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The topics are:-

  • Unit installation – fan-coils (PART 1)
  • Unit installation – condensers (PART 2)
  • Refrigerant piping
  • Drainage
  • Ductwork
  • General installation considerations

Poor refrigerant piping connections to indoor and outdoor units are the most common causes of
refrigerant leaks from systems :-

Whether they are flare or solder connections, piping connections must be done in a professional manner. Flares should be made correctly using the appropriate flaring tool; clutch or wing nut type.

  1. Cut copper pipe squarely with a tube cutter and remove burrs from rough inner edge (remember not to let any burrs fall into the pipe). Slip a flare nut on the pipe and clamp pipe tightly between the flaring tool’s two bars so the pipe’s rim is even with the bars’ top surface.
  2. Mount shaper to bars and screw down ram to expand copper into cone-shaped mold. Remove pipe and inspect flare for cracks, unevenness or other damage.
  3. Screw a flare nut to the fitting, using two torqued wrenches to tighten the joint -- one to hold the fitting, one to tighten the flare nut. If the joint leaks after testing, cut off the flared end and start over.

Different types of flaring tools and how a finished flare should be.

  • To prevent cross threading of flares, the piping should be fitted squarely to the flare face and the nut brought up to the thread. It should be easily threaded on – do not force the nut onto the thread.
  • A "drop‟ of refrigeration oil should be placed on the flare face before connection to help sealing the joint
  • Two spanners should be used when tightening flare joints to avoiding twisting or breaking connecting piping or fittings.
  • Flare connections should be tightened to the manufacturer‟s tensions – preferably using a torque wrench.

When soldering piping, ensure the following points are considered:-

  • Use new, clean and sealed refrigeration grade pipe.
  • Keep pipe ends sealed, both before and during installation, to avoid entry of moisture.
  • Purge pipes with dry nitrogen during brazing operations, to limit scale build up and moisture contamination.
  • Use a brazing shield where required.
  • When brazing in the vicinity of valves likely to be affected by heat, they should be protected with a wet cloth,
  • When soldering copper to copper joints use brown tip 15% silver solder; when soldering dis-similar metals (e.g. copper to brass) blue tip 45% silver solder and a suitable flux should be used.

Upon completion of the refrigerant piping, the pipework and fan-coil unit should be pressure tested to the appropriate level using dry nitrogen. This should be done using only an approved nitrogen pressure regulator.


Pressure testing is done to ensure that there are no leaks from the piping and that no ingress or contamination of moisture occurs should the system not be commissioned immediately. The pressure to which it should be pressure tested to is dependant upon the system refrigerant. This pressure can be determined by using a pressure / temperature chart and comparing the pressure for the refrigerant at 43°C – the maximum pressure test level for the low side of an air cooled system. (AS/NZ1677.2)




This page was last modified on 6th June 2010 and maybe out of date with regards to its information at the time of reading this article. The information above is only intended for use a guide and should not be 100% relied upon as a substitute for official manufacturer technical advice. Quality Electrics disclaims responsibility for any damage, claim, or liability any person may incur, whether caused by negligence or otherwise, as a result of anything contained in our articles.


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