Mildew/Ventilation problems. - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 12 Old 12-27-2009 Thread Starter
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Mildew/Ventilation problems.

I live aboard my boat in FL and have an marine AC that both heats and cools. Yet the way that my boat is designed, I am getting condensation in the winter. Unfortunately an indoor/outdoor carpet was used to line the walls and ceiling of my V-berth, and I am beginning to get mildew problems. There are so many options that vary between dehumidification and ventilation that I thought it would be best to tap into the experiences and opinions of the experienced people on this site. I take my boat out regularly, so I am trying to find a low power solution that would work on the hook as well as at dock. I am leaning towards solar ventilation and a fan. I read older posts regarding ventilation versus dehumidifying, but they were a few years old, so there may be better technology available now, and this topic was not always the main focus of the thread. Thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 12 Old 01-02-2010
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My boat is in water in eastern NC, a very humid place. During winter, when I am not on board, I run severay heat lamps which holds down the humidity very well and keeps dry, etc...
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post #3 of 12 Old 04-09-2010 Thread Starter
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Dehumidifiers.

I ended up using a small, energy efficient dehumidifier and a fan to keep the air circulating and had great results. I used the 3M mildew remover to get rid of the mildew, which worked surprisingly well, and in combination with the dehumidifier, found that my condensation problems ended. I think that with this winter in FL being colder than usual, the condensation lasted longer, resulting in the mildew. Usually, in FL, only my AC is in use and that dehumidifies the air as it cools it. Hopefully, my problem is solved and I will just use the dehumidifier in the winters.
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post #4 of 12 Old 04-09-2010
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I'd have to ask, how much ventilation does your boat have? The biggest cause of condensation and mold/mildew is usually insufficient ventilation. Adding a few solar fans or dorades may greatly improve the situation without impacting the energy budget.

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post #5 of 12 Old 04-09-2010
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Where does the rain go that gets down the mast. That seems to be the most likely way for moisture to get in a boat. Get rid of that water and you'll have a dry boat. Ditto for any deck leaks, which are a problem in themselves.

After ventilations, the smallest of heaters can keep humidity away. Do you have excess solar or wind power (a dump load) that you can put toward a small heater and a fan? (Or even better, a duhimidifier.)

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post #6 of 12 Old 04-12-2010 Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
I'd have to ask, how much ventilation does your boat have? The biggest cause of condensation and mold/mildew is usually insufficient ventilation. Adding a few solar fans or dorades may greatly improve the situation without impacting the energy budget.
SD, the ventilation is not as good as I would like, but I have added some efficient internal fans to keep the circulation going. The design of the boat is not great for dorades and I was concerned about installing a solar fan after I heard that lines can easily catch them and pop them out. My lines are running where one would normally install the exterior ventilation, so I am pretty much limited to my hatches for ventilation.

I do not have the problem during the summer, just the winter when I am running the heating, and since I run the heating at the dock, the dehumidifier is not too bad of a solution right now.

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Where does the rain go that gets down the mast. That seems to be the most likely way for moisture to get in a boat. Get rid of that water and you'll have a dry boat. Ditto for any deck leaks, which are a problem in themselves.
My mast does not come through the boat; it stops at the top of the cabin (benefits of a rotating mast), so I am not getting moisture from outside, just condensation of the inside air in the evenings when the heater is on, maintaining a higher humidity inside than outside. The fans keep the inside air more uniform and prevents condensation on the cooling hull, and the dehumidifier seems to be doing its job by maintaining a low humidity inside. Actually, I found that I now have no significant condensation on the metal edges of my hatches using this configuration.
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post #7 of 12 Old 04-12-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Triquetra View Post
SD, the ventilation is not as good as I would like, but I have added some efficient internal fans to keep the circulation going. The design of the boat is not great for dorades and I was concerned about installing a solar fan after I heard that lines can easily catch them and pop them out. My lines are running where one would normally install the exterior ventilation, so I am pretty much limited to my hatches for ventilation.

I do not have the problem during the summer, just the winter when I am running the heating, and since I run the heating at the dock, the dehumidifier is not too bad of a solution right now.
While having fans circulate the air is a good idea, you really need to get fresh air in and old air out of the boat... This is really key to keeping mold/mildew at bay.

The Nicro solar vents I use have never been an issue with regards to catching lines.

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post #8 of 12 Old 04-12-2010 Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
While having fans circulate the air is a good idea, you really need to get fresh air in and old air out of the boat... This is really key to keeping mold/mildew at bay.

The Nicro solar vents I use have never been an issue with regards to catching lines.
I will look into them again, SD. I was reluctant to pop a 3-inch hole in my boat an potentially introduce a leak, while I was getting mixed information about the vents getting caught by lines and tossed off the boat.

Do you remove the vents and replace them with caps when you sail or do you just leave them in? Also, how watertight are they? Some vents that I looked at have a means of closing them off for bad weather and waves breaking over the vents.
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Triquetra—

The two I have aboard currently are older models that actually screw into a metal deckplate. In heavy weather, or if I anticipate going out in really bad conditions, I can unscrew the vent and plug the hole with a screw-in bronze deckplate. This is about as waterproof as you can get.

That said, I've yet to get water into the boat through them, and I've had waves wash over the cabintop. I am installing a less robust model for the anchor locker to help keep the anchor drier.

The new lower end models have a sliding sleeve that can close off the vent and prevent water intrusion in 99% of the cases... and seem to work quite well, but I've no personal experience with them other than seeing them on friends' boats.

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her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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post #10 of 12 Old 04-12-2010 Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
Triquetra—

The two I have aboard currently are older models that actually screw into a metal deckplate. In heavy weather, or if I anticipate going out in really bad conditions, I can unscrew the vent and plug the hole with a screw-in bronze deckplate. This is about as waterproof as you can get.

That said, I've yet to get water into the boat through them, and I've had waves wash over the cabintop. I am installing a less robust model for the anchor locker to help keep the anchor drier.

The new lower end models have a sliding sleeve that can close off the vent and prevent water intrusion in 99% of the cases... and seem to work quite well, but I've no personal experience with them other than seeing them on friends' boats.
SD, I appreciate all of your input on this. I was not certain of the newer models, though I only saw the lower-end ones at the store. The plastic ones just pull out as opposed to screwing into the deck plate, which is probably why I heard the stories of them getting yanked out by lines. The metal ones are probably the ones I should be looking at. Thank you.
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