By Michael Provenzano
When Tommy Phillips, master plumber and owner of Heritage Plumbing in Atlanta, is working on a jobsite, he enjoys educating his clients on his process.
“I like to involve customers,” Phillips says. “If someone has put their trust in me to complete a project, I want to explain why I’m doing it the right way.”
This is especially true for jobs that involve plumbing connections, where the learning curve for homeowners can be steep. “When most non-plumbers think about connecting copper pipe, they generally think of sweating it where a flame has to be involved,” Phillips notes. “Once I explain pressing and show them the tools, it’s a cool factor for them. They usually say, ‘I didn’t know they made anything like that!’”
“Without pressing technology, [adding a new line] would be a highly time-intensive process — cutting the line and doing a lot of threading. Now we press lines, saving on labor costs.” – Tommy Phillips
Phillips, who has been in business for 24 years, was introduced to pressing when a RIDGID sales rep let him and his team test a press tool. The ability to test tools before buying, combined with the trust he’s developed over the last seven years in RIDGID customer service, has led the entire Heritage Plumbing crew to regularly use RIDGID pressing tools when making connections on residential and commercial projects.
Heritage’s plumbers frequently uses pressing for tankless water heater installations. Homebuilders will generally install a basic, small water heater. Homeowners, realizing their water needs are greater than what the tank provides, want to upgrade and call in Heritage.
“Our team went into one home, assessed where the gas supply was and determined we would need to add a new line to connect to the tankless heater,” Phillips says. “Without pressing technology, this would be a highly time-intensive process — cutting the line and doing a lot of threading. Now we press lines, saving on labor costs.”
In fact, Phillips estimates that pressing cut a full hour and a half off the job.
On another water tank project, the team upgraded the homeowner from a 20-year-old, 40-gallon tank to a new 50-gallon tank. This homeowner had existing gas lines and the project took 1 1/2 hours compared to the 3 hours needed if soldering was required, Phillips notes. Along with saving time, pressing minimizes — and in many cases eliminates — the need for water shut off. On this particular job, water was shut off for only about 15 minutes.
Phillips and the Heritage team also regularly use pressing on shower and tub installations. At a home recently, the team remodeled two bathrooms, upgrading a tub/shower in one, and a shower in the other.
“We took out the old fiberglass shower, adding a tub and shower remodel unit, and replaced the shower and tub valves,” Phillips says. “We had to cut out the existing copper. Instead of sweating the replacement, we pressed it all in. It’s a lot neater, with a lot less cleanup.”
They completed the same replacement process on the stand-alone shower, overall saving about an hour of work with water only shut off for about 30 minutes, Phillips notes.
For all its projects, the Heritage team uses the RIDGID RP 330 and the RP 240. Both are drill-grip style press tools, with the RP 240 a more compact model for tighter spaces. RIDGID has been an industry leader in pressing since introducing the technology to North America more than 20 years ago, the company explains. Today, RIDGID offers a full line of press tools for a variety of applications and maximum adaptability on every job.
All RIDGID pressing tools eliminate the need for sweating, brazing and grooving, as well as the need for permits or fire watches. They are designed to fit in the tightest of spaces and press a secure connection in seven seconds or less.
These time-saving benefits, along with cleaner jobsites, have Phillips and his team frequently choosing pressing over other more traditional methods.
“Not having to use a torch or having the fumes, gas and the mess soldering produces is a real benefit when you’re in a customer’s house,” he says. “With soldering, glue can also drip down on the water heater or onto the concrete. That’s what really sold me: I don’t have to deal with any of that stuff with pressing. It’s a lot cleaner. I try to be clean and courteous to people’s property, and pressing saves time on cleanup.”
This year alone, Phillips estimates pressing has saved him more than 50 hours on job sites.
That time saved gives Heritage Plumbing more time to focus on what matters most, relationships with clients and providing quality work and customer service.
Photos courtesy of RIDGID.
Michael Provenzano is the director of marketing, press connections for RIDGID, part of Emerson’s professional tools portfolio that also includes the Greenlee brand. RIDGID is a global manufacturer of more than 300 dependable and innovative tools, trusted by professional trades in more than 100 countries. Learn more at RIDGID.com.