronic Hurricane system which does not add any moisture into the air. We also run a dehumidifier once we stop sailing for the year after Thanksgiving. Hypervent works great under the mattress. Cut out blocks of foam to fit into the hatch openings.

In the winter, we cover the boat with clear shrink wrap. We leave a small opening at the toe rail for ventilation. It can get into the 70s and 80s on a sunny day. We take this opportunity to open the hatches and let in some of that dry Maine air.

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Re: New Northeast Liveboard - First Condensation/Mildew Battle

I lived aboard in Annapolis for many years and never had a condensation problem. Since you have shore power the oil filled radiators are the way to go like wingnwing suggested. I also recommend adding a few high volume fans. The trick is to keep the warm air circulating.
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Old 10-09-2012
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Re: New Northeast Liveboard - First Condensation/Mildew Battle

I remember a story by Fatty Goodlander that I read in Sail Magazine. He was living aboard with his then young wife in Winthrop MA in the winter. She had been sleeping with her head up agains the hull and awoke with her hair frozen to the inside of the hull where condensation had formed. He used a hand hair dryer and hot water to free her. The point of the story was the importance of having a spouse who is a good sport when you live on a boat. Damn, I don't know if I would do it, but good luck to you.
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Re: New Northeast Liveboard - First Condensation/Mildew Battle

I have lived aboard in BC for most of the last 40 winters. I have an inch and a half of spray foam insulation, and an airtight woodstove, so my boat is super dry in winter.
The ceramic bead ,anti condensation, insulating paint addative , sold by Hy Tec sales in Florida , altho grossly overated for it's insulating properites, does help a lot.
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Re: New Northeast Liveboard - First Condensation/Mildew Battle

OK,,,I am going to steer this this topic in a slightly different direction. The liveaboards posting here seem like a different breed than those who sell their home on retirement and sail away to tropical destinations. I could be wrong, but I imagine liveaboards in colder climates still have jobs and such; they just happen to live on a boat. Is this a fair assessment. If it is, how did it happen? What moved you to move from house or apartment to live on your boat? I am really interested in the stories. If you are married, how do you talk your wife into it? I know I could, and probably would do it if I were alone, but my SO would not even consider it.
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condensation , heat , live aboard , mildew , new england

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