Tubing Insulation Tips – Short #176
In this short podcast episode, Bryan goes over a few tubing insulation tips. Tubing insulation is also commonly known as Aeroflex, Armaflex, and Thermaflex—all brand names for black copper line set insulation.
We typically have to insulate just the suction line in typical residential split HVAC systems, but you'll typically have to insulate both lines in ductless/VRV/VRF or refrigeration applications. The insulation should be on the tubing before brazing, gluing the ends together (only using a specialty tubing insulation adhesive, NOT duct tape!). Since these adhesives are types of contact cement, you will need to apply a thin coating on each side of the joint and wait for a few minutes before pushing the ends together. Some forms of tubing insulation are split and have an adhesive flap instead.
Then, you'll want to hold the insulation back with a clamp about 8-10″ away from the area where you're brazing to protect it from heat damage. When you finish brazing, you'll want to put the insulation back and make sure all necessary areas are covered. In cases where it's practical, especially in residential HVAC, pulling the insulation over the 90s and P-traps may be the best bet due to its smaller margins for error. However, mitered fittings may be required in larger systems.
To assemble mitered fittings, use either a miter box or the template on the tubing insulation box. It's a good idea to use the disconnected tubing and make a mitered fitting on the bench as a template before making more—the tails can be a little long. Do NOT use the saw that comes with the miter kit—you will be fine with a very sharp knife that makes a smooth edge (and be safe!).
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