Does Caravan Damp Dry On its Own? Practical Fixes

When you first realise that your caravan is damp, it can be an incredibly worrying and stressful time. But fear not, damp caravans can absolutely dry out with the right techniques and tricks in place!

To successfully tackle damp in a caravan, you need to first understand where the source of moisture is coming from before it causes any further damage.

Once you have identified the area causing the issue, you can begin to work on ways to repair it and then dry it out.

In today’s post, we will give some practical tips on how to identify damp in the van and how to dry it out as quickly as possible.

Video: How to prevent damp in your caravan - Caravan Guard

A little caveat here: if we’re talking smaller, more confined areas of damp then it’s completely possible for it dry out with some practical methods, which we’ll cover below.

Areas with severe damp will likely need a professional repair if you are not confident with DIY.

Leading Causes of Damp in a Caravan

Damp in a caravan can be caused by multiple things, from condensation to water ingress.

One of the most common causes is condensation, which occurs when warm air meets cold surfaces and moisture is released into the atmosphere.

You will often find condensation around the windows in the morning if you’ve not left the ‘night lock’ on – so it’s important to get this dried up as soon as possible.  We find microfibre cloths are great for this (and giving the windows a quick clean at the same time)!

Some other causes of Damp:

Poor Air Circulation/Ventilation is a major contributing factor when it comes to damp in caravans. If there isn’t enough airflow circulating around the room, the moisture which collects inside can become trapped, creating an environment that encourages the development of damp.

Water Ingress is another cause of damp in caravans; often caused by incorrect maintenance of windows, seals and frames or by accidentally leaving open doors and windows when it rains.

Leaking plumbing fixtures can also cause dampness in caravans, and should be inspected regularly to ensure they are properly attached and working properly.

Sealant deterioration over time can create gaps which allow water to enter the caravan’s interior. It’s important to inspect all visible seals every season and repair any damage as soon as possible.

Leaky windows are yet another cause of damp, particularly in older vans and those that are towed regularly which can cause the hinges to dislodge allowing for water to come in.

The Effects of Damp in Caravans – What Damage Can it Cause?

The effects of damp in caravans can be incredibly damaging and shouldn’t be underestimated.

Not only can it lead to a reduction in your caravan’s lifespan, but it can also have a significant impact on your health too.

Dampness can even cause the formation of mould and mildew that can cause respiratory issues for those staying inside the caravan.

If left untreated, damp can cause the walls, floor and ceiling to rot, leading to permanent damage.

It can also cause electrical wiring and furniture to become corroded and unsafe.

The excessive moisture created by dampness and condensation can also lead to the decay and rusting of any metal parts on the caravan including lamps, hinges and rivets.

Check out this post which covers damp in more depth: How To Spot And Deal With Damp in a Caravan

How to inspect your Caravan for Damp

When it comes to inspecting your caravan for damp, it’s important to be as thorough as you can.

  • Start by conducting a ‘visual inspection’ of the caravan, paying special attention to areas around windows, doors, vents, walls and floors.
  • You’ll need to check all areas of the caravan, including walls, floors, ceilings and furniture, for signs of damp.
  • Check inside cupboards and panels looking for any mould patches or black spots on the surface that would indicate mould. Press on the walls – is there any sponginess?
  • Same with the floor.  Walk up and down the length of the van and check for any softness underfoot.  How does the floor look? Is the lino attached to the ply properly?
  • Check any carpeted surfaces from underneath as well as around edges – these are often areas where water can settle.
  • Look at the joins where the wall meets the ceiling – are there any signs of staining?
  • Inspect around windows for any ‘chalky’ deposits which could have been left over by water seepage.
  • Take a look around the outside of the caravan – paying attention to the sealants around the joins and remember to check the seals around the windows checking for any signs of damage.

Using a Damp Meter

Using a damp meter is the best way to accurately determine if your caravan has damp. A damp meter measures levels of moisture in the walls and floors to give you a better understanding of the situation.

A quality damp meter is an excellent investment towards protecting and preserving your caravan.  It’s always a good idea to use one regularly as part of your maintenance routine to ensure that any issues can be tackled quickly.  At the same, time don’t become obsessed with constantly checking the caravan either!

In short, a damp meter result helps you identify potential areas of concern more quickly and accurately than simply inspecting for visible signs of dampness alone.

This makes it easier to diagnose any problems before they become too severe, ensuring the longevity of the van.

We always recommend the Protimeter tester – whilst it’s expensive, it will serve you well for many years and is the one the professionals use when carrying out their inspections:

Protimeter Mini General Purpose Moisture Meter

Protimeter Mini General Purpose Moisture Meter -
  • Easy to use, precision moisture meter with built-in pin probes, designed for general purpose moisture measuring
  • Clear and simple colour-coded LED display
  • Display shows moisture content and classification, dry (green), borderline (yellow), or damp (red)
  • Includes calibration device for checking correct functionality of instrument
  • Supplied with extension pin probe, allowing use in awkward positions
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What do the Results Mean?

The results give you an indication of how much dampness is present in the caravan. They will usually be displayed in a percentage, indicating how much moisture the meter has detected.

A damp reading below 20% usually indicates that there is little or no wetness, while a reading above 40% indicates very high levels of moisture. Anything between 20-50% should be thoroughly inspected as soon as possible.

It’s important to bear in mind that not all damp readings will be accurate. Testing during wet weather and winter months can cause inaccurate readings, as can condensation from regular habitation.

Always try to test in fair weather for the most reliable reading.

What to do if you Find damp in Your Caravan?

The number one tip here – is not to panic!

If you find damp in your caravan, the first step is to identify the source of moisture.

Once you have identified the source, you should take steps to prevent further damage. If it’s a minor leak, it can usually be repaired with decent silicone sealant, but If it’s more serious, arrange a professional inspection to assess the situation and get it repaired as soon as you can.

The next step is to air out your caravan as much as possible and find solutions ways to bring down moisture levels. Opening the windows and roof vents whenever you will help with this massively.

In order to get rid of any mould growth, or prevent it from starting inside your caravan you should wipe all the surfaces down with warm water and use an anti-mould product, or try bleach or vinegar diluted in water.

How to Quickly Dry Out your Caravan

Below are a few tried and trusted tips that will help dry out your caravan as quickly as possible:

Use a Fan Heater: Fan heaters will dry out damp areas and help to remove excess moisture quickly and effectively.

Using a fan heater is an effective way to dry out damp inside your caravan. They work by increasing the temperature in the affected area and distributing warm air throughout the caravan, helping to evaporate any excess moisture.

They are inexpensive and very easy to use and most models feature adjustable speed settings so you can customize the heat level as needed.

Use A Dehumidifier: A dehumidifier is a great tool for drying out damp air in your caravan or motorhome. It helps to reduce the humidity in the air, making it less likely for damp to develop.

They work by absorbing moisture from the air, which collects as water in the tank that can be tipped away. They are great for removing musty odours, mould spores, and any condensation collecting in the caravan.

Not only does a dehumidifier help dry out excess moisture, but it can also help to keep air quality high. It will not only be helping to dry out your caravan, but also purify the air inside it.

Remember not to use one throughout the night though otherwise, you might find yourself feeling very dry and dehydrated!

Pro Breeze Dehumidifier 500ml

Pro Breeze 500 ml Mini Dehumidifier - YouTube
  • Perfect for removing damp, mould and moisture
  • Capable of removing up to 250ml of moisture per day
  • Ultra-quiet & efficient
  • Auto shut off
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Use an Infrared Heater: A great, but often overlooked method to dry out your van is to use an infrared heater.

Using an infrared heater is one of the most reliable methods of drying out damp as it gives quick results without causing damage.

The heat generated by infrared heaters provides intense, yet even levels of heat that penetrate deeper into the walls than other types of heating systems, allowing them to quickly remove any moisture, which in turn helps to prevent mould and mildew from forming.

To use an infrared heater, place it around 10-15 cm away from any surface you need to treat -just let it run for 15-20 minutes at a time until the affected areas begin to dry out.

AB Tools-Neilsen Battery Hydrometer AB Tools-Neilsen Battery Hydrometer Testing Electrolyte Level  Density Lead Acid Specific Gravity : Industrial & Scientific
  • Battery cell must have enough solution to allow the float to rise
  • Fast and accurate testing of battery conditions
  • Easy and simple to use
  • Comes with glass tube, PVC bulb and spout.
  • Used for topping up and testing density of battery electrolyte.
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Preventing Further Damp in your Caravan

The old saying Prevention is better than cure has never been more true when it comes to caravan damp!

Keeping your caravan free of damp is an important part of caravan ownership. The best way to prevent further damp in your caravan is by making sure the area is well-ventilated and that moisture-trapping items such as sofa- backs, and cushions are kept well away from the walls.

It is also important to inspect the seals around windows, doors and skylights regularly to ensure they remain watertight to prevent ingress. Similarly, inspecting exterior surfaces for holes, cracks and other signs of damage can help avoid any potential sources of moisture entry into your caravan.

In addition, it is also essential to check for any leaking pipes or taps which can lead to increased humidity levels within the caravan. Check that all drainage pipes are pointing away from the caravan body, as a build-up of water can potentially cause damp.

Always try to keep up with your service inspections so that any major issues can be spotted and rectified as quickly as possible

Finally, invest in a decent dehumidifier if you’re concerned about too much condensation in your caravan as it will help keep the air dry whilst you are using it.

And finally, don’t stress too much about it!  The majority of damp issues are a straightforward fix – if you follow the tips we have given above you won’t have to deal with anything as serious or as expensive as some of the horror stories you have read.

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