Should I Run a Dehumidifier in My RV?

While you may not have seen the need to own a dehumidifier before as a homeowner, as an owner of a camper, trailer, RV, or truck camper, it’s a different matter entirely.

Moisture contributes to mold, and mildew, and is extremely destructive.

It can destroy your mattress, sofa, decorating materials, walls, flooring, sub-floor level, and more.

Humidity isn’t just a matter of where the motorhome is located either.

While hotter and stickier climates – Florida, for example – are a major factor, the length of time occupying the RV and how many people (or pets) are present makes a significant difference too.

Should I Run a Dehumidifier in My RV?

It may surprise you to learn that over twenty fluid ounces are lost by an individual both by breathing and natural perspiration in normal temperatures and average humidity levels.

With greater activity levels, higher humidity, or hotter weather, that only increases.

Also, if you’re traveling or living full-time with a partner in the RV or you have dogs or cats, then they all add to the amount of moisture being generated too.

Even when running an AC unit, it can only do so much to reduce the ambient temperature and address the humidity too.

Considerable moisture is retained, especially in more humid locales or when more people or animals are in the RV. It then becomes a compounding problem.

If you’ve noticed the RV condensation on the windows in the morning, that’s the result of excess moisture.

While wiping down the windows does help, it doesn’t prevent moisture from getting into material covers, foam, mattresses, floor rugs, walls, flooring, ceiling, etc.

Only by using a dehumidifier solution can it reduce the humidity levels to safer levels.

Read Also: How to Tell If RV Thermostat is Bad?

Can You Use a Dehumidifier in an RV?

Yes, it’s possible to do so safely.

A dehumidifier can be a disposable product that contains a desiccant. Interior non-electric desiccant dehumidifiers can be purchased, placed in different positions, and then soak up the moisture.

Once the desiccant material has absorbed as much moisture as it can, the container can be replaced with a new one (they usually sell conveniently in packs).

This type of solution isn’t as effective or active as an RV dehumidifier, but it is helpful when the problem is more minor or isolated to one section of your camper, trailer, or RV.

However, the freestanding desiccant dehumidifiers that plug into the electrical RV system are a better solution.

They’re more powerful and can collect moisture from a larger living space; not just one small section of it.

Also, there are smaller and larger units to choose from.

The former is portable, lighter, and easier to move into different living spaces while the latter is better for Class A, B, or C RVs, and larger towable trailers, campers, etc.  

Read Also: Towing a Travel Trailer in High Winds

Do I Need a Dehumidifier in My RV?

If you’re spending considerable time in hotter climates or ones where the humidity level regularly gets above 50%, then it’ll be sticky and extremely uncomfortable.

If so, it will begin to hurt your accommodations where materials or surfaces can become moist to the touch in extreme cases, and you’ll feel the wetness in the air too.

An excess of moisture is also bad for people with allergies, asthma or COPD sufferers, and anyone with a respiratory-related disease. Drier air in an RV is better in those cases.

When thinking about how RV building materials, furnishings, and even electronics, are severely affected by moisture of any kind.

It’s fair to say that the long-term viability of your RV or towable, and what’s inside of it, is at risk when humidity is too high.

Therefore, an investment in a dehumidifier protects it.

Read Also: How to Repair Delamination on RV

What is a Good Humidity Level for an RV?

A humidity level between 30 to 50% is what you should aim for. Typically, the drier the better to make the living environment more comfortable.

With any level of occupancy and even part-time use, an RV or camper can have too much moisture inside even if the ambient humidity isn’t so bad.

Opening the windows won’t help because it doesn’t prevent the materials from absorbing the moisture. Only a dehumidifier is designed to do that.

It is possible to use a Wi-Fi humidity monitor to check for elevated levels and receive alerts when that’s the case. The Govee WiFi Hygrometer Thermometer Sensor is a reliable product:

Should a Dehumidifier Run All the Time?

It’s usually not necessary to run a dehumidifier all the time.

The number of occupants and how humid the local climate is will often determine how often a dehumidifier should be running.

Also, when the unit is underpowered for the space, it will wear out faster and won’t be as effective either.

This is where being able to check on the relative humidity levels in different parts of your RV, camper or trailer is worthwhile.

It is possible to run a dehumidifier on a low setting for a certain number of hours daily.

Running one during the hottest part of the day and overnight when the RV is fully occupied can be most beneficial to handle the worst of it.

RV condensation image of window, condensation, and H2O painted presumably with finger painting

Read Also: Long Term RV Park Rules

Can You Run a Dehumidifier Too Much?

It’s possible to have a full time RV dehumidifier that’s designed for people living in their RV as their primary residence.

It is unlikely that you can run a dehumidifier too much.

There will be a running battle between higher moisture levels from the people and any pets in the RV, the humidity level in the state, and the rate at which moisture is being expelled from the motorhome or towable.

So, running it on a lower setting is a reasonable compromise to keep the internal humidity levels within the 30-50% range.

Best RV Dehumidifier

The best RV dehumidifier is going to be large enough for your needs. With the higher capacity, better-quality brands can operate around the clock.

The better models will have a greater capacity for moisture collection, perhaps a HEPA filter to clean the air too, and have other features such as a quiet mode for nighttime use (otherwise a 50dB level is likely).

This freestanding model from Tenergy Sorbi has a HEPA filter system and operates at 45 degrees up to 122 degrees, so it’ll be good for bathrooms and small parts of a larger RV:

Tenergy Sorbi 1000ml Air Dehumidifier. Air Purifying, HEPA Filter. (Auto Shutoff w/Touch Control and Adjustable Air Speed)

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For interior spaces up to 1,500 square feet, there are larger models to remove humidity across a larger space.

For instance, the HomeLabs 1,500 Sq. Ft Dehumidifier covers a sufficient area (there are models with even greater capacities). It sits on wheels for easier maneuverability and delivers the results required for the largest RVs:

hOmeLabs 1,500 Sq. Ft Energy Star Dehumidifier

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Dehumidifier for Campers or Trailers

A dehumidifier for campers or trailers typically is a smaller unit with lesser capacities.

This is because they usually do not need to be run 24/7 and the square feet to cover is less than with a motorhome.

For a camper or trailer, a mini dehumidifier makes a lot of sense.

Usually relying on silica gel beads to absorb moisture until they’re maxed out, they only occasionally require replacing.

The best small RV dehumidifier must be the proper size to collect sufficient moisture.

Reducing humidity levels makes a smaller living space comfortable even in stickier climates.

Here is one example of a mini dehumidifier for a camper that takes up little space and will function in living spaces up to 300+ cubic feet.

Eva-Dry Wireless Mini Dehumidifier E-333 (White color)

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Non electric Dehumidifier for RV

A non-electric dehumidifier for RVs mostly relies on tubs filled with different materials such as activated charcoal that absorb moisture.

As mentioned earlier, they can be strategically placed either in the most lived-in sections of your RV or towable or just in the areas that are the wettest, i.e., near the windows or in the bedroom.

Vacplus Moisture Absorber Boxes (6-pack)

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They’re a more affordable solution and do not require any power to work. With that said, they’re far less effective, particularly with multiple occupants.

Also, they won’t handle high-humidity environments because that’ll be beyond their abilities.

At that point, you need an electric dehumidifier and AC running to battle the humidity levels in a state like Florida.  

Closing Thoughts

It’s difficult for any RV owners to avoid having too much moisture in their homes without using a dehumidifier.

While an AC running will certainly be useful, it requires more power consumption.

The various dehumidifier solutions available are far less power-hungry and can still be utilized when temperature levels are at a comfortable level already.

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