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Moisture In The Yurt From Condensation

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Old 01-30-2014, 07:53 PM   #1
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Default Moisture in the Yurt from Condensation

So I have been looking around online trying to come up with some ideas for combating condensation in a yurt. It seems to be a number one topic for many who have moved into a yurt full time in colder climates.

I have been of the opinion that venting your yurt is necessary and I stand by that. Cracking open the yurt

dome

will probably do quite a bit towards relieving

moisture

issues. I think if you are going to put

insulation

in your rafters, there should be consistent a gap between the

insulation

and the top cover. This gap should extend all the way to the

dome

and the ends near the wall and the dome should be opened slightly to allow for airflow.

I think there is also more to the equation. The yurt cover is generally thin as it is made out of some sort of fabric or vinyl. This makes for quick condensation when any

moisture

comes in contact with it while it is cool. Reducing the humidity inside the yurt should also be helpful.

Besides an ordinary dehumidifier, there are other ways to remove moisture from the air. I have never tried these, but they came up repeatedly in my search:

Charcoal briquettes - These supposedly work very well.

Rock Salt - Reportedly does as well as charcoal, but has another benefit for us in colder climates.

Damprid - A commercial product that removes moisture from the air (link).

I haven't tried any of these myself but would love to hear if any of you have.

Do you have any other thoughts or suggestions?

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Old 01-30-2014, 10:40 PM   #2
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Default Re: Moisture in the Yurt from Condensation

To my way of thinking, utilizing the natural air flow inherrent in a yurt is the best way to get excess moisture out of the yurt. IMO the well designed modern U.S. type residential yurt, with hot water plumbing, will feature a cap that incorporates an operable vent.

If you have a yurt with a partitioned and hot plumbed bath and kitchen, an operable window at the bath and sink are a good idea. Crack the window. If alot of moisture has escaped into the yurt, crack the roof cap vent as well. Out goes the excess moisture.

As far as insulation installation, leave a couple inches gap at the yurt wall, gap between the insulation and the cover, and again at the roof ring. Air flow naturally carries out moisture if given a chance. Make sure materials that can hold trapped moisture are not in contact with eachother. The natural slope of the yurt rafters assure an air flow, up and out, IF the cap has a vent.

Possibly in the future there will be a miracle yurt/tent fabric that breathes under all weather conditions. Todays breathable fabrics work -sometimes- because vapor pressure of the wearer drives out the moisture. Sometimes. Sometimes not. Remove the wearer and the garment doesn't breathe. How that applies to yurts/ tents etc. I haven't a clue.

I wish I could contribute more, but 'air flow' is what I got.
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Old 01-30-2014, 10:49 PM   #3
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Default Re: Moisture in the Yurt from Condensation

Agreed. When I was a construction helper as a kid, I remember a job where we had to go through an entire condo complex and crawl up in the attics to cut insulation back that was stuffed into the soffits erroneously. It was not allowing air to flow between the insulation and the vented roof and water stains began appearing on the drywalled ceilings. Air flow is definitely key.
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Old 01-31-2014, 08:57 AM   #4
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Default Re: Moisture in the Yurt from Condensation

I've done that 'redo the batt' thing at the cramped space out at the soffit/ plate line myself. Itchy job, huh? lol Air flow is a big deal. Anyone that has seen the results of water logged insulation around a bathroom knows just how important a proper install is. Trapped moisture causes mold, mildew, and eventually the framing rots out. Termites ...man I won't go into that. Nasty. Damp punky framing rotting away, all from a poor install, and neglect about 'keeping out water'. Been there done that. Yeah, venting is definitely key.
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Old 01-31-2014, 10:09 AM   #5
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Default Re: Moisture in the Yurt from Condensation

Heat your home with a dehumidifier | IWillTry.org

This guy describes an interesting quirk of the dehumidification process wherein you can produce about 50% more heat than an equivalently rated (wattage) electric heater while also reducing your humidity. The downside of course, is the associated noise they generate. For this to work there needs to be an abundance of humidity to remove.
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Old 02-02-2014, 09:27 AM   #6
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Default Re: Moisture in the Yurt from Condensation

We ended up getting a large de-humidifier. Between the wood stove and the dehumidifier, we can keep the relative humidity around 40-45 inside.

We gave up trying to vent with the dome, just not a possibility in the extreme cold climate we are in. (We have had 23 < -20'F days already this winter.) We also have a screen insert for our dome, we took that down, and at the suggestion of someone in another thread, put some heavy mil tent vinyl from the fabric store on the top side of the screen and velcro'd it down. This makes a fairy good seal to prevent moisture from getting up in the dome area. Now with the dehumidifier, we keep it relatively dry in there. We get plenty of frost on the inside of the outer layer of tent fabric, but that has been there since it got cold and actually acts as more insulation. We will have to check it out in the spring to make sure it drys when the temps warm up.

We tried using the dome to vent, but it just does not work in the extreme cold. We get way too much frost up there, then when the sun comes out, it melts. 1/2 of it rains down inside the yurt, and the other half, rolls down to the lip of the dome and freezes (think ice dams) to the edge of the dome, at that point, you can't even close the dome anymore.

We also found that too much heat exited through the dome after we got a little ice on the edges and it wouldn't seal anymore. Not a good thing.

Now we keep it around 40-45 relative humidity with a dehumidifier, the temp is always between about 58'F and 68'F (it warms up quite a bit when the sun comes out.), and we are quite comfortable. No more dome problems. We did cut a slit in the vinyl for the dome opener, so we can open the dome up there when the temps rise, but there is little point with the vinyl in there.

We did try cutting a 2" thick piece of rigid foam board in the shape of the screen and put it up there in place of the screen. It worked very well, but we lost all that sunlight, which we were not willing to give up. That is what lead us to try the vinyl insert, which has worked so well, that I think we will stick with it!

Incidentally, you can also hang dry clothes by placing them over the dehumidifier. The dry air that comes out the top of the unit dries clothes quickly, and much more efficiently than a dryer.
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Old 02-02-2014, 10:27 AM   #7
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Default Re: Moisture in the Yurt from Condensation

I wonder if the frost issues on the dome were caused because the humidity and condensation were already very high when you tried to vent it? I guess I mean, do you think it would have gotten that bad had you been venting from the get go?
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Old 02-02-2014, 10:33 AM   #8
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Default Re: Moisture in the Yurt from Condensation

I was venting from the get go, but I couldn't vent 24 hours a day because when it is -25'F outside, we would lose too much heat. I had to close it overnight or we would freeze, and then in the morning it would be quite icy.
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Old 02-02-2014, 11:37 AM   #9
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Default Re: Moisture in the Yurt from Condensation

I understand about the heat loss and ice dam problem. My wife and I had that problem in our first little apartment up in Jackson Wyo. The single glazed sliding door in the kitchen would develope a massive ice dam, rendering it inoperable.

My yurt loses a lot of heat through the roof canvas. Melting snow creates yurt sickles that freeze my entry door and lock solid. I gotta do something about that besides kicking the door open and smack the lock with my axe lol. It's all a learning experience. I'm glad you're getting a solution worked out.

It's kinda funny how the sophisticated cap engineering up there is prone to getting jambed with ice in real cold weather. I'm thinkin one of the layed off NASA shuttle engineers might help solve this problem for cheap, seeings how theys outta work.
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Old 02-02-2014, 11:54 AM   #10
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Default Re: Moisture in the Yurt from Condensation

It's funny, we actually tried ALOT of different things. Including:

Mounted a heater upside down to blow warm air up on the dome (like a car defroster)... didn't work, too expensive anyway.

2" rigid foam octagon that fits in place of the screen insert. Worked pretty well, but no sunlight, which we hated, so we ditched that idea.

2" rigid foam octagon held in place by a large painter's pole, so we could take it down. This worked well on the cold nights, but was a pain to put up and take down.

I had to get up there about 4 different times for about an hour each time with a hair dryer to thaw the entire dome and get it functional again. An hour at the top of a 12' ladder isn't much fun, but it had to be done.

At one point we had towels all over the floor because so much water was dripping in!

We have a

Shelter Designs

yurt, and the only regret we have is that we didn't get some real windows. (we have all canvas windows) So in the winter, it is all buttoned down tight. I know

Colorado Yurts

has an after-build retro fit window you can put in, I need to find out if Hays and them at SD have something similar. If not, we are going to try to engineer something for at least the kitchen window so we can vent some air by opening a window in the winter time. Plus we will have a little more natural light from this.
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