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HVAC School - For Techs, By Techs

Apr 20, 2021

In this short podcast episode, Bryan talks about condensation and how HVAC technicians can solve condensation-related problems. He also discusses humidity control and how that can affect sweating.

We may have heard the phrase, "Condensation is where hot meets cold." That's not necessarily true; while it may seem that sweating happens where hot meets cold, the dew point is the main cause. We won't see condensation unless we have air that reaches the dew point. When air flows across surfaces that have a temperature below the dew point, you'll start to see sweating on the surface.

Clouds and fog indicate liquid water in the air; if you see fog, then you will know that the ambient temperature is below the dew point. We also can't see steam; steam is water vapor, but the "steam" we see is actually liquid water. Water vapor is also lighter than air, so it rises in the vapor form.

When we see condensation or sweating, we must ask ourselves if the surface is colder than it's supposed to be. Ducts can sweat when the airflow is too low, and the air handler can sweat when the evaporator freezes. If we were to heat the air as a solution, we can decrease the relative humidity, but heating the air doesn't change the dew point or total moisture content.

The next step is to make sure we don't have infiltration at boots or can lights. Infiltration can cause sweating, especially in unconditioned spaces. You'll also want to make sure that the duct insulation is straight and that the ducts have been properly strapped. The house itself can also cause infiltration, especially through fireplaces and chases; a blower door test can help you determine the leakiness of the home. Ventilating dehumidification may also work as a solution.


Check out Richard Sims's presentation on our YouTube channel HERE.

Learn more about Refrigeration Technologies HERE.

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