high humidity and floor lifting

Have a situation in a condo building where the laminate floor is lifting in an area near the kitchen. First thing I noticed when myself and my other inspector walked in was the felling of the humidity. The floor has expanded but it seems like more then normal expansion. When we checked the A/C air handler there was no water in the condensate tray under the evaporator coil, it was completely dry along with the drain pipe when I stuck my finger in. My assessment at that point was that the airhandler instead of removing the moisture from the air was blowing it back into the air. The owner did not want the humidity tested. Any thoughts?

Where you doing an inspection if so why did you not just set you tester down to see what the humidity was.
How did you get involved with the home owner.
I just do my inspection as per usual… Roy

Ac the proper size?

This was actually part of a construction project our other company performed last year. It was a quick stop by and when we mentioned we wanted to do a full assessment we were no longer welcom in the home.

Just blame it on the other company :slight_smile:

The airhandler is existing and wasn’t part of the construction project. my question is more of if the condensation is not being removed through the drain where is it going.

Just like wayne was refering to; Maybe the AC system is too large, cooling so fast no humidity is being removed from the home/condo.

If it was just the A/C wouldn’t there be other signs other than that one area in the kitchen?

You better test for toxic mold. The buyers can develop serious neurological problems or even die if you don’t.

Maybe not James Depends on what other material present. carpet, hardwood so on

Location-West Palm Beach Florida.

Very highly unlikely that any unit incompatibility with the application will not produce some sort of moisture in Florida.

Two potential issues:

  1. the HVAC unit is leaking condensate somewhere else, not were you checked it. Maybe associated with lifting flooring because water is flowing under the floor.

  2. the HVAC unit is not producing condensate because it is not working.

If the air temperature in the house is lower than the outside air temperature than something is working and water is leaking somewhere else.

If the condensate is frozen it will not drain…

I guess if you have no access to the building for further evaluation because you’re not welcome then just hang it up. Insufficient information to provide any further analysis.

By the way, the air handler does not put moisture into the air.

I don’t know how many times we have to say this but energy cannot be created or destroyed out of thin air!

Moisture just doesn’t appear or disappear, it is transformed from another state.

I would think the whole kitchen floor would have about equal damage if it was the A/C cycling too much. Since no moisture readings were taken, it nothing but a big guess. Usually with very high humidity (enough to cause flooring to warp), the porous materials in the rest of the house will smell some due to bacteria, mold and other growths.

Interesting that when it was mentioned that we wanted to evaluate further that we were no longer welcome in the home…

If the coils have condensation and it isnt making its way to the pan and draining out wouldnt it be working similar to a swamp cooler and re-introducing moisture to the air?

funny thing as far as the floor goes is no one every said it wouldnt get fixed. We just stated that we wanted to evaluate it first. Thats when we were told we were not allowed back.

No; the reason that the water is forming on the coil was because it is at saturation temperature. That means there is enough BTUs being removed from the air passing by the coil to change its state. It takes about 970 BTUs per pound of condensate to change state from vapor to liquid (at the same temperature). So long as the equipment is removing this quantity of BTUs, condensate will form and will not evaporate.

The only possible time that you will evaporate condensate is if you turn off the air conditioner and leave the blower fan in the on position.

This will never occur under normal automatic operation as the unit will never shut off. As long as it runs, the coil is at saturation temperature and is basically absorbing moisture from the air and turning it into condensate. The moisture in the air cannot get past the evaporator coil without some of it condensing.

There is a bypass factor involved were a percentage of the air is not treated by the coil on the first pass. However, the volume of moisture in the air downstream of the coil will always be a lower humidity level then that entering upstream of the coil. (Not to be confused with the fact that the relative humidity goes to one hundred percent).
If you are to artificially induce the evaporation of condensed condensate and if nothing went down the condensate drain, you could never increase the volume of moisture within the house. You can only put back what you took out.

Again, energy cannot be created or destroyed. Energy you ask? Yes, there is a huge amount of energy transferred that takes place when water is condensed or evaporated. This is called the latent heat of fusion and the latent heat of evaporation. It requires a source of energy transfer.

At what temperature does water freeze? 32°F? Can water exist in a liquid state at 32°F? Yes it can and yes it does.

A humidifier uses energy to produce water vapor to be injected into the supply air. This is the only way that you can increase humidity inside the house beyond that of the outside air…

Vapor pressure will equalize. You cannot increase moisture beyond equilibrium.
Furnaces do not dehydrate the air. Air conditioners do not hydrate the air.

If inspectors would learn these very simple basic perceptions, it would vastly improve their analysis of what’s going on in their building inspections.

I know you want to know ‘why’, but your report doesn’t need to go into that detail. Your job is to point out the defects. In this case, damaged flooring that should be referred to a floor specialist.


Actually the “why” is a good question, as the damaged flooring may be signs of another problem … like a plumbing leak.

The floor lifting and apparently high humidity may be coincidental.