Heavy condensation in your HVAC air ducts can lead to blistered, peeling paint, drywall damage, flooring damage, and major mold issues in your San Marco, CA home. Fortunately, this condensation is both easy to prevent and possible to correct. Read on to find out how.
Insulate Your Exposed Air Ducts
In winter, your air ducts distribute heated air throughout the entire building. When HVAC air ducts are both exposed and lacking insulation, they tend to be cold in their interior. In fact, exposed ducting can be just as cold as your living environment before you turn your furnace on. In some areas of your home, such as your basement or garage, they may even be colder. When the warm air that your heater produces collides with the cold air inside your ducts, condensation forms.
The best way to prevent this type of condensation is by wrapping your exposed ducts in an insulating material. There are aluminum-coated fiberglass coverings that come with or without perforations for soundproofing. There’s also Rockwool insulation that offers soundproofing and cross-linked polyethylene foam that boasts high levels of weather and moisture resistance. Each option has its own benefits and drawbacks. Our technicians can help you choose the right insulating material for every location. We can also install it to ensure lasting and aesthetically pleasing results.
Regulating Indoor Humidity Is a Must
If you have recurring mold or mildew problems, condensation on your windows, wet drywall, or a living environment that always feels muggy or clammy, you may need a dehumidifier. HVAC systems provide a modest amount of humidity regulation, but this support isn’t always sufficient for meeting the needs of every household. Having a whole-house dehumidifier installed could solve your air duct problems if you have a large family that regularly engages in moisture-generating activities. With less moisture in the indoor air, you’ll have less condensation on the interior of your ducting.
Clean Your Bathroom and Kitchen Exhaust Fans
One easy way to step up your indoor humidity control, limit stress on your HVAC system, and reduce the likelihood of condensation in your air ducts is by making sure that your bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans are working properly. These units play the biggest role in removing excess moisture caused by cooking and bathing. Unfortunately, they’re often overlooked when homeowners are performing basic property maintenance.
The vent on your stove’s exhaust fan should be taken down monthly and cleaned. These components tend to collect a lot of tacky, sticky debris. Soaking yours in a mixture of white vinegar and water will break these accumulations down so that air can flow through the unit freely. Bathroom exhaust fan covers can be wiped with damp cloths or removed and dusted clean on both sides. You can also use your vacuum cleaner’s hose attachment to eliminate buildups of dust and lint on the fan cover’s grille.
Check and Change Your HVAC Air Filter
Whenever you notice large amounts of condensation in your air ducts, take a minute to check your HVAC air filter. If this component is heavily coated in grime, moving air won’t be able to pass through it. Compromised airflow places considerable strain on heating and cooling equipment. This issue can even cause your air conditioner or furnace to overheat, malfunction, and outright fail. Filter changes are a small but important part of your ongoing home maintenance, and they can accomplish a lot in terms of ensuring reliable HVAC performance. Regular filter changes will also limit your energy use, protect your indoor air quality, and prevent problems with excess moisture.
Most homeowners should change their HVAC air filters about once every two to three months. However, it’s always a good idea to check this component monthly and to change it every 30 days if needed. Your system may require monthly filter changes if you have one or more indoor pets, live on unlandscaped ground, or live near a busy freeway.
Make Sure That All of Your HVAC Air Vents Are Open
Closing one or more HVAC air vents throughout your home to customize the delivery of heated or cooled air is never a good idea. Long-term vent closures cause air pressure to build in HVAC air ducts. This, in turn, creates the perfect conditions for condensation. If you’ve already checked your air filter, take a quick tour of the building and look for closed vents. The only safe and truly problem-free way to get customized heating and cooling from a central HVAC system is by having the system professionally zoned.
Have Your Ductwork Cleaned
Buildups of dirt and debris in your air ducts can have the same effect on your HVAC system’s performance as a dirty air filter. Anything that blocks the flow of air will cause systemic stress and create condensation. If you suspect a duct blockage, turn your heater or air conditioner off and schedule a duct cleaning service. Even with regular filter changes, HVAC air ducts should receive professional, end-to-end cleaning about once every three to five years.
Check for Issues With the Air Conditioner’s Drain Pan
If condensation forms in your HVAC air ducts during summer, the problem may lie in your air conditioner’s drain pain. This is where the condensate line deposits the moisture that’s collected throughout the cooling cycle. Condensate drain pans aren’t impervious to rust. If your air conditioner’s drain pan is corroded, it could be depositing water on the floor. If the drain line is blocked, your air conditioner may lack the ability to release water at all. Having expelled water back up into the system can result in permanent AC failure. As such, this is an issue that requires professional attention right away.
It’s also important to note that slow and hidden leaks in other areas of the building could be contributing to excess humidity too. You might have leaky crawl spaces, leaks behind your drywall, or leaks behind appliances like your dishwasher, refrigerator, or washing machine. To rule these out, consider scheduling a whole-house plumbing inspection or taking advantage of leak detection services.
Have Leaky Air Ducts Repaired or Replaced
Whenever the integrity of HVAC air ducts is compromised, humidity control declines. Torn and leaky ducts are prone to developing condensation in their interior. They also place a lot of undue strain on heaters and air conditioners and drive home energy bills up. Take a quick look at all exposed HVAC air ducts to make sure that they haven’t been structurally damaged by impact events.
If your home’s HVAC ductwork is more than 15 years old, you should also have a professional determine whether or not hidden elements have collapsed. Worn, aging ducting should be replaced to both prevent excess condensation and ensure the overall efficiency of your heating and cooling equipment.
Since 1998, we’ve been proudly serving residents of San Marco, CA and the surrounding area. We offer heating, cooling, and HVAC zoning services. We also provide air scrubbers, air purifiers, and whole-house dehumidification. If you have problems with condensation in your HVAC air ducts, we can help. To schedule an appointment, call Oak Island Heating and Air Conditioning today.