Re: Winterizing/Mold/Moisture protection for our bus
You need to do the same things you would do for any structure.
#1 Kill the mold.
A mild solution of bleach will do that. Or white vinegar. Wipe down all hard surfaces. Mold/mildew is a living plant. It thrives on a dirty surface. The vinegar (in the washing machine rinse cycle) will be good for cloth as it not only kill the mold but will help stripout the dirt & detergent residue left when you wash. Unfortunately stuff like commercial fabric softeners just cover up the dirt your detergent leaves behind. Just add vinegar to one of those Downy balls in place of the fabric softener and fill with water. I like the white vinegar for my laundry.
#2 Buy a dehumidifer.
Either regular house hold or a marine type unit. Those tubs of air drier may work in moderate humidity locations. For high humidity areas, you need something that will really remove moisture from the air. During the summers in Southern Appalachia, SC Upstate and South GA we used an air conditioner. In the winter, electric heaters and wood stove would pull enough moisture out of the air even though we cooked with LP. LP gas dumps large amounts of water vapour into the air.
We personally have had very little problems with moisture. But I also think it's normal for white surfaces to have a slight green sheen to them. When we bought the bus, in Southwestern NC, it had moss growing in the windows and the white paint was slightly greenish. After a few days heading west, it was all turning brown. Which is the third thing you can do... move someplace drier! I miss humidity.
You need vents in the bus as you convert it. You need to get the cooking vapour out Between the food and the LP, cooking dumps lots of water vapour in the air. So you need a vent for the range. Also washing dishes will put a lot of water vapour in the air. You can use the vent over the range to get that steamy air out of the bus. Showering also generates a lot of water vapour. You need to be able to crack a window or open a rooftop vent in the bath area. This is also good for getting rid of the smells you normally get from bathrooms. Your exhaled breath has lots of water vapour in it too. Again, a vent will take care of that.
If you go with a typical RV rooftop vent, I strongly suggest that you get the MaxxAir type covers. They protect the flimsy vent lids from damage, they allow you to leave the vents open even when it rains. We would get sprinkles when the wind would blow just right but we could leave the vents open even during the heaviest down pours. We had 2 rooftop vents in the 22 ft Class C... 1 in the cabover and one in the bathroom/shower area. In the winters, we did shut the vent in the cabover (put a little block/pillow of insulation to keep the heat in/cold out) but the bathroom/shower vent stayed open at least 1" in the winter.
In our bus, we are currently in way too dry NM desert. I like very hot showers and even though my showers only last 10 minutes (I empty the 20 gallon water heater along with the 30 gallon fresh water tank with every shower), the ceiling can get a bit steamy. We heat mostly with electric space heaters so that isn't a problem. Cooking something like pasta or egg noodles on the LP range means we kick on the Ventline thru the wall vent (mobile home vent) we installed. This thing will suck all the heat out of the bus in nothing flat. Good for cooking in the summer, bad in the cold winter. So I just open the vent about 1/2 inch and hook the chain to where it stays like that just until I finish cooking the pasta.
To be installed are two low profile Marine day/night solar vents (kinda expensive to my pockets but along the lines of the more pricey RV vents). No wiring needed so we can put them anywhere in the roof. We chose the marine vents because we want to keep the carbuncles on the roof to a minimum. Also we will acquire a small dehumidifier and plumb the tank line to either run on the ground outside or directly into a drain. Not sure which... or both. It was a few months before we realized the rooftop air conditioner on the Class C didn't "piddle" on us in NM like it did back in the Southeast.
BTW, the hail storm we had last spring really did a number on both the vent covers and the rooftop vents. We did notice the RVs with vent covers did fair better than the ones that had no covers. I think a lot of it had to do with the age of the covers.
When you buy paint, try to get paint with mildewcides already in them or get them added. Most exterior paint already has mildewcides added. Even for interior paint, I buy EXTERIOR latex trim paint (semi-gloss... easier to clean) for all my interior latex paint. I also have painted the interior ceiling (metal) with exterior oil based paints. Faux finishes with oil based paint is soooo much fun. Paint will dump a lot of moisture into the air until it dries.