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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Kingston, Ontario
    Posts
    207

    Refrigerant line insulation

    How important is the insulation on the refrigerant lines to and from the air handler?

    Our new heat pump's air handler is in an unconditioned attic. It will be used mainly for heating. Temperatures in attic will be well below freezing (we are in Canada). The installer has installed the typical black foam rubber insulation. Will this be sufficient or should we be adding thicker insulation? The lines run side by side on upper rafters and are separately insulated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Houston area
    Posts
    1,493
    The insulation you have is fine. The primary purpose of the insulation is to prevent condensation on the copper suction line when your heat pump is run in cooling mode. In no way is the insulation there for any sort of freeze protection.
    The picture in my avatar is of the Houston Ship Channel and was taken from my backyard. I like to sit outside and slap mosquitos while watching countless supertankers, barges and cargo ships of every shape and size carry all sorts of deadly toxins to and fro. It's really beautiful at times.....just don't eat the three eyed fish....

    `. .` .>(((>

    `... `. .` .>(((>

    .` .>(((>

    LMAOSHMSFOAIDMT

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Kingston, Ontario
    Posts
    207
    Quote Originally Posted by Cooked View Post
    The insulation you have is fine. The primary purpose of the insulation is to prevent condensation on the copper suction line when your heat pump is run in cooling mode. In no way is the insulation there for any sort of freeze protection.
    I wasn't thinking about freeze protection. More heat loss to cold attic.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Houston area
    Posts
    1,493
    Quote Originally Posted by Freeagent View Post
    I wasn't thinking about freeze protection. More heat loss to cold attic.
    Whoops, my bad. I don't know what the code requirements are for Ontario or what the "norm" is but the insulation comes in a variety of wall thicknesses. I have seen it range from standard 1/2" wall up to 2" wall.

    You might want to wait for a polar bear to come along here to get a better answer. It's not usually an issue in Houston, TX.
    The picture in my avatar is of the Houston Ship Channel and was taken from my backyard. I like to sit outside and slap mosquitos while watching countless supertankers, barges and cargo ships of every shape and size carry all sorts of deadly toxins to and fro. It's really beautiful at times.....just don't eat the three eyed fish....

    `. .` .>(((>

    `... `. .` .>(((>

    .` .>(((>

    LMAOSHMSFOAIDMT

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Cincinnati, Oh
    Posts
    4,910
    3/8 wall is standard in my area.

    If they insulated both lines in an attic, then their a cut above the rest. Alot of company only insulate the suction line, even in an attic.

    I wouldn't worry about it. Sounds like their on the up and up.
    "Better tell the sandman to stay away, because we're gonna be workin on this one all night."

    "Dude, you need more than 2 wires to a condenser to run a 2 stage heatpump."

    "Just get it done son."

    Dad adjusted

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    San Diego
    Posts
    75
    3/4 is code in california as of a few years ago

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Kingston, Ontario
    Posts
    207
    I checked and it seems the installer used 3/8" on 5/8" vapor line and 3/8" on 3/8" liquid line. It is the black foam rubber - looks like Aeroflex but says @#@$-O-flex (UAE) followed by sizes (can't read it fully!)

    This is 99% a heating system, with installation in an unheated attic in Canada where attic gets down to 0F. I was thinking about upgrading the pipe insulation. Would it be acceptable to install insulation over both pipes? (leaving existing in place). Or separate pipes and add additional cover.

    The pipe chase carries refrig lines, traced drain line and power cables. Any problem filling in around these with say Rockwool insulation?

    The same foam insulation runs to outdoor unit. On our old unit, the insulation had turned to dust! Should that part be protected in some way? What do you pros do?

    I should get contractor back, but am reluctant to do so. They have already spent a lot of time on the installation, so I have been doing some small things myself where perhaps my standards are diferent than theirs.
    Attached Images Attached Images      

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Wake Forest, NC
    Posts
    352
    Those pics look like pretty solid work to me. I would not worry about it too much, seems insulated from condenser to evaporator with no gaps. Insulating both lines is a step above the norm. I would say it looks like above average work to me from what I see in the pics.
    It's not rocket-science...

    It's electromechanical thermodynamic engineering

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Albuquerque NM
    Posts
    2,484
    That looks almost as good as my system! It looks like they even put the low voltage control wiring in conduit.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Missouri
    Posts
    3,422
    Looks good to me also!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Kingston, Ontario
    Posts
    207
    Thanks for comments. I agree that the work is all done well. The guys that did it were first class.

    But they did not quite totally grasp that we were doing this as a heating energy savings project and installing everything in what is not much different from the Great Outdoors with 0F temperature. Getting the ducts sealed was like pulling teeth (I did a good part of it myself) and many discussions about amount of insulation needed on ducts.

    So my concerns are still :-

    - How can I best add insulation to the refrig lines (if California mandates 3/4", then surely 3/8" can't be enough in our climate. This is a heating system, hardly ever cooling)

    - How can I protect the outdoor rubber foam from degrading? Armaflex say to paint it with a latex material that only comes in 4gal drums!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Northern VA 38 degrees N by 76 degrees W
    Posts
    5,058
    Quote Originally Posted by Freeagent View Post
    Thanks for comments. I agree that the work is all done well. The guys that did it were first class.

    But they did not quite totally grasp that we were doing this as a heating energy savings project and installing everything in what is not much different from the Great Outdoors with 0F temperature. Getting the ducts sealed was like pulling teeth (I did a good part of it myself) and many discussions about amount of insulation needed on ducts.

    So my concerns are still :-

    - How can I best add insulation to the refrig lines (if California mandates 3/4", then surely 3/8" can't be enough in our climate. This is a heating system, hardly ever cooling)

    - How can I protect the outdoor rubber foam from degrading? Armaflex say to paint it with a latex material that only comes in 4gal drums!

    In the atic make sure all joins are sealed in original pipie rack, use regular insulation batting and wrap piping. Just like you would take a stick and wrap tape from a roll in a spiralling direction, you could allso use another piece of insulation of the same type with larger inside dimension and place over top.

    For the outside double allso.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Missouri
    Posts
    3,422
    Use a good quality latex house/exterior paint to cover the insulation. You may have to re-coat it from time to time, but it'll stop the UV degradation.

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