I recently noticed a stain on the living room ceiling of my second floor condo unit. enter image description hereAbove this ceiling is the master bedroom. I had a contractor come by who informed me it was likely condensation from the AC leaking onto the ceiling. He said he would need to take down that entire out-set portion of the ceiling, replace all of the insulation along it, and then replace the drywall. Does this make sense? Why wouldn’t he just fix it at the location of the stain/right around it? Does it make sense for him to be pulling the whole thing down? Is he just trying to gouge me?

  • 1
    It's worth mentioning that accessing from above may make more sense. Sometimes you can pull back carpet, open the subfloor, and flop the carpet back down to avoid drywall work.
    – isherwood
    Sep 14 at 20:19
  • 3
    To repair damage caused by a leak, first you repair the leak. Condensation is usually a long leak, not a place point leak like from a leaking pipe/roof. Contractor might be giving you worst case, till he opens it up and checks.
    – crip659
    Sep 14 at 20:38
  • FYI- the "out-set" portion is called a soffit. Just for future reference. For clarification, what "insulation" is the contractor expecting to replace? As Harper noted in his answer, it could be plumbing insulation on the line-set for the AC, or is it sound deadening insulation keeping things quieter in for the bedroom.
    – FreeMan
    Sep 15 at 15:37

The insulation the contractor is referring to, is the insulation on the heat pump refrigerant lines. *

This is not the fiberglass or rockwool insulation that homes have to keep out the outside cold/hot. That would not normally exist between interior spaces, anyway.

It's a tubular pipe insulation that goes around the pipes. It works best if it is a vapor barrier also, to limit the circulation of humid air near those pipes (can't condense if it can't physically get there).

It sounds like in the original installation, the insulation was an after-thought or neglected, or, has deteriorated.

But certainly if condensation is enough to actually leave water marks in your ceiling, it is quite serious indeed! Perhaps they can also address how humid air is getting into that ceiling space.

* Air conditioners are a type of heat pump which has the reversing valve deleted, so it cannot heat.

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