As the long, lazy days of summer slowly fade behind us and the shorter, colder days of winter loom ahead trouble looms for unsuspecting caravan owners.
Over the winter months as your caravan is probably locked up and stored away the winter air will enter your caravan.
This air will be moist and will cause condensation on your windows. This moist interior of the caravan can damage furnishings, woods and leave mouldy smells if not treated properly.
One of the best ways to keep the interior of a caravan dry is to use a dehumidifier. But before you run out and buy the first dehumidifier you see make sure to read this guide so that you can buy the best dehumidifier for your caravan.
Let’s start with the benefits of using a caravan dehumidifier followed by some common misconceptions.
Caravan Dehumidifier Benefits
- Keeps condensation at bay
- Keeps humidity at a healthy level
- Stops mould growth
- Stops cold, clammy feeling from mattresses and upholstery
- Protects your caravan against damp damage such as wood rot
Common Misconceptions About Caravan Dehumidifiers
The first misconception about using a caravan dehumidifier is that caravans let in a continuous stream of fresh air so that a dehumidifier will be operating all of the time. This is simply not true.
You should, of course, check that the doors and windows are sealed properly and if they are then the dehumidifier will behave just like it would in a house. If you buy the correct dehumidifier (see energy-saving tip below) then the unit will turn off when the target humidity level has been reached.
The second misconception is that a caravan dehumidifier will make the interior of your caravan too dry and cause wood to crack. Again, this is simply not true as you can set the target humidity yourself.
Non-Electric or Electric Dehumidifier?
The advantages of non-electric dehmuidifiers is that they don’t cost anything to run and they work silently.
From talking to caravan owners that have used non-electric dehumidifiers in their caravans we would probably not recommend non-electric dehumidifiers for use in caravans over winter. The basic reason being that they are too small to work effectively.
Having said that though the best thing you could do is to experiment for yourself. We like the 2 x 1kg moisture absorber as you can place a unit both at the front and rear of your caravan.
If the 2 x 1kg moisture absorbers prove ineffective then you should look at a larger dehumidifier.
So that brings us to electric dehumidifiers (they don’t use as much energy as you think…read on).
There are two types of electric dehumidifiers:
Compressor units work best in warmer temperatures as the coils find it very difficult to extract water in temperatures below 10°C.
Desiccant dehumidifiers can work in temperatures down to 1°C (just before water freezes) therefore we recommend the use of a desiccant dehumidifier as a caravan dehumidifier.
Desiccant dehumidifiers also have other advantages over compressor dehumidifiers including being and featuring:
- An even extraction rate
- Lighter in weight
- No CFC gasses
There are a number of features that the best desiccant caravan dehumidifier should have so let’s see what these features are.
Features of The Best Caravan Dehumidifier
A typical dehumidifier works by extracting moisture from its environment and collecting this moisture in a water tank. Once the water tank is full the dehumidifier turns itself off automatically and won’t operate until the water tank has been emptied and reinserted correctly.
A continuous drainage option allows you to bypass the water tank so that the dehumidifier runs continuously (the energy-saving tip is just below).
This works by connecting a hose to the rear of the dehumidifier which by-passes the water tank and allows the water to run into a drain or sink.
Note that most continuous drainage facilities are gravity led. This means that you should place the dehumidifier above the sink or drain as gravity will pull the collected water down through the hose.
Also be aware that some dehumidifier are sold with a continuous drainage option but that a hose may not be supplied. In many instances you can use a length of garden hose if the hose is not supllied or if the supplied hose is too short to reach your drain.
When operating a dehumidifier in a caravan you don’t want to run it continuously as your electricity will most likely be very large.
What we want is an automatic dehumidifier which can toggle into the most efficient setting to tackle the humidity level in the caravan. On top of that we also want a dehumidifier which can turn itself ‘off’ when the target humidity level has been reached and then automatically turn itself back ‘on’ again once the humidity level has risen.
Sounds like a tall order doesn’t it? Does such a dehumidifier even exist?
Well, we are happy to report that UK dehumidifier Meaco has developed the best energy-saving technology on the market.
Meaco’s DD8L series of dehumidifiers comprise of 3 units:
All 3 units are desiccant dehumidifers, contain a continuous drainage option plus feature Meaco’s unique Control Logic energy-saving technology.
Meaco claims that dehumidifiers with Control Logic energy-saving technology are up to 80% more efficient at using power than units without energy-saving technology. A quick description of how Control Logic works will show why Meaco thinks thinks this.
Initially the dehumidifier has to work to bring the humidity level down to the level which you have set.
Once it has reached the target humidity level the dehumidifier then automatically turns itself off for 30 minutes. After the 30 minutes the dehumidifier then toggles into its lowest setting and tests the air for 5 minutes to gauge the caravans humidity level.
If the humidity level has remained stable the dehumidifier turns itself off again for another 30 minutes before testing the air for 5 minutes again.
If the humidity level has risen then the dehumidifier will automatically toggle into the most efficient setting to bring the humidity level down to the target level before turning off for 30 minutes.
You can see that if the humidity level stays around the target level that the dehumidifier will only work for 10 minutes out of every hour.
Because caravans have limited space the ideal caravan dehumidifier should be small in size while having a decent extraction rate.
The Meaco DD8L Junior and the Meaco DD8L Compact both measure 35.1 x 18.8 x 50cm (W x D x H). The Meaco DD8L Zambezi measures 35.8 x 20.0 x 54.8cm (W x D x H).
Meaco dehumidifiers also have multiple overheating protection systems which ensure that the unit doesn’t overheat and breakdown. There seems to be a misconception on caravan and boat forums that dehumidifiers will overheat if left unattended.
This is certainly not the case but to allay your suspicions we asked Meaco founder Chris Michael about the subject. Chris said;
“If you are leaving a dehumidifier unattended for any period of time this is where it is worth paying a little extra for a known brand as the top brands have the experience and knowledge to ensure that their dehumidifiers have the extra internal safety features that will give you piece of mind.
The multi award winning Meaco DD8L Junior for example benefits from a tilt switch, multiple over heat sensors and thermal fuses which independently turn the dehumidifier off if it does start to over-heat internally. Intelligence on the PCB that controls the work load of the dehumidifier to prevent it from overheating in the first place and a safety encasement around key components prevents them from becoming an issue should your power supply surge.”
Meaco dehumidifiers also feature auto restart which is another very important function of dehumidifiers which are used in less visited places such as caravans, boats and garages etc.
Auto restart allows the dehumidifier to restart in the setting that the unit was in before a power cut interupted its operation.
The dehumidifier won’t work while there is a lack of power but once power resumes the dehumidifier will automatically restart.
Which Meaco Dehumidifier?
So, you have 3 Meaco DD8L dehumidifiers to choose from but which one is the best caravan dehumidifier?
The DD8L Junior and the DD8L Compact are essentially the same machine except for one vital difference. The DD8L Compact features an anti-bacterial filter and an ioniser.
Both the anti-bacterial filter and ioniser provide a cleaner air and is recommended if you suffer from hay fever and other respiratory problems.
The DD8L Zambezi is probably the world’s most advanced dehumidifier and as such the unit contains features which are also of great use in a caravan. For example the Zambezi contains a timer which automatically turns on and off according to preset times. The Zambezi is available at a much higher price than the DD8L Junior but if you have the budget it is well worth checking out.
The Best Caravan Dehumidifier
#1 Caravan Dehumidifier: The Meaco DD8L Junior
Taking into account all the information above we have selected the Meaco DD8L Junior as the best caravan dehumidifier.
- Desiccant dehumidifiers work better in cold temperatures
- Continuous drainage option is available
- Contains the best energy-saving technology on the market
- Small in size
- Features auto restart function
- Overheating protection
- Standard filter
Another Dehumidifier Option
Of course being the savvy shopper that you are, you would like some another suitable dehumidifier to choose from. So here is another option.
The EcoAir DD122MK5 Classic
The DD122MK5 contains all the automated features of the Meaco DD8L Junior plus it boasts an anti-bacterial filter. The energy-saving technology is a little different than the Meaco technology so I’ll just explain it so that you will understand what the exact difference is.
While Meaco’s energy-saving technology is called Control Logic, EcoAir has called their technology E7 Technology.
E7 Technology differs from Control Logic by placing the dehumidifier in a very low fan mode once the target humidity has been reached. The unit doesn’t go into deep sleep mode as such. Once the humidity level reaches the set threshold the unit toggles to bring the humidty back to to the target percentage only to repeat the cycle.
While the Meaco DD8L serie dehumidifiers extract 8 litres of water per day, the EcoAir DD122MK5 Simple extracts 7 litres per day.
EcoAir DD122MK5 Size
Compared to the Meaco dehumidifiers above the DD122MK5 measures 29 x 17.5 x 47.5cm (W x D x H) so this unit is in fact smaller in size than the Meaco DD8l series.
Placement and Usage of a Caravan Dehumidifier
For optimum efficiency you should place the dehumidifier properly to avoid accidents plus you should check the unit regularly.
This is what dehumidifier expert Chris Michael had to say;
“When leaving any electrical product running and unattended you should take certain precautions to ensure that it can operate safely, a dehumidifier is no different in this regard. Always refer to the manual to make sure that the dehumidifier has the correct amount of free space around it to allow the air to come in and out of the dehumidifier to prevent it from overheating, make sure that the filter is clean and revisit the dehumidifier often enough to keep it clean. Again this prevents overheating.
Leave the dehumidifier standing on a stable, level platform and if you are going to drain the water away via a hose make sure that this is draining downhill, with no kinks or blockages and cut off any excess hose. Make sure that the drain outlet is not blocked or likely to become blocked. If you are going to use an extension lead then make sure it is in good working order and use a RCD to protect the appliance from any power fluctuations.”
What Others Say
There are many opinions out there on every subject imaginable and caravan dehumidifiers is a subject near and dear to many peoples heart.
Reading the forums it is very interesting to note that the majority (actually I have not read of a person that used a caravan dehumidifier and said that it did not make a difference. Therefore when I say majority I am being kind) of those that say dehumidifiers are a waste of time have not tried using a caravan dehumidifier themselves.
Those that state that they have used a caravan dehumidifier have been happy with the result and they have noticed a marked difference:
- I have used one in my van over the the winter months for the past 10 years or so. Previous to that for approx the same time I had the van stored without dehumifier and can say there is a marked difference when one is used*
- i use one all the time,its on timer of 6 hours a day during the winter unless there is a say i am trying to dehumidify the world but i say it has to do the caravan makes the van feel warm and dry*
- Quotes are from PracticalCaravan.com
Have you used a dehumidifier in caravan before? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.