Repairing storm damage to the air conditioner

How To Replace Rotten Insulation On Your Air Conditioning System External Lines

by Ivan Prescott

When condensation forms around the insulation on your outdoor air conditioning system lines, the insulation begins to rot. Rotten insulation raises your fuel bills as your system becomes less efficient, using more energy to carry out its job. Fortunately, replacing rotten insulation is quite a simple task that you can carry out yourself if you have a little DIY experience and the right tools.

Here's how to replace rotten air conditioning line insulation.

What you will need

  • a tape measure
  • a sharp craft knife
  • cork tape
  • insulation foam

Note here that you can't get the right kind of insulation foam or cork tape from your local DIY store. You will need to source it from an HVAC supplier or online. Don't remove the old insulation and tape until you are in possession of the replacement materials.

How to do it

You can save yourself time and frustration by making sure that you have everything that you need for this project assembled before you start.

  1. First of all, peel away all the old foam insulation. Measure the external diameter of the larger of the two tubes that you will see. It's only the larger tube that requires insulation, not the narrow one.  
  2. Using your measurements, cut a piece of the new foam to size.  
  3. Continue by wiping away any condensation from the air conditioning system tubing line.  
  4. Wrap a few winds of the special poly cork tape around the tubing at the point where it exits the house.  
  5. Now dry and wrap the service valve that you will find on the condenser end of the tubing. Be sure to squeeze the wrap of cork tape nice and tight around the tubing.  
  6. Take the new piece of foam and slip it over the tubing, over the top of the cork tape. Peel away the adhesive liner from the foam and bring the edges of the piece into alignment, pressing them together to form a seam. Try to be accurate, as you won't be able to separate the edges once they're together.

And that's it. You now have freshly insulated air conditioning lines that should remain protected from damaging condensation. You will need to carry out this restoration project every year to make sure that your air conditioning system continues to function as efficiently as possible.

If you don't feel confident in tackling this job yourself, contact a local air conditioning engineer for more advice and assistance.