This is a common problem, especially for those people who live in older homes. 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. Pipe sweating can be very annoying for homeowners, but it will eventually lead to more serious problems like damaged floors, damaged ceilings, damage to other structural components, building rot, and mold growth. Diagnosing the cause for pipe condensation is relatively easy and the remedies are straightforward.
All leaks need to be repaired before you can gain control over the condensation on the pipes. Ceiling stains, wall stains, and floor damage are indications that there might be a hidden plumbing leak. If pipes are sweating even though no water has been running, a hidden plumbing leak may be the culprit. For this scenario, you will need to contact a professional plumber to identify the location of the leak.
The easiest solution for condensation on pipes is pipe insulation which prevents moist air from reaching the cooler surface. Most plumbers recommend plastic foam pipe wrap over fiberglass pipe wrap, because the fiberglass is not waterproof and actually absorbs water. Plastic foam pipe wrap is obtainable in a variety of lengths and dimensions to fit different sizes and it is easily cut with scissors to obtain the desired lengths. Also available are foam insulating tubes that snap onto the pipes. For pipes that bend, or have elbow shapes, wedged notches can be cut out to allow the insulation to curve with the pipe. Duct tape will securely attach the insulation in place, particularly along the seams and the meeting points between insulation sections. Force the insulation pieces together as tight as possible as some shrinkage will occur over time. Only the pipes that are exposed to moisture need to be wrapped.
Reducing the level of humidity in the home helps alleviate pipe condensation. A dehumidifier can be used to diminish the moisture in the air and will further help to eliminate pipe sweating.