How do I Insulate Refrigerant Lines?


Refrigerant lines are metal high-pressure pipes that hold Freon for cooling appliances. Air conditioners, refrigerators and freezers have refrigerant lines that need insulating to contain the cold temperatures inside for proper cooling capacity. Replace insulation on lines when the current insulation is torn or coming off or when installing a new appliance without insulation.

Things You'll Need

  • Utility knife
  • Measuring tape
  • Soft measuring tape
  • Foam insulation sleeves
  • Cloth duct tape
  • Turn the appliance off.

  • Cut away any old insulation from the refrigerant lines with a utility knife. Peel all old insulation off the lines.

  • Measure the length of refrigerant lines with a measuring tape. Measure the diameter of the lines with a soft measuring tape by wrapping it around each pipe.

  • Purchase foam insulation sleeves to fit the lines. The exterior diameter of the lines will be the interior diameter of the foam insulation sleeves. Foam insulation is available in 5- to 8-foot sticks with a slit running down the length.

  • Cut the foam insulation to the line length with a utility knife. Pull the slit open on the insulation with one hand on each side and press it on the line with the slit facing down. Release the two sides for the insulation to snap together over the line.

  • Grasp the edge of the adhesive tape on one side of the insulation and pull it off the length. Squeeze the two sides of the slit together for the adhesive to bond both sides together.

  • Repeat applying foam insulation sleeves in this manner to the refrigerant lines. Press corners and bends together tightly to bond both sides of the slits. Place each additional length next to the first length so the sides touch each other and do not reveal any lines.

  • Wrap cloth duct tape around each butt joint making two revolutions to seal the seams. A butt joint is the vertical joint where two sections of insulation touch each other.

Tips & Warnings

  • Placing the slit down allows any slight condensation of the lines to drip down and away from the refrigerant lines.
  • Cloth duct tape holds the joints more securely in a damp situation than traditional duct tape.
  • Do not puncture the lines with a utility knife when removing the old insulation. This action will cause the refrigerant to leak out of the appliance and it will no longer cool.

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  • Photo Credit window air conditioner image by Aaron Kohr from
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