Condensation of water pipes, commonly known as sweating, is a problem commonly experienced by homeowners and it occurs when water forms on the cold pipe or its component. While this may look like something harmless and can be easy to overlook, water can potentially cause serious damage to the sensitive parts of the piping. So, this should be treated as soon as possible to avoid causing damage to sensitive parts of your equipment. Sometimes, the water contains corrosive elements that can damage the parts of the pipe experiencing sweating. Here’s why water pipes sweat and how to prevent it.
Why water pipes sweat
The sweating of pipes does not occur literally but may appear so. The condensation on the outside of the pipe is often moisture from the surrounding air and not the cold pipe itself. The same sweating is observed on the outside of a cold bottle of soda or water on a cold day. This occurs when the humid air in the surrounding comes into contact with a very cold pipe and the air becomes unable to hold water vapor. Therefore, the excess water forms droplets on the surface of the pipe or cold water surface. For many homeowners and professional plumbers, this is an important factor to consider and it affects the choice of piping. This is because furnaces heat the surrounding air during the winter period.
“Sweating” can also pose a safety hazard to those nearby and can result in a fall. Cold pipes and components that drip condensation onto surfaces like floors can cause a slip and fall hazard and attract lawsuits. When an employee gets hurt on the job, the employer can suffer huge financial losses and even risk business closure.
How to prevent sweating by water pipes
The most reliable way to prevent water pipes from sweating is to ensure they do not come into contact with warm, humid air. Investing in removable reusable insulation blankets is one way to prevent warm air from reaching the outer surfaces of chilled pipes. They fit snugly and keep the warm air away from affecting the pipe. Traditional pipe insulation may not offer the proper insulation required to prevent the sweating. Sometimes, it traps the water and results in corrosion under insulation, a problem that may go undetected because it remains hidden under the insulation. This is why The Plumber Guys recommend regular inspections to help detect corrosion under insulation and leaks. Removable reusable insulation blankets can be removed easily to allow for easier and regular inspection of pipes and pieces of equipment.
Sweating water pipes commonly occur in residential basements and can result in excessive dampness. The cold water in water supply lines often starts sweating when exposed to warm, humid air. The components of the pipe attract the moisture in the surrounding environment or air and cause condensation on the outside of the pipes. The condensation then begins to drip on the floor, thereby posing a slip and fall hazard. Employers should be particularly careful to avoid being sued by employees for negligence and related offenses. As the owner of residential or business premises, you should insulate your cold water pipes to provide a safe environment for those who frequent your premises. Regular inspections can also help to identify leaks and address the problem appropriately.
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