Condensation under the mattress

desktoproverdesktoprover Posts: 223Member ✭✭
edited September 2014 in Technical & Maintenance
Hi everyone,
we are just coming back from a 9 day trip in the Appalachian Mountains.  This was our first trip with our SS and we had a lot of fun!  The weather was quite cold at night, between -5 to +5 celcius.  It was around +8 to +18 celcius during the day.  I noticed that our mattress (under) would get wet from condensation.   The birch was also wet.  But everything inside the underbed storage was bone dry.  We had our fantastic fan running the entire night at low speed with the vent cracked open to one inch.  Almost no condensation in the windows.  We used an electric heater to keep the inside of the SS to around +18 celcius.  I would have never noticed that without checking under the mattress just out of curiosity.  Right now I'm thinking about removing the underbed storage and insulating the floor.  Anyone experienced this kind of problem?  Any solution?

Sorry for the celcius, I'm really bad with farenheit!
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Comments

  • VernaVerna Posts: 3,855Member ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited September 2014

    Sylvain, did you also have a window open just a bit?  This, along with the Fantastic Fan, gives you a bit of circulation of air to keep the condensation down.  And, the Fantastic Fan should  be exhausting. 

    What happened was that with the two of you breathing all night, even with the heater on and the fan on, you were exhaling moisture and there wasn't enough air circulation to remove the moisture from the inside of the SS.   

    So, try it with one of the windows open about the width of a wine cork (if you have one, put it in the window to keep it open that much), along with the Fantastic Fan on, or at least the vent open without the Fantastic Fan running.  If there's too much cool air coming in the window, throw a pillow in front of the window so it doesn't blow on you (but don't block the entire window).

    I hope this helps.  (And I'm bad with Celcius...I'm guessing that is was cool enough to have the space heater on.)

  • desktoproverdesktoprover Posts: 223Member ✭✭
    Thanks Verna.  I'll slightly open one widow next time.  I made a quick search and -5 celcius is about 22 farenheit.
  • Blind_Dog_DaddyBlind_Dog_Daddy Posts: 117Member ✭✭

    Dang cold to a Texas boy!

    Syllvain, 

    I would not sacrifice the under bed storage for insulation space. 

    I think a better plan would be to apply some sort of insulation underneath the trailer such as foam board cut to fit tightly and adhered with an adhesive.

  • Michigan_MikeMichigan_Mike Posts: 8,776Member ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited September 2014
    I'm wondering if you have a window that is leaking?  Have never heard of condensation under the mattress before and the only other thing that might be happening is that a corner of one of your windows is loose and needs some adjustment.  Check out the video in the link below and then go out and take a couple of fingers and tap along the lower door pane of glass.  If the widow is loose you will hear a somewhat lighter or tinny sound (more like a rattle) when you tap with your fingers along the edge, next to the rubber gasket around the glass.  The video will give you some pointers and if you follow their instructions you can adjust the window and how it seats in the frame.

  • desktoproverdesktoprover Posts: 223Member ✭✭
    Thanks for your input Mike. I'll sure check my windows. But right now this is not the cause of the problem that's for sure since the underbed storage is completely dry. I had to put a small fan under the mattress to dry it out every morning. This also happened in no rain nights. The condensation was worst in the center of the mattress. This is something you will notice only if you stick your hands under the mattress after a cold night.
  • Michigan_MikeMichigan_Mike Posts: 8,776Member ✭✭✭✭✭
    Interesting!  Have never heard of this situation before?   
  • desktoproverdesktoprover Posts: 223Member ✭✭
    Those kind of things always happen to me!  I'm used to that!!
  • VernaVerna Posts: 3,855Member ✭✭✭✭✭
    I thought I was the only like that ;)
  • DianeMDianeM Posts: 54Member
    The problem is likely just from perspiration traveling down through the mattress and then condensing when it comes into contact with the cold surface below. I would try one of two things. A waterproof mattress cover or some sort of layer that allows the bottom of the mattress to ventilate. An open cell something with air spaces placed under the mattress such as Undermesh or Airmat? Slats? If ignored, this could become a source of mildew, but I'm guessing you knew that. I'd probably start with the mattress cover. I hope you get some useful help, Desktoprover!
  • desktoproverdesktoprover Posts: 223Member ✭✭
    You are absolutely right Diane, that's exactly what's happening.  We will try the waterproof mattress cover and see how it goes.  Yesterday I started removing the underbed storage (I'll need to move that junction box, ouch!!) since we don't use it really much.  I might use a thermofoil between the LG floor and the mattress to get some insulation.  I hope this will solve the problem.
  • VernaVerna Posts: 3,855Member ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited September 2014
    Sylvan, after you remove the under mattress storage, please watch the rear of your legs when getting out of your SS. This will bring your mattress down lower, and so you might be hitting the door frame with your legs when exiting the SS. Believe me, the bruises were ugly on the rear of my thighs. I ended up putting short lengths of pool noodles over the door frame when I had my 4-wide.
  • desktoproverdesktoprover Posts: 223Member ✭✭
    Thanks Verna,
    I'll watch for the door frame.  An another reason why I'm removing the storage is that I'm almost 6'2".  This will give me about four more inches of headroom.  I'm removing every parts carefully and I'll keep all of them.  If we don't like without the storage I'll put everything back in.  No one will notice it has ever been removed!
  • VernaVerna Posts: 3,855Member ✭✭✭✭✭
    Good. It's easier to put back if you take pictures beforehand...whatever did we do before digital photos?
  • Michigan_MikeMichigan_Mike Posts: 8,776Member ✭✭✭✭✭
    If it does prove to be too low a square boat cushion would work too.  
  • DianeMDianeM Posts: 54Member
    A section of that split foam covering for copper pipes works, too.  I was using it in the 6-wide, placing it over the lip of the door when I entered or exited and tucking next to the mattress, just past the door when I wasn't using it.  Worked really well for me. Before I did that, I got bruised pretty badly on the back of my thighs, just like Vera said.
  • desktoproverdesktoprover Posts: 223Member ✭✭
    If I get bruises, I might lower the doors  :))
  • mangotangomangotango Posts: 73Member ✭✭
    edited October 2014
    Hello Sylvain,  We also found dampness on our LG floor under the memory foam mattresses.  We ventilate the cabin conscientiously when we're parked at home and at the site, and also while we are sleeping in it. The LG has no leaks.  We sleep with the factory installed memory-foam mattresses, plus a 2 inch memory foam topper. I use pure cotton flannelette bedding.

    I was also quite concerned when we found the moisture, as I realized this had the potential for mould and other problems cropping up in our cabin.  We will obviously be removing everything to dry it out thoroughly over the winter.  In the meantime, I have been researching things like pure wool mattress toppers for the top  of the bed, and then came upon this marine-based solution for underneath the mattresses:  http://www.defender.com/product.jsp?path=-1|2285701|2276186&id=1818021

    If the link doesn't work, I am referring to something called Hypervent Condensation  Prevention Matting from www.defender.com  This solution seems logical, as it provides both a non-compressible air space between the mattress bottom and the floor, as well as claiming to have a moisture absorbing layer underneath.  With that, careful ventilation and then drying everything out periodically, I hope we will have our problem in hand. I wonder if periodic spraying with an anti-fungal designed for hotels and boats would also be advisable.  Cheers.
  • Raine11937Raine11937 Posts: 1,547Member ✭✭✭

    It's 39' wide I would need two pieces for the 6 foot wide part!  So i would need two pieces 6 1/2 feet long!  That's roughly 156.00 before shipping!

    Well I'm going to feel under the mattress on my next trip, their should be temperature differences in abundence!  It occurred to me that I have never felt under my mattress for Condensation!  DH says our plywood would have shown water marks if it had occurred in there!  No watermarks!

  • desktoproverdesktoprover Posts: 223Member ✭✭
    Pauline,
    I think the product you are referring to should do a good job under normal use (in a house).  But since the mattress is enclosed between the walls of the LG, I don't think it will allow much air flow.  If you don't have an underbed storage in your LG, I'm pretty sure a simple 1 inch styrofoam would solve that problem since the cold and moist air would not get in contact with the cold air coming from under.  I'll probably give the styrofoam a try.  I'm pretty sure this problem happens to many LG owners, they probably just don't know!!
  • desktoproverdesktoprover Posts: 223Member ✭✭
    Lynn,
    it could happen even if you don't have watermarks.  The plywood is varnished so it's kind of water resistant.  Also I don't think it's enough water to stain anything but the mattress itself over time. 
  • DianeMDianeM Posts: 54Member
    I think some 1 inch rigid foam sounds like a good idea to try. Let us know how it works.
  • WesleyWesley Posts: 172Member ✭✭✭
    I carry a couple of wireless thermometers in my [email protected] Usually to monitor inside and outside temps. It appears those with the damp/wet mattresses are discovering it when camping in cold conditions. Generally it doesn't get below freezing in California unless I head up into the mountains. And I don't plan to be towing anything in mountain snow.
    I am going to place one of the remote thermometers inside the under bed storage area. Another under the mattress. And another inside the living area. I may also find one that measures humidity. The temperature and humidity readings may help identify causes and better solutions.
    For anyone using a 2 inch mattress topper on top of the standard mattress, have you tried inserting a water proof plastic sheet between the two? This might help to determine the moisture source.
  • Michigan_MikeMichigan_Mike Posts: 8,776Member ✭✭✭✭✭
    Interesting and I found this conversation via Google and was discussed in other RV groups.

  • gsdog2gsdog2 Posts: 106Member ✭✭
  • Michigan_MikeMichigan_Mike Posts: 8,776Member ✭✭✭✭✭
    I will have to check out my mattress, but it's covered and have never felt any condensation beneath it to date and I do lift up my under-bed storage doors quite frequently 
  • desktoproverdesktoprover Posts: 223Member ✭✭
    Very interesting.  Thanks everyone for the information!
  • SteveTSteveT Posts: 112Member
    We have only had our SS out one time, but we also noticed moisture under the mattress. We did have the vent open and one window cracked, but did not use the fan. The temps were low, but not freezing. Around 45 F, if I remember right.
  • desktoproverdesktoprover Posts: 223Member ✭✭
    It looks like this is a very common problem when camping in lower temperature.
  • WesleyWesley Posts: 172Member ✭✭✭
    Is this problem occurring on all types of mattresses or only the "memory foam" type? My mattress is polyurethane foam pad and blended fiber batting. It has a top side and bottom side. The top is soft fabric and bottom is more plastic like which may be a vapor barrier. Refer to the picture of the tag from my mattress.

    I use a memory foam topper at home but not in the trailer. The topper is very comfortable, very squishy, very dense and heavy. When new, it was also almost damp feeling and required airing out for several days to get rid of the new foam odor. Also needed to be turned frequently before use. That is why I have not put one in my camper.

    Again, is the problem with the stock mattress like mine or an after market memory foam one that is not encased in some form of cloth/vapor cover?
  • Raine11937Raine11937 Posts: 1,547Member ✭✭✭
    edited October 2014
    The link Mike found sort of indicates memory foam, but my thoughts are lots of people have the memory foam toppers not the whole mattress, so maybe this is why we are so stunned about this! OR None of us have felt under the mattress! I am certainly going to on the next trip! It will be cold - conditions should be ripe for just this situation!
  • Michigan_MikeMichigan_Mike Posts: 8,776Member ✭✭✭✭✭
    I'd like more clarification too from those encountering this problem.  Are your mattresses "not covered" by fabric or is it a piece of foam with a sheet over the top of it?  I'm wondering if a cover wicks up heat and any subsequent condensation.  
  • DianeMDianeM Posts: 54Member
    edited October 2014
    Just to be clear for anyone reading the thread and curious if this is an LG defect - it is not.  This is a common problem for any mattress on a solid sleeping platform above a cold space - pop-ups, other RVs, boats, and more.  All sorts of mattresses absorb perspiration in homes, too, but because the home is heated, there is no condensation, even on platform beds.  Instead, the moisture evaporates into the home's airspace.  One probable and somewhat inexpensive way to eliminate this would be to make sure all is dry and then put a waterproof cover on the mattress - the whole mattress.  That's worked for me in the past in a boat.  I'm still curious to see if the rigid foam under the mattress would work.  I think it should and could be a great solution.  

    People concerned about this problem should probably also be making sure that the air is circulating through their teardrop during the daytime.  This will help the mattress lose some of the accumulated moisture from the previous night.
  • desktoproverdesktoprover Posts: 223Member ✭✭
    You are are absolutely right Diane!  This is a great summary of the problem.  

    I'm using the stock mattress with no cover.  I think it could happen with any sort of mattresses.  Like Diane said, the waterproof cover could be a good way to eliminate that problem.  But we'll have to try it to know if it works!
  • WesleyWesley Posts: 172Member ✭✭✭
    Desktoprover, just to clarify, is your stock mattress exposed foam or does it have some cloth covering?
  • Raine11937Raine11937 Posts: 1,547Member ✭✭✭
    Well there you have it! Always had a waterproof cover on my mattresses in the PopUp, because you cannot guarantee that you will not pop up or down in pouring rain! A dry mattress was one less thing you had to worry about when you had to pop back up to take care of the wet! And one of the first things I bought for the Tear was waterproof covers for the mattresses, in case I left a window open when it rained or the loose window segments happened to me! At least you only need to dry the bedding not the mattress! So this may be why I never noticed such a thing!
  • Michigan_MikeMichigan_Mike Posts: 8,776Member ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 2014
    Where did you buy your cover Lynn?   My queen size mattress is 6" thick and am not sure they make them that size?  I hate to think I'd have a bunch of extra material to jam into my cabin area.   
  • desktoproverdesktoprover Posts: 223Member ✭✭
    Wesley,
    my mattress has a cloth covering.

    You're right Mike, I also don't want to squeeze extra material under the mattress.  The stock mattress is only 4" thick.  I'll try to find something that fits fine.
  • Raine11937Raine11937 Posts: 1,547Member ✭✭✭
    edited October 2014

    I have extra material with the 4 inch mattress, but Mike you should do just fine at 6" thick!  Here is the link, I bought two so the underbed storage could come and go as it does now!

    http://www.dormco.com/Mattress-Cover-Encasement-p/o1-1-1-em83364.htm

    We have had spills already, darn dogs, and the liquid just beads up on the cover!  And it doesn't feel like a rubber sheet in hot weather!  Oh and I didn't buy the bed bug upgrade, we are the only sleepers on the mattress!

     

  • SuzanneSuzanne Posts: 40Member
    We didn't have this problem in the [email protected] we got in May, with mattresses that did not have the waterproof bottom coating. The mattresses simply had the same fabric cover on both sides.
       
    Then we got a replacement [email protected] a few weeks ago. We had no reason to think it would have a different type of mattress. I noticed a different rubbery type bottom when I put mattress pad on -- assumed it is being used to protect mattress from abrasion with piano hinge of underbed storage boards. Remember thinking, bummer we can't flip it over to help it age better over time.
        
    We slept in the new trailer one night, with windows open (but admittedly one wasn't open as much as it probably should have been.) It was too cold to run the fan. The next morning, the interior was drenched in water, dripping from ceilings and walls and windows and doors.
      
    Unfortunately, it started raining that morning and rained whole day as we made our way home. So inside had no chance of drying out.
       
    Got home in evening, took our stuff out, opened windows wide. But did not take mattress pad or fitted sheet off mattresses. (Not a waterproof mattress pad, just a cheap, poly-fill cover.) Next day, good thing I decided to get at underbed storage. Found out that mattresses were soaking wet, cabin still very damp, underbed storage boards damp. Yuck.
            
    The mattresses stayed in our sun porch in the sunshine for over a week, while I tried to determine whether they were drying out. The rubbery bottom stayed stuck to one of the mattresses, so tight that I can't pull it away from the foam. Not sure if they ever truly dried -- got fed up and stuck them back in the trailer.
     
    We're very disappointed that we didn't know to keep our old mattresses. I hate the idea of a mattress that traps moisture and holds it at bottom coating.
  • Michigan_MikeMichigan_Mike Posts: 8,776Member ✭✭✭✭✭
    Maybe you need one of these?  Lisa has used these with success in the past with good results.  Try moving air inside your trailer too, with the fan as that will help eliminate the condensation issue.  I have had a 4 & 5 wide LG units and the smooth surface and density of the wall material, coupled with the outside air temperature is conducive for condensation to set it.  If you are getting wet walls and dripping you need to crack the windows and move the air with the ceiling fan.  

    image
  • mangotangomangotango Posts: 73Member ✭✭
    Hi Suzanne, I'm sorry to hear about your experience.  The combination of a cool night, less circulation than you would have liked, followed by rain is certainly a challenge for keeping interiors and soft furnishings dry.  I've been thinking about this -- our LG has the waterproof covers on the mattress bottoms too.  I think the carpeting on the interior of our LG serves to modulate the dampness to some extent (unlike the wood panelled models).  Before the mattresses had waterproof covers, I imagine the mattresses themselves were modulating the interior dampness, but likely to the detriment of the mattresses themselves,i.e., wicking up condensation and then mildewing. The water has to go somewhere! Now folks are just more aware of it, because it can't wick up into the mattresses, so it's sitting on the floor under the mattresses. So it's not just a question of waterproofing your mattresses -- do that, and you will just be more aware of the moisture in the cabin because it has nowhere to go.

    I've put a non-electric "dehumidifer" in the cabin to absorb some moisture.  It may do some good.  I'm also thinking of making a good, old-fashioned pure wool mattress topper.  Wool can absorb up to 30% of its weight before it feels damp. So, like the carpeted walls, it would help to modulate, or absorb and then release moisture.  That, together with good mattress airing (like our grandmothers did regularly) should help.  The reason I would go with a wool mattress topper is that it could easily be pulled out to air in the sun while we are underway, along with our bedding.  I know this is just a matter of getting to know our LG, and to brush up on the kind of knowledge our forbears (pre-central heating/AC) had.  It's part of the fun!
  • desktoproverdesktoprover Posts: 223Member ✭✭
    Suzanne, I think the use of the fan is a must even if it's cold. You must keep the air moving. I bypassed the fantastic fan switch which now allows me to run the fan even if the vent is just slightly open ( about 1inch in this case). This allow some fresh air to come in but not too much to freeze the inside! With the electric heater at slow setting, it was very comfortable. No cpndensation on the walls or on the ceiling. Only under the mattress.
  • CamperNutCamperNut Posts: 90Member
    edited April 2015
    Boy I'm glad I ordered the waterproof mattress protector for my 5 wide Rough Rider, which by the way, should be delivered to the dealer within the next 2 weeks...yippee!  Living in the southwest will also be helpful with the condensation problem, but will eventually be doing some camping in more humid climates.  I've saved all the links provided here to help deal with the problem in case I ever encounter it.  Good luck to everyone having this problem and I hope you've all found solutions by now.  Happy Trails...
  • SteveTSteveT Posts: 112Member
    We have had this problem in the past, but recently went to Charleston SC where the humidity was up there and had no problem. We stopped on the way back in PA and the temps got down into the low 30's. Still no problem. the answer? Run the fan. Each night in SC we ran the fan and in PA we did the same. Seems that it took care of the problem no matter if it was hot and steamy outside or cold. I'm sure others had had the problem even if they used the fan, but I'm sold on it!
  • Raine11937Raine11937 Posts: 1,547Member ✭✭✭

    So we had rust on our piano hinges we noted when we closed up last fall.  I take the mattresses out for the winter.  There it was! 

    We switched to stainless steel hinge this year with Gorilla Tape over the hinge to prevent moisture from getting to the hinge.  We are purchasing 100% waterproof mattress covers, which we will cover those with our water resistant mattress pads (spilled a soda, ripped off the sheets and the soda had beaded up on the mattress cover) from last year.  So we won't have that sweaty moist feeling the waterproof cover gave us in the Pop-Up. 

    If the condensation goes through the mattress to the metal on the hinge; it won't happen again.  If the condensation just occurs anyway, my hinge will be covered and protected and so will my mattress!  Rust IS on the outside of my cover near where it rested on the hinge, but did not go through to the backside of the cover or to my mattress.

    Here are photos before and after of the rusty hinge.  BTW Michigan_Mike we go in and out of our under bed storage all the time and never saw this, it seems to have focused on the center of the two mattresses.

  • WesleyWesley Posts: 172Member ✭✭✭
    I kept the plastic hinge but predrilled screw holes and used small stainless screws.  I did this when I brought the [email protected] home last July and haven't had any problems since.  Located a total of 6 screws on the top (two each at the ends and two each in the middle.  Did the same on the underside.)
    As for keeping the twin mattresses dry, I slipped a large heavy duty garbage bag over each end.  The bags over lap in the middle.  My main concern was to keep any rain off the mattress when opening the door.  Since we are in a drought in California, rain hasn't been an issue.  Also use sleeping bags and mattress pad so don't notice the plastic trapping body heat.
  • desktoproverdesktoprover Posts: 223Member ✭✭

    So we had rust on our piano hinges we noted when we closed up last fall.  I take the mattresses out for the winter.  There it was! 

    We switched to stainless steel hinge this year with Gorilla Tape over the hinge to prevent moisture from getting to the hinge.  We are purchasing 100% waterproof mattress covers, which we will cover those with our water resistant mattress pads (spilled a soda, ripped off the sheets and the soda had beaded up on the mattress cover) from last year.  So we won't have that sweaty moist feeling the waterproof cover gave us in the Pop-Up. 

    If the condensation goes through the mattress to the metal on the hinge; it won't happen again.  If the condensation just occurs anyway, my hinge will be covered and protected and so will my mattress!  Rust IS on the outside of my cover near where it rested on the hinge, but did not go through to the backside of the cover or to my mattress.

    Here are photos before and after of the rusty hinge.  BTW Michigan_Mike we go in and out of our under bed storage all the time and never saw this, it seems to have focused on the center of the two mattresses.

    Lynn,
    that rust must have stained your mattress?  Was there any mold under your mattress?

    sylvain
  • Raine11937Raine11937 Posts: 1,547Member ✭✭✭
    The water resistant mattress covers we bought, had rust marks in between the two mattresses right above where they touched the rusty hinge.  I opened the cover and the rust did not go through to the inside of the mattress cover nor to the cover itself!
  • Raine11937Raine11937 Posts: 1,547Member ✭✭✭
    Wesley that is where we are going now!  

    We wanted the waterproof for situations such as downpour without sideroom, and getting in and out of cabin without getting the mattress wet.  Also the windows were reported in a thread here to loosen in their track somehow and the mattress gets wet while driving down the road, (so far not happened to us)! There is a fix for this but I didn't want a wet mattress when I arrived somewhere to camp!  

    In our Pop-Up there was always a potential to pop down and fold up in a torrential downpour so we had always covered our mattress with a waterproof mattress cover.  That makes for hot sweaty nights mid-summer, so we went with the water resistant cover in this camper as we really didn't think our windows would leak, they are still nice and tight.  I read about the under the mattress condensation here first.  I began to watch for it, but never saw any moisture under there!  

    I was was totally shocked when we pulled the mattress out!  We purchased the stainless steel hinge, but were unsure whether the screws are also stainless steel.  Nothing in the advertising stated anything about the screws either way. So we added the Gorilla Tape to protect the screws.  Then yesterday we ordered the 100% waterproof cover, and are going to use the current covers to block them from bothering us as we sleep!

    I guess time will tell....
  • Raine11937Raine11937 Posts: 1,547Member ✭✭✭
    Oh and no mold, or watermarks on the wood, of course there is some sort of finish on the wood so nothing would soak in! 
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