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Under cupboard storage space


blackrose

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Like most of us who live aboard I try to use all available storage space including the small space under the kitchen carcases where I keep some tools. 

 

I haven't noticed it before but today I found quite a bit of condensation under there. There's a 2" gap at the top of the plinth panels that go in front of the legs under the carcases, so there should be plenty of ventilation. Is it the fact I've packed the area with tools that is preventing the air from circulating and allowing the condensation to form?

 

 

IMG_20211228_230817.jpg

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There are some battles with condensation that might not be winnable. Dark, airless corners like under beds, cupboards and the like are really hard to cure  without some sort of forced ventilation.  The best that can be done really is to open everything up as much as possible. This feels like a particularly soggy year, warmish so therefore wet air but also cold enough to ensure that surfaces below the waterline are cold enough for condensation. Boats eh,   why do we bother with them.

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Thanks. It was so wet under there at first I thought I had a leak from a porthole above, so at least it's not that.

 

The only areas where I've ever had condensation problems are in & under cupboards and always below the waterline. Even though the river water temperature might be slightly warmer than the outside air temperature, the heat transfer of water is much greater so that's why those underwater areas are cold and attract moisture from the warm air inside the boat. Previously, as soon as I cleared stuff out of the bottom of the cupboards the problem stopped so packing stuff down there must be preventing airflow. It might be the same in this case.

 

Anyway there's already a 2" gap above the entire length of the plinth so I can't really increase ventilation with more holes. I could install a small 12v fan, but I might find somewhere else to put the tools first and see if that helps.

Edited by blackrose
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3 hours ago, robtheplod said:

pop your tools back, but leave the sides off and see if condensation comes back - if it doesn't then vents in the sides are your answer..

 

I'll do that, but first I've left the tools out and put the plinth panels back on. If the condensation doesn't come back I'll know it's the tools. 

 

You can see the gap above the panels - it's an inch and a bit rather than the two inches I mentioned previously, but I don't see what difference more vents in the panels would make unless they need more lower level ventilation?

 

IMG_20211229_102222.jpg

Edited by blackrose
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Possibly. I personally think that filling a cold space up with dense objects sitting on a cold floor not only reduces air circulation & ventilation but also acts as a cold thermal sink with a greater propensity to draw moisture from warm air.

 

Anyway, let's see what happens with the tools removed. I'll report back in a couple of weeks once the weather gets colder again 

Edited by blackrose
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17 hours ago, blackrose said:

Like most of us who live aboard I try to use all available storage space including the small space under the kitchen carcases where I keep some tools. 

 

I haven't noticed it before but today I found quite a bit of condensation under there. There's a 2" gap at the top of the plinth panels that go in front of the legs under the carcases, so there should be plenty of ventilation. Is it the fact I've packed the area with tools that is preventing the air from circulating and allowing the condensation to form?

 

 

IMG_20211228_230817.jpg

Your doors/plinth look very much like ours. Are you having trouble keeping the kickboard in place? Those black bits of plastic in the slot on the back of the kickboard are what is left of the fixing system. There should be a black plastic spring clip on each which clips around the cupboard legs. A couple per board should suffice. I think the units look like Ikea although I can't see the relevant clips listed on line. However, they do list a 'Metod' ventilation grill is you do not want to go down the mousehole route. (More than one item identified as Metod - add 'kickboard')

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Yes, well spotted, the kitchen is Ikea. The flimsy black plastic clips broke many years ago. I guess they were never designed for the plinth to be taken off and put back on regularly. So the plinth just rests against the legs which is fine until I inadvertently kick it and it falls down on my toes!

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1 minute ago, blackrose said:

Yes, well spotted, the kitchen is Ikea. The flimsy black plastic clips broke many years ago. I guess they were never designed for the plinth to be taken off and put back on regularly. So the plinth just rests against the legs which is fine until I inadvertently kick it and it falls down on my toes!

I reckon our previous owner got sick of the clips since there are only two per board plus a stash of spares in the mini drawers underneath. (Can't claim to have spotted kitchen maker - SWMBO was passing........)

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20 hours ago, Onewheeler said:

Leave the plinth panels off. I've never bothered putting them in, and it makes access to the wine cellar much easier. No condensation at all.

 

It wouldn't look very nice. My laminate floor ends just under the plinths because the kitchen went in first and it was too much agg to laythe floor under the kitchen units.

 

15 hours ago, Mike Tee said:

It might help if you jacked up the plinths so there is space for cold air to exit at the bottom - at the very least it would allow the air trapped under the units to circulate easier. Then the tools could go back!

 

Yes, that's another idea I could try. First I'm going to see what difference having no tools in there makes. If that solves the problem then I'll put the tools back and try a gap at the bottom.

Edited by blackrose
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1 hour ago, blackrose said:

 

It wouldn't look very nice. My laminate floor ends just under the plinths because the kitchen went in first and it was too much agg to laythe floor under the kitchen units.

 

 

Yes, that's another idea I could try. First I'm going to see what difference having no tools in there makes. If that solves the problem then I'll put the tools back and try a gap at the bottom.

You could try some mouse holes in the plinths. 😁IMG_20211231_103816.jpg.7f98ac8e7423bd3d3754dc135b720735.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...

Update:

 

So two weeks later with no tools under the cupboards and the plinths fitted in the same position there's absolutely no sign of the condensation returning so it must be packing the tools down there that caused the problem. 

 

I'll leave it empty for a couple more weeks just to be sure and then think about putting the tools back and see what raising the plinths by half an inch looks like.

Edited by blackrose
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Maybe... but I will say that about 2 weeks ago there was a very cold day or 2 and our (admittedly terrible) boat was suddenly totally soaked with condensation - I mean running down the panelling in the bathroom for example like you'd normally only see on single glazed windows. I wouldn't draw any conclusions just yet. :)

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It's been as cold here over the past week as anything during the past few weeks. But I don't think the condensation I found before happened overnight, there was too much for that. More like a cumulative build up over time. I'm not drawing any firm conclusions yet, I'm leaving the space as it is without the tools inside for the time being - perhaps I'll leave it like that for the rest of the winter to be sure.

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I built my own units using pine multiboard a few years ago. Rather than legs I made the sides go down to the floor, this made for clear areas under each unit and I made drawers to suit. This arrangement has worked well since and I haven't experienced any condensation problems. I would guess that your problem is caused by moisture being drawn up through the floor  by whatever you are storing. You could try laying some pieces of hardboard or ply under your units for a few days and see if there are damp patches when you remove them.

 

Keith

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I don't think the moisture can be coming up through the floor unless it can travel through 18mm ply as there are no gaps between floor and lining. Also whenever I've inspected my bilges in various parts of the boat they've always been dry. 

 

No it's definitely coming from warm air in the cabin reaching the cold surfaces of below water level floor & walls.

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