In a small space like an RV, humidity can be a real problem. Excess humidity can create big issues for the structure of your RV, camper, and trailer as well as issues to your physical health and the health of those you travel with. Humidity can cause mold to develop, which isn't good at all. In an RV, the small, enclosed space can increase this humidity and risk of condensation and the cooking, showering, and more that you might do inside of your rig can increase this amount even further. Because of the risks that humidity has, it's important to combat it. This goes double if you are camping in the summer or in a humid environment. What's the best way to combat this humidity? An RV dehumidifier. It helps to prevent the growth of mold, keeps your rig in better condition, keeps your health in better condition, and keeps you more comfortable while in your rig.
Dehumidifiers do a good many things for you and your space. If your RV gets damp and humid, this can cause issues as well as the musty smell. A dehumidifier can help to get rid of both the smell and the damp feel, creating a better environment inside of your rig. Humidity and water also lead to colds and skin irritations. By having a dehumidifier in your rig to bring the humidity back down to normal, you can reduce your chances of illness and skin irritations. Dehumidifiers also help to prevent mold, a by-product of humidity. And with this mold and humidity can come dust mites, which is an issue if you have asthma or are allergic to dust mites or simply don't like the idea of dust mites floating around. And speaking of bugs, creepy crawlies like to find humid environments, especially when it's hot out. By using a dehumidifier, you are keeping these bugs from thinking your RV is their next hotel location. And the humidity doesn't just make your environment uncomfortable and unhealthy. It can make it inefficient as well. If you are washing your clothes on vacation, you often use a line to dry them. Of course, there are some RVs that come equipped with a clothes dryer, but most of us aren't as lucky. If you are trying to dry your clothes, though, the weather has to cooperate. And if it's not, then the clothes come inside to dry. If this is the case for you, then the water from these items can increase the humidity inside of your rig, causing a rise in humidity that can lead to a long drying time for these items. With a dehumidifier, you can keep yourself comfortable while speeding up the drying time. This applies to wood as well. Wet wood doesn't burn super well. If you have a wood stove in your home away from home, using a dehumidifier can prevent water build up to occur, saving your fire and your heat. With all of these uses for a dehumidifier, you'll be wishing you brought one everywhere you go.
What Should I Look for in an RV Dehumidifier?
Just like most things on an RV, there are a few dehumidifier options out there. To decide which one would work best for you and your rig, there are a few things to consider.
There are two types of RV dehumidifiers: refrigerant and desiccant dehumidifiers. Refrigerant models are slightly cheaper and have a lower power consumption. They are also great for use in a whole vehicle or space. On the other hand, they tend to be heavier than the desiccant models, with more mechanical parts that could potentially break and more noise. They also tend to have issues working in temperatures lower than 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Desiccant dehumidifiers have lower noise levels, are lighter than the refrigerant models, and can work at temperatures as low as 33 degrees Fahrenheit. They also blow out warm air when in use, helping to provide a bit of heat as well. These are best used in closed spaces such as closets and are also good for localized mold issues. On the other hand, however, they are a bit more expensive and tend to have a higher power consumption.
Extraction rate is essentially how much water it can take out of the air. The two types of dehumidifiers operate best at different temperatures, which makes it difficult to compare them. Generally, however, refrigerant (compressor) models have a higher extraction rate. Another issue that comes when comparing the extraction rates is that these rates are usually quoted by the manufacturer and they often use different rates depending on the temperature and relative humidity. So, while extraction rate is important, it can get a bit complicated.
As with many camping supplies, portability is a must. So to decide the size and features that come with portability, you have to answer a few questions. How do you plan on using the dehumidifier? How often? Do you need wheels and handles or a non-slip base? Are you worried about the weight of your rig? With an RV dehumidifier, there is often no installation to worry about, but you should still keep these other things in mind.
Some models are louder than others and this is definitely something to keep in mind. While they don't often come with decibel readings or the like, an easy guide is that first, desiccant models are quieter and second, the larger the unit, the more noise it will have relative to a similar unit of a smaller size. Generally speaking, though, dehumidifiers don't get super loud, especially when you have a fan, compressor, AC unit, or other application in the room with it.
Just like with any other dehumidifier, RV dehumidifiers have a tank. The capacity of this tank will determine how long it can work and how often you have to think about it. If you are camping in a humid place, then you'll have to dump the tank more often if it's small. If you are only using it occasionally, though, you can get away with a smaller tank, which would mean a smaller unit overall, leaving you more room.