With COVID-19 keeping a lot of us on lock-down, I find myself doing a lot of (ahem) home improvement stuff. Dare I say, it has been interesting reviving skills I haven’t used in decades. Of course, the Internet, makes it a whole lot easier, especially YouTube.
A project I had been putting of a while was to re-insulate the refrigeration lines between the house and the outdoor HVAC units. The original wrappings had long worn off. Not insulating the lines from the Arizona heat means the system has to work a lot harder to cool.
I had to decide whether it was more cost effective to pay someone else to do the work, or to do it myself. I got a bit of encouragement from the young technician that fixed a different issue with my HVAC unit, when he advised I could get what I needed at Home Depot to do the job.
Success in any do-it-yourself (DIY) project is a blend of the tools and materials you have to do the job, your expertise (or access to expertise), and time to do the work. The soft lock-down in Arizona, forced me to use as many materials as I already have on hand in the house, and then buying online only what I absolutely needed to complete the job.
All I really needed to buy was some foam, pipe insulation and some reflective bubble wrap insulation. While the bubble wrap wasn’t a must have, it does help in reflecting sunlight, and therefore heat, away from the lines.
The foam insulation I bought came in three-feet lengths. Where the pipe was longer than three feet, but shorter than six, or changed direction, I cut the foam to make up the difference.
Putting It All Together
The foam insulation is self-fitting, with a perforated slit length-wise (like a plantain skin when you slice it). Once I carefully broke the perforation with my fingers, it was easy enough to slip over the refrigeration line. It’s important to measure the diameter of your pipe before getting the insulation.
My foam insulation was a bit smaller than I should have bought, because I used The Force instead of measuring the pipe. No big deal, as I just turned the opening of the foam towards the ground and away from the sun. Also, I knew I’d be layering the foam with the reflective bubble wrap insulation.
Once the foam was in place, I realized I didn’t have nearly as much duct tape to really do the job as I would have like to. So, I ended up overlaying the measured sections of reflective bubble wrap, over the foam.
The idea was to have enough secured coverage of reflective bubble wrap over foam, that I could finish up, once my new shipment of duct tape arrived. It ain’t pretty, but it’s better than what I had before.