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February 20, 2018
Take a look at the ductwork in your home.
Is there condensation along the surface, making it look as though it is sweating? This is a common symptom in homes once the weather warms up — especially near Frankfort, Illinois, where summers can become very hot and humid. Though it may seem like a rather benign issue, condensation on your air ducts can do more harm than you might think.
Here is a look at the dangers and efficiency issues associated with sweating ductwork, along with what you can do to prevent sweating ductwork.
Causes of Condensation on Ductwork
You may be asking, “What causes condensation on ductwork in the first place?”
The answer has to do with temperature differences and humidity. During the summer, hot, humid air can seep into your home through air leaks and gaps in insulation. Meanwhile, there is metal ductwork running cold, conditioned air throughout your home. When that hot, humid air from outside comes into contact with the cold metal air ducts, the moisture in the air condenses into liquid (because cold air cannot hold as much moisture as warm air.) This results in liquid condensation, or “sweating,” on the surface of your air ducts.
The Dangers of Sweating Ductwork
Aside from indicating that you likely have air leaks and gaps in your insulation, sweating ductwork can lead to a number of efficiency issues. Condensation on ductwork, for example, can make your insulation wet, significantly decreasing its thermal resistance (R-value). It can also lead to moisture issues on ceilings and walls, damaging building materials and perhaps even undermining the structural integrity of your home.
Then there is the mold and mildew growth to consider. Mold and mildew growth is not only unsightly but also endangers your indoor air quality and family’s health.
How to Prevent Sweating Ducts
Fortunately, there are a few simple solutions for sweating ducts.
Seal air leaks
Sealing air leaks will prevent hot, humid air from entering your home in the first place. A home performance expert can help you locate all leaks during an energy audit and then seal these leaks with spray foam insulation.
Install new insulation
Once you’ve properly sealed, it’s important to install new insulation in areas that are not effectively keeping the summer heat out. Again, this is a job best handled by a home performance expert.
Insulate your basement or crawlspace
Air and moisture often enter the home from below. Whether you have a finished basement, an unfinished basement, or a crawlspace, it’s important to insulate this area in addition to the rest of the home. An insulation specialist can help you determine exactly what your space needs for proper moisture control.