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Old 21-12-2010, 22:26   #1
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Drowning in the Northwest

Condensation, condensation how do you stay warm and dry in N.W.???
Im new to the N.W. I have a wood stove on my boat which puts out alot of dry air but doesnt seem to be enough? Is it wise to keep lockers closed or should they be open? Not sure if the warm air should be allowed into the storage area's or if they should stay cool???? Any suggestions?

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Old 21-12-2010, 23:00   #2
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It's best to keep the air moving and warmer then the outside. When it gets below 28º then it dries out a bit. But harder to keep the boat warm. If you have AC power try a small fan blowing on the stove.

This years' not too bad. But ya have a 6 more months of cold at night. June will be the last of the freezing spells.

You might want to consider a small propane burner with the 1# bottles for the really cold days/nights. Hopefully you have a co2 detector.


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Old 23-12-2010, 00:32   #3
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Thanks for the reply. I already have a fan blowing the warm stove air around and were staying warm, it's the condensation thats driving us crazy.
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Old 23-12-2010, 01:09   #4
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Do you have port'ls open? I find my boat does better when it isn't closed up. Not as warm I know but less moisture.
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Old 28-12-2010, 11:33   #5
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ventilation is in my opinion the best way to remove condensation. i live on a small boat condensation is not a problem. i have my forward hatch always cracked open and dorade vents in the main cabin. i use small low power usage computer fans in the quarterberth and in the lockers. only place i get condensation now is under the vberth and to address that i just lift the mattress when i get out and prop it up for a couple of hours to let it dry out. not perfect but works for me.
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Old 28-12-2010, 13:18   #6
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We don't live aboard but I leave a small electric (Peltier) dehumidifier running on a timer (2-3 hours per day) and it keeps the boat dry in Seattle. I would put one in each cabin if I lived aboard, they're small and fairly quiet. I can't remember the name of the model I have, but if you search online one of the first to come up also runs on DC, nice option to have.

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Old 28-12-2010, 14:34   #7
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My wife and I lived aboard in the PNW for three hard winters. The only thing that kept our boat dry was a de-humidifier. I bought the smallest one Sears sold and it removed a gallon or two of water a day. It was loud and it was big, but it beat the mildew and saved the interior of the boat. I have the same unit running continually on our boat in Florida.
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Old 28-12-2010, 15:25   #8
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If you're in Everett stop by my boat and I'll give you the .05 cent tour of what works for us! Barring that, it all comes down to heat, dehumidification, and ventilation as said in other threads.

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Old 28-12-2010, 15:40   #9
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Lightbulb Winter

I agree with all that is posted above and would only add...keep water out in the first place. So far this winter I have almost no condensation. I use an electric radiator and two fans. I keep the engine space open which allows fore and aft ventilation. I do get some condensation on pilothouse windows and ports.

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Old 28-12-2010, 15:59   #10
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having the boat well insulated
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Old 28-12-2010, 17:41   #11
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Hi Solaceinoly,
There is a great little paperback kicking around called "The warm, dry boat". The author is all about airflow being the key and studies ventilation paths by watching cigar smoke as he changes ports and hatch openings. I do the same with an incense stick and can see big differences with small changes. You can get an exhaust flow from a hatch with the open edge to leeward in a vee berth, and an intake from a port near the stove (we use a diesel heater) that draws warm, dry air through the cabin. Good luck!
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Old 28-12-2010, 19:03   #12
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In addition to what has already been mentioned (ventilation, dehumidifier), we found that it also helps to be aware of those activities that add a lot of humidity and try and control those, at the time.

Cooking with propane adds a lot, as does showers. In our boat, it is hard to control the propane related humidity, but we found that if we closed the door into the head and opened a hatch when taking a shower, that reduced the amount of humidity getting into the rest of the boat.

But, just breathing adds humidity. The best overall control mechanism we found was the dehumidifier. We found a pretty quiet one at Home Depot that could be plumbed into an overboard discharge.

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Old 30-12-2010, 11:50   #13
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Hello from BC Canada. cburger is you know,warm air evaporates and holds moisture.This air is cooled on uninsulated surfaces and releases it's moisture. The wood stove was a very good idea...Nothing beats a wood stove. I'm assuming you have a fg boat?If it has a liner,I expect the following might be more difficult...but perhaps it's possible to glue carpet to un-insulated surfaces when weather permits.Especially decks and all cabin sides and the hull down to slightly below the waterline-I wouldn't insulate further below the waterline-certainly not into bilges. Temporarily,maybe use a heat-gluegun?or something in a caulking tube but test it so it'll come off of fg easily when you get weather for a better job My own fg boat is sprayfoamed but where it isn't,I've contact-cemented carpet and it works well.I like it better than the spray foam.
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Old 02-01-2011, 19:12   #14
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Warm, dry air produced by hot water heat (not warm air) circulating throughout the boat with fresh air. Wabasto or Espar, BTU at least 2X length of boat IE, 45' boat = 90000 BTU. Keep the bilge dry.

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Old 03-01-2011, 07:36   #15
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I added an exhaust vent which exhausts into my engine room (from reverse cycle system). I also use spot heating with ceramic block type heaters. While the reverse cycle heat exchanger is not effective with the colder water temps the vent fan does succeed in circulating small amounts of heated salon/berthing air into the engine room space. This air then slowly migrates forward in the bilge spaces until it gets to the pointy end of the boat and then filters up into the head where there are some open vents under the sink. Only condensation is on hull to water fiberglass below the deck level which just makes its way back to the bilge. Also condensation is removed at reverse cycle unit and drained to bilge. It doesn't take a lot of moving air in the engine room to make this work. Thanks
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