As the use of RLS press fittings for HVAC and refrigeration applications continues to grow, more and more contractors are discovering how they can save time on the job, get more work done, and ultimately make more money using RLS press technology over manually brazing copper tube joints.
Because the battery-powered tool does the work, it only takes about 10 seconds to properly install a press fitting, while brazing can take several minutes for each connection, depending on the tube diameter, even for an experienced contractor. This significant time savings can quickly offset the initial, one-time investment in a press tool and jaws.
Contractors with better on-site efficiency can complete projects in less time, which can help them lower their bids and win more jobs. HVAC/R repairs and installations can not only be completed faster with RLS press fittings, but often with fewer people as well, further reducing labour costs.
The ability to conduct a flame-free installation can also be a key in winning bids on projects where an open flame is discouraged or forbidden due to the risk of fire. This can be the case in historical buildings, in healthcare facilities where stored oxygen is present, and in situations where hot work would disrupt a building’s normal operations.
No matter how skilled or experienced a contractor is, brazing always poses a fire risk. But with press fittings, there is no open flame, so no fire hazards. In addition, the use press fittings means there is no need for hot work permits, fire spotters or fire safety equipment.
Unlike brazing, learning to install press fittings doesn’t require years of supervised training and dedicated practice. Both skilled contractors and inexperienced apprentices can learn how to properly prep tubing, operate a press tool and correctly install press fittings in a single training session. That said, proper training is still critical and should not be overlooked.
While the use of press fittings continues to grow, many trade schools still don’t train students on press technology. So it is important for employers to introduce press to new technicians and make sure they fully understand the simple, but important process, including proper tube preparation.
While the time savings of press fittings offer the most significant cost reduction for HVAC/R contractors, there are other cost benefits. Minimizing the use of brazing reduces costs for brazing materials such as acetylene gas and solder. There is also no need to purchase and transport nitrogen, since nitrogen purging is not required when pressing (which also saves additional time). Any costs for hot work permits are also eliminated.
The bottom line is, while brazing will always be a necessary skill in the HVAC/R trade, the use of press fittings can minimize the need for that skill, which offers very significant time and cost savings. Plus, the quality and reliability of RLS press fittings have been well proven over 9+ years of field use and nearly 20 million installed fittings. RLS fittings are UL Listed to 700 psi and come with a 15-year limited warranty.