In Old Bridge, New Jersey sits a luxury apartment complex that offers residents a quiet community to call home with easy access to shopping, entertainment, restaurants and the New Jersey turnpike for day trips to the heart of New York City. With its prime location and affordability, units at the complex are a hot commodity, which means repair and installation projects are scheduled regularly to provide a high level of service to tenants and the work must be completed efficiently and with as little disruption as possible. Earlier this year, 10 units needed updated HVAC systems and they needed them quickly.
Jeff DeMassari, lead installer at First Choice Heating & Cooling, and his crew were hired for the swift turn-around project. After taking a closer look at the systems, Jeff found that some units had more challenging lines in tight spots and determined that they would need to be bent and brazed. However, having brazed bends in the lines can potentially cause issues and increase risk of failures down the line. Additionally, brazing on-site meant an increase in work hours and applying for and waiting on a fire permit.
But, DeMassari had recently added press fittings — Rapid Locking System (RLS) press fittings — into the company’s install options and he knew press would be the ideal solution for this application as it was safer, more efficient and more effective.
Increasing productivity without sacrificing quality
Throughout the install, the First Choice Heating & Cooling team implemented both brazed joints and press fittings based on the unit and specific parameters of each install, providing their team with an array of solutions based on their needs on-site.
Press fittings have been growing in popularity in the plumbing trade for years, but tools have only recently been developed for the high-pressure application of the HVAC and refrigeration industries. Press fittings offer an alternative to the conventional process of brazing, providing contractors with an approach to joining HVACR lines that is fast, safe, consistent and reliable.
“My job has been a lot smoother since I started using press fittings,” says DeMassari. “You don’t have to worry about permits and fire hazards or dedicating so much time to one connection like you have to with brazing. I know when I use the RLS fitting that it is not only easy to install but also durable, as we have not had any issues with our press fittings to-date and no call-backs on those jobs.”
The fittings are installed through a press-to-connect process and can be applied in a matter of just seconds, offering contractors a comparable and permanent mechanical connection up to 60% faster than brazing. For First Choice Heating & Cooling, a faster installation timeline has allowed the team to boost their business’ productivity and profitability and reduce time spent on the job site.
“We saved at least half an hour in each unit where press fittings were used and that can add up quickly to help our team either do more jobs or just finish up our day sooner to spend time with our families,” DeMassari explained.
With nearly a decade of experience in the HVAC industry, DeMassari is no stranger to brazing. But efficiency and consistency in his work is most important to keep up with an increased demand for HVAC installations and repairs in what was already a competitive market.
“Utilizing quality press fittings has been invaluable to growing our business. We’re able to get jobs done quicker without sacrificing the quality of our work and we’ve won more jobs because of it and our clients always come back to us,” he adds. “I don’t understand why other contractors wouldn’t want to add press fittings as part of their install and repair options.”