A/C Refrigerant Line Insulation - Tape?

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Old 08-19-09, 01:13 PM
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A/C Refrigerant Line Insulation - Tape?

I went to my local HVAC supplier yesterday and picked up some tube insulation for the refrigerant lines running from my 2 A/C condensing units to the exterior wall of my house. It has been about 6 years since the insulation was initially installed and as they are exposed to the weather and temperature, they are torn and pretty beat up.

The tube insulation I picked up is for 7/8" refrigerant lines and come in 6' sections. However, they appear to be designed to be slid onto the tubing before it is hooked up, as there is no slit running down the length of each section. Therefore, I will need to make one. So here is my question:

What is the best tape to use to cover the slit I cut in the tubing? It needs to be able to handle the extremes of being outside. I found VentureTape 1507 refrigeration tape but have been unable to find out where in my area I may be able to purchase this tape so I am looking either for someone who may know where I can get this tape or if anyone has any other suggestions.
 
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Old 08-19-09, 02:56 PM
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Tape is not that long lasting.
It is customary in the trade to use the adhesive that is made for the specific insulation you have.
Armaflex brand pipe insulation is very popular and they make an adhesive for their product.
It is a form of contact cement that is applied, let to dry and then pressed together.
(Don't try regular contact cement, it won't work.)

Do you have 7/8" tubing?
If not it will not get a very good job.
I have found that in a pinch the closed cell pipe insulation sold in hardware stores will work just fine.
 
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Old 08-19-09, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by GregH View Post
Tape is not that long lasting.
It is customary in the trade to use the adhesive that is made for the specific insulation you have.
Armaflex brand pipe insulation is very popular and they make an adhesive for their product.
It is a form of contact cement that is applied, let to dry and then pressed together.
(Don't try regular contact cement, it won't work.)

Do you have 7/8" tubing?
If not it will not get a very good job.
I have found that in a pinch the closed cell pipe insulation sold in hardware stores will work just fine.
One line is 7/8" (the larger condensor) and one is 3/4" (smaller one)...the supply shop only had 7/8".

I've been hunting the Internet for Armaflex you mentioned and although I can find many sites that will give me all sorts information on the product, I'm having a hard time finding where I would actually be able to "buy" it. Do you have any links?
 
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Old 08-19-09, 06:28 PM
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You must mean 3/8" for the liquid line.

Armaflex brand is normally only sold through refrigeration wholesalers and may be difficult to get.

Does the shop that sold you the insulation not have adhesive for it?
 
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Old 08-20-09, 04:38 AM
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Varify the size of the line you have, I doubt you have a 7/8 suction line and a 3/4 liqued line. Get the correct size insulation from the HVAC supply house, make your cut and put it on. Don't worry about taping the "slit" use electrical tape and black wire ties every few inches to secure it to the pipe,
you'll be fine. I've used this method for 20yr, never had a problem.
 
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Old 08-20-09, 06:56 AM
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Wow, for the DIY'er they don't make it easy do they?

Let me give you the exact specifics as I had no idea what the difference is between the "suction" line and the "liquid" line. I know each condensor has a supply line that appears to contain the refrigerent used to cool the coil ("suction" I assume) and a much smaller return line ("liquid" I assume).

I have (1) Goodman CKL30-1F which, according to the specs, contains a 3/8" liquid and 3/4" suction line. As the suction line is the larger diameter line, that is the line I am looking to insulate.

I also have (1) Goodman CKL42-1B which, according to the specs, contains a 3/8" liquid and 7/8" suction line.

If it really matters I will try to track down some 3/4" insulation tubing for the CKL30-1F. I'd just assumed that as there was only a 1/8" difference that the 7/8" insulation would work well for both. Maybe they need to be as tight as possible around the line so the line won't sweat?

The supply house I went to only had 7/8" for some reason but I suppose I could call around. I definitely have been not having much luck locating this stuff on-line.
 
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Old 08-20-09, 07:24 AM
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I didn't see you were working on two units( I read to fast) the 7/8 will work on the 3/4 if thats all you have. Make it tight, you can do it in a pinch. If you can easily get 3/4, which you should be able to do, then get it. The supply house was probobly just out of it that day, call them and see if they got any in.
 
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Old 08-20-09, 07:58 AM
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Originally Posted by dun11 View Post
I didn't see you were working on two units( I read to fast) the 7/8 will work on the 3/4 if thats all you have. Make it tight, you can do it in a pinch. If you can easily get 3/4, which you should be able to do, then get it. The supply house was probobly just out of it that day, call them and see if they got any in.
Ok, thanks! I'll give them a call and see if they have any 3/4". At least it is not expensive.
 
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Old 08-20-09, 02:34 PM
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You could use 7/8" insulation on 3/4" tubing if you have to but keep in mind that it is necessary to have a vapor tight seal where the insulation is cut and the pieces join.

Even with the correct size insulation if not sealed with the proper adhesive or tape any breaks in the seal will cause condensation to form under the foam.
 
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Old 08-20-09, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by GregH View Post
You could use 7/8" insulation on 3/4" tubing if you have to but keep in mind that it is necessary to have a vapor tight seal where the insulation is cut and the pieces join.

Even with the correct size insulation if not sealed with the proper adhesive or tape any breaks in the seal will cause condensation to form under the foam.
That's why I was asking about the tape. Someone mentioned adhesive and I suppose I can call and ask my HVAC supply house and see if they carry it. This seems to be an area where being able to purchase this stuff (not in bulk as an HVAC contractor would) is not easy.
 
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Old 08-20-09, 04:06 PM
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Who exactly is your HVAC supply house?
If the product you bought is for refrigeration use it seems odd that they do not have the supplies to go along with it.

The tape is available to me but I can't remember the last time I used it.
In my area refrigeration trades and insulation contractors all use glue.
You don't really need to use tape to hide the seam as you can plan to twist the insulation to hie the glued joint.
 
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Old 08-20-09, 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted by GregH View Post
Who exactly is your HVAC supply house?
If the product you bought is for refrigeration use it seems odd that they do not have the supplies to go along with it.

The tape is available to me but I can't remember the last time I used it.
In my area refrigeration trades and insulation contractors all use glue.
You don't really need to use tape to hide the seam as you can plan to twist the insulation to hie the glued joint.
They are called "The Granite Group". Pretty major HVAC player in my state but there are others. I will do some calling around to locate the 3/4" insulation. If I can either locate the tape or the adhesive then I should be all set. I didn't think it would be this hard but it appears that the HVAC trade in this area doesn't cater too well to the average Joe.
 
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