sweating hvac ducts

3 Reasons Your HVAC Ducts Are Sweating

Condensation, also referred to as sweating, can be a common problem with HVAC ducts, and long term condensation can lead to a number of issues in your home and with your HVAC system. Condensation can often be observed as water droplets collecting on the outside of vent openings and ducts, and in severe cases, condensation can cause drops or puddles of water on the floor or walls around your vents. While condensation on your ductwork may for the most part be harmless, if it is getting to the point that puddles are forming anywhere in your home, your insulation is getting wet or your walls and floor are sustaining water damage, the issue must be addressed quickly. Excess water in the home can lead to mold and mildew growth, or even wood or dry wall rot which can add serious and costly damage to your home.

Here we look at 3 potential causes for condensation forming on your HVAC ducts, and some of the signs that you need to call your HVAC professional.

Temperature Difference Between Vent and Outside Air

Condensation is most commonly caused by a difference in temperature between the air conditioning duct and the air outside. Hot, moist air surrounding a cold air duct becomes condensed when it cools down, forming water droplets that can be seen as condensation around the ducts. This is a common issue in attics and crawl spaces that can get overheated and stuffy, while the air conditioning vents provide a sharp contrast in temperature. Adequate ventilation, particularly in the attic, can help to avoid this issue, but if you notice more water coming through your roof, seek the assistance of your HVAC professional.

Improperly Sealed Ducts

Improperly sealed ducts or cracks causing small openings in the ductwork can cause warmer air to mix with the cooler air inside the ducts, which may lead to water collection and leaking from inside the ducts. If you notice water leaking out of your ducts or you can actually see openings in the seals, it’s a good idea to call your HVAC repair professional as soon as possible to identify exactly what the source of the leaking is and to provide duct repair and duct sealing as necessary.

Lack Of Insulation Around Ducts

Because condensation is often caused by a difference between the duct temperature and the outside air temperature, a vapor barrier plus a layer of insulation can help to protect the ducts from condensation. However, while many ducts are installed with this layer of insulation, the insulation can wear out and need repair over time, leaving ducts prone to developing excess condensation and creating further problems with leaks and water damage. A duct inspection from your local air conditioning professional can help to assess the state of your ducts and provide advice on how to restore your duct insulation and correct condensation issues if insulation is found to be deficient.

While condensation may not be a big problem for your home in small amounts, large and uncontrolled amounts of duct leaking or condensation deserve thorough investigation from your HVAC professional, in order to identify the problem, provide the right solution and keep your ducts and your home in good condition.

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