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Old 12-28-2013
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Condensation inside sailboat...

I went to visit my boat the other day and noticed that there is condensation built up inside the cabin on the ceiling, i also had to empty the bilge pump since it was nearly full.... Im assuming the warmer weather up in NY is the issue as well as the recent rain.. Does anyone have this problem?

PS i have not tarped the boat yet... I'm betting on a mild winter but it appears i am taking on water somehow... maybe the angle the boat is on land... If you have any advice please let me know

cheers
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Old 12-28-2013
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Re: Condensation inside sailboat...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grampian1989 View Post
I went to visit my boat the other day and noticed that there is condensation built up inside the cabin on the ceiling, i also had to empty the bilge pump since it was nearly full.... Im assuming the warmer weather up in NY is the issue as well as the recent rain.. Does anyone have this problem?

PS i have not tarped the boat yet... I'm betting on a mild winter but it appears i am taking on water somehow... maybe the angle the boat is on land... If you have any advice please let me know

cheers

Do you have a heater running inside your boat?

We have horrible problems with condensation. It is way worse the colder it is outside when the temp between outside and inside are so different.

It isn't near as bad when the temp outside is closer to the temp inside. We have to use a propane "Mr Buddy" heater when we are anchored out and not hooked up to shore power. Propane makes the condensation way worse than electric heat.

If your boat isn't heated, I don't know why you'd have condensation.

We have lots of moisture build up under the cushions. The hull seems to sweat horribly inside. We have to keep everything sealed up in plastic bags.
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Old 12-28-2013
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Re: Condensation inside sailboat...

Could be water running down the mast into the bilge, creating enough moisture to make excess condensate. A small bilge pump with small tubing, to "suck up the last bit" might help with that. Also, solar vent fans to circulate air and draw off the moisture before it condenses.

You'll get condensation any time the thermal masses and the moisture levels are right, and all you can do is heat, ventilate, dessicate, or wipe it up. A couple of buckets of "dry rid" or something similar might do the trick for you. That doesn't need power or moving parts, just replacing every once in a while.
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Old 12-28-2013
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Re: Condensation inside sailboat...

An installed garboard drain (a keel 'plug') and OPEN windows and portlights (can be covered to prevent snow rain, etc. from entering) is probably your best bet. An 'open' boat with a dry bilge and emptied tanks will quickly thermally equalize with the outside air due to the constant 'change of air' (convection). if you have thermal equilibrium due to air being able to rapidly 'change', you will have the least amount of 'condensation'. Ask yourself - why dont 'rowboats and dinghies' have problems with 'condensation'.

The goal is to keep the 'inside temperature' equal to the 'outside temperature; closing a boat up tight results in a 'time lag' for the temperatures to 'equilibrate' or become equal inside vs. outside.

Last edited by RichH; 12-28-2013 at 03:13 PM.
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Old 12-28-2013
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Re: Condensation inside sailboat...

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Originally Posted by RichH View Post

The goal is to keep the 'inside temperature' equal to the 'outside temperature; closing a boat up tight results in a 'time lag' for the temperatures to 'equilibrate' or become equal inside vs. outside.
Yeah, what he said... I kinda said that too. LOL
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Old 01-02-2014
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Re: Condensation inside sailboat...

I just use a dehumidifier.
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Old 01-02-2014
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Re: Condensation inside sailboat...

Also think about ventilation. In the winter or cold even when on the boat I leave all the dorades wide open. May get a few drops on the port lights if we are on the boat with heat on ( you expel a surprising amount of insensible water loss.) But with heat off dry as a bone. If you don't have adequate dorades figure out some other way to ventilate the boat.
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Old 01-02-2014
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Re: Condensation inside sailboat...

grampian,
You haven't tarped your boat yet? In NY? It may be to late as it's 10 degrees at your place now. Condensation i would say is normal in NY as the temperatures cycle above and below freezing from day to night. If it is well tarped you can crack your hatch for air flow. Before i put mine up for the winter i clean all surfaces with a cleaner with bleach in it. It inhibits mold growth through out the winter. I leave my hatches cracked as well. Investing in a quality tarp will be worth it in the end run.
Like outbound said. ventilation is everything.
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Old 01-02-2014
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Re: Condensation inside sailboat...

I have never had a condensation problem on my boat in any weather , thanks to an inch and a half of spray foam, despite living aboard in all weather in BC winters. Insulation on everything is the key. A friend ,living on a cement boat, had condensation problems, until he installed a dehumidifier. It took 5 gallons out of the air in ,the first few days, then it tapered off and things began to dry far more quickly. It takes only 2 degrees of temperature difference between the temp of a surface and the air, for condensation to form.
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Old 01-28-2014
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Re: Condensation inside sailboat...

Brent,

Does the insulation stop condensation on the hull below the waterline?

Neil
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