Vents Got The Sweats? - A Guide to Condensation

Q. Why does condensation happen?
A. Condensation is a common factor in air conditioning systems. It happens when warm humid air comes in contact with cold surfaces (ie. a metal vent). Imagine an ice cold glass of water on a hot summer day. Water droplets will accumulate outside the glass surface. That is the result of condensation.

Q. Why is there condensation on my vents when I run the A/C?
Air condition systems are designed to cool air and reduce moisture. While doing this, sometimes it can generate condensation. Most of the time systems generate condensation at start up - when you turn on the A/C for the first time, or you turn on the A/C when there is hot humid air in the house. More often this happens during summer construction - when trades are coming in and out of the house, and keep outside doors and windows open. In these cases, your system starts pumping cold air through the vents nonstop, while humid hot air clashes with the cool A/C air. Within hours condensation can appear around the vents and will continue as long as the conditions remain the same.

Q. What are the effects of condensation?
Condensation can damage properties and can impact your health as it promotes bacteria growth.

Q. Do Aria Vents get condensation?
Yes, all metal air vents (regular grille vents and Aria Vents) run the risk of condensation. This is due to a combination of environmental factors and the metal material. The difference between getting condensation with regular grille vents versus our Flush Wall Vent [Luxe] is that if you experience condensation with a Flush Wall Vent [Luxe] it can affect the drywall mudding and paint. 

Q. If my Aria Vent gets in contact with moisture, will it rust?
Aria Vent metal products are made with galvanized sheet metal, and further protected with powder coated paint. This makes them more resistant to rusting and oxidization. However, excessive exposure to moisture (ie. long term pooling of water/condensation) may cause the metal to rust over time.

Q. Can I proactively resolve this issue?
Yes, if you live in a hot and humid climate, you can take technical proactive steps towards avoiding condensation by consulting your HVAC specialist.

Q. How do I stop condensation?
First things first, it’s imperative to stop running the A/C when windows and doors are not completely sealed! Once your home is completely sealed, and you start up the system, you must do it with moderation, allowing long recovery time.

Q. What is recovery time? 
A. Recovery time is the time that your system takes to bring the house temperature down to the desired temperature dialled at the thermostat. In most systems this parameter can be set up by your HVAC specialist. Ask them to set "cold" mode to the longest recovery time. This simple setup is your best defence in reducing the risk of condensation.

Q. Will a longer recovery time mean that it takes longer to cool down the house?
Yes. Abrupt, drastic changes in temperature are the main factor for condensation.

Q. What if I can’t adjust the recovery time?
A. If you can't adjust the recovery time on your system, you can simulate it by reducing the thermostat temperature slowly - one degree at a time. Every time the temperature drops one degree in the room, wait about 15 minutes for "acclimatization time" before you set to one degree lower. Once you reach the desired temperature you can stop and monitor. At this time the air temperature and air moisture are less likely to generate moisture or condensation.

If moisture persist, there may be a bigger issue ( ie. poor air tight system and/ or poor insulation). At this time we recommend calling an HVAC specialist to inspect the entire system.

Q. Are plastic vents better for condensation?
A. Yes, they reduce the risk of condensation. Mainly because plastic is not a good heat conductor (unlike metal). However, it's still possible to experience condensation with plastic vents.