Copper Tube Applications

There are several widely accepted applications that utilize the qualities of copper tube and fittings to maximize performance, cost and ease of installation. A selected listing of these applications are listed below.

A brief description of each of these applications are given here. Please click on any of these links to learn more about each application listed in the table below:

Air Conditioning & Refrigeration
Copper tube is widely used in air conditioning and refrigeration systems due to its high thermal conductivity which is about 8 times more than that from Aluminum tube. Copper, used for centuries, has gained new popularity in its modern form: light, strong, corrosion-resistance tube. Its long lasting and maintenance free characteristics make copper the leading choice for plumbing, heating, cooling and other mechanical systems.

Direct Exchange Geothermal Heating/Cooling
Earth coupled heat pumps take advantage of the fact that several feet underground the temperature is relatively constant, even when the temperature above ground is minus 20 or 120 degrees. Taking advantage of the temperature differential allows heat to be moved between the ground and the home rather than expensively generating heat or using conventional air conditioners to heat or cool the home.

Domestic Water Service and Distribution
The combination of easy handling, forming and joining permits savings in installation time, material and overall costs. Long-term performance and reliability mean fewer callbacks, and that makes copper the ideal cost-effective tubing material.

Drain, Waste and Vent
The design and installation of drainage systems range from simple to complex, depending on the type of building, the local code and the occupancy requirements.

Fire Sprinklers
Copper tube will not burn or support combustion or decompose to toxic gases. Therefore, it will not carry fire through floors, walls and ceilings. Volatile organic compounds are not required for installation.

Fuel Gas (Natural Gas and L. P.) Distribution
Copper tubing offers the builder, contractor and building owner many advantages when used in fuel gas distribution systems, and is accepted for use in all of the major model Codes in the United States. Copper tube is used for distribution of fuel gas in single-family attached and detached homes to multi-story, multi-family dwellings. In addition, copper gas distribution lines have been installed for many years in commercial buildings such as strip malls, hotels and motels.

Copper tube is popular for heating systems in both new and remodeled buildings. Contractors have learned through experience that, all factors considered, copper tube remains superior to any substitute material. The advantages of light weight, choice of tempers, long-term reliability, and ease of joining, bending and handling are of major importance.

Medical Gas
Safety standards for oxygen and other positive-pressure medical gases require the use of Type K or L copper tube (see ASTM B 819). Special cleanliness requirements are called for. Copper tube for medical gas lines is furnished by the manufacturers suitably cleaned and capped or plugged. Care must be taken to prevent contamination of the system when the caps or plugs are removed and tube is installed.

Snow Melting
Snow-melting systems, installed in walks, driveways, loading platforms and other paved areas, are an efficient, economical means of snow, sleet and ice removal. Selection of a sinuous or a grid pattern for a snow-melting system depends largely on the shape, size and installation conditions. Soft temper copper tube is suitable for both sinuous and grid-type coils; hard temper is better for larger grid coils and for mains.

CDA has published a design handbook for solar energy systems which includes an easy-to-use method for properly sizing a solar heating system to achieve desired solar contributions.

Irrigation and Agricultural Sprinkler Systems
Irrigation systems are necessities in arid agricultural areas, and sprinkling systems for maintaining landscaped areas are being used increasingly. Regardless of type or size of system, many successful installations testify that copper is the ideal tube material for the lines.