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It’s very common to find water stained areas on your ceiling in Florida. High temperatures and humidity, are the perfect combination for potential disaster. When many homeowners see these water stains, a normal reaction would be to call a roofer. It makes sense, but is it logical? Unless you have knowledge about air conditioners, your first thought would not be to check the AC. But let’s look into this a little further. Water stains are normally around the air vents or in the same general location, due to the duct running to said vent. Your air conditioner provides cold air to the entire house through these air vents. When the cold air ducts mix with hot, humid attic air, condensation is created. When you see stains on your ceiling and know you don’t have a roof leak, it is normally an indication of an underlying ductwork issue. These issues can happen in any area throughout your home. Many homeowners will notice them in bathrooms and areas near a door or window. This is usually caused by windows or doors leaking or being opened a lot. As soon as the warm, humid air from a bathroom, window or door hits the cold metal of a supply grill, condensation occurs. If condensation issues are not taken care of in a timely fashion, mold and mildew can start to grow, making a bad problem worse.

It is very important to address the issue immediately. Do not ignore the water stains on your ceiling. Not only is it a problem, but the small stain might quickly escalate. Exhaust fans in bathrooms are very common for water stains. That is because the job of an exhaust fan is to remove moist air and odors in the bathroom. However, the air is carried through the duct, within the attic and outside of the roof. If enough condensation accumulates, it will begin to drain to the bottom and leak through the ceiling. For instance, if you take a cold glass of water and put it outside, condensation droplets will form on the cup. They will then travel down the cup and create a puddle of droplets around the cup. Whatever type of material the cup was placed upon, will then become wet. This is the same instance for your ceiling. The materials in your attic are soaking up the condensation and creating a water stain. Save yourself the hassle and money by calling AC Today. Let a professional company address the issue. We do not recommend that you try to do it yourself.

Causes Of Water Stains

There are several circumstances why condensation builds up around your air vents. Your air conditioning company can prevent these stains from occurring or returning.

1. Poor Insulation
Your attic is equivalent to a sauna. Highest heat index and temperatures can reach over 130 degrees. When the hot air meets the cold air vents, it creates condensation. The water stains on your ceiling could be due to poor insulation. To fix the issue, a technician would first need to inspect your attic. If this a problem that is contributing, we may recommend adding more insulation. By doing so, it is creating a better barrier between the air in the ductwork and the attic itself.

2. Use Insulated Ducts
Often we find situations where ducts are sweating, due to missing or no insulation on the ductwork.
Rodents love to strip ducts of their insulation to make nests. In some cases the older style flex ducts fall apart in attics, due to improper materials used in manufacturing, the excessive heat actually deteriorates the vapor barrier of the ductwork. Other homes have 40+ year old ductwork that has simply lost it’s insulating factor, which allows the ducts to start sweating. Often times we’ll see stains on a ceiling that looks like a line across the ceiling, upon inspection that line is directly under the duct runs in the attic that are sweating.

3. Air Leaks
Stats show that 80% of the ductwork in Florida is either undersized or leaking. The cool air passing through your ducts is at temperatures between 50 and 65 degrees. If there was an air leak, cold air would meet with the hot attic air and create condensation. This would normally happen where there is an attachment point or duct joint. If the joint is not properly sealed, this could create an air leak. It could be a simple fix if this is the only issue. However, we recommend that you do not try to repair the leak yourself. Please contact your local air conditioning specialist.

4. Use The Shortest Route
When adding exhaust fans in your home, your AC technician should use the shortest route through the attic. The more ductwork the air must travel through, the greater risk for condensation. Your exhaust fans should run straight up from the area it’s in, try not to have too many connection points. This will minimize the potential risks.

5. Inspect The Damper on exhaust outlets
If the damper at the roof cap has issues, it is guaranteed to create more issues. Wasps and other smaller animals will build a nest within this area. No matter the size of the nest, it can prevent the damper from opening. If the roof cap is stuck shut or blocked, moisture will condense within the duct. You will notice this by having no air movement coming out of the terminal. AC Today does not recommend the homeowner to inspect this issue on the roof. Instead, the homeowner could view the roof cap from a distance with binoculars. When the fan is turned on, you should be able to see the damper moving back and forth. It is opening and closing properly.

Water stains are not only ugly to look at, but can be difficult to treat. We recommend leaving this job for a professional company. AC Today has the experience needed to address these issues. Even though this may not seem like an emergency job to deal with, procrastinating is not the best answer. It will only cost you time and money in the end.