Dealing With Common Plumbing Problems: 3 Ways To Stop Pipes From Sweating

If you notice condensation accumulating on the surfaces of your plumbing like sweat, it probably means that there is a distinct temporal difference between the inside and outside of the plumbing. In particular, the inside of the plumbing is much cooler than the outside environment. It also means that the air is quite humid. If you don't stop the sweating as soon as possible, the condensation accumulation may eventually cause water damage to the surrounding area. Here are 3 possible solutions to consider.

Insulate the Affected Pipes

As the condensation is forming due to humid air coming into contact with cool plumbing, the best way to prevent your plumbing from sweating is to insulate your pipes. Insulating the pipes will also do wonders in improving overall energy efficiency. After all, insulating your pipes should only take several hours of time and only cost about $10 to $15; however, you'll be able to save anywhere from $8 to $12 annually.

There are many different types of insulation that you can use. Polyethylene pipe insulation is very effective and is appropriate for both hot and cold water pipes; however, this type of insulation tends to be quite rigid and can be difficult to install. On the other hand, fiberglass wrap or rubber insulation is easy to work with and is also an effective insulator. Make sure you choose insulation that is waterproof if you are dealing with sweaty plumbing.

Check for Minor Leaks

At times, the sweating may not be due to condensation forming on the surface of the plumbing. Instead, it is actually due to minor leaks that are present in the pipes. These minor leaks allow for water droplets to slowly penetrate the plumbing and will give the same type of impression as condensate. Before you jump the gun, make sure you inspect the plumbing for minor leaks. Patch up small leaks with epoxy putty.

Detecting minor leaks can be difficult. You can consider renting an ultrasonic leak detector to help make sure you find even the smallest leaks. Ultrasonic leak detectors are rather sensitive to the high-pitched sounds emitted from the leaks and are used to detect high frequencies that are undetectable to the human ear.

Install a Dehumidifier

Moisture in the air is responsible for the condensation seen clinging to the outer surface of the plumbing. You will find that excess moisture is most likely to accumulate in rooms with poor or little ventilation. To further prevent the plumbing from sweating, you will need to be able to control and regulate the amount of excess moisture present in the air. This can be accomplished by installing a dehumidifier. 

Choose an appropriate dehumidifier based on how large the room is. In addition, you also need to consider how many times the air in the room should cycle into the dehumidifier. This is also known as the Air Changes per Hour (ACH). For example, if the room feels rather damp and has a relative humidity of approximately 60% to 70%, a dehumidifier capable of handling at least 3 ACH would be highly recommended.

Conclusion 

If you notice that your plumbing is sweating, there are many possible solutions to this problem. While you don't have to sweat the problem, you do have to fix it as soon as possible. If you don't, the condensate that accumulates on the plumbing can end up causing water damage to the surrounding environment. For example, the condensate might start to leak onto the walls and cause structural damage. If you are ever at a loss as to what you should do, call a plumber and have a professional take a look.


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