Whilst we were at Aldi buying our great value little weather station we also spied a nifty little dehumidifier. It is only a mini one with a 1.5 litre tank capacity and the ability to remove 400ml of moisture from the air each day, with this you also benefit from mini power consumption at just 65 watts, a little over the power used by an old style light bulb.
Naughty-Cal isn’t a damp boat and we don’t and never have suffered greatly with condensation or mould growth in the cabin. Despite several major water leaks from the domestic plumbing over last summer she has remained incredibly dry with the help of good ventilation and adequate air flow through the cabin. We had previously used “dry bags” during the winter months to great effect. Cotton bags filled with desiccant that once full with moisture you stick them in the oven at home or on top of a radiator for a few days to dry them out ready for reuse again in the boats cabin. These have so far helped to keep the moisture levels in the cabin down to what we thought was an acceptable level.
We have been genuinely surprised by how much difference the little dehumidifier makes. 1.5 litres of water may not sound like a lot at first but it is a full bottle of Schweppes Lemonade, which would take some mopping up if you spilt it. The whole cabin has a much drier and fresher feel; the dehumidifier keeps the air moving around the boat which also seems to be keeping any odours or stale smells at bay. It has certainly already made a massive difference to the feel of the cabin and was well worth the £25 price tag to keep the cabin dry. We don’t run it whilst we are aboard, instead preferring to keep the windows and hatches open ensuring a good supply of fresh air through the interior of the boat. We will however continue to run the dehumidifier during the winter months whilst we are at work here in Sheffield.
One slight modification we plan to make is to create an over flow for the collection tank. Currently when the tank reaches 1.5 litres of water collected, a float switch activates which switches off the machine. We plan to drill a hole in the tank, below the switch level and insert a length of pipe and rubber washer to allow the tank to over flow into the galley sink. This should keep the unit running for longer and, if for some reason the pipe blocks, the float switch will still be present to activate the cut off. This should increase the amount of moisture the dehumidifier can take out of the air. Currently it can run for about 3 .5 days before the tank is full and we really need it to run for 4.5 days to be working to its full potential. An extra 400ml of water collected could and should make a further marked improvement in the dryness of the cabin.
It is worth noting that this is a small basic unit and that it lacks the features of many larger and more expensive units. It is really only suitable for smaller boats and rooms and will shut off when temperatures reach 0°C or if the power supply is interrupted. There is no automatic reset on the unit so should the temperatures drop severely or power be cut then the unit won’t work again until it is manually switched back on. The unit also lacks the ability to choose the required humidity level. It will just keep removing moisture from the air until you tell it to stop doing so by turning it off. This should not be any great problem given the small amount of water it removes from the air but it is worth keeping an eye on woodwork for drying out and fabrics and upholstery becoming damaged.
All in all another value for money purchase which we are quite glad we have made and which will certainly be of great benefit to us and Naughty-Cal. We will certainly be keeping an eye on Aldi and their special offers in the future as they seem to be selling some useful items at good prices which despite their cheap price tags seem to be of reasonable quality. Only time will tell of course how long these items last but they do seem to be incredibly good value.