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Thread: Copper tubing for a swamp cooler.

  1. #1

    Default Copper tubing for a swamp cooler.

    Befuddled and getting different answers depending on who I ask...

    I have a swamp (evaporative) cooler that has been running for several years on 1/4" clear plastic tubing. Unfortunately, this means changing the tubing every season. Second floor application and I don't like ladders. So I decided to go with copper tubing to within a foot or so of the faucet and then switch to plastic. Replace the foot or so of plastic every year.

    The local hardware store folk insist, sometimes, that a compression fitting will work if you apply enough torque. Could be true. I sacrificed about 6" of tubing and tried it. My result was that while the donut would hold the tubing in place I doubt that it would be water tight. Donut spins a bit. Applying larger amounts of torque inside the swamp cooler seems risky to me.

    So the next thought was to use flare joints for the copper tubing. This means finding a compression thread to flare thread adapter (coupler), a nipple to get outside of the cooler, and another flare coupler to attach the tubing to.

    Any ideas?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    To use a compression fitting with plastic, you need a metal insert "sleeve" inside the tubing, and a Delrin, or other plastic ferrule/donut. I run copper all the way to the cooler valve, and install a shutoff and drain valve downstairs to eliminate water from freezing in the line and breaking it.

  3. #3

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    Yes.

    My issue is finding an adapter between the compression thread male end on the swamp cooler to the nipple and then the flare connector for the copper tubing. I *really* don't want to try to do serious torque inside the cooler. Actually I don't want to do serious torque at all.

  4. #4
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    If you get the internal reinforcement sleeve and the proper compression ring for the plastic tubing, it will seal without problems. Also, you should also always use two wrenches when tightening - one to hold the fitting from turning, the other to tighten the compression nut. this prevents torque on the tubing.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  5. #5
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    You appear to be making this more complicated than is necessary. Connect the tubing to the cooler's compression thread with a compression nut, plastic ferrule, and tube insert. You do NOT have to 'overtorque" the nut. Then connect the other end to the copper with a compression x compression coupling. Use the same routine on the plastic side and a brass ferrule on the copper.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    You appear to be making this more complicated than is necessary. Connect the tubing to the cooler's compression thread with a compression nut, plastic ferrule, and tube insert. You do NOT have to 'overtorque" the nut. Then connect the other end to the copper with a compression x compression coupling. Use the same routine on the plastic side and a brass ferrule on the copper.
    I might be making this harder than it needs to be. But...

    Why would I use a tube insert on copper tubing? Use a plastic ferrule on copper? The high torque is to compress the brass ferrule.

    Confused again...

  7. #7
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Use the insert on the plastic, use the plastic compression ring on the plastic, use the brass ring on the copper. If you don't use the ferrule insert on the plastic, there's nothing to compress it against, the plastic will just compress and you won't get a good seal. Mix and match with the materials you have. It's not rocket science. If this isn't clear, maybe it's time for a pro.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  8. #8
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    quote; Why would I use a tube insert on copper tubing? Use a plastic ferrule on copper? The high torque is to compress the brass ferrule.

    Now you are becoming argumentative. The insert and plastic ferrule are for use with PLASTIC tubing, which you imply that you wish to use for the final connection to the cooler. Copper uses the BRASS ferrule. You do not have to use "high torque" to compress the brass ferrule to copper tubing, in fact if you do you will distort and damage the copper tubing.

  9. #9

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    I spent a few days deciding whether to reply to this *very* dysfunctional thread. Fundamentally, it has been a waste of time.

    So, lets do a little history...

    - In my original post I tried to describe what I was trying to do and why I wanted to do it.

    - Then hj responds with "To use a compression fitting with plastic, you need a metal insert "sleeve" inside the tubing, and a Delrin, or other plastic ferrule/donut. I run copper all the way to the cooler valve, and install a shutoff and drain valve downstairs to eliminate water from freezing in the line and breaking it. "

    - If you read the original post I have been using plastic tubing for several years and am tired of replacing it every year. Obviously, I know about the insert, etc.

    - I then reply that I would like to find an adapter between compression thread and flare thread.

    - Jadnashua then replies "Use the insert on the plastic, use the plastic compression ring on the plastic, use the brass ring on the copper. If you don't use the ferrule insert on the plastic, there's nothing to compress it against, the plastic will just compress and you won't get a good seal. Mix and match with the materials you have. It's not rocket science. If this isn't clear, maybe it's time for a pro."

    - Well, the reason that I posted here was that I was looking for advice from a *pro*. Instead I got bullshit replies from two moderators who seem to low on the reading/comprehension scale.

    - Then hj replies with "Now you are becoming argumentative. The insert and plastic ferrule are for use with PLASTIC tubing, which you imply that you wish to use for the final connection to the cooler. Copper uses the BRASS ferrule. You do not have to use "high torque" to compress the brass ferrule to copper tubing, in fact if you do you will distort and damage the copper tubing. "

    - I feel at this point that I'm getting tag teamed by Gilligan and the Skipper.

    - Please learn to read and *understand*, moderators. Feel free to ban me. I won't be back.

  10. #10
    DIY Senior Member Noth Jersey's Avatar
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    This forum is a valuable resource, whether you get a little sass or not. I wouldn't take it too personally, but then, I live in Jersey . . . Providing a picture, no matter how crude, will eliminate a lot of misunderstandings.

    Something to consider:
    Mini split AC can be very inexpensive and is definitely a DIY project, as long as you can get your hands on a vacuum pump and a manifold. The two-ton unit I installed has a heat pump and does a great job of heating and cooling the top floor of my small house. With the advent of the mini-split in the US, I would definitely think about making the switch to AC.
    Last edited by Noth Jersey; 07-03-2010 at 09:10 PM.

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