Your air conditioning unit works hard to cool your home in the summer. On hot days, you might see water droplets forming on your air ducts. What you see is condensation. This is also known as ductwork sweating. We often receive calls from homeowners and business owners asking: Why does this sweating occur? Does this sweating mean my air conditioning system needs to be replaced or repaired?
Air duct sweating does not necessarily mean that your A/C system is not working correctly. But, the condensation may still be something that requires attention.
What Causes Air Duct Condensation?
As the humidity level rises outdoors, condensation may begin to form on your air conditioning ducts. The colder the air is inside of the duct, the greater the chance of ductwork sweating. It is similar to how a cold soda can sweats once you take it out of the refrigerator on a hot day.
However, ductwork sweating can also be caused by:
Excessive moisture in the air.
Dirty air filters.
Leaky ducts, which can reduce the efficiency of your air conditioning unit.
In older homes, or if ductwork is not properly maintained, ductwork sweating is more likely to become an issue.
Should I Worry About the Sweating on My Ducts?
Occasional condensation on an air conditioning duct is not a problem. Just keep an eye on the situation because ductwork sweating can lead to water damage.
Excessive condensation can also allow mold or mildew to form around the duct itself. People suffering from asthma and allergies may experience more severe symptoms if mold and mildew start to grow and then spread to other parts of the home.
How to Prevent Excessive Duct Sweating
To avoid duct condensation and duct leaking, ducts need to be insulated properly. If you have metal ductwork, check to see if they are properly wrapped with fiberglass insulation, but that they are not wrapped too tightly.
To prevent excessive duct condensation, take the following steps:
Keep air ducts spaced apart so air can flow properly. If your ducts are in a crawlspace under the house, cover the soil to reduce moisture. If ducts are in the attic, be sure the area is insulated and that cracks or holes are sealed.
If you’re in a humid climate, use a dehumidifier to help keep the air around your ductwork dry.
Unblock ducts that are restricting airflow and have them cleaned out /vacuumed regularly. When air cannot circulate freely throughout the air conditioning system, it becomes colder inside certain ducts, increasing the likelihood of ductwork sweating.
Keep your air filters clean. Change them regularly. Replace filters every one to three months. If you own pets or if a family member has a dust allergy, change the filter more frequently.
It’s essential to repair any leaking ducts. As cold air seeps out, more condensation will form. Detect a leaking duct by simply placing your hand on the duct. If you feel for air escaping, it’s a leaky duct.