Phil Viner looks at the new pipe and fitting technologies helping to keep installers ahead of the game.

In this industry every job is different. Boilers and heating systems have so many different pipes, valves and fittings that deciding on the best product to use can be confusing. Do you go with the old faithful, and take a little longer completing the job so you can use the products you trust? Or do you save time and money, crucially without sacrificing quality and reliability, by trying something new like pressfit pipe fittings?

People are now used to a lightning fast world, where everything they want is often available to them at the click of a button. Every industry needs to move with the times and manufacturers and merchants should try to help installers get to grips with the different product options so that they can give their customers a great service, as fast as possible.

The latest pipe and fitting technologies can streamline installers’ jobs, whether it’s pushfit, pressfit or even flexible gas pipes, having a radical effect on job convenience and even an installer’s bottom line.

Many installers are loathe to use plastic pipes. Some consider plastic not to be as robust as metal, and its cheaper price often makes installers think of the old adage ‘you get what you pay for’. Trusting a product is a big deal. If it’s no good then there are often messy and sometimes complicated repercussions.

Systems now exist, such as Pegler’s Tectite Flexible Metal System, which combine the integrity of metal with the flexibility of plastic, to reach a middle ground in the debate between the two materials. It uses multi-layer composite pipe, made from a thin layer of aluminium flanked by cross-linked polyethylene, and can handle temperatures of more than 100°c and working pressures up to 16 bar. It can be bent by hand, but is still resistant to any warping.

Essential building blocks

Valves aren’t exciting, but they are essential to building and maintaining a reliable plumbing system. Water-based valves, or traps, are common in most buildings and can be compromised by evaporation over long periods of inactivity – running the risk of nasty smells entering the property.

New valves such as Polypipe’s flexible, self-sealing waterless waste valve have a flexible corrugated pipe body to make it more adaptable. It also has a simple ‘pipe to pipe’ connection and can be fitted horizontally or vertically, with no compromise on performance.

Fast installation times

Pressfit products are the Lego of the plumbing and heating world. While not as simplistic, they create a nice clean finish and can cut installation times in half.

Using a pressfit tool, a cutter and a deburrer, installers can easily press fittings onto the tube without the need for any hot works. With less need for soldering, installers can look forward to a reduced risk of damage to existing fixtures and fittings, and a safe, burn-free installation.

One of the best advantages of pressfit technology, such as Geberit’s Mapress range, is that installers can use one system for potable water, heating, chilled water or gas.

Staff in the know

Knowing which products can be trusted to make an installer’s job easier can be difficult. There are many on the market, but which are the best for a particular job?

Staff at your local plumbers’ merchant are trained to have the best possible knowledge when it comes to helping customers. This means they can discuss all the options when a customer is in need of advice.

So, next time you’re unsure of which system is best for a particular job, visit your local merchant and see what product they would recommend.

Phil Viner is commercial development director at Plumb and Parts Center.