Refrigerant line sets are vital for your mini-split cooling and heating system. You might be wondering how to bend the refrigerant line set in order to have it installed in your house in a more organized fashion. In this article, we will provide you with all the information you will need in order to help you bend a refrigerant line set properly.
You can use a soft-copper tube bending tool in order to bend a refrigerant line set. Soft-copper tube bending tools include the following:
- Lever-type tubing benders
- Ratcheting tubing benders
- Spring benders
Bending tools for refrigerant line sets are easy to use and do not require complicated operating knowledge from the user to function. With a few simple tools and tricks, you can easily bend refrigerant line sets at home into any shape and size you prefer. Continue reading as we discuss all the other important information you will need if you are planning to bend your mini-split refrigerant line sets.
How Do I Bend My Refrigerant Line Set?
Refrigerant line sets are an integral part of your mini-splits operating system. The line set is the pair of copper tubes running along the distance between the condenser and the evaporator units. The condenser, which belongs outside the home, is connected to the evaporator unit located inside the home through the refrigerant line set.
Bending the soft copper wires of your refrigerant line set is simple, and the task only requires one or two tools to ease the completion. Below is a list of bending tools you can use on your refrigerant line set, as well as simple instructions you can follow.
Lever-type Tubing Bender
A lever-type tubing bender is a tool specifically made to bend tubing, including tubes used for refrigerant line sets. Lever-type tubing bender has a caved bender where the circular shape of the tube can fit in perfectly. This allows the tool to bend tubes made out of copper, aluminum, brass, and steel without creating dents or any kinks on the body of the tube.
Lever-type tubing benders have a clip-like appearance and consist of the main handle and a shoe handle. The main handle has a grip on the bottom end and the protractor that the user can refer to while bending the tube.
The shoe handle is the part of the bender connected on top of the main handle. The shoe handle also shapes the tube into the desired angle. It also has an indicator that allows the user to see the actual angle into which the tube was turned into.
To use a lever-type tubing bender, simply insert the tube into the tool and pull the shoe handle down until the tube has reached your desired angle. Below is a detailed guide you can follow in order to bend a refrigerant line set into a specific angle.
How Do I Use A Lever-Type Tubing Bender?
- Ruler/Tape Measure
- Lever-type tubing bender
- Lubricant oil (Optional)
- Using a ruler and a marker, figure out how far along the refrigerant line you would want to make a bend and put a mark on it. For example, if you want to make a 90-degree bend at 6 inches from the end of the tube, put a mark directly on the sixth inch of the tube. Do not be confused when this mark appears at 45 degrees of the bend because the mark is supposed to end up in the middle.
- Insert the tube into the opening of the tool located near the 0-degree label on the main handle's protractor.
- Carefully set the mark directly in line with the outermost edge of the protractor.
- Apply a lubricant to the tube to achieve a smooth surface for the shoe lever. This step is optional.
- Pull the shoe handle down until the "O" on the shoe handle's label is directly aligned to the angle of your choice. For example, if you want a 90-degree angle, pull the shoe handle down until the "O" on the shoe handle matches the 90 degrees on the main handle's protractor.
Ratchet Tubing Bender
Ratchet tubing benders are also known as crossbow tube benders. These tube benders usually come as a set, with several formers and crossbars depending on the angle and outside diameter. The formers and crossbars are the detachable parts of the ratchet tubing bender, which you can replace and reattach.
Ratchet tubing benders have a similar silhouette to a crossbow arrow, hence the other moniker. Since this tool is usually sold in a complete set with various formers, a ratchet tubing bender is more expensive than a lever-type tool.
How Do I Use A Ratchet Tubing Bender?
- Ruler/Tape Measure
- Ratchet Tubing Bender
- Using a ruler, figure out where you want the exact bend on the refrigerant line, and mark the angle.
- Choose the correct former and crossbar for your tube's outer diameter, and attach it to the ratchet's bar. Ratchet tubing bender formers are also referred to as bending mandrels and have different sizes to accommodate varying tubes. Make sure to lock the crossbar with the wing screw located at the back of the tool.
- Once the appropriate former and crossbar are attached to the tool, insert the tube into the former and squeeze the lever on the back until you have reached your desired angle.
- To remove the bent tube on the former, release the lever at the back of the tool and wait for the former to fall back into place.
- Pull out the tube from the former.
Spring benders are used to form angles on a tube without using a complex tool. Spring benders are technically incapable of bending tubes, but they are used as a case for the tube when bending the tube by hand.
Spring benders ease manual tube bending by allowing the user's force to disperse throughout the tube. By dispersing the force that would otherwise be concentrated on one area of the tube, spring benders help avoid the flattening or kinking of the body of the tube when bending with hands.
How Do I Use A Spring Bender?
- Insert the appropriate-sized spring bender on the tube you want to bend. Make sure not to allow the tool to slide too much to the center of the tube. To achieve an easy release for the spring bender after angling, allow it to only cover the length before the area where you will bend.
- Firmly hold both ends of the tube and begin bending the tube by hand.
- Once the desired angle is achieved, slide off the spring bender.
If you bent the spring bender along with the tube, uncoil the spring. Keep twisting the spring while pulling the tube away until the spring is detached. If you have bent too much and cannot remove the spring bender even after uncoiling it, proceed to reduce the tube angle and release the tool.
Can I Bend A Refrigerant Line Set By Hand?
You can bend a refrigerant line set by hand. Tools such as the lever-type tubing bender are used to avoid flattening or kinking the body of the tube, which is a common outcome of hand-bending tubes. However, with the correct technique, you can bend your refrigerant line set by hand.
Bend the Tube Inch By Inch
If none of the aforementioned tools are available to you, you can choose to bend the refrigerant line by hand. The trick is to ensure that you are only using your palms and that you will apply pressure on the tube inch by inch, moving from one inch to the next. Avoid simply pushing down on one side of the tube because this will result in flattening the tube's body.
Fill Up The Tube With Sand
While carefully moving your hand inch by inch can reduce the chances of creating kinks on the tube, you can also choose to fill it up with sand to avoid damaging the tube's circumference. Sandblast sand can be used to do this, but any fine grain will do. Block an end of the tube and fill it up with sand before bending it into any shape and diameter you prefer.
Will Blow Torch Melt Copper On Refrigerant Line Set?
Copper is a soft metal that can easily be shaped into any form using simple tools. Copper can be melted by a blow torch, provided that you are using a single gas torch that can reach 3,272 degrees Fahrenheit. Otherwise, larger chunks of copper can't be quickly melted by a blow torch, although it can still be utilized to soften the metal for bending or forming.
To Wrap Up
A refrigerant line set is a vital part of your home's mini-split, and it is essential to store them in an organized manner to avoid damage in the future.
In this article, we discussed the possibility of bending your refrigerant line set at home and the tools you can use to do so. Make sure to use the appropriate tool and method for bending the line set to avoid damaging the body of the tube.
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