Air Conditioners: The Problem With Poor Refrigeration Line Insulation

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An air conditioner's refrigerant plays one of the most significant roles in the unit's cooling process – it is the refrigerant's phase transitions, from liquid to gas, that usually allows the air conditioner to absorb heat from air.

To ensure that the unit performs this function effectively, the liquid has to move around the air conditioning system. It has to move in and out of the air conditioner's coils, and it also has to move from low pressure areas to high pressure areas. In order to do so, it has to travel inside copper tubes.

Copper is a good heat conductor, which is great for heat transfer inside the air conditioner. It is, however, a problem when the lines run through your attic or when they run outside your house. In such cases, the lines need to be insulated. Failure to properly insulate these lines can lead to the following problems and the need for ac repairs.

Water damage  

When the insulation on the refrigeration lines is either incomplete or missing, condensation can occur. This is because when the exposed part of the cold copper tubing comes in contact with air, it cools it. This cooling usually causes the moisture in the air surrounding the tubes to condense and the water to leak.

If the exposed part of the cold copper tubing is in the attic, this leak will increase the likelihood of a mold attack. It can also cause water streaks on your roof. This is in addition to interfering with the structural integrity of your roof if the moisture causes rotting in roof support structures.

Roof leaks that occur as a result of this condensation may also damage your property. They can damage any works of painting in your house. Your furniture won't be spared either. The repair work that results from the moisture leak, which may also involve tearing away huge chunks of moisture-damaged walls, will significantly dent your bank account.

Reduced air conditioner efficiency

When the copper tubing transporting the refrigerant is exposed to the environment, it either loses or absorbs heat. Copper tubes transporting the cold refrigerant will absorb heat from the environment. On the other hand, copper tubing transporting the hotter refrigerant will lose heat.

The lines carrying the hot refrigerant will tend to lose heat to the environment. If this loss happens inside your home, then the pipes will be essentially heating the space that the air conditioner is supposed to cool. The unit will have to work harder in order to achieve a given temperature.

Because of reduced air conditioning efficiency, your unit will tend to use more energy, increasing the amount of money that you have to pay to take care of your energy bills.

Instead of having to spend money fixing these problems, it is better to ensure that your air conditioner's refrigerant lines are properly insulated. It costs less, takes less time, and is less of a headache.