Like driving a manual transmission, there will always be situations where soldering is the necessary and preferred method of connections. Yet new technology changes things, and the change is usually here to stay. That’s why it’s important to think of press fittings, push fittings, and soldering as three available technologies—and to know which one is right for each job.
Press and push fittings save incredible amounts of time and make plumbing jobs easier and safer. If nothing else, they should be used when soldering proves too dangerous. Once you get used to solder-free connections, you can actually find ways to improve your productivity and profitability thanks to how fast and easy press and push fittings are.
Hot Off the Press: Pros and Cons of Press Fittings
If you already own everything required for soldering, you might be hesitant to spend a couple thousand dollars on a special press tool with fittings that are also more costly.
So, why are some plumbers becoming fanatical about press? It’s all about saving time, doing the job safely, and leaving behind a strong, permanent seal.
Press fittings cut down a job from hours to minutes. No worries about flux, fumes, deposits, or fire hazards. The press connection is watertight and permanent thanks to the O-ring inside, and it’s safe a variety of applications.
Unless you plan on retiring in the next year or so, it’s absolutely worth it to invest in a press fitting tool. Press saves so much time that you can make lower bids on contracts and perform more routine repairs in a day.
Making a Strong Push: Pros and Cons of Push Fittings
Anybody can connect a push fitting in seconds without a special tool. So, let’s cut to the chase. Push fittings are so easy to use that you might be afraid your customer will DIY the next job instead of calling you back.
However, just because push fittings exist does not mean that amateurs can suddenly handle repairs and renovations on their own. Your customer does not have the necessary skill or knowledge to perform diagnostics and troubleshooting. When they need work done, they still need a professional technician.
The solder-free, no-tool option of push fittings is your hands-down best solution for making repairs in tight spaces or anywhere that a soldering flame would be dangerous.
Sweat It Out: Pros and Cons of Soldering
For the skilled artisan, there’s nothing quite like a cleanly and precisely soldered joint. The truly permanent connection can allay a customer’s fears about whether the watertight O-ring on a push or press fitting will hold up for decades. In some jurisdictions, removable fittings are not yet fully approved. Suffice it to say, soldering has its applications and proponents for good reason.
Choosing Between Solder, Press, and Push Connections
All three connection methods are here to stay. Young plumbers should learn how to solder, and veterans should be open-minded about the latest technologies. Press and push create an opportunity to do the job more efficiently, more safely, and may well be what you need to stay competitive in your market.