Our hot, moist South Florida climate means that a well-maintained air conditioning system is a must for a comfortable home. Unfortunately, A/C doesn't come without its own complications. This can include condensation, with staining and even mold appearing on some ceilings, often following the line of the ducts carrying cool air around your home.
If you're experiencing ceiling discoloration or condensation, it's tempting to assume that you have ductwork problems or that something's wrong with your air conditioning; however, the problem may not be with your A/C system at all. It may be a problem the experts call the Paston Effect, although it's more commonly known as Cool Attic Syndrome. Three main factors are typically involved:
- The temperature in your attic is low.
- The relative humidity of your attic (how much moisture there is in the air) is high.
- The thermostat is set to a low temperature.
If this is the problem in your home, you can eliminate ceiling discoloration and the condensation that causes it is by reducing the humidity in your attic. One way to do this is to install a dehumidifier in your attic; this draws moisture out of the air so that it can't condense on your air ducts.
Another possibility is that your home is overvented. This is not uncommon in Florida homes. Soffit vents (vents installed under the eaves) are intended to draw in fresh air from the outside; unfortunately, they can draw in moisture as well. By having some or all of your soffit vents closed off, you can reduce the amount of moist air entering your attic and thus cut down on condensation.
As well as being unsightly, mold caused by condensation related to Cool Attic Syndrome can be unhealthy. Breathing in mold spores can trigger or exacerbate allergies and more serious respiratory issues. A qualified air conditioning engineer can inspect your attic and determine the best way to reduce the humidity that's behind your condensation problems.
To find out more about Cool Attic Syndrome and other home comfort issues, please contact us at Robert R. McGill Air Conditioning, Inc. We provide quality HVAC services to homeowners in eastern Palm Beach, northern Broward and southern Martin counties.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Palm Beach County, Florida about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
Image courtesy of Shutterstock
Filed under: Attic
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