Mission: HVAC 2017 – Challenge 6: Necessity or Nuisance?

by | Sep 26, 2017 | Mission HVAC

HVAC technicians depend on their tools of the trade in order to get each job done efficiently. That’s why they are careful to choose materials – like tapes – which allow them to work quickly and deliver quality results.

Many foil and film tapes for HVAC are constructed with a liner that must be removed before application, and a common complaint from technicians who work with these tapes on a regular basis is that the liners are frustrating to remove, especially in job site conditions. To understand how professionals tackle the challenges of using linered tapes, we asked Aaron, Gustavo, and Chris to share their experiences and a few tips.

Aaron: A Point of Frustration

For mission five I interviewed Quinn Myers who worked as an install guy for a couple of years during college. Quinn has used HVAC tape very often for his job and has mixed feelings about the liners. Here is what he had say during our interview.

Q1: How do you feel about HVAC tapes that have liners?
A: The liners in HVAC taps can be a pain when using long pieces. Often times the result is the tape sticking to itself and you ripping off a brand new piece.

Q2: How do you deal with the liner on these types of HVAC tapes?
A: I deal with the liner on the HVAC tape by either just using shorter pieces or sticking the tape to the duct and pulling off the liner as I wrap the tape around.

Q3: What challenges do you associate with tapes that have a liner?
A: The challenges I face with HVAC tapes that have liners is that the liner tends to get in the way a lot. Also, after ripping a piece off it then becomes hard to separate the HVAC tape and the liner.

Q4: Do you choose tapes that don’t have a liner? If not, would you choose tapes without a liner if you found one that was UL listed?
A: I usually do not use tapes that have no liners but if there was a tape that is UL listed then I would certainly prefer that. The unlined tapes just never seem to work as well.

Q5: Would you mind liners on tapes if the liner was easier to remove?
A: That would make my job a whole lot better if they were easier to remove! Otherwise there can be quite a lot of time spent dealing with these tapes at work.

I personally have not had to deal with these tapes a whole lot at work. I have mainly worked in the service side of HVAC and have only done install a handful of times.


Gustavo: A Tape for Every Task

For this mission, I had the great honor to interview Mr. German Ramos who has worked in the HVAC field for more than 20 plus years. Mr. German gave awesome insight information of that any new HVAC technician would benefit from.

Q1: How do you feel about HVAC tapes that have liners?
A: I personally don’t mind the liner on the tape. I don’t see a problem with the tapes with liners. The liner is required to help the tape not stick to its own back, due to the fact that some of these tapes have a very tough adhesive on them and are designed for tougher jobs that require a strong tape.

Q2: How do you deal with the liner on these types of HVAC tapes?
A: I have to admit that sometimes these liners can be a bit complicated to work with because the liner somehow doesn’t want to “unstick” or is easy to peel off. Also when working in tight spaces where every inch counts matters, believe it or not, having to take the liner off these tapes can make the job at hand a bit more complicated. As HVAC technicians, you will find yourself working in tight spaces that are very hot and humid. The longer you take working in places like that, the hotter you get and things can become a lot more irritable which also means that the last thing you need is a tape with an irritable liner. I hate tapes with a “hard to work with” liner. There are a few name brand tapes with liner that I do not use anymore because I have simply given up on the manufacturer.

Q3: What challenges do you associate with tapes that you have a liner?
A: Some of the challenges that I have found myself dealing with are as follows:

  • Difficulty peeling off the liner
  • Liner becomes trash for any tech to clean up
  • Some tapes have a double liner which make them twice as difficult to work with
  • Linered tapes are expensive
  • Sometimes they do not perform or work as specified
  • Once applied, it can be challenging to readjust their position and/or lose/ weakens their bonding power.
  • Many tapes with lines can only be used for certain projects at hand and may not perform to their maximum standards if used for other purposes or jobs.
  • Many tapes with liners are permanently damaged or become useless if they come in contact with water.

Q4: Do you choose tapes that don’t have a liner? If not, would you choose tapes without a liner if you found one that was UL listed?
A: I personally do not have an issue with tapes with liners. I happen to like them and will continue to use them. For the most part, they are very efficient and if properly installed can live up to their described purpose. I always carry both types of tapes because in this field you will find yourself needing both. Tapes that are UL listed might be earn a higher safety level than those that UL listed, but at this moment it doen’t really matter. There are great “non UL “ listed tapes with liner that work amazing. I’m positive that UL listed tapes are a lot safer and should be used in all projects, but unfortunately that’s not something that is being done.

Q5: Would you mind liners on tapes if the liner was easier to remove?
A: No, I would not mind liners. Manufacturers are getting a lot better at making tapes with liners that are easier to peel off. At the end of the day and if you look at the overall picture, dealing with a tapes liner, is probably an issue that many HVAC techs don’t waste much time in or pay attention to.

After interviewing Mr. German, taking the time to analyze his answers to my questions, I came to the conclusion that Tape with paper liner is not too big of a concern for many HVAC technicians. Despite its downfalls and maybe bad reviews by some technicians, I find this particular tape, useful in the HVAC field. I personally have used tape with paper liner and did not find any dislikes to it.


Chris: Can’t be Beat

I interviewed Matt Salmons, a service technician at the company I work for with 6 years of experience.

Q1: How do you feel about tapes that have liners?Chris Mission HVAC challenge 6
A: I like the liner. The tapes that have liners are pretty sticky, and without the liner it would be almost impossible to find the end of the tape and start the roll.

Q2: How do you deal with the liner?
A: I get it started, then wrap it back around the roll so that it’s even with the tape. Then it’s never in the way, and it tears off easily when I tear the tape.

Q3: What challenges do you associate with tapes that have a liner?
A: It’s a little frustrating to get the liner started when you’re sweaty and you’ve been in an attic all day. Plus it creates an extra step when you’re done and you have to clean up.

Q4: Would you choose a tape without a liner if it was UL listed?
A: No, I like to use the tape with a liner. You really can’t beat how easy it is to get the roll started, and it seals up ductwork really well.

Q5: Would you mind liners on tape if it was easier to remove?
A: I would definitely prefer if they were easier to get started. It would definitely decrease frustration especially during a long job.

I don’t mind the liner. I have started rolling it back when I get done with it so that it’s easier to use next time. I exclusively use tape with a liner when sealing and patching ductwork.


All things tape delivered to your inbox.

Signup for the Tape University newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Glenn Walter

About The Author

As a Regional Sales Manager for Shurtape Technologies, LLC, Glenn Walter manages the sales force for half the country in the HVAC and Electrical markets. As a product manager for over four years previous to his current role, Glenn was responsible for leading the product development and marketing support for the Building and Construction Tapes category. Glenn started working with Shurtape in 2012. Before that, he owned construction and framing companies with his brothers. The years he spent on the jobsite helped him create a pretty good foundation in the building and construction fields – so he's been there, done that. It gives him a unique perspective when it comes to tape. Glenn is a graduate of Cornell University with a Bachelor’s degree in Consumer Economics and Housing.