The basement of a home is typically damp. This is due to the water vapor in the ground that forces itself through the floor and foundation walls. The water vapor will turn into liquid again the moment it comes in contact with a cool surface, such as cold pipes found in the basement.
While modern homes are equipped with plastic water vapor barriers and the exterior walls are coated with waterproofing materials, older homes do not have these luxuries. Thus, older homes are prone to pipe sweating, which causes droplets of water to form on pipes. These droplets will eventually fall on the floor and create wet spots.
Another cause of pipe sweating is condensation on the pipes during the humid days of summer. The hot air from the air conditioning is full of moisture that will condense once it makes contact with the cold pipes. This results in droplets of water forming on the pipes.
You can detect pipe sweating in your home when you notice water damage on a surface between an area of climate control and another area with no climate control. Expect the problem to worsen during hot and humid days.
Preventing pipe sweating will not require the services of a plumber. It is something that you could handle yourself as a DIY project. A simple solution is to provide insulation on your pipes. Pipe insulation can be purchased at your local hardware or home improvement store. Before installing the pipe insulation, you need to thoroughly dry the pipes, then measure and cut the amount of insulation material needed. Separate the cut pipe insulation and fit it around the pipe. Cut more pieces to fit the elbows and tees. Once the pipe insulation is in place, seal the opening cuts with sealing tape.
If you still observe a puddle of water forming on the floor of your basement, it could be a more significant issue than pipe sweating. There could be hidden water leaks that may require professional assistance. If you live in the Beehive State and suspect plumbing problems, contact a Utah plumber for an assessment.