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Condensation on Pipes – How to Stop it

Condensation on Pipes

Condensation on Pipes in Your Property

We have written previously about how to deal with condensation problems in properties, where condensation is found, what might cause it and best ways to prevent it in your property.

In this article, we look in more detail at the subject of condensation on pipes, which some people refer to as “sweating” of water pipes. In fact, sweating is a misleading term on most occasions. It gives the impression that water is coming out of the pipes, when in actual fact on most occasions it is simply condensation on pipes which is a different issue altogether.

A word of caution though – be careful that you are not mistaking a water leak on pipes in your property as simply condensation on pipes. If you need help with condensation on pipes, or a water leak, then get in touch with us today…

Why is there condensation on my pipes?

Condensation on pipes on most occasions is simply moisture or humidity in the air coming into contact with relatively cold pipes. If the temperature of the cold pipes is at or below dew point for the air in the room then condensation will form on pipes. You can work out the dew point with our dew point calculator and even simpler our dew point chart – where a good infrared thermometer can help.

it is a bit like when you have an ice-cold glass of coke, water or other similar cold drinks in summer and moisture forms on the outside of the glass. That moisture is not coming from inside the glass directly it is condensation forming on a relatively cold surface. Compare that to a hot cup of coffee, you’ll likely not see condensation on that!

Is condensation on pipes a problem?

It depends, however, in some instances where there is a large amount of condensation, that can collect and drip down the pipes perhaps forming puddles or soaking into other materials in your property. As we have discussed before, this can cause issues over time, both in terms of direct damage to materials in your property or more commonly problems with mould problems for example.

The challenge here is that on many occasions where water pipes are located in hidden or concealed locations where you may not see the moisture or mould. This makes it trickier.

Sweating Pipes
Sweating Water Pipes

Condensation on pipes or water leak?

Although we have said that commonly condensation on pipes isn’t a water leak, it is important to understand that in some instances it could be a water leak, which needs finding and fixing before it causes too much damage to your property. Be very careful in assuming that water or moisture on pipes is simply condensation. If in doubt, get help from a leak detection specialist and water damage expert such as ourselves. we will be able to not only help see if you have a leak but also assess any water damage to your property.

How do I stop condensation on my water pipes?

In general, there are three ways most commonly to do this. as with many things that we explain, the more of these that you can do the better.

Firstly, you can reduce the level of humidity in your property. This in turn can be done in many ways so if you want to find out more about this read our guide to condensation on windows which includes tips on how to reduce condensation in your property.

Secondly you can insulate or lag your pipe work to help prevent the warm humid air from coming into contact with them. Clearly, this can be difficult to do after pipes are already fitted in inaccessible locations. In general, modern plastic pipes are by design, often better insulated than plain copper pipes so, in that instance, are less likely to have condensation on them.

The third and final option is to stop the warm humid air from coming into contact with the cold pipes by concealing the pipes (if they are exposed for example), behind box work. Although as we said earlier, this can be a double-edged sword in that you cannot visibly see the pipes easily making it less likely that you will see any issues you have.

Condensation on Pipework
Condensation on Pipework

Other areas where condensation can collect?

Clearly we have already discussed in other articles about condensation on the inside of windows (even double glazing) and condensation or in loft spaces. Other places that condensation can collect is on your toilet cistern / tank, mirrors in your property (which is frustrating after a bath or shower!) Or even on the outside of windows. Condensation also collects on walls and ceilings if they are cold enough.

We mention toilet cisterns in our article about things that leak water.

Another place where condensation is commonly seen is in your car, especially in winter and when it’s especially cold with things like Beast from the East storms. This excellent YouTube video by Mark Rober looks at the science behind this and the best way to defog your car, it is well worth a watch as he looks at the different options and which he recommends to do this most effectively on a cold winters day!

Water Leak Detection Service
Water Leak Detection Service

If you need help with condensation on water pipes, contact us today.

Why are my water pipes sweating?

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It is likely that your water pipes are not actually sweating, even though it looks like it is. It is more commonly condensation on pipes that has built up from warm, humid air hitting a cold surface (hence cold pipes are more susceptible), reaching dew point and condensing on the surface of the exposed pipework in your property. This is one of the reasons that pipes are sometimes insulated or lagged.

Is condensation on water pipes normal?

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Having a little condensation on water pipes, especially in winter is not uncommon. However, in some instances it can become an issue and be caused by a problem in your property. This is especially the case if it is extensive and causing other issues such as damp and mould in your property. Water condensation on pipes can accumulate and drip on to other surrounding materials so it is best to be vigilant and, if you are concerned, get help from an expert.