Basic Refrigeration Tools
Refrigeration tools are used in performing preventive maintenance and repair on air conditioners, refrigerators, freezers, and automotive air conditioner.
They are as follows:
• Tube Cutter – is a refrigeration tool use to cut copper tubing from sizes 1/8” to 1/2” outside diameter. A larger tube cutter is also available for large tube diameters. Tubes are mark first before cutting. Slight pressure is applied to the copper tube during cutting. The burr inside the tube is cleaned with blade reamer.
• Flaring Tool – is a refrigeration tool use to spread the copper end outward until a flare is formed. File and ream the copper tube before flaring. The copper tube is inserted into the flaring block with 30% of its diameter protruding. Turn the flaring yoke slowly until the flare is completed. Remove copper tube and inspect for defects.
• Swagging Tool – is a refrigeration tool use to expand the inside diameter of a copper tube so that the resulting diameter is the same as the outside diameter. It is used to join two copper tubes of the same diameter. Clamp the copper tube by the flaring block so that an 'equal to the outside diameter' of the copper tube length is to be swagged.
• Brazing Torch – is a refrigeration tool use in soldering the joints of two copper tubes together. 800 degrees Fahrenheit is required to solder copper tubing. Map gas is generally used in these application, although oxygen-acetylene is also popular except they are bulky and heavy. It can reach a temperature of 3600 degrees Fahrenheit. When brazing copper tube joints, do it in a well ventilated area. Prolong inhalation can cause cancer.
• Copper Tube Bender – is a copper tube bending refrigeration tool. It has a three-size molded half-round wheels. The most common sizes are from 1/4 of an inch diameter, to 5/16, then 3/8. Copper tubes are bent beautifully using this professional bending tool.
• Adjustable wrench – is a wrench with an adjustable jaw. A six inch adjustable wrench is very useful in the field of refrigeration repair. It can accommodate nuts and bolts' sizes from 1/8 of an inch to 1 inch. It can fit into the tool box easily.
• Flat Edge Screw Driver – is a screw driver with a flat driving end. An 8 inch screw driver with a blade width of 1/4" is the most useful size. It is always a good idea to have a 1/8" blade and a 3/16" blade around with you.
• Philip Screw Driver – is a screw driver with a cross driving end. It is a good idea to have three sizes of this type also. Buy only good quality philip screw driver because the teeth easily become blunt very slippery.
• Allen Wrench – is an angle hexagonal driving wrench. They are made of hardened steel. You will need allen key when removing the squirrel caged fan of a window type air conditioner. The circular fan of an indoor unit is fastened with an allen screw.
• Long Nose Plier – is a plier with a long pointed nose. A 7 inch long nose plier is very useful and is a good addition to your tool box. You will find the many uses of a long nose plier; from hard to-reach areas like removing a clip from a fan or holding the copper tube when brazing alone.
• Slip Joint Plier – is a mechanical plier with a slip joint in order to adjust the size. Either for fastening a 1/2" pipe to loosening a 1" water pipe, it is a very handy tool to have. I have with me a 10" slip joint plier all the time.
• Electrical Plier – Insulated plier use by electrician. An 8 inch electrical plier is a must have in your tool box. There are time when it is necessary to remove a live fuse from a fuse box. Or arranging the stranded wires.
• Pipe Wrench – is a wrench for fastening tubes and pipes. A 12 in pipe wrench must be in your tool box as well. Sometimes we have to remove a rounded hex nut.
• Socket Wrench set – wrench with driving socket. We have the 1/2" drive and the 3/8" drive and the 1/4" drive. I carry all of them when I am on the field. You will need a socket wrench to remove a remote hex nut or bolt where you have to add extension just to remove it. The set come with a ratchet which is also a very handy tool.
• Nut Drivers – Hand held driver to drive or remove hex nuts or bolts. Mostly applicable to deep down places where our hand is not able to reach. Straight hand grip type and the T-type drivers are available for you to choose.
• Box Wrench – Hand held box type wrenches. They came in from 1/4 of an inch to 1-1/4 inch size. Usually they are in combination as far as the size is concern. A practical tool for assembling and disassembling home air conditioner and automotive air conditioner compressors.
• Open Wrench – Open end hand held wrench. Their sizes are from 1/8 of an inch to 1-1/4 of an inch. It is most useful when you are removing a machine bolt where access is only 50 to 75 percent, or the area is restricted that the wrench can make only one half turn.
• Flat File – flat hardened steel with cutting ridges. Used for filing a newly cut copper tube ends to square it. Or to remove burrs from steel brackets. File surface joints so that they can fit squarely.
• Round File – round long hardened steel with cutting ridges. Round file is very useful in enlarging a hole by filing. Cleaning a rusty steel tube, removing a clogged from a drain hole. Enlarging a flat washer hole to fit the larger bolt. Or to shape a certain parts through filing. Making prototype spare parts for hard-to-find spare.
• Half Round Files – Half round shaped long hardened steel with cutting ridges. When it is necessary to make a hole larger where the application of a round file is not practical. The half round side can finish a curve surface, and the flat side for the flat surface.
• Carpenter’s Saw – a hand tool with tooth blade used to cut wood. Fabricating wooden frame for a window type air conditioner, cutting wooden sticks to be used to elevate an air conditioner unit. Fabricating elevated stand for a split type stand alone indoor unit.
• Tape measure – steel tape measuring device. Put one in your pocket whenever you are going out into the field. Either you are going to make measurement for the length of the copper tubing you will need for a certain project, or measuring the volume of a room.
• Hack Saw – a hand tool with tooth blade used to cut iron pipes or iron bars, maybe you need to shorten the length of a certain PVC pipe, or fabricating a bracket for a new air conditioner. Making a new home air conditioner installation. Cutting the window frame so that the new air conditioner will fit.
• Electric Drill Gun – is also a good refrigeration tool a refrigeration mechanic should have. We measure the size of a drill gun by the size of the chuck. I have with me a 1/2 inch chuck, and it is all I need in doing different things, like installing a new compressor and I need to make new holes for the anchor bolts.
• Bench Vise – a refrigeration tool with two jaws for holding works. Most of the time we need a vise to hold the copper tube so that we can braze the joints correctly. Or we must clamp the machine bolt so that we can remove the hex nut. Or simply clamp a piece of steel bar so that we can cut it into the size we need.
• Yoke Vise – a pipe vise. It is good to have a yoke vise in your working bench. Yoke vise is a common refrigeration tool a mechanic should have. Either you are lengthening your water pipes or removing electrical conduit pipes, a yoke vise clamps the tubing without deforming them.
• Gauge Manifold – refrigeration tool pressure gauges. Whenever you are reprocessing a refrigerator, or replacing a new compressor for a freezer, or charging refrigerant to your automotive air conditioner, you need a gauge manifold to tell you if you are doing it right.
If you plan to repair your own refrigeration appliances, and you might consider going into servicing, you must have the above basic tools. It’s an investment but consider the money that you can save if you do it yourself.
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