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August 28, 2017
While some homeowners in and around the Washington, D.C. area have been enjoying the summer sun and spending as much time outside as possible, others are dealing with home performance issues that just don’t seem to want to quit. Some are finding that their cooling systems just aren’t getting the job done properly, while others are dealing with moisture issues like wet spots on walls or ceilings due to sweating ductwork.
Does your home have the “duct sweats?” Here are a few things to take into consideration if you think you have a problem on your hands.
What Causes Ducts to Sweat?
Most people understand the concept of humidity — you walk outside, and the air is so heavy it feels as if you can drink it. When the air is thick like this, it’s usually near 100% relative humidity, or the maximum amount of moisture it’s able to hold. The warmer the air is, the more moisture it will hold.
Imagine for a second that the air in your home is at or near 100% humidity. As cool air from your AC moves through the home’s ductwork, it reduces the temperature of the ducts, which lowers the temperature of the air they come into contact with. What happens? The air gets to a point where it can’t handle the moisture it holds, like when it condenses on a glass of cold water outside in the summer.
The Solution? Insulation and Duct Sealing
In most cases, this problem is a result of ducts and walls that haven’t been properly insulated and air sealed. Insulating your ductwork and adding a vapor barrier to ensure that the insulation itself doesn’t get wet will help to keep condensation from building up on your ducts, but you’ll also want to ensure that the home’s exterior-facing walls are properly sealed and insulated, too. This is especially true if the problem is wet spots on the ceiling and ducts are between floors.
In addition, be sure to take a close look at your AC’s air filter. When a filter gets dirty, the air it forces into your ducts is often cooler than usual, causing indoor air temperatures to drop more quickly. Cleaning or replacing your air filter can help to reduce this problem (as well as improving your home’s indoor air quality!).
Home Energy Medics Can Help!
At Home Energy Medics, we take the “duct sweats” seriously. Between installing new insulation, adding a vapor barrier in homes with crawlspace foundations and re-sealing ductwork and walls, we can put a stop to the sweats for good—all while helping to boost home comfort and reduce your energy bills.