An AC unit uses freon to extract heat from the air inside your home. The super-heated freon is then pumped to a condenser coil which dispels the heat from the coolant so that it can cycle back to the evaporator and start the process all over. One key place where your AC system can lose efficiency is through the return line that runs between your condenser coils and your evaporator coils.
Problems with Coolant Lines
If the freon in your AC system is not cooled properly before it reaches the evaporator coils, its ability to absorb heat from the air inside your home is diminished. Thus, the coolant line, which carries coolant from the condenser coils to the evaporator coils should be insulated. Unfortunately, this insulation can degrade over time.
Causes of Insulation Degradation
Many factors can combine to destroy the insulation around coolant lines. Pets may scratch or eat it, insects may carve chunks of it off to use in building nests, moisture can cause rot, and the sun's UV rays can bake it to the point that it gets brittle and starts cracking. Thus, repairing the insulation is not a matter of if so much as when.
How to Repair Insulation
Accessing insulation on the interior of your home can be problematic, especially if the line runs behind your drywall. On the other hand, most of the wear will occur on the outside of your home, which should be easily accessible. To repair insulation you can access, follow these steps:
1. Cut a slit down the length of the insulation with a utility knife. Be careful not cut the coolant line because only trained technicians can repair the leaks thus formed.
2. Peel the insulation off of the coolant line. Sometimes an adhesive is used, so take your time and try to remove the insulation in one big piece.
3. Scrape away any clumps of insulation still clinging to the line.
4. You can buy replacement insulation at a home improvement store. This insulation will have a slit running down the length of a foam tube.
5. Slide this slit around your line until the line is completely concealed inside the tube of insulation.
7. Seal the gap in the insulation with HVAC tape.
Making repairs to the insulation on your coolant lines is not difficult, but it is necessary. As coolant runs through uninsulated lines, it will heat up and might even vaporize. In either case, it will be less able to absorb heat from your home, and the efficiency of your AC system will be compromised. Thus, whenever you find damage to the insulation of your coolant lines, make prompt repairs.
If you notice other issues with your air conditioning system, contact an HVAC contractor like Kennard - Pace Co. Inc to get help repairing potentially bigger problems.