Well-constructed homes are designed to keep unwanted moisture out -- but what if the source of the moisture is inside the home? Attention to detail in home construction and maintenance makes a big difference in preventing condensation on ducts and vents, which can do as much water damage to a home as a leaky roof. Read on for more information on why this problem occurs and what to do about it.
Hot and Cold
Condensation forms when hot, humid air comes into contact with cold surfaces. You see it form anytime you fill a glass with ice water. Your HVAC ductwork is no different -- when the ducts fill up with cold air on the inside and humid air hangs outside, droplets will form unless you take preventative measures.
Those droplets can promote the growth of mold and mildew in your insulation and drywall, it can cause stains to bleed through your walls and ceilings, and over time, it can even cause structural elements to rot and collapse. Preventing unwanted condensation is critical.
Ductwork condensation is prevented with special ductwork insulation. Quality insulation will also improve your overall HVAC efficiency. If you discover signs that you have a condensation problem in your ducts, contact an HVAC professional to assess the condition and installation of your existing insulation. In some cases, there may be good insulation on most of the ductwork but small gaps around the vents and collars, which could allow water droplets to drip through vents or form on vent covers. Adding just a little bit of insulation in those spots may correct the problem.
Drying Things Out
If your ductwork insulation is in good shape and you’re still having condensation issues, it could be excessive humidity in your home. If you live in an exceptionally humid climate, this is a particularly daunting challenge.
Air conditioners are designed to dehumidify spaces as they cool them, but there are issues that can reduce this ability. If your air conditioner is too powerful for the space you need to cool, it might not have the time it needs to properly dehumidify during each cooling cycle. It may also be struggling to draw moisture out of the air because its coils are frozen over. A knowledgeable HVAC technician should be able to diagnose any AC dehumidification issues.
Sometimes a condensation issue will only present itself in especially humid areas of the home, such as in bathrooms, laundry rooms and basements. If this is the case, adding a dehumidifier to the space may also stop the droplets from forming.
Don't risk damage to your home and insulation -- if you notice condensation building on ducts and vents, get in touch with your local HVAC experts for help tracking down the root of the problem.