Benefits of Using Press Fittings in HVACR
May 7, 2021
A key characteristic of metallic pipework is that it can be installed using press fittings instead of brazing. Press fittings are flame-free and do not require a heat source, instead they use a mechanical press tool. The switch to a flame-free system can deliver significant health, environmental and economic benefits for building projects.Press fittings do not use a flame during the installation process thus reducing the risk of fires on site and any associated damages to property or human health. Press fittings also help achieve higher joint integrity, resulting in stronger and safer systems that are built to last.
There are obvious health risks associated with the use of fire such as burning and smoke inhalation. Furthermore, brazing can also produce carbon deposits in pipes, which can be transported into HVACR systems and present risks to human health and indoor air quality. Flame-free systems mitigate these risks and also allow installers to work more safely in tight spaces, such as ceiling voids. In cases where a building is already occupied, public access can still be maintained, which is beneficial, for example, on commercial premises, where office employees can continue to work without disruption and with only minimal restrictions.
With the introduction of new initiatives for sustainable development in the region, such as Dubai Master Plan 2040, the ‘greening’ of the building services industry is inevitable. Eventually, green legislation may become a requirement in the industry, and those who are prepared for this shift will be well-positioned to support more circular and sustainable cities. Flame-free installation presents a more sustainable option than brazing. In cities, the construction industry alone accounts for 38% of C02 emissions. By eliminating the need for fire or gas, flame-free installation produces no fumes on site, potentially lowering the carbon footprint of projects.
The truth is high-performing HVACR and water distribution systems often go unnoticed. It is only when a problem occurs in the system, that we become aware of its deep impact on our buildings.Producing leak-free systems is a crucial element to maintaining occupant comfort in buildings. Leaks can emit toxic gases, odours or hot water, all which present direct risks to human health and general wellbeing. In the region, pipework is often installed above the ceiling of each unit. This means leaks come from above, making them particularly hazardous. Systems that use press fittings can help reduce the risk of leaks by offering higher joint integrity. Each new press joint is the same as the previous, ensuring repeatability and maintained quality. Furthermore, stronger jointing produces more durable systems, which require less maintenance.
High-quality press fittings produce a secure, permanent connection. Following initial preparation, it takes just five seconds to complete the joint. Increased speed and efficiency enable project managers to plan more effectively so they can enhance productivity and reduce labour costs for their project.
Availability of labour in the region is not an issue, as there is a large pool of workers to draw from. However, traditional brazing requires specialist skills that are more difficult to source, potentially impacting a project’s delivery. The skillset required for the more modern press technology can be quickly and easily learned. It requires a much shorter period of training and ensures the installer or ACR engineer has all the skills they need to begin using the system from day one. With new health and safety guidelines that adhere to social distancing, less labour on site can be particularly beneficial in current circumstances.
What is particularly interesting about metallic press fittings is that they can actually help to increase the amount of useable space in a building. For one particular project, the client sought to increase the area of useable space in their building units. They planned to do so by reducing the size of the services riser, and in turn the pipework. However, the smaller the pipes, the less water pressure they can endure. For the high-rise buildings in this project, high water pressure was necessary to ensure the safe delivery of hot and cold water supply throughout the whole building.
This is a scenario where press fittings could provide a solution. Metallic pipes can withstand higher levels of water pressure, and at higher temperatures, than other materials used in the region. Combined with their ability to produce stronger joints, they present the perfect solution to ensure optimal water transportation in high-rise buildings.Adopting practices that deliver long-term value helps us to use resources more efficiently, reduce costs and enhance public health. The critical role of our buildings systems cannot be overlooked. They are, in fact, vital, to life inside a building. If you wouldn’t compromise on sprinkler systems or emergency lighting in your building, why would you compromise on HVACR and piping systems? They too are engineered to protect people, your project and our planet. To truly build for our future needs, we must embrace industry-wide change.
More About ESAG Building Materials