Sweating copper pipes – cure condensation

Sweating copper pipes are the silent killer to your house. Over time the moisture condensing on the cool copper pipe can cause damage in many ways. The condensate can dampen wood and cause structural failure, termites, wood rot, as well as insect and rodent water supply, and finally, even black mold. It can also lead to increased pipe corrosion. Is not easy to get rid of this condensation especially in warmer humid climates.

The warm air hits the cool pipe and the water condenses on the pipes just like a glass of ice water on a summer day. The dew point in the basement must become lower or the basement, must become drier, or the water pipe, warmer.

How to remedy sweating copper pipes?

There are three techniques: insulation, mixing valves, and containment.
The use of foam pipe insulation that is well wrapped will keep the moist air away from the pipe, preventing over or reducing condensation. The method is to wrap the pipe from house entry, throughout the house, including under the sink or toilet. Also in extreme cases and examples the toilet tank itself may need to be wrapped in insulation. There are actually premade toilet tank insulation kits which use Styrofoam of the inside of the tank to warm the temperature of the outside of the tank. Be sure to seal all joints to prevent infiltration.

Figure 2 Insulate to reduce sweating pipes
Mixing valve. Another method to prevent sweating copper pipes is to route a hot water pipe and mix it into the cold water. The hot water tees into the cold water and the mixing valve mixes the two temperatures to produce warm water. The warm water being warmer than the moist air prevents condensation. The mixing valve is adjustable and enables the fine-tuning of the temperature . Optimally, the mixing valve will be adjusted during the four seasons to minimize condensation and minimize the use of warm water. The mixing valve should be installed for the whole house close to the point of pipe entry into the house. Most houses use three-quarter inch incoming water supplies, therefore the mixing valve would have to also be three-quarter inch on all three legs: the two inlets and warm outlet.

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