Sweating Water Pipes — What Does This Mean? And How Can I Prevent It?

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Sweating Water Pipes — What Does This Mean? And How Can I Prevent It?

Sweating water pipes are a common occurrence that can lead to excessive dampness, especially in residential basements.

As colder, outside water flows through the supply lines leading into your home, it is introduced to the warm and humid air inside. The cold water pipes attract the moisture in the warm air causing condensation to form on the outside of the water supply lines. Enough condensation can form on the pipes and they can drip and form puddles on the floor.

The process is the same as a glass of cold water sweating on a hot and humid summer day.

Although the process is completely normal, it can lead to increased moisture in your home. Depending on the location of the pipes, and the extent of the sweating, it can also damage your drywall, baseboards and flooring. Fortunately, certain steps can be taken to reduce or eliminate sweating water pipes.

Identifying the Sweating Water Pipes

The first step to solving this problem is locating the pipes in question. Direct access to the pipes is also necessary.

The most common pipes associated with sweating are those pipes exposed to the warmer inside temperatures in your basement or other areas of your home. Unfortunately, this repair requires direct access to those pipes in question, any sweating water pipes located in ceilings or walls will need to be exposed. This might require cutting the drywall or other finished wall covering to gain access to them.

Eliminate Additional Moisture

The next step is to repair any problems that could allow additional moisture to enter the inside of your pipe. This might include leaking or dripping pipes, excessive water around the outside of the foundation or exterior walls and any cracks in exterior walls or foundations. These repairs could be as simple as tightening a faucet or repairing a gutter, or as extensive as coating your basement floor and walls with a waterproof sealant.

Insulating the Pipes

The best way to eliminate sweating water pipes is to stop the warm, moist air from reaching them. This entails wrapping the exposed pipes — or any sweating pipes — with foam pipe insulation. Available through your plumbing contractor or home improvement center, the foam material, sold in various lengths, is designed to fit snugly around different sizes of plumbing pipe. It is cut to length easily with a utility knife or pair of scissors and is held in place by common duct tape. A bonus to insulating your pipes with foam pipe insulation is it also helps to prevent your pipes from freezing during the harsh, winter months.

For answers to your questions, contact the Pink Plumber today.

Image source: Flickr

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