Asked by: Sandel Knakowski
home and garden indoor environmental quality

Is it normal for pipes to sweat?

Last Updated: 28th June, 2020

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

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Also, how do I stop my pipes from sweating?

Seal joints between lengths of tubing with special “peel-and-stick” seam-sealing tape or foil duct tape. If your cold water pipes are sweating more than you are on these hot summer days, here's the simple cure. Run down to the local home center, lumberyard or hardware store and pick up some foam pipe insulation.

Likewise, what causes copper pipes to sweat? Pipe sweating occurs because cold air holds less water vapor than warm air. When a cold pipe touches the hot, moist air around it, the temperature around the pipe drops and the air reaches its dew point.

People also ask, is it normal for copper pipes to sweat?

Metal cold water pipes, including copper and galvanized steel, account for the most significant condensation issues, while plastic piping sweats less. Pipe condensation occurs when airborne moisture comes into contact with a cool surface, such as a cold water pipe.

Is it normal for AC pipes to sweat?

Central Air Conditioning and Any Cold Water Pipes Moist humid air will get inside the pipe insulation, even a pinhole leak, and cause the pipe to sweat. This can lead to water damage because the moisture it creates will accumulate.

Related Question Answers

Samyra Chernoffsky

Professional

How do I stop my air vents from sweating?

What can I do about ductwork sweating?
  1. Reduce the humidity level around your air ducts. Keep ducts spaced apart so air can flow between them.
  2. Unblock any ducts that are restricting air flow and have them cleaned regularly.
  3. Keep your air filters clean and change them regularly.
  4. Repair leaking ducts.

Maica Babadzhanyan

Professional

Should cold water pipes be insulated?

Both hot- and cold-water pipes should be insulated when the goal is preventing freezing. If the goal is to lower water-heating costs, then it's wise to insulate hot water pipes wherever you have access to them.

Polivio Livramento

Professional

Does insulating hot water pipes make a difference?

Insulating your hot water pipes reduces heat loss and can raise water temperature 2°F–4°F hotter than uninsulated pipes can deliver, allowing you to lower your water temperature setting. You also won't have to wait as long for hot water when you turn on a faucet or showerhead, which helps conserve water.

Tohami Angeles

Explainer

Is it normal for cold water pipes to sweat?

Sweating occurs when the water inside the pipe is much colder than surrounding humid air. In either case, when warm, humid air reaches cold pipes, drops of moisture form and drip as if there was a tiny hole in the pipe. One effective way to control the moisture problem of a sweating pipe is to insulate the pipes.

Surjeet Dor

Explainer

When should I leave my water dripping?

When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe - even at a trickle - helps prevent pipes from freezing. Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night.

Euquerio Tomala

Pundit

Does PEX pipe sweat like copper?

In this case, the PEX tubing is made primarily of a plastic material while the manifold or main supply line that the pipe connects to is made of copper. In the wintertime, pipes can sweat for the same reason, except that it is typically the hot water pipes rather than the cold water pipes.

Nilda Grosvenor

Pundit

Why is it called sweating pipes?

The most common way of joining copper pipe is by soldering (it's called 'sweating' mostly in the U.S., probably because the pipe 'sweats' as it heats up). Flux is used to prevent oxidation in the copper when the heat is applied, and to 'wet' the metal, allowing the liquid solder to flow more easily into the joint.

Evaldas Moussaoui

Teacher

How do you stop condensation?

Interior Condensation
  1. Turn Down the Humidifier. You might notice condensation in your bathroom, kitchen, or nursery.
  2. Buy a Moisture Eliminator.
  3. Bathroom and Kitchen Fans.
  4. Circulate the Air.
  5. Open Your Windows.
  6. Raise the Temperature.
  7. Add Weather Stripping.
  8. Use Storm Windows.

Irineo Minich

Teacher

What causes condensation on AC pipes?

Humidity and condensation
That dripping water is condensation, which occurs when water vapor in the air comes in contact with a cold surface. Enough condensation, and that water starts running off your pipes and into surrounding materials, possibly problems with wood rot, mildew, and more.

Inara Joyanes

Teacher

How do you sweat a pipe joint?

Steps
  1. Cut the pipes to the right length using a hacksaw or a copper tube cutter.
  2. Remove the burs with a wire brush or file.
  3. Clean the end of the copper pipe with a special cleaning brush.
  4. Clean the inside of all fittings.
  5. Apply soldering paste to the cleaned ends of the pipe and the insides of the cleaned fittings.

Nikita Steuwer

Reviewer

How do you insulate an AC condensate pipe?

  1. Locate the correct pipe.
  2. Measure the diameter of the pipe and the length of the exposed pipe areas.
  3. Wrap insulating foam pipe sleeves around the exposed areas of the pipe.
  4. Tape the seam on the pipe sleeves with foil-faced tape.
  5. Things You Will Need.
  6. Tips.
  7. References (2)
  8. About the Author.

Fiza Nierhaus

Reviewer

How do you insulate PEX water lines?

Installing the insulation correctly ensures that it seals the tubing completely.
  1. Remove moisture, dirt and oil from the surface of the PEX tubing with a clean rag.
  2. Align the slit side of a length of flexible closed-cell pipe insulation with the tubing.

Tyrone Garaizar

Reviewer

How do you solder copper pipes?

  1. Prepare Inside of Fitting. Ream the inside of each fitting with a wire brush.
  2. Clean Outside Of Pipe. Use emery cloth or steel wool to clean the outside of the pipe.
  3. Apply Flux to Pipe.
  4. Unwind Solder Wire.
  5. Heat the Fitting to Sweat the Copper Pipe.
  6. Touch the Solder to the Pipe.
  7. Remove Flame from Fitting.
  8. Clean the Fitting.

Zsolt Intziar

Reviewer

Do plastic pipes sweat?

It's less common on plastic piping however, since plastic does not conduct temperature as much as metal piping can. The confusion over sweating pipes is that the moisture is not actually being excreted from the inside of the pipe. The water on the outside of a sweating pipe is actually condensation.

Gabriele Zozaya

Supporter

Do PEX pipes need to be insulated?

Yes, I'd insulate: not least because the water in the pipe will stay warmer longer. Although PEX is a better insulator than copper, having hotter water come through the pipe faster is a good thing. Grab your pex and see what you can feel.

Amin Labarrere

Supporter

Why is my water pressure tank sweating?

Sweating is a normal condition on the tank. However, it can lead to corrosion. The cold water in the tank cools the tank walls, which cool the air outside the tank and may drop the air temperature below its dew point. The implication of sweating (condensation) on the tank is rusting.

Lidan Linnenlucke

Beginner

Why is my cold water pipe wet?

Water is condensing from moist air onto the surface of the cold water pipe. Insulate your cold water pipes to avoid condensation and drips onto the floor. What people popularly refer to as "sweating pipes" really is airborne moisture that is condensing out of humid air onto a cool pipe, tank, or other surface.