It may sound like a harmless scenario, but sweating pipes are a legitimate problem and not to be taken lightly. If you see your pipes covered in water droplets on the hottest summer days, then you know what sweating pipes look like. It can also happen on other plumbing components, such as toilets and tanks. While not necessarily dangerous, sweaty pipes aren’t a good thing – and here’s why.
Why Do Pipes Sweat?
Let’s clear things up: your pipes aren’t actually sweating water from the inside. There’s probably no leak involved when you spot sweating pipes. Instead, you are seeing a more serious form of condensation. This occurs when the pipes are colder than the surrounding air and humidity levels are high.
The water vapor condenses out of the air and onto pipes and other plumbing materials just like it does on a cold glass of water. This is more common on metal pipes, and typically only occurs on cold water piping instead of hot water plumbing. You often see this happen in basements or attics, where heat and moisture tend to accumulate, but you may notice it throughout the house if it’s a particularly common problem in your area.
Why Condensation Is Dangerous
While sweating pipes are just gathering water vapor from the air, they can still do damage. Those little droplets can turn into steady trickles of water and cause localized moisture problems in the area around your pipes. As moisture seeps into surrounding wood, drywall and insulation, problems quickly start to present themselves.
First, moisture can soften materials and cause rotting or warping. Second, moisture can encourage mildew and mold to grow, which can create widespread and very, very expensive damage over time. Third, moisture can attract a number of insects and larger pests into your home. It’s bad news, and constantly sweating pipes can quickly lead to pricey problems over the course of a hot summer.
Stop Sweating Pipes
So, how do you deal with pipes that are a little too sweaty for their own good? First, you should check the surrounding areas for any obvious leaks or pooling moisture. Moisture could be coming in from another source and increasing the humidity in that room. Have a qualified plumber fix the leak and the sweating problem should go away, too.
If your home’s humidity is simply too high, then it’s time to consider waterproofing solutions. You may want to install a water vapor barrier or moisture-stopping compound in your basement. If you find sweating pipes in your attic area, it’s time to add more vents and attic fans. Severe problems can be treated with new drains. You may also want to consider replacing metal pipes with plastic pipes that are less likely to sweat.
For answers to any of your plumbing questions, contact the Pink Plumber today!