Refrigerant: Copper

Image provided by Ferris State University

Refrigerant piping is used to connect refrigeration and air conditioning components and to...

 Copper is a long lasting, corrosion resistant, lightweight and strong material that...

Benefit of Material to Systems Application

Type ACR refrigeration-grade copper tubing is the preferred material for refrigerant systems. Copper conducts heat up to eight times better than other materials. Its thermal conductivity properties make it the ideal material for the refrigeration cycle, including oil management, sub-cooling, superheating, and piping of refrigerant.

System Application and Material Usage

Good piping practices are essential to guarantee a long life and minimal maintenance for refrigeration and freezer equipment. Correct line sizing is imperative to optimize the performance of the system. Undersized lines will result in high pressure drops, diminished capacity, and increased power requirements. An oversized suction line will lead to poor oil return (as oil and refrigerant do not mix) and premature compressor failure.

When the capacity of the refrigeration system is reduced, it is usually because of a pressure drop in the refrigeration lines. Therefore, it is important to keep the refrigeration lines as short as possible, use as few fittings as practicable, and be especially careful not to kink the lines.

Proper support of piping to absorb vibration and normal expansion and contraction caused by temperature changes is required.  Proper oil return with oil traps (P-traps) installed at the coil outlet, inverted P-traps where the refrigeration lines exit to the roof, and riser traps for risers of more than 20 feet are also necessary.

Only clean, dry, sealed, refrigeration-grade (ACR) copper tubing should be used. To help keep the system free of moisture and foreign matter, only tubing cutters should be used to cut refrigeration lines. 

Brazing and soldering are acceptable joining methods. All joints should be made with silver alloy-type solders. To keep the inside clean, only a minimum amount of flux is recommended. To reduce contamination inside the tubing during brazing operations, the system should be purged by feeding a small amount of dry nitrogen into the tubing.

Since copper is the preferred material for refrigerant systems, the issue of cost is not a relevant concern.

Manufacturers and Suppliers Participating in OPUS

F.W. Webb Company

F.W. Webb Company is a multi-faceted distributor of plumbing and heating, HVAC and controls,......
(click for details)


Ferguson specializes in providing PVF, Plumbing, HVAC and Related Specialty Products and......
(click for details)

Galloup Company

J.O. Galloup Company is a premier distributor of commercial and industrial piping products,......
(click for details)

Hajoca Corporation

Founded in 1858, the Hajoca Corporation is the largest privately owned wholesale distributor of......
(click for details)

Jomar Valve

Founded in 1966 by former Navy Commander Joseph Martin, Jomar Valve set out to change the way......
(click for details)

Metraflex Company

For over 55years Metraflex has met the needs of the contractor. The MetraLoop, a flexible pipe......
(click for details)


MORSCO is a leading U.S. distributor of commercial and residential plumbing, HVAC, and PVF, with......
(click for details)

Mueller Industries, Inc.

Mueller Industries, Inc. is the leading U.S. manufacturer of copper tube, copper fittings and......
(click for details)


NIBCO Inc. is a recognized industry leader of flow control solutions to the residential and......
(click for details)

The Commonwealth Group

The Commonwealth Group is the industry’s newest, 100-percent member owned, $8.5......
(click for details)

Weldbend Corporation

Weldbend Corporation is a manufacturer of carbon steel welding fittings and forged steel......
(click for details)


WinWholesale, Inc. is comprised of over 525 wholesale distribution locations. Along with Noland......
(click for details)

Applicable Joining Methods


Brazing is a joining process that produces coalescence of metals by heating the components to a...
(click for details)


Soldering copper pipe, or “sweating” as it is called in the trades, joins the pipe...
(click for details)