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Why is Condensation Building Up on Cold Surfaces in My Home?

Is your home sweating like it just took a spin class? This excess moisture is condensation. When humid air touches cold surfaces, it "sweats" and you see dew-like water buildup. Condensation buildup in your home can lead to all kinds of issues, like mold and mildew.

Don't Sweat It — Look for What's Causing Condensation

Lack of ventilation, poor insulation, and high humidity levels are all potential reasons for condensation on surfaces. There are several ways to handle excess moisture before calling in an HVAC specialist.

Potential Issues

  • moisture on cold surfaces
  • indoor allergens
  • air is humid
  • air smells strange
  • puddle around the indoor air conditioning unit
  • furniture is warped

Warm, humid air coming in contact with cooler pipes and toilets causes the water in the air to form into water droplets, called condensation. The higher the humidity level, the higher the temperature needed to create condensation (known as the dew point). This means that as your humidity levels increase, cold surfaces that wouldn't typically gather condensation will suddenly start to sweat. Over time, high condensation in your home can damage the surfaces around your toilets and pipes. If your humidity level is over 55%, it can even create a cozy environment for mold and mildew to grow. Frequently wiping away the condensation will help in the short term, but you'll want to find a way to lower the humidity to prevent long-term damage.

LEARN MORE

  • air is humid
  • moisture on cold surfaces
  • air is too hot
  • furniture is warped

The fan in the condenser unit pulls air through the coil to cool off the compressor. This in turn helps condense the refrigerant. But, wherever there's moving air, there's dirt and dust sneaking in. Over time, dirt will build up around the coil if it's not cleaned frequently. This layer of dirt will block the cool air and your unit will run for extended periods of time without cooling your home. If your indoor evaporator coil is also clogged with dirt, it won't be able to absorb the humidity out of the air and your system will struggle to reach the temperature setpoint, leaving you with a hot, sticky home.

LEARN MORE

  • puddle around the indoor air conditioning unit
  • air is humid
  • moisture on cold surfaces
  • not reaching temperature set on thermostat
  • blower sounds strange
  • AC keeps turning on and off
  • air smells strange
  • air is too hot
  • furniture is warped

Your AC unit works to cool the air in your home by way of its evaporator coils. The coils allow the cooling chemicals (needed to cool your air) to evaporate from liquid to gas and absorb the heat in your air, which is how your air gets cooled. Because this part is exposed to such cold temperatures, it is vulnerable to freezing. The coil will freeze if the system is low on refrigerant or has an airflow issue, as a result of a dirty coil, filter, fan wheel, or heat exchanger. If this occurs, and is not caught in time, the issue can escalate further and the larger refrigerant line may freeze. If this is the case, you will see ice on the suction line leading from the inside unit to the outdoor unit.

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