Author Topic: condensation in work van  (Read 2472 times)

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Offline cblanton42

  • Posts: 111
condensation in work van
« on: March 02, 2020, 12:11 PM »
     I work out of a 2007 Cube Van with a translucent roof and it's parked outside overnight.  I recently noticed my tools are starting to get lots of surface rust and upon further investigation I'm actually building up enough condensation to sometimes even drip from the ceiling when the sun comes up in the mornings.  YIKES!!
      I live in the Pacific NW so this will probably always be a battle for me, just asking here if anyone has any experience with getting rid of condensation in a work trailer?  Watched a lot of videos this weekend concerning the problem so I'm planning on installing some vents up high on the sides for starters, a roof vent too if that doesn't work well enough but I assume I'm not the only one that has fought this battle.

Thanks for any suggestions,
CB

Offline ChuckS

  • Posts: 3512
Re: condensation in work van
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2020, 02:53 PM »
i have had no experience with mobile shops, but my shop is a garage at night, and in the winter time, snow that comes with the car(s) into the shop melts. At times, the humidity can be as high as 70% + next morning or in the days to come.

To protect my tools from rusting (whether the tools are kept in cabinets or on shelves), I rely on:

1) https://www.leevalley.com/en-ca/shop/tools/workshop/storage/tool-storage/68931-anti-corrosion-liner
2) https://www.fluid-film.com/ or BOESHIELD T-9 or the like on metal surfaces (table saw, band saw, etc.)
3) Dehumidifiers placed inside the cabinets.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2020, 02:57 PM by ChuckM »

Offline cblanton42

  • Posts: 111
Re: condensation in work van
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2020, 11:08 AM »
     Thanks for those links, I'll definitely order some of the drawer liner, (it's also something I haven't seen before)
Thanks,
CB

Offline Jiggy Joiner

  • Posts: 1111
Re: condensation in work van
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2020, 03:39 PM »
You could line the roof, and any exposed sides, with some thin insulation, or thin polystyrene.
That will cut a lot of condensation, vents would also help.

Offline RKA

  • Posts: 1987
Re: condensation in work van
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2020, 05:15 PM »
1.  Does the van have AC in it?  Is it possible to run the AC to dehumidify the air on your way home (the front window defroster should activate the AC)?  It's inevitable that the air in the van will be humid if you've had the doors wide open on a humid day, but within 15-20 minutes your AC system should be able to dry out the air.  Standing water and wet tools and materials takes a lot longer (see step 2).  If the van doesn't have AC, I'm not sure you'll really solve this problem.
2.  Are you tracking any water into the van when you leave a job?  Any way to eliminate or minimize that?  Dry off tools and supplies before loading them (or keep those tools and supplies under cover until they get loaded)?
3.  Are there any leaks in the van?  Maybe water is pooling in a place you haven't discovered yet and that's causing an increase in humidity?  Inspect that translucent roof to see if any sealing materials have degraded. 

At the end of the day, if you can limit water and humidity in the van, you shouldn't have too much of an issue even if the temps drop overnight.  Adding venting might make things worse.  The drawer liners would be extra insurance, but I would first try to deal with any moisture issues.
-Raj

Offline ChuckS

  • Posts: 3512
Re: condensation in work van
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2020, 05:32 PM »
Snip. The drawer liners would be extra insurance, but I would first try to deal with any moisture issues.

I agree that like dust collection, the best approach is to deal with the source first.

Since using the three rust prevention/protection measures I outlined in my last reply, I no longer have had to remove rust from any of my tools. For hand tools after each use or sharpening, I also apply a thin coat of moovit https://www.leevalley.com/en-ca/shop/tools/workshop/tool-maintenance/53922-moovit-penetrating-lubricant. That oil is better than anything else I've tried including camellia oil. My shop could feel a lot lot colder than outside; it's like -15C when it may be actually -10 or higher, because of the constant humidity.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2020, 05:34 PM by ChuckM »

Offline Gregor

  • Posts: 1760
Re: condensation in work van
« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2020, 07:54 PM »
1) https://www.leevalley.com/en-ca/shop/tools/workshop/storage/tool-storage/68931-anti-corrosion-liner
Quote
The rubber/PVC mesh gives off a harmless corrosion-inhibiting vapor that forms an invisible barrier on ferrous and non-ferrous metals,
Harmless... not convinced that it won't also form on my pulmonary alveoli.

There are two knobs you can turn when it comes to condensation inside an enclosed space: temperature and amount of water.

As long as you manage to stay above the dew point things are well, problem is that in a car/van it gets cold in the night, water condenses on the spots that cool first (like windows), then the next day the sun shines the water evaporates (from 'like windows') but now sees your tools as a colder spot that allows it to be below dew point, condensing there -> rust.

To solve this either get rid of the water or stop the tools being the coldest things. To offer a place that is colder than everything else, for the water to condense there and be able to flow out of the enclosed volume, can solve both. But with that you basically reinvented a heat pump based dehumidifier.

Offline cblanton42

  • Posts: 111
Re: condensation in work van
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2020, 01:29 AM »
You could line the roof, and any exposed sides, with some thin insulation, or thin polystyrene.
That will cut a lot of condensation, vents would also help.
 
If I do that I lose the light of the translucent roof so I don't want to try that yet.  Also getting it adhered to the slick fiberglass won't be easy to do either.

Thanks,
CB

Offline cblanton42

  • Posts: 111
Re: condensation in work van
« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2020, 01:43 AM »
1.  Does the van have AC in it?  Is it possible to run the AC to dehumidify the air on your way home (the front window defroster should activate the AC)?  It's inevitable that the air in the van will be humid if you've had the doors wide open on a humid day, but within 15-20 minutes your AC system should be able to dry out the air.  Standing water and wet tools and materials takes a lot longer (see step 2).  If the van doesn't have AC, I'm not sure you'll really solve this problem.
2.  Are you tracking any water into the van when you leave a job?  Any way to eliminate or minimize that?  Dry off tools and supplies before loading them (or keep those tools and supplies under cover until they get loaded)?
3.  Are there any leaks in the van?  Maybe water is pooling in a place you haven't discovered yet and that's causing an increase in humidity?  Inspect that translucent roof to see if any sealing materials have degraded. 

At the end of the day, if you can limit water and humidity in the van, you shouldn't have too much of an issue even if the temps drop overnight.  Adding venting might make things worse.  The drawer liners would be extra insurance, but I would first try to deal with any moisture issues.
1.  The cube is separate from the cab, so no it doesn't have ac in the box of the van.
2.  No , It happens whether I've been in and out using the van or not at all. 
3.  No leaks, it's definitely condensation.
      I'll try and post some pics of this if I can, it's truly bizarre how much it builds up some days but other days nothing at all.

Offline cblanton42

  • Posts: 111
Re: condensation in work van
« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2020, 01:55 AM »
Pic of roof
« Last Edit: March 04, 2020, 02:19 AM by cblanton42 »

Offline cubevandude

  • Posts: 115
Re: condensation in work van
« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2020, 09:26 AM »
I worked out of a cube van for years with no problems that you describe.  I believe it is the roof that is causing your problem.  My van had a solid roof with 1/4" hardboard attached under it and 5/16 mahogany underlay on the walls.

Offline Michael Kellough

  • Posts: 5476
Re: condensation in work van
« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2020, 09:54 AM »

Offline FestitaMakool

  • Posts: 1302
Re: condensation in work van
« Reply #12 on: March 04, 2020, 12:12 PM »
Look for products made for boats and caravans.
Here’s one equivalent (in english) I found for a very popular de-moisture ball for winter storing boats and caravans here.
http://kontrolukltd.com/indoor-products/moisture-control/mini-moisture-traps

And you would probably benefit from one of these solar driven ventilation units like one of these:
“The Stig” Yes, it is true, at least some part of it..
“If you have an old Land Rover and a fit wife, you’re most likely always busy”