Is It A Problem If You Get Condensation On Your Pipes?
Condensation forms on pipes when the pipes are very cold and the air around the pipes is warm and moist. Condensation occurs because cold air holds less moisture than warmer air. When the warm moist air comes into contact with the chilly surface of the pipes, the air temperature drops and water droplets form on the surface of the pipes.
Is it a problem if you get condensation on your pipes?
Condensation is usually only a problem if the condensation starts to drip from the pipes. If the condensation is bad enough, it can produce as much water and damage as a pipe leak.
How can you tell the difference between condensation and a leak?
If the pipe has sprung a leak, the water will drip around the pipe regardless of the air temperature and humidity. Turn on your home's air conditioner or run a dehumidifier near the pipe to reduce the amount of moisture in the air around the pipe. If the problem is condensation, this should stop water from collecting around the pipe, or should at least slow the problem down. If the problem is a small leak, the water will continue to collect on the pipe regardless of the humidity in the room.
What can you do to stop condensation from forming on the pipe?
You should be able to stop condensation from forming on the pipe by wrapping it with pipe insulation. While some homeowners insulate their pipes by wrapping them with newspaper or standard wall insulation, pipe insulation is a self-adhesive product designed specifically to wrap around pipes. Pipe insulation can be found at plumbing supply stores. Because it is self adhesive, it's usually easier to install than wall insulation.
That said, the real cause of the condensation on the pipes is the humidity. Many modern homes have an energy efficient, water-tight envelope that can trap in moisture and cause issues like condensation. If you have a new home, this could be the cause of the humidity. You may want to have your home inspected by a contractor for signs that your home has moisture problems.
If you have an older home, humidity around the pipes could be an indication of a leak elsewhere in your home. Have space around your pipes inspected by a plumber, or if the pipes are in the attic, have them inspected by a roofer.
Following these tips, you should be able to fix your condensation problem. For more information about condensation and plumbing, speak with a reputable, certified plumber in your area.
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