ATLANTA — Using the wrong tape on a job can leave contractors in a sticky situation when the building inspector comes to pay a call. That’s one reason why Shurtape is seeing an increase in demand for tape that’s UL listed — or “red-letter tape,” as it’s often called.

Two of Shurtape’s featured products at this year’s AHR Expo were UL 181A-P and B-FX Listed AF 100 foil tape and AF 100E, a version of the same tape with a split liner that allows HVAC technicians to remove the tape’s liner more quickly. While they’re not new products this year, Lisa Zierfuss product manager, HVAC and building and construction at Shurtape, said the demand for UL-listed tape is increasing.

Read more about
AHR Expo 2019
in the Feb. 18 issue

“You can have something listed A-P, or you can have it listed B-FX: those are the two most common for tape,” she explained.

A-P-listed tape can be used on rigid duct board, and B-FX-listed tape on flex duct. UL-listed tape can be used on both, which can be a boon to contractors who want to make sure their go-to tape will keep them covered when it comes time for inspection.

“Codes vary amongst counties, between cities, states,” Zierfuss said. “Contractors seem to want to use a UL-listed product because they can use it anywhere, and they know it’s going to meet that code compliance. Inspectors realize that in order to be UL listed, the tape has to go through a very rigorous testing process. They’re going to go in and see the ductwork wrapped in this printed tape — they almost always call it red-letter tape — it meets all the codes, it’s UL listed, it’s good to go.”

Red-letter tape keeps the bases covered with one product, she said.

“A lot of guys, they don’t want to carry 18 rolls of tape in their trunk, so even though this is more expensive than plain foil tape or plain cloth tape, they know they can use it and it’s going to pass inspection.”

Also featured at the show was the FF 100 film tape, designed specifically for seaming and sealing reflective insulation, an often-challenging surface for traditional tapes to stick to. Launched last year, FF 100 is built to deliver quick stick to reflective insulation and withstand numerous thermal cycles to provide full system closure for the life of the system.

“We’ve heard from contractors who use reflective installation … and they could not find a tape that would stick,” Zierfuss said. “We developed this to seal reflective insulation. It’s got a good adhesive, so it performs well on a wide temperature range … and it’s more robust than rubber adhesives, which are normally found in traditional black duct tape.”

Other products at the Shurtape booth included DC 181 film tape for use on Class 1 Flex Duct; a full portfolio of HVAC tapes, including those built specifically for use in cold temperatures (AF 914 and AF 975), as well as Shurmastic butyl rubber adhesive foil tapes (SF 685 and SF 686) designed for airtight and moisture-free sealing of Class 1 Flex Duct, sheet metal, and duct wrap vapor barriers; electrical tapes, from economy to professional grade; and a variety of general-purpose and industrial-grade tapes, including cloth and duct tapes.

If that sounds like an overwhelming array of choices, Shurtape has a website called Tape University to help explain the options.

“It’s not heavily Shurtape branded; it’s more of how to use foil tape, how to use HVAC tape, and … people can write in and ask questions,” Zierfuss said.

If the Shurtape team hears the same types of questions being asked over and over, the company will write up a blog post on that kind of tape use.

“I think a lot of people feel embarrassed to ask a question, like, ‘I’m the only one that doesn’t know this,’” she said. “You’d be surprised: Often, everyone has the same question.”

Shurtape also runs a program called Mission: HVAC.

“We choose three students and assign them 10 HVAC-themed missions,” Zierfuss said. “It could be shadow a local contractor for a day, see what life on the job is really like; ask your class instructor why they got into HVAC and why they became an HVAC instructor. They get 10 missions and earn $500 for each mission, and they can earn up to $5,000.”

This year is the fifth anniversary for the program, so the company decided to do something a little different.

“For our fifth year, we decided to do five for five,” she said.

Two HVAC or educational trade schools will be chosen as winners in addition to the three students, and they can use the money they earn toward tools for the classroom or equipment for the students.

Publication date: 2/18/2019

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