When there’s too much moisture building up in your caravan this can lead to damp and even more problems further down the line. In fact, it’s safe to say that damp ranks highly as a caravanners worst nightmare. If it’s not the worst, it’s certainly in the running to be the worst.
However, if you get into the habit of checking regularly for the early signs of dampness and excessive moisture, properly ventilate your touring vehicle and reduce the condensation, you can prevent it from becoming an issue in the first place.
In the following post, we will not only look at how you can check for damp in your caravan and the steps you can take to prevent it, but we will also highlight some of the best caravan damp test meters available on the market right now.
Best Caravan Damp Meter – Our Top Choices
The first moisture detector on our list is this highly affordable model from Brennenstuhl, which can be used to measure the level of moisture in various surfaces and materials such as wallpaper, plasterboard, screed, brick, concrete, wood and many others.
For building materials, the measuring range is 1.5% to 33% and for wood is 5% to 50%. The results are displayed on an over-large LCD and a sound is emitted when a reading is taken.
For the areas that are a lot harder to reach, there is a hold function to make it possible to measure damp there. To save power, the damp meter will turn itself off 3 minutes after it was used last and you can keep track of the battery power via the special indicator.
Our next caravan damp meter is this equally as an affordable product from iXium. It has an LCD display as standard, the range is not quite as wide as the previous meter at 5% to 40%, with an accuracy of 1%. A 9v battery around 150 hours of continuous use, and unlike the model above, it comes with the battery it requires.
Stanley is obviously a very well-known and popular brand of a wide range of different products related to DIY, building and lots more. Their entry to the caravan damp meter market is this 077030 Moisture Meter.
It includes an LCD display with a bar graph that shows a dual measurement. This meter reads moisture levels based on the electrical resistance across the 2 pins at the top of the device. The measuring range for wood is between 6% and 44%.
From Dr.Meter our next gizmo is their digital moisture meter. It has an extremely wide range from 2% to 70% with an accuracy of around 0.5%. As you can see from the picture, it has a nice, large and clear LCD display that also displays the battery power.
A nice feature that this meter comes with is the memory function is that it stores data and different measurements, so you can compare and contrast it. The modular sensor pins at the top of the device are how it reads the moisture levels. It is powered by a 9v battery that is included in the package along with some replacement probes too.
From Neoteck we also want to highlight this 4-pin digital moisture meter. It aims to offer enhanced sensitivity to provide you with data that is more precise than that supplied by others on the market. The clear and large LCD display makes it easier to read.
This damp meter is compatible with wood shavings, sawdust, concrete, bricks, timber, caravans, boats, walls, plaster, firewood and many other materials.
The Proster damp meter is a great moisture detector suitable for use with various materials and surfaces such as concrete, paper, cardboard, logs, firewood, wood and many other types of walls and panelling. It provides a measuring range of between 0% and 99% with an accuracy of less than 0.5%. You can use the hold function to store measurements for harder to reach places. The machine will switch itself off if it’s not used for some time to save battery power.
Our last caravan damp meter is from Zevek and comes with a backlit-LCD display with very large text that makes it incredibly easy to read. It only involves the use of one button, so it’s easy to use too. You can use it to detect and measure moisture in the air, masonry and all kinds of woods.
The prongs used to detect moisture are made from robust stainless-steel and are very easy to clean.
Acceptable Damp Levels in Caravans
Given how likely it is for a caravan to have some level of dampness or moisture inside it, you may be wondering if there’s such a thing as acceptable damp levels in caravans. You know, where you’re not in immediate danger of the caravan being damaged or suffering from health risks if the damp levels are at a certain level.
The short answer to this query is that no, there is not acceptable damp levels for caravans as excess moisture will always eventually become a problem if not handled properly.
If you use a caravan damp meter to perform a caravan damp test, there are certain acceptable levels of damp where you don’t immediately have to do anything.
A rough guide to estimated readings and how you should translate them follows below.
- 0 to 15% means there’s no real worry
- 15 to 20% means you should make a note, and have it checked at the next service
- 20 to 24% could be an early indicator of water ingress and you should start looking for concrete physical evidence to prove it.
- 25 to 30% means there’s moisture present and remedial work will be required. However, it may not need to be stripped down, unless there’s obvious surface damage like softness, pimpling or staining.
- 31% or more means there’s structural damage occurring, and deterioration is eventually going to happen. A complete strip down would be necessary of affected areas.
When and How to Check Your Caravan for Damp
Dampness and water ingresses may not at first appear to be particularly serious issues, but if they are left to develop and spread, they can cause a lot of damage that will take time and money to fix.
You can avoid the unnecessary costs and time off the road by carrying out regular checks for signs of dampness and excess moisture. When is the best time to do this? When you are cleaning or carrying out other maintenance work on your caravan, you should also take the opportunity to check for the build-up of moisture.
Check the sealant and seals, especially around the caravan’s locker doors, seals, windows and check for damage to the sealant, like peeling and cracking. You also need to make sure you check if there’s any cracks, knocks or other forms of damage to other pieces of equipment where holes needed to be drilled into the caravan to install them such as aerials, as these might not have been properly sealed.
You can also use your nose to sniff for any musty smells coming from the upholstery and furniture. Run your hands along the wallboards to ensure that they are free from dimpling and do not feel spongy or wet.
Other signs of dampness include discolouration of your caravan’s walls and ceiling, particularly around the lockers and windows. If you have noticed that your flooring feels a little creaky or spongy, this too could a sign that you have a water ingress or damp problem.
Using a Damp Meter In A Caravan
As an alternative to relying just on your senses, if you like gizmos, you can invest in buy a caravan damp meter to help you check whether you have too much moisture or not.
These measure the moisture levels as a percentage, and you measure it by holding the prongs against the areas you think are affected.
Once you have an idea of how bad the problem is, you can either try and deal with it yourself if it is not too serious, or you can speak to a professional to help you solve the problem.
There are several different moisture meters on the market, too many to look through, so we’ve done the hard work for you and have highlighted the models that we feel are the best. Most are affordable and are very similar in functionality, with only slight differences. We are sure you will be able to find the best one for your needs and requirements.
Tips for Reducing Risk of Caravan Damp
The best form of treatment is prevention and to help you avoid a damp problem from getting too serious, we’ve put together an easy to follow list of tips for reducing the chance of damp developing in your caravan.
- Use Your Caravan – Simple, but effective. One of the best ways to avoid damp is by using your caravan as often as possible and ensuring that it is always properly ventilated. Particularly during colder months.
- Limiting Condensation – Reduce condensation by avoiding drying wet clothes inside your caravan. Open the windows and any skylights you have when you have showers in the morning or during cooking to combat the build-up of condensation.
- Wipe the Walls – If a build-up of condensation forms on the windows and walls, wipe it away with a clean and dry microfibre cloth.
- Air Your Caravan – Open and of the lockers and remove the mattresses and cushions if you can when you are leaving it unused for long durations.
- Consider Investing in Moisture Traps – Cat litter and specially formulated dehumidifier crystals can absorb excess moisture present in the atmosphere of your caravan. Try using moisture traps like these in the areas of the tourer where air doesn’t circulate as easily or as much.
Although excess moisture should be a concern if you own a caravan. Dampness can develop into mould and can cause serious damage to your vehicle that can be costly to repair. it’s not something you should lose sleep over if you put into practice the advice and tips included in the above post. Keeping your caravan well-maintained and free from damp is an on-going task and to help you successfully keep moisture levels as low as possible, we would recommend that you invest in at least one of the great moisture detectors listed above. We hope you have found our caravan damp meter article useful in finding the right one for you.