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Not a Leak

Don't you hate when you procrastinate doing a project because it feels like it's going to be some huge ordeal, and then when you finally do said project, it takes 10 minutes and you feel really stupid for having waited so long? Yeah, we don't know what that feels like either.

Oh wait, we do. And we're going to admit it and blog about it.

It all started back in 2010 when we were having our solar installed. One of the installers at AM Solar came into the waiting room with a somber look on his face.

"I have some bad news about your new trailer. I think you've got a leak."

This was not welcome news to us, because in our previous trailer we had fought with a series of leaks from day one. At one point, we even took the trailer to one of those services where they hook up giant ducts to your RV, pressurize the whole thing, and then splash the outside with that magic bubble stuff you played with when you were a kid (or, um, sometimes even now). Then, the spots where the magic bubbles start blowin' are the spots where your RV might have leaks. When we saw the results of this on our old Airstream, it was so scary that we just paid them, told them to turn the machine off, and bailed. (Not really. They fixed it. According to them, Airstream had some process for sealing the seams of the trailer that had not been done properly at the factory.)

But our new Airstream was supposed to be a fresh start! Free of leaks and defects and broken things. The solar installer took us out into the shop and showed us the small area on the wood platform underneath the mattress that had a bit of discoloration and moisture. The installer was looking up at the ceiling, as if a leak had come from above and gone down through the mattress. I think we'd have known if water was coming in through the ceiling, onto our heads, through the pillows, and down through the mattress.

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We noticed a couple of things though: (1) the moisture was under the area forwared of the hinge only, and (2) the moisture didn't go all the way to any of the edges of the wood. If this were a leak, we'd expect to see the moisture coming down the wall and soaking the wood from the edges in. This moisture looked like it came from the middle somewhere, either down from the mattress or up through the wood.

We did some research online and found out that this kind of moisture accumulation is common under mattresses and cushions in boats (and RVs). It's actually condensation on the wood, and occurs wherever there's a temperature difference between the two sides of a surface. In the case above, the area forward of the hinge is above an outside storage compartment, so there's cold air below the wood and warm moist air above the wood. Over time, this could cause mildew, dry rot, and other icky stuff.

We found a solution. HyperVent. HyperVent is "a special material that consists of a white spun polymer woven into a large open configuration that is bonded to a breathable white fabric layer." Looks kinda like white AstroTurf. We ordered some and it arrived on our porch a week or so later. We promptly took it to the Airstream storage and there it sat. For over a year. 

So today, finally, since we've been camping in cool weather again, we decided to unwrap the very well-taped up roll of HyperVent that's been sitting in our storage since 2010 and install it. Ten minutes. Done.

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It comes in a roll and you just cut a piece (or two pieces) to fit your bed platform, and it allows air to circulate between the mattress and the wood.

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The material is 39 inches wide and the bed in our 27'FB (queen size bed) took about 10 feet. We cut two pieces and duct taped 'em together.

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Then we cut the rounded corners at the bottom of the bed…

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…and flipped it over. (It goes fuzzy side down.)

This should solve the problem!

(Posted by Laura & Kevin)