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post #81 of 105 Old 11-20-2012
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Re: Winter Moisture Control

It's the kind you buy at Home Depot or Lowes. About 6ft by many feet, folded like an accordion to about 6x2. There is thicker pink foam but that is more than I would like under a rug I am walking on.

I buy rugs at KMart because it is cheaper than anywhere else. Each store has about half the same and half different patterns and dimensions.


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post #82 of 105 Old 11-20-2012
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Re: Winter Moisture Control

I'm curious about winter moisture and resultant mildew that might accumulate in the bilges, if air circulation is further inhibited by a carpet. Moist air, cold hull = condensation. We have one we use in the summer and have to keep on top of it even then.

Nothing like a carpet on a boat in the morning, however. Even in warm water, the sole is usually cold in the morning. But, we have to keep it well vacuumed and, if not for the air conditioning and dehumidifier, I would think it would eventually begin to stink. It definitely absorbs moisture when we're way from the slip, which is one reason we run the AC about an hour or two every day, whether we really feel we need it or not. Keeps things dry.


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post #83 of 105 Old 11-20-2012
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Re: Winter Moisture Control

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Originally Posted by barefootnavigator View Post
Its all about ventilation, I live aboard year round in Northern Washington with a dog that is usually soaking wet from the constant rain, so condensation and moisture is my bunk mate. The better the ventilation the warmer and dryer you will be. Try the small electric oil heaters also.
I was going to respond but this about covers it.


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post #84 of 105 Old 11-20-2012
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Re: Winter Moisture Control

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Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
I'm curious about winter moisture and resultant mildew that might accumulate in the bilges, if air circulation is further inhibited by a carpet. Moist air, cold hull = condensation. We have one we use in the summer and have to keep on top of it even then.

Nothing like a carpet on a boat in the morning, however. Even in warm water, the sole is usually cold in the morning. But, we have to keep it well vacuumed and, if not for the air conditioning and dehumidifier, I would think it would eventually begin to stink. It definitely absorbs moisture when we're way from the slip, which is one reason we run the AC about an hour or two every day, whether we really feel we need it or not. Keeps things dry.
When the outside air is 95% humidity ,changing one batch of wet air for another doesn't dry anything out. The bilge will be near 100% humidity, period, any time there is any water in it.. What causes condensation is a more than 2 degree difference in temperature between the air and a surface. Carpet reduces this difference by keeping the warm cabin air from contacting the hull plate, thus keep the air in the bilge cooler..

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post #85 of 105 Old 11-20-2012
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Re: Winter Moisture Control

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Originally Posted by Brent Swain View Post
When the outside air is 95% humidity ,changing one batch of wet air for another doesn't dry anything out. The bilge will be near 100% humidity, period, any time there is any water in it.. What causes condensation is a more than 2 degree difference in temperature between the air and a surface. Carpet reduces this difference by keeping the warm cabin air from contacting the hull plate, thus keep the air in the bilge cooler..
I'm not following your point about changing wet air for another. What suggested as much? I was suggesting that carpet would insulate the bilge and not allow for the air to warm and be less than fully saturated.

Your 2 degree example is not quite right, but I think I know what you meant. If air is 100% saturated (ie 100% humidity) than any reduction in temperature is going to cause water to condensate out. Surfaces themselves don't matter. A cold surface causes the boundary air around it to drop in temperature and the moisture condensates out of it.

So that said, I didn't really follow the reply. When you can warm air, it will hold more moisture and/or be less saturated with the same amount and be further from the dew point and less likely to condensate.


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post #86 of 105 Old 11-21-2012
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I like the square interlocking 2x2' from home depot, top surface is tough, easy to clean and very warm. Cut to the right width, easy to cut around posts etc. 20$ did my whole boat and left me two spare tiles. Not too hard not too soft, designed for standing on, and one section can easily be replaced if damaged.

Instant difference in warmth in the boat at floor level, not such a divided temperature range anymore. I meant to carpet over top, but this is easy to clean, and great under foot.

Keeps smells down, and small screws and parts out of the bilge. Easy to lift every square individually for access to hatches, one of the many reasons I scrapped the carpet idea.



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post #87 of 105 Old 11-21-2012
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Re: Winter Moisture Control

Although I don't live aboard, I do have a few suggestions from my experience in solving moisture problems in my boat.

First, as Jess pointed out, the key issue is the dew point of the air, which is another way of measuring the humidity. Any surface of the boat that is below the dew point, condensation will occur. Note that dew point is an especially useful way of measuring humidity, because it is independent of the air temperature - all that really matters is whether the temperature of cold surfaces is above or below the dew point.

One problem with small, enclosed volumes like a small boat is that ordinary respiration can fill the air with humidity. If you go to bed with the boat closed up tight (like you would do on a cold evening), much of the water you drink will be exhaled into the boat. The humidity will be there even if the boat is heated. The key is to minimize the cold surfaces that the moist air comes into contact with. If you've ever waken up in a camping tent in November or December, you've likely seen the kind of condensation that can occur.

Jess's pictures show that she is doing a good job at preventing this with her insulation on the sides of the boat. Once other place where I experienced condensation was in the storage under the settees, especially under the waterline. A couple of years ago I posted about how I solved this problem with bubble wrap, which insulated well enough that the air never came into contact with a surface below the dew point. This area is critical, because often life jackets are stored there, and for a liveaboard there may be clothes stored there. These things would be susceptible to mildew, especially under the waterline. I like the Reflectix stuff that Jess is using above her settees, and have been meaning to replace my cheap bubble wrap with it. (One more thing to go onto my list for this winter.)

A dehumidifier can be a great help for a boat that is on shore power. On a 25 footer space is at a premium, so a full sized dehumidifier might be impractical. But a couple years ago I posted a thread about a tiny Peltier-type dehumidifier that I found at Home Depot. It's still going strong, draws about 60 watts and sits on my galley counter, velcro'ed to the shelf behind it (to make it heel-proof). This year I attached a hose to the drain pan that I run to my galley sink so I don't ever have to pour it out.

As for the issue of dampness in the bilge, I think that could depend on whether Jess's O25 is inboard or outboard. If it's outboard, there's a good chance she can keep her bilge 100% dry, which will reduce the problem significantly. If she has an inboard with seepage through the packing gland, she will have a wet bilge, in which case carpet or foam over top would mean 100% humidity all the time in the bilge, which could be problematic. For this I have a question, not an answer. I have always wondered whether adding a small amount of bleach into the bilgewater could knock out any mildew. Maybe a capful every week would need to be added, since continued seepage through the packing gland and cycling of the bilge pump would dilute out the bleach. The risk could be that the bleach could prematurely age the bilge pump and hoses, but I would think that there might be a low level of bleach that could keep the water disinfected. What do you liveaboards think of this?


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Last edited by TakeFive; 11-21-2012 at 12:50 AM.
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post #88 of 105 Old 11-21-2012
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Re: Winter Moisture Control

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........The risk could be that the bleach could prematurely age the bilge pump and hoses, but I would think that there might be a low level of bleach that could keep the water disinfected. What do you liveaboards think of this?
I have been known to sanitize the bilges on the hard every few years or so. It takes very little bleach to do so. In fact, a bleach bathroom cleaner usually suffices. However, it is immediately followed by a thorough rinsing, so that the chlorine doesn't really sit in the pump or hoses.


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post #89 of 105 Old 11-21-2012
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I think I get what Brent means, essentially that ventilation alone won't help much, if your outside air is almost saturated, you need to make the boat dryer than the outside air, so other techniques are needed.



I put a little pinesol(pine oil has some good properties) or tea tree oil and spray the bilges occasionally. The interlocking floor tiles make this easy.



Personally I don't understand the use of reflectix in boats, except in small hard to work in areas. it's less efficient and not really cheaper than a good insulation. It does well enough, but not great imo.


Since the job is labor intensive, I'd stick with Volara(for continuous lengths) or Armaflex(available in smaller sheets, or a 200' roll)
which has the added bonus of being mold resistant. Price difference is not huge, online in the usa volara is under 10$ a running foot, and 5' wide half inch thick. Thinner is cheaper still.
Both are acoustic damping as well.


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post #90 of 105 Old 11-23-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: Winter Moisture Control

Hi, all! I think the idea about insulating under the settees is a great idea, hadn't thought of doing that. My boat has an outboard, and my bilge is generally very dry. I just updated my photo gallery... I think I'm almost done...for now

Brass Belle
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