There are a few common causes of water dripping from the ductwork in a basement that we will cover in this guide. Being aware of the different causes of this issue can help you address the problem and avoid it in the future.
So let’s get started and talk about five of the main causes of water dripping from the ductwork in a basement. Alongside the causes, you will find a suggestion for addressing the issue so that you can avoid any further damage to your home or belongings.
Keep in mind that choosing to ignore water dripping from the ductwork in your basement could lead to long-term structural issues as well as water damage. Both of these issues could result in expensive repairs in the future so it is better to go ahead and take care of them before they get out of hand.
Why Is Water Dripping From Ductwork In Basement?
1. Humidity Causing Sweating In Ductwork
Sweating due to humidity is the number one cause of water dripping from the ductwork in a basement. Sweating is the term used to refer to the buildup of moisture due to humid air present in your basement. When the humid air comes into contact with the cold surface of your ductwork, moisture will begin to accumulate and start to drip after a while.
This can cause excessive pooling of water on the floors of your basement or onto the things that you have stored there. While this is not necessarily a serious issue, it can definitely be annoying to have to clean up pools of water every day.
Excess water and moisture in your basement will also encourage the growth of mold or mildew, which can seriously damage your basement and is hard to remove once it reaches a certain point. You can attempt to deal with the sweating in your basement using the fix below.
Fix – Address What Is Causing The Sweating
There are a few approaches that you can take to reduce the amount of sweating in your basement. The most common and effective solution is to completely insulate your basement’s ductwork. This will keep the humid air from coming into direct contact with the ductwork and therefore prevent condensation from building up.
If insulating the entire ductwork is not an option for you right now, you could simply purchase a dehumidifier and place it in your basement near the problem area. A dehumidifier will help to combat the excess humidity and help keep your basement dry by reducing the overall amount of condensation.
In addition to the two fixes listed above, you should also make sure that your basement has proper ventilation. A well-ventilated basement will build up much less condensation than one lacking ventilation. Proper air circulation can sometimes be all you need to address your sweating issues.
If you are interested in monitoring the levels of humidity in your basement, you should consider installing a humidistat. A humidistat will keep up with the levels of humidity and condensation in your basement so that you see if the changes you have made are working.
Keep in mind that if you commonly do things in your basement that produce moisture like cooking, laundry, or showering, the humidity levels will continue to increase whenever you do these activities. It’s better to move these activities elsewhere till the humidity issue is under control.
2. The Seams In Your Ductwork Have Cracked
Another extremely common cause of water leaking from the ductwork in a basement is cracked seams. When the siding of the ductwork seams begins to crack, you will begin to find that leaks have sprung that you will need to repair as soon as possible.
Before calling a repairman, you need to be sure of the source of the leak first. Cracks in the seams of your ductwork are commonly caused by foundational shifting or settling. When this happens, the siding can separate from the ductwork and cause cracks that allow water to get through.
Fix – Fix The Cracks In The Seams
Fixing any visible cracks in the ductwork seams can help to stop the leaks. Using a high-quality ductwork sealant, you can easily mend the cracks and make it so that no water is allowed to escape from them. To do this, just find the cracks and clean them beforehand to ensure that the sealant can bond properly to the ductwork.
If you notice that the leak is coming from a jointed part of the ductwork, you may need to partially disassemble it to clean it before applying the sealant. If you do wind up having to partially disassemble any part of your ductwork, it is important that you apply the sealant to the threads inside the ductwork before putting it back together.
Once you have applied the first layer of sealant, you will need to wait for it to set and then reinforce the seams so they do not leak again in the future. You can use water-resistant tape to apply this reinforcement for the best chances of fixing the problem.
If your basement has ductwork that is primarily made out of metal, you may find it useful to apply a rust-resistant coating to protect the materials from any moisture damage. If you are not comfortable doing this yourself, a contractor can come out and do this job for you fairly cheaply.
3. Attic Is Too Warm
There is a possibility that warm air all the way up in your attic could be causing your ductwork to drip water in your basement. Warm air in the attic could potentially cause water to evaporate and then accumulate as condensation on the colder ductwork material in your basement.
This is especially common in ductwork that has a noticeable hole or cracks in it. There is also a small chance that a leak in your roof is causing the water to drip down into your attic which eventually condensates down into the basement.
Fix – Address The Negative Pressure Issues
The common term for warm air in the attic causing condensation in the basement is called the negative pressure issue. Negative pressure occurs in your home when the air pressure is higher inside than outside.
There are a few things you can do to resolve this including:
1. Ensure all of your exhaust fans vent outside properly.
2. Install an attic vent fan.
3. Do not seal your basement windows shut.
4. Install a whole-house fan.
5. Open up your crawl space vents.
6. Install a positive pressure ventilation system.
Taking care of the negative pressure issues in your home will reduce the overall amount of condensation that builds up in the basement and on the ductwork located there.
4. Broken Furnace Humidifier
A broken furnace humidifier can also cause significant water buildup on the ductwork in your basement. The furnace humidifier is meant to introduce moisture into the air to make it more comfortable. If it is not working correctly, too much moisture will be added to the air in the basement and cause dripping from the ductwork.
You can tell if your furnace humidifier isn’t working properly if you notice large pools of water around the humidifier or if the humidifier is running when it shouldn’t be.
Fix – Fix Or Replace Furnace Humidifier
Fixing or replacing your furnace humidifier can help reduce the amount of condensation being introduce into the air. This will likely stop the excess buildup of condensation on the ductwork and resolve your issue.
5. Poor Ductwork Installation
Finally, poor ductwork installation is another common cause of water leaking in your basement. If the ductwork was not installed properly, it could have gaps or cracks in the sealing that allow for water to leak through.
Fix – Hire A Contractor To Inspect Your Ductwork
If you believe your ductwork was not installed correctly, it is best to hire a contractor to come and inspect your ductwork. They will be able to offer your professional advice and the best plan of action to resolve your issue.