Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Condensation Nation

Recently, I was brushing my teeth, and I noticed a drip of water coming down the wall in our lovely head. That's odd, I thought. Upon closer inspection, I realized the entire wall was covered in a fine mist of H2O, as though some boat gnome had turned on the spigot while we were sleeping. Hmm, even odder.

Turns out the water dripping down our walls was not the work of a malevolent marine imp, but rather a little process called condensation. Now, condensation is something that we live with on a regular basis. It's the sweat on the outside of our soda cans, the dew on the clover field, the water dripping down the walls of our bathroom. If you can't tell, I'm really not enjoying that last one.

I had, also, never considered how condensation works, but thanks to my  awesome live-in science guru I now know the entire process. In the winter when the inside of the boat is warm, the air can hold more moisture, but as that air travels to the sides of the boat where it is cooler it loses energy in the form of heat causing the molecules in the air to become closer together and move more slowly. H2O molecules in the air cool down as well and condense into water via a phase change releasing energy as heat to the cold surface (about 585 cal/g at 20 deg. C - Vlad made me write this part, I swear). The process reverses in the summer (i.e. the water condenses on the outside of the boat where the warm outside air hits the cooler air against the boat.) Hence the reason why the air feels more humid in the summer, but the inside of your boat is like an Amazonian rainforest in the winter.

Solution: A dehumidifier. Sixty dollars from Home Depot.


  1. Glad to hear you got some condensation compensation without too much rumination and cogitation. It should relieve your aggravation and agitation.

  2. Your comment fills me with elation, and that ain't no fabrication!

  3. Vlad and Mark are going to get along so very well...

  4. Well, to add to your education and edification, we have this problem aboard Moonrise 3 seasons a year because of all the rain we get, especially in the V berth. The humidity that is, in the v berth, not the rain. Anyhoo,we solve it by cracking a port open, or a hatch, and pumping up the heat. I want a boat that has insulation for this reason.

  5. Ahh! The joys of owning a boat! I hope to experience the same joys as soon as I find a boat.

  6. I've been fighting the good fight against the mildew, but I think it just feeds off the Lysol! Oh well, the dehumidifier is helping for sure. Good luck on your boat search! Condensation aside, it's a whole lot of fun.