As a homeowner, if you're particularly concerned about aesthetics, visible refrigerant lines can interfere with your decor plans. You might wonder if you can run these refrigerant lines through walls and how to do so. If yes, you have come to the right place. We have asked experienced HVAC professionals for reliable answers to help you.
Follow these steps to run refrigerant lines through walls:
- Gather the needed materials
- Choose an area on the wall to place the line
- Create a path on the wall to place the refrigerant line
- Carry out a leak test on the installation
- Close up the wall and conduct more tests
There is more you need to know about the listed steps. Continue reading as we will provide more in-depth details. In addition, we would discuss the proper refrigerant line materials to ensure your installation lasts, so stay with us as we dive in.
Step-by-Step Procedure To Run Refrigerant Lines Through Walls
Refrigerants, also known as coolants, are essential components for air conditioning systems and heaters. Refrigerant lines can be unsightly, so running them through walls can be a great way to install your system while keeping your home neat.
If you own an HVAC system, for example, a mini-split air conditioner, and want to run the refrigerant lines through walls, here are the steps you should follow.
1. Gather The Needed Materials
To carry out this process, you would need materials like copper tubes, a hand-grinding machine, cement, a hand trowel, and an insulation tester.
2. Choose an Area on The Wall to Place The Line
Using spray paint or tape, mark the route to place the refrigerant line on the wall. Note that the wall should be properly constructed, as lines running through unfinished walls can be hazardous.
3. Create a Path On The Wall To Place The Refrigerant Lines
After you've got the length of lines needed, the next step is to cut out the path that would properly house the refrigerant lines. This can be done with a drill-powered nibbler or hand-grinding machine.
4. Carry Out a Leak Test On The Installation
Since your lines might pass through other areas of your house, like floors, you should check for leaks. Fix leaks or replace refrigerant lines if need be. If not, the next step is to bond the lines together to enable them to pass through a hole that connects to the outdoor unit.
5. Close Up The Wall and Conduct More Tests
For the last time, check to ensure the lines are the correct length, and everything else is in place. If all is good, patch the wall with cement using a hand trowel. Make sure to use the same material used in the surrounding wall areas before the initial break.
This ensures that the surface blends in and won't be detected. Use the same color of paint to finish the wall finally. Before turning on your system, conduct pressure and megger tests using an insulation tester resistance meter.
How Far Can Refrigerant Lines Run?
If you intend to place your refrigerant lines through walls, it is important to know how far the lines are supposed to run. This would also factor in choosing what area of the house to place your unit. Refrigerant lines that run farther than usual mean more effort moving refrigerant.
Refrigerant lines can be up to 300-600 inches (25-50 feet). Sometimes, it can be longer, especially if your indoor unit is far from the outdoor unit. Whatever the case, an experienced technician can always cut or increase the length as needed.
How Do You Cover Exposed Refrigerant Lines On Walls?
Running a refrigerant line through a wall isn't always ideal for some types of walls, plus it can be pricey in some areas. If you are searching for alternative ways to keep messy refrigerant lines hidden, here are some options you can consider.
Paint The Refrigerant Lines
Painting the refrigerant lines would not make them disappear completely, but it is a way to make them less visible at first glance. The color of the paint should match that of your wall or the surrounding surface near the lines.
Be careful while choosing the kind of paint to use. Make sure it doesn't corrode the line material. Also, turn off your unit before painting.
Add Decor To The Lines
If you wouldn't like to paint, you can decorate the lines with materials like artificial flowers or LED light strips. Ensure the light strips are placed away from exposed wires to avoid shock.
Pass The Lines Through PVC Electric Wire Molding
Passing your refrigerant line through small PVC wire molding or trim is another safe way to hide them. You can use this on both indoor and outdoor piping.
The PVC molding can be spray painted to match your wall. Some come with adhesive, so you can arrange them neatly at the corner of your walls.
Can You Use Compression Fittings On Refrigerant Lines?
Compression fittings are used during plumbing or electrical connections to merge different lines or pipes. If there are corners or angles your refrigerant piping needs to pass while hiding them through walls, using compression fittings might come to mind.
HVAC experts do not recommend the use of compression fitting for this purpose. This is because it increases the chances of leakage within the closed walls, especially in areas exposed to regular changes in temperature.
What Type of Tubing Should Be Used To Install Refrigeration Lines
The best type of tubing for installing refrigeration lines is the L-copper tubing. It is most suitable for interior plumbing as it is shockproof and helps avoid fire hazards, unlike regular copper wire.
This tubing is also capped, meaning it can seamlessly connect to one end of another refrigerant line. The L-copper tubing offers protection against contaminants like grease. It can be used for refrigerant lines placed within walls and those exposed to the elements.
When Should Refrigerant Lines Be Replaced?
The refrigerant exchange between the indoor evaporator coil and condenser happens through the refrigerant line. They must be functional and in good shape for your unit to work properly. Your refrigerant lines should be replaced whenever your system is changed or upgraded.
These lines are made of copper, meaning they should always be dry to avoid corrosion. Copper lines also have the potential to react with refrigerant, depending on the refrigerant type/formula. In case of a major leak, your refrigerant line would need replacement, so best to ensure you're using the appropriate material for the line before installation.
How Much Does It Cost To Replace AC Refrigerant Line Set?
It costs about $200-$650 to completely replace a refrigerant line set. This cost depends on factors like the size and length of the line. Labor costs might also differ depending on the technician you hire.
Note that you need an experienced HVAC expert for this repair since refrigerants are toxic and might cause accidents if handled inappropriately.
The manufacturer of your air conditioner or heater might also offer a warranty covering repair costs for parts like refrigerant lines. In that case, the replacement cost can be minimal or even free.
To Sum Up
Running a refrigerant line through walls helps maintain your home design and keeps them free of messy lines. Follow the step-by-step procedure discussed above to carry out the installation safely. Remember to use the correct length and material of refrigerant lines. If hiding the lines in walls is complicated, try other easier methods to hide your refrigerant lines.
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