Condensation (water droplets) around the ductwork of your HVAC system is a sign that excessive moisture in your home is not being properly evacuated. In South Carolina, ducts can be found in the the attics and walls of homes on slabs, and even underneath homes that are raised for a crawl space. You may see some of the ductwork near your air handler in a place like a garage, but for the most part ducts are hidden. Since most homeowner's aren't regularly crawling in the attic and checking ducts, moisture and insulation problems are using manifested in other ways.
There are a number of ways you may come to learn that condensation is collecting around your HVAC ductwork.
Water drops and puddles around vents: Unevaporated moisture condenses to water droplets that may collect around vents or drip to form puddles below ceiling vents.
Wet Walls or Ceilings: Excessive moisture may also drip off ducts and collect in drywall. Your first sign of an HVAC moisture problem could be a water mark on a wall or ceiling.
Mold: In the right conditions, excessive condensation can prompt mold growth that you may see on walls, ceilings, and areas near ducts or vents.
Any of these signs should prompt you to either do a self-inspection of the ducts, or to call an HVAC professional.
Why is water collecting around my HVAC ducts in the first place? In order to solve the problem, you'll need to find the source of the excess moisture. Here are some common causes of condensation around ductwork.
Attic Ventilation: Condensation forms when there's a difference in temperature between the duct and the air around it. This is common in poorly ventilated areas like attics and crawl spaces. To keep these spaces from getting too hot and stuff, reduce indoor humidity and make sure there is proper venting to the outdoors.
Bad Duct Seals: Bad seals or leaks in ducts causes the warmer temperature around the duct to mix with the cooler air in the duct. Not only will this result in less efficiency from your HVAC as it works harder to maintain a cool indoor temperature, but it can also lead to condensation, which can drip from the bad seal.
Poor Duct Insulation: If your ductwork insulation is old and worn, exposed ductwork can be prone to condensation for the same reasons above: warm temperatures around the ducts meeting the cold ductwork. Duct insulation can be easily replaced.
If you see signs of water around your HVAC ducts, ignoring it may just compound what is generally an easy fix. In most cases, repairs are routine and fairly easy: repairing bad seals to replacing insulation. If left unchecked, dripping condensation can damage wood and drywall. It also creates an opportunity for indoor mold to grow, which can be bad for your family's health.
Have a question about your HVAC system's ducts? Call Cooper today.
Whether your converting a screened porch or 3-season room or extending an existing living space, you'll need to integrate heating and cooling for comfortable living. In South Carolina, sunrooms are popular additions and a great way to bring in more natural lighting to your home. If your roof extends over a screened-in porch as is the case in many Myrtle Beach neighborhoods, you're just a few walls away from increased year-round living space.
You'll need to consult and heating and cooling company to determine whether your existing HVAC can handle the additional space. Typically, HVAC units are rating for an ideal square footage. For example, if your unit is rated for 1800-2000 square feet and the addition still keeps you in that range, you're in luck.
An HVAC professional can extend your existing ductwork and add new vents in your sunroom. Ductwork is easily brought in from above or below, but floor, ceiling, or even wall vents can easily be added in places that help with the natural circulation of air in your home.
If the additional space puts you over your HVAC system's recommended square footage, you'll need to consider upgrading your condenser or adding an additional unit for zoned heating and cooling. Trying to heat and cool a space too large for your unit is costly, inefficient, and can easily damage your unit. You wouldn't put a 4 cylinder engine in an F-350, would you?
Spending a little extra for insulated and energy efficient building materials can save you money in the long run. It can also make heating and cooling your sunroom or addition easier, and as a result, make the space more comfortable.
Things like insulated windows and skylights or even UV-resistant blinds and shades can help you keep the heat in during winter and the cool air in during summer. Sunrooms tend to have a lot of glass, which can make a room hot and difficult to heat in the summer. Doing your research on building materials and working with a trusted builder will help you make sure you invest in a room that is comfortable year-round. Believe it or not, glass technology has come a long way.
Cooper has been helping residential and commercial customers with HVAC services since 1989. Let us help you with your next home improvement project so you and your HVAC unit will be comfortable. Call Cooper!
When we talk to customers, we mention that a full HVAC inspection involves all five senses: sight, smell, hearing, touch, and taste. Well, maybe not taste, but the point is that the paying attention to the senses can clue you in to potential issues before they snowball.
Many folks are familiar with a smell associated when the heat kicks on for the first time in a while. That burning, electric smell that lasts for a few moments and then dissipates reminds me of the baseboard heater of my childhood home. It was usually just the furnace burning off the dust that had accumulated during inactivity. It lasted for a moment and was gone. In this case, it was relatively harmless and normal. But when might a smell indicate a larger problem and warrant a professional inspection?
If the electrical odor persists, you should call a professional immediately. One possibility is faulty wiring, which if left unchecked, could lead to an electrical fire. It's also possible that the smell is coming from an overheating mechanical component in your HVAC system. It's best to turn everything off and call a trusted HVAC professional before an electrical hazard occurs or a part of your system burns out.
South Carolina has no shortage of heat and humidity. And with recent hurricanes and flooding, all the moisture has created the perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew. Mold growth in HVAC ductwork requires professional cleaning. The good news is that your unit isn't at fault. The bad news is that circulating mold spores can be harmful to your health.
This is a serious one. A rotten egg smell usually means there is a natural gas leak. A gas leak could lead to an explosion, so get out of your house and call the fire department. An HVAC professional can identify the source of the leak and repair it, once cleared to do so by safety officials.
It's hard to describe this odor, but you'll notice it. HVAC ducts and vents can be cozy nesting areas for all types of rodents and birds. Animals can clog vents, which in turn makes your HVAC system work harder to maintain indoor room temperatures. If you have an animal decomposing in your HVAC system, you'll either need to remove it yourself or call a pest control company to handle it for you.
Don't ignore the strange smells coming from your HVAC system. They can be an early warning sign of bigger problems to come. Cooper Mechanical Services will inspect your system, diagnose the problem, and fix it quickly. Our family business has been serving the Myrtle Beach area's HVAC, refrigeration, and electrical needs since 1989. To speak with a member of our team, Call Cooper.