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October 20, 2023
Sure, your air conditioning system may be keeping you from sweating this summer; but what about your ductwork? Have you noticed water droplets around the outside of your air ducts, making it look as though they are sweating?
AC duct condensation may seem harmless enough, but it actually can affect the health of your home and the people living inside it. Here’s what homeowners in Northern VA and DC need to know about why air duct sweating isn’t normal and how you can fix the problem before you do damage to your home.
HOW CONDENSATION FORMS ON DUCTWORK
Have you ever set an ice cold drink out and watched as water droplets formed around the outside of the glass? This happens because cold air cannot hold as much moisture as warm air. Warm, moisture-filled air comes into contact with the cold glass, forcing moisture in the air to condense into water droplets on the surface of the glass.
The same concept applies when you have metal ductwork with conditioned air blowing through it. When hot, humid air comes into contact with cold metal ductwork, that air is not going to be able to hold as much water vapor as it once could. As a result, water vapor will condense and settle on your ductwork.
THE DANGERS OF CONDENSATION ON DUCTWORK
1. Water Can Ruin Your Insulation
Let’s say your ductwork is in your attic. If condensation drips onto your attic insulation, it can ruin that insulation. Even if the wet insulation eventually dries, it will never insulate as well as it originally did, making your home less comfortable and raising your energy costs. The only real solution for insulation that’s gotten wet is to remove it and replace it.
2. Condensation Can Lead to Ceiling Leaks
Dripping condensation in your attic ductwork can create ceiling leaks, staining and rotting the drywall in your home and, if left untreated for long enough, causing your ceiling to collapse.
3. Condensation Can Cause Mold Growth
Then there is mold growth to consider, as mold thrives in wet, humid areas. Mold growth can lead not only to structural damage in your home, but can cause health issues, trigger allergic reactions, and more.
Long story short, sweaty ductwork is bad news for your home.
HOW TO STOP CONDENSATION ON AIR DUCTS
Resolving your ductwork woes starts with understanding the underlying cause of your sweating ductwork. There are two primary causes of sweating ductwork: poor duct insulation and excess indoor humidity.
Upgrade Your Duct Insulation
If your ductwork isn’t insulated, be sure to schedule ductwork maintenance and repair services with Home Energy Medics. We’ll seal and insulate your air ducts to keep the cooler metal ductwork surface from coming into contact with hotter air in your attic or basement. This will prevent condensation from forming and moisture issues from returning.
Reduce Indoor Humidity
Another solution is to reduce the humidity levels in your indoor air. The less humid your air is, the less water it holds (and the less risk you have of condensation on your ducts). Home Energy Medics can investigate and address the causes of excess indoor moisture. Solutions may include air sealing and insulation, ventilation, and/or dehumidification.
TALK TO HOME ENERGY MEDICS FOR LONG LASTING, BUILDING SCIENCE-BASED SOLUTIONS
Home Energy Medics approaches common home problems—comfort, energy bills, health—from a building science perspective. We aren’t interested in band-aid fixes—we want to find the underlying causes that homeowners are experiencing and solve them for good. Many people are surprised to learn that problems involving their HVAC system are often solved with home performance solutions!
The best place to start in addressing any home comfort or energy efficiency issues is to schedule an energy audit. If your AC ducts are sweating, our energy audit process will help our team of trained and certified whole home experts fix the cause and recommend the right fix for your Northern Virginia, Maryland, or metro DC home.