Are my Pipes Sweating or is There a Leak?
If you've been finding puddles on the floor beneath exposed pipes, you may be wondering if there is a leak you can't find or if your pipes are sweating. Excess moisture from leaks and condensation can cause extensive damage to your flooring, walls, furnishings and even the building envelope. Along with expensive property damage, high relative humidity levels inside your house create the perfect environment for mold and mildew to quickly get out of hand. To protect your family from potential health risks, you'll want to resolve the issue as soon as possible.
While many people recognize that sweating pipes could lead to property damage, some don't realize the pipes aren't the root cause of the problem. Indoor relative humidity (RH) levels may be to blame.
Signs you may have a humidity problem
A healthy home has a humidity level that falls somewhere between 30% and 50%. With too much humidity you may notice mold growing in kitchens and bathrooms. Another outward sign is water rings on walls or ceilings. On the other hand, if your humidity level falls too low, your family members may complain of dry, cracked lips and an increase in asthma or allergy symptoms.
Testing for sweating pipes
The Jacksonville area climate means you deal with hot, muggy summer weather. To be 100% percent sure if the water is a result of condensation, you can try to lower the humidity level by increasing ventilation. Slightly crack a window to bring in more air, purchase a dehumidifier and make sure kitchen, bathroom and laundry room fans are working properly. You may want to buy a hygrometer to measure your success.
Rule out leaks and pipe damage
Pipes shouldn't sweat excessively if you bring the humidity down to a normal range. Wrapping exposed pipes with tape or if attempts to eliminate the moisture don't work, contact David Gray Plumbing to schedule a maintenance inspection to make sure your HVAC system is running properly and check your pipes for damage. The answer to whether your pipes are sweating or leaking boils down to this:
If controlling indoor humidity levels eliminates the problems you are dealing with sweating pipes, if not, you have a leak that should be identified and remediated to avoid property damage and potential health risks.
Wrapping all cold water pipes and installing tank blankets will significantly reduce condensation because preventing air from reaching the pipes reduces sweat-potential. It is important not to use pipe wrap as a preventive for leaks. Carefully inspect the pipes for corrosion and other damage before sealing your exposed plumbing.
Calling in the professionals to identify the problem
Regardless of whether you have a condensation problem caused by high indoor humidity problems or a hard to find leak, hiring a skilled plumbing contractor like David Gray Plumbing to help you fix the problem is a wise move. We have the tools and experience to locate the source of the moisture quickly. Call today to schedule an appointment, we'll bring the testing equipment and solutions to you, no trip to the store to buy a hygrometer required.