Water Spot Caper! - Fiberglass RV
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Old 07-27-2016, 08:30 PM   #1
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Water Spot Caper!

Baby it's hot outside just about everywhere so we added a dehumidifier to the use of an air conditioner during the daytime. We left our campground for the day for the EAA AirAdventure in Oshkosh with the a/c and the dehumidifier running. When we returned in 10.5 hours and later turned down the bed, there was a 3-foot diameter wet spot on the sheet, fitted sheet mattress pad cover. The top layers of a cotton quilted cover and acrylic blanket were damp but not wet.

This forum continues to be the most active RV forum out there so, even though we are all-aluminum not fiberglass, can you help us solve this Water Spot Caper? If so, here are our clues:

1] In our Livin Lite Camplite 16 DB model, the air conditioner is high on the wall over the foot of the bed; this area is furthest from the door and is located at the front of the trailer on a side wall.

2) No windows or vents were left open.

3) We set the a/c to 68 degrees on an auto setting.

4) The portable dehumidifier was set at 45% and ran on an auto setting. It was still running when we got back to the campground. The fan continues to run when the humidity reaches the pre-programmed setting. It drains via a pump mechanism through a tube that we run along the floor and terminate on the floor in the shower. The dehumidifier sits on the floor at the back of the trailer next to the bathroom.

5) No other fans were running than that of the a/c and the dehumidifier.

6) It did not rain. The days before and day of this Caper were sunny and clear but verrrry humid!

7) The fan and vent over the front section of the trailer is positioned slightly above the bed. But the moisture was on the top of the bed, not the sides.

8) The exterior cover of the fan/vent on the ceiling broke off the day beforehand. We covered the inside surface with a plastic bag and duct tape (and made a temporary repair to the exterior part of the roof another day). There was no moisture on the tape or plastic and both remained intact

We have a working theory but are baffled as to the condensation (?) that settled on our bed. How could this happen in such a small space with a dehumidifier running?
Dead zone right in the middle of the bed dropping moisture? But why were the outer covers drier?

Just sign us Sherlock Steve and Julie Watson
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Old 07-27-2016, 08:46 PM   #2
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Really have to ask why you're using both units as the AC alone removes water from the air.
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Old 07-27-2016, 09:28 PM   #3
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Water runs where gravity demands. Anything above the wet spot?

If in the vicinity of a roof A/C I would start by looking at the drain path across the roof for the condensate and see if there's a bad roof seam/seal in the path. Plus check the gasket under the A/C for leaks.

Flood the roof with a hose. If you've got a roof leak it should show up pretty quick.
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Old 07-27-2016, 09:47 PM   #4
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This forum continues to be the most active RV forum out there. . .
I'm surprised at this, considering that molded fiberglass (MFG) trailers are a tiny subset of the RV market, but it says something about the folks who contribute here.

The CampLite is an interesting trailer, but of course it is 'stickbuilt'—the sticks are just aluminum, not wood. And the 'canned ham' design means those two seams on the top. Doesn't identify the OP's problem, but those are always an area for potential problems.

Here's a video about the CampLite:


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Old 07-27-2016, 11:03 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by tractors1 View Post
Water runs where gravity demands. Anything above the wet spot?

If in the vicinity of a roof A/C I would start by looking at the drain path across the roof for the condensate and see if there's a bad roof seam/seal in the path. Plus check the gasket under the A/C for leaks.

Flood the roof with a hose. If you've got a roof leak it should show up pretty quick.
Thank you for your ideas! The air conditioner is at the top of the wall that runs along the foot 9f the bed. There was no condensation on the roof above the water spot or around the air conditioner nor on the vents of it.

The water was clean too.
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Old 07-28-2016, 06:00 AM   #6
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Often water will travel before it shows up somewhere, making it very difficult to locate the source.
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Old 07-28-2016, 07:18 AM   #7
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What a great mystery you have given us!

Since the AC is wall-mounted, I don't see how condensate could be running across the roof and finding a leak. I would look into whether the condensate is draining correctly outside the trailer, though. As Bob says, if it gets in anywhere, it's a crap shot where it could end up.

Perhaps the plastic on the broken vent is somehow collecting moisture. Warm, humid outside air hits cooler plastic and condenses, finds a pinhole in the plastic,...??

Alternatively, I'm wondering what's under the bed (water tank?), if it's enclosed, and whether leaving an opening to allow the temperature and humidity to equalize below and above might make a difference.

Layers of bedding could be trapping humidity from below that condenses as it reaches the cooler outer layer. Fold back bedding and raise mattress during the day??

Just thinking out loud...

Whatever you eventually figure out, please don't leave us hanging!
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Old 07-28-2016, 07:34 AM   #8
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BTW, is your Camplite pre-or post-Thor acquisition? I've heard a few people say the best ones are the early ones. What's your take on that?

No, it has nothing to do with the case...
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Old 07-28-2016, 07:38 AM   #9
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In much the same line of thinking as Jon, I wondered if:

a. Anything with a leaking possibility under the mattress? Is the mattress wet itself?
b. Anything spilled on the bed before the covers were put on? Any pets in the camper?
c. Any evidence of a drip mark on the ceiling over the spot?

My best advice is to replicate the situation and see if the spot appears again. We had some strange wet spots on our bed for a while until we realized the dish drying rack was allowing drips on the bed. We had a hinged cover for the sink that held the drying rack with dishes and it extended over the bed.

Good luck!
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Old 07-28-2016, 11:29 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Kevin A View Post
In much the same line of thinking as Jon, I wondered if:

a. Anything with a leaking possibility under the mattress? Is the mattress wet itself?
b. Anything spilled on the bed before the covers were put on? Any pets in the camper?
c. Any evidence of a drip mark on the ceiling over the spot?

My best advice is to replicate the situation and see if the spot appears again. We had some strange wet spots on our bed for a while until we realized the dish drying rack was allowing drips on the bed. We had a hinged cover for the sink that held the drying rack with dishes and it extended over the bed.

Good luck!
Aha, thank you fellow detectives!
The ceiling, the underside and sides of the mattress, and the walls were all dry.

New clues: for some time there was our dog sleeping on the floor next to the bed. The water was clean without smell. She never gets on the furniture as confirmed by a lack of fur on all furniture.

Nothing hangs over this part of the bed. The a/c on the wall hangs over the foot of the bed; the foot of the bed was dry. No drips anywhere.

Sherlock Steve and Watson Julie
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Old 07-28-2016, 11:58 AM   #11
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Fairies dancing on the bed did it!

This is not "stump the chump," is it?
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Old 07-28-2016, 03:02 PM   #12
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Water Spot Caper!

Because of gravity, the water has to be coming from above, unless there is a pressurized leak below the mattress and as the moisture makes it's way upward, the A/C and dehumidifier are drying the top layers out to a degree. Having worked with public supply water systems, I have seen surface puddles from slow leaks in water mains pool on the surface overnight when evaporation was at its lowest, yet the puddles dry up when the sun comes up. And if the water had dripped from above, the upper layers could have partially dried due to the A/C and dehumidifier. If water is not bubbling up from something, I think the best diagnostic suggestion is to really hose down the roof with someone watching on the inside. I would also not rule out canine separation anxiety as the source of mysterious puddles in/on the bed or elsewhere in the trailer.


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Old 07-28-2016, 03:49 PM   #13
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You forgot the stress factor, as in environmental causes.
The noise of the planes might have scared the pee right out of the dog.
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Old 07-28-2016, 05:35 PM   #14
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We have a cat who burrows under the covers with loud noises. She sometimes vomits a bit of clear water if she drinks too fast. Could your dog be your water source?
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Old 07-29-2016, 10:58 AM   #15
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Your water spot is a puzzle and I have a personal comment to make. On our maiden voyage with our new 13' Scamp we noticed water "spots" on top of our bed. (We do not have an air conditioner) We also noticed a lot of moisture condensed on the inner fiberglass walls. We soon discovered that since we were keeping our trailer tightly sealed (all windows and door closed) when the outside air temperature changed from warm to cool, the interior "sweated". A couple things we now do to reduce the "sweat". #1 we keep one window and the ceiling fan vent open a crack thus providing ventilation and air movement (no need to turn on the fan). This seems to prevent the drips #2 We cover the "escape hatch" which is just above our bed with a simple cover that catches drips (and seals out the morning sun).

I do not have a photo of my "drip catcher". The photo I did post shows a similar "system" that I use as "black out shades" on my windows. It is modified to use on the ceiling. Basically, cut one rectangle of "Roc-Lon" (drapery black out fabric available at most fabric stores or online) to a slightly wider width than the ceiling opening and about 6" longer than the length of the opening. Fold over the short ends about 1 1/2" and sew 1/2 inch from cut edge to form two channels to run a rod* through. Note: there is no need to "finish" any of the cut edges as this fabric does not fray. Cut a rod 2" longer than the width of the channel and place rods through the channels. Attach the rods to the ceiling with 4 "cubicle clips" if you have "rat fur" on the walls/ceiling. Staples® Cubicle Clips, White, 20/Pack | Staples® We have found that the cloth absorbs the water and dries out easily.

*For rods I used camp tent poles cut to size (you can use old ones or get a replacement set from sporting good shops) You could use wood dowels or any number of things. (Don't use something that rusts) Actually, you don't even need the rods for this to work. I like the rods because it keeps the cloth closer to the ceiling thereby blocking out more sunlight. You can use Velcro (as seen in my photo) to attach to "rat fur". I prefer NOT to use Velcro as with multiple uses, on and off, the "rat fur" gets long, pulled threads and the Velcro does not work as well because it gets matted with "rat fur" fibers. If your ceiling opening has a wood frame you can screw clips onto the frame to hold the cover.

Hope my comments help you find your water source and solution.
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Old 07-30-2016, 01:05 PM   #16
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If I read the description correctly, the damp spot was confined to the layers of bedding between the top of the mattress and the outer covers. One thing that occurs to me is that the moisture was sweat/evaporation that was absorbed by the fabric when you were sleeping. The combination of hot weather outside plus the AC and dehumidifier caused the moisture to evaporate and re condense.
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