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Old 03-22-2016, 04:26 PM   #1
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Overhead lights condensation

Hi all - spent the month of January in Cali and although mostly nice during the day, the nights were close to freezing. After a week or so of this weather, some of the overhead lights were turning on all by themselves, with the switch set to off. There was a lot of condensation in the overhead cavity, so I figure the moisture caused a short.

Question... has anyone else experienced this, and how did you fix? I've caulked the area where the wires come through the vinyl. Any other ideas? It's a little hard to create a drip loop for the wires because gravity isn't your friend here

I'm a little concerned about the long term effects of the moisture in the new style ceiling, as well as the longevity of the LED lights in a moist environment. It doesn't appear that there is anywhere for accumulated condensation to go.

Any suggestions would be appreciated. Alisa
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Old 03-22-2016, 04:34 PM   #2
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I would turn up the furnace and leave a window partly open and the maxxfan on low exhaust or at least open to vent the condensation.

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Old 03-22-2016, 04:41 PM   #3
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Thanks Doug...already was doing that. I've lived on a boat for years, so air movement is always a priority. Either had the furnace running (or electric heat) with the rear side window cracked and the overhead vent cracked at least a couple inches for air flow.

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I would turn up the furnace and leave a window partly open and the maxxfan on low exhaust or at least open to vent the condensation.

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Old 03-22-2016, 05:48 PM   #4
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Hi all - spent the month of January in Cali and although mostly nice during the day, the nights were close to freezing. After a week or so of this weather, some of the overhead lights were turning on all by themselves, with the switch set to off. There was a lot of condensation in the overhead cavity, so I figure the moisture caused a short.

Question... has anyone else experienced this, and how did you fix? I've caulked the area where the wires come through the vinyl. Any other ideas? It's a little hard to create a drip loop for the wires because gravity isn't your friend here

I'm a little concerned about the long term effects of the moisture in the new style ceiling, as well as the longevity of the LED lights in a moist environment. It doesn't appear that there is anywhere for accumulated condensation to go.

Any suggestions would be appreciated. Alisa
curious...do you have the extra insulation in your trailer?
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Old 03-22-2016, 05:51 PM   #5
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Yes - have the extra insulation/thermal windows and spray foam.
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Old 03-22-2016, 06:11 PM   #6
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I am still evaluating the purchase of an Escape and compiling issues/non-issues on the forum prior to a decision. Although I can not help you with your specific question, I have wondered what if anything can "grow" behind the vinyl and the extra insulation and/or fiberglass over time. ....have not seen the specifications yet for the vinyl material and its foam (?) backing (Casita provided the specifications for their wall covering material, foam and adhesive). If the Escape has a continuous adhesive applied to its back side then maybe condensation can not accumulate on the back side of the vinyl and it may be nothing to be concerned about.
with regard to your led fixtures shorting it is concerning that enough moisture can accumulate behind the vinyl if that is where it is coming from ...to cause a drip and a short.
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Old 03-22-2016, 06:28 PM   #7
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I can honesty say Alisa, your issue is a first both here and over on FGRV. I have never heard of condensation inside the ceiling lights. Whether from cooking or inadequate venting it seems ironic. I have winter camped in every month without having any moisture in the light in my 21 Escape. The window frames yes. Which light or lights are you having issues with?
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Old 03-22-2016, 06:41 PM   #8
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I've got the full insulation package, which in the 21 model has a honeycomb or cored ceiling. There definitely was significant condensation accumulating above the vinyl. Cold fibreglass roof and a warm air pocket between the vinyl and the honeycomb material = condensation. Not sure how to increase air circulation in this area since it's completely covered up. The easiest way out for the water was through the light fixtures.

Not griping about the trailer (I love my Escape), just trying to figure out what is the best way to eliminate the problem. This is a 2014 rig, and I hope to have it for the long term!



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Originally Posted by freespirit View Post
I am still evaluating the purchase of an Escape and compiling issues/non-issues on the forum prior to a decision. Although I can not help you with your specific question, I have wondered what if anything can "grow" behind the vinyl and the extra insulation and/or fiberglass over time. ....have not seen the specifications yet for the vinyl material and its foam (?) backing (Casita provided the specifications for their wall covering material, foam and adhesive). If the Escape has a continuous adhesive applied to its back side then maybe condensation can not accumulate on the back side of the vinyl and it may be nothing to be concerned about.
with regard to your led fixtures shorting it is concerning that enough moisture can accumulate behind the vinyl if that is where it is coming from ...to cause a drip and a short.
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Old 03-22-2016, 06:50 PM   #9
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There should not be a problem over the bed with the bedroom window cracked and the fan vent open and fan operating on exhaust.Are you saying there is no reflectix behind the ceiling, just bare fiberglass?
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Old 03-22-2016, 06:52 PM   #10
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Hi Jim - thanks for your reply. It's a first for me too, never happened with my Boler. I was in the desert so rain was not an issue. 30's at night and 70's during the day. Started out with the light over the bed (both sides), and then the light just in front of the Aircon (but just one side). I could put a finger up into the cavity and the whole area was soaking wet. None of the other ceiling lights are affected.



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I can honesty say Alisa, your issue is a first both here and over on FGRV. I have never heard of condensation inside the ceiling lights. Whether from cooking or inadequate venting it seems ironic. I have winter camped in every month without having any moisture in the light in my 21 Escape. The window frames yes. Which light or lights are you having issues with?
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Old 03-22-2016, 06:57 PM   #11
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Well - didn't have the fan operating on exhaust. It was too cold for that! But I did have the window/vent cracked. According to Reace there is no reflectix behind the ceiling in the 21 and the TA. These rigs have a honeycomb or composite cored material fibreglassed to the shell as part of the manufacturing process. Lighter, stronger and should be a good insulator.

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There should not be a problem over the bed with the bedroom window cracked and the fan vent open and fan operating on exhaust.Are you saying there is no reflectix behind the ceiling, just bare fiberglass?
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Old 03-22-2016, 06:57 PM   #12
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I've got the full insulation package, which in the 21 model has a honeycomb or cored ceiling.
As I understand previous posts, the 21' has a cored (honeycomb between inner and outer layers of fiberglass) ceiling for strength... regardless of the insulation package.

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Are you saying there is no reflectix behind the ceiling, just bare fiberglass?
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According to Reace there is no reflectix behind the ceiling in the 21 and the TA. These rigs have a honeycomb or composite cored material fibreglassed to the shell as part of the manufacturing process. Lighter, stronger and should be a good insulator.
This is my understanding from previous discussions: the Reflectix is not added to areas with cored construction - even with the insulation package - due to the improved insulation value of the core material.
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Old 03-23-2016, 08:42 AM   #13
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I haven't had it happen due to condensation, but after changing my outside light to an LED bulb, moisture did the same. It takes so little current to turn on an LED that they can create unusual situations...
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Old 03-23-2016, 09:15 AM   #14
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I agree Jon. The benefits of LED's low power draw is the problem here. I'm more concerned about the long term effects of moisture accumulating in the core material. It appears to have wood stringers, so that condensation up there could eventually cause rot/mold if the moisture has no where to go.

I suspect that I'll just have to ask Reace at the Rally and get his thoughts on this. Maybe there is something in the construction that will eventually let ceiling dry out naturally.
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Old 03-23-2016, 02:41 PM   #15
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I'm more concerned about the long term effects of moisture accumulating in the core material. It appears to have wood stringers, so that condensation up there could eventually cause rot/mold if the moisture has no where to go.
Escape uses wood blocks fiberglassed to the shell as reinforcing ribs and attachment points (for cabinetry, etc). This is different from the role of core material, which is incorporated as a middle layer of the shell buildup to add thickness and thus strength and stiffness. Wood can be used as core material, but I would not expect that in this case, mostly because previous discussions referred to honeycomb. Water shouldn't get into either (because there is impermeable polyester resin between the trailer interior and either the ribs or the core material), but they're distinct in composition and construction.

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I suspect that I'll just have to ask Reace at the Rally and get his thoughts on this.
Please share what you learn.

The It's Friday! thread in this forum has lots of photos of trailers under construction, many showing the interior of the shell, but they are intended as "how is your trailer doing" updates rather than as a textbook in construction methods, so they don't answer all of these questions.
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Old 03-23-2016, 02:50 PM   #16
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Escape uses wood blocks fiberglassed to the shell as reinforcing ribs and attachment points (for cabinetry, etc). This is different from the role of core material, which is incorporated as a middle layer of the shell buildup to add thickness and thus strength and stiffness. Wood can be used as core material, but I would not expect that in this case, mostly because previous discussions referred to honeycomb. Water shouldn't get into either (because there is impermeable polyester resin between the trailer interior and either the ribs or the core material), but they're distinct in composition and construction.


Please share what you learn.

The It's Friday! thread in this forum has lots of photos of trailers under construction, many showing the interior of the shell, but they are intended as "how is your trailer doing" updates rather than as a textbook in construction methods, so they don't answer all of these questions.
really appreciate your posts Brian (as well as others) as many of them are somewhat technical in nature which I like (since I am somewhat of a tech nerd) and certainly educational. Look forward to meeting you some day in a new 2017 Escape...shouldn't be too hard to spot..may even have a a "retractable flexible solar panel array" or a "linear magneto flux induction solar wind turbine power generator" installed by then..
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Old 03-23-2016, 03:08 PM   #17
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Good point Brian. That's exactly what we do in the boat-building process. I'm going to pull one of the lights again and see if I can get a better look at how it all goes together up there. There does appear to be a relatively small dimension stringer up there but it might just be a mounting block for the light. If that's the case, there should be no further issue. Some condensation is inevitable because of the temperature differential between the outer shell and the heated inside, but isolating the core material should eliminate any potential problems.

Maybe I'll just make up a nice butyl gasket for where the wires poke through the vinyl, dry out the lights really well and put it all back together again....

If this works - I'll let everyone know. Although, I'm the only one with the problem it appears.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
Escape uses wood blocks fiberglassed to the shell as reinforcing ribs and attachment points (for cabinetry, etc). This is different from the role of core material, which is incorporated as a middle layer of the shell buildup to add thickness and thus strength and stiffness. Wood can be used as core material, but I would not expect that in this case, mostly because previous discussions referred to honeycomb. Water shouldn't get into either (because there is impermeable polyester resin between the trailer interior and either the ribs or the core material), but they're distinct in composition and construction.


Please share what you learn.

The It's Friday! thread in this forum has lots of photos of trailers under construction, many showing the interior of the shell, but they are intended as "how is your trailer doing" updates rather than as a textbook in construction methods, so they don't answer all of these questions.
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Old 03-26-2016, 11:10 AM   #18
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An update....dropped the light fixtures yesterday and I think I've figured out the problem. There is about a 1 1/2" hole cut in the core material for the wiring for the lights. This space is open above to the outer fibreglass shell which is allowing the temperature differential to cause condensation which is shorting 'on' the LED lights.

I've filled the gap with insulation, and will also seal the exposed wooden core material to prevent wicking of any water that might be trapped there in the future.

I think this will fix it. Thanks for all the input! Cheers


Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post

Please share what you learn.

The It's Friday! thread in this forum has lots of photos of trailers under construction, many showing the interior of the shell, but they are intended as "how is your trailer doing" updates rather than as a textbook in construction methods, so they don't answer all of these questions.
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Old 03-27-2016, 01:05 PM   #19
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Yes, we just had the same problem in our 2015 19 footer. Water condensed above the dual light fixtures and dripped down on the switch which caused enough of a short so that the lights came on weakly. We had been camping in weather that was below or close to freezing at night. After removing the lights and cleaning off the dripped dirt that was bridging the terminals, all was well. the foam above the vinyl was wet. I would suspect the problem to be related to the LED lights not producing heat to drive out moisture as the old style incandescent lights would have. I will try sealing the wire pass-throughs and see if that does it.
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Old 03-28-2016, 12:24 AM   #20
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We also had this issue with our light staying on weakly. I was going to get a new fixture from ETI, but on checking the status of the problem before driving to Chilliwack, the light worked fine. The moisture shorting the light would explain our problem. I look forward to trying the fix suggested by Casper or perhaps what Reace suggests.
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