Sweating Water Pipes – what does this mean? And is it bad?
Ever wonder why your pipes are sweating? There’s actually a fairly simple explanation. As colder water flows through the supply lines into your home, it interacts with the warmer, more humid air inside. The cold pipes attract the moisture in the air, creating a build up of condensation on the water pipes. If there’s enough condensation present, the pipes can drip onto the floor, creating puddles. It’s essentially the same thing that happens to a glass of cold water on a hot and humid day.
While this is a normal occurrence, it can lead to more moisture in your home. Depending on where your pipes are, it can also lead to damage of drywall, baseboards, and flooring. Luckily, there are ways to limit how much water is condensating on your pipes.
Identify the Pipes
The first step is to identify which pipes are sweating. Once identified, you’ll need direct access to the pipes, which could mean cutting out drywall, or other wall coverings to gain access.
Eliminate the Moisture
Once you’ve identified the pipes, and gained access, you’ll want to eliminate any excess moisture around the pipes. For instance, you’ll want to fix any leaks, and take care of any moisture leaking into your home. This could be as simple as tightening a faucet or fixing a gutter, or using a waterproof sealant to coat your basement.
Insulation can prevent the warm, moist air from reaching your pipes, thereby eliminating the issue before it even begins. This means wrapping exposed pipes in foam insulation, which is available at most home improvement stores. Foam insulation is sold in many different sizes and lengths, so as to fit your pipes perfectly. Foam insulation can be held in place by duct tape. An additional benefit to insulating your pipes is that they’ll be much less likely to freeze during the colder winter months.