2023 Dealer Design Awards: Components & Accessories
REVOLUTIONARY: With double O-ring technology and three press points for a better seal, Streamline ACR Press Fittings from Mueller Streamline Co. are set to revolutionize refrigerant system installations, said the company. (Courtesy of Mueller Streamline Co.)
With double O-ring technology and three press points for a better seal, Streamline ACR Press Fittings from Mueller Streamline Co. are set to revolutionize refrigerant system installations, said the company.
The hard copper fittings, introduced in early 2022 after about five years of design research, won Gold honors for Mueller Streamline in the Components & Accessories category.
The fittings allow contractors to install reliable, durable refrigerant piping connections without the use of a brazing torch and feature double O-rings and three press points instead of two, said Christopher Mueller, vice president of product development at Mueller Streamline.
Mueller said brazing is the gold standard for joining refrigerant piping, but the use of press fittings saves valuable time in an era of a challenging skilled labor shortage. The company, he said, heard from thousands of technicians who wanted faster, flameless fittings solutions for some applications. Installers using Streamline ACR fittings don’t need to obtain permits for “hot work,” Mueller pointed out.
“Anyone with experience in HVACR knows that refrigerant gases are notoriously difficult to seal,” Mueller said. “These gas molecules are an order-of-magnitude smaller than water molecules, allowing them to escape the smallest of gaps. Joining copper tube with mechanical press fittings is not new; however, existing HVAC press products rely on a single seal and borrow their technology from similar plumbing products.”
Mueller said each Streamline ACR fitting includes a “dead zone” between the O-rings, creating a backup seal to hold any escaping gases. The fittings have tested burst pressures of more than 8,000 psi, while the industry standard is only 2,100 psi, he said.
Lee Pruett, a project manager at S.M. Lawrence Co., a Nashville-based mechanical contractor, said the double O-rings and the heavy-duty look of the Streamline ACR fittings sold him. Pruett first used the fittings last year for an installation at a new FedEx distribution center in Jonesboro, Arkansas, after using another brand of fittings on a different project and being unhappy with the outcome.
“It really went smoother, faster, cleaner. Easy startup,” Pruett said. “These units are all I use now.”
The fittings can be installed with a common press tool equipped with specialized jaws made for the fittings, Pruett said.
Mueller said the Streamline ACR fittings were developed based on “a ridiculous amount of voice-of-customer feedback” that included interviews and hands-on trials with installers.
“With independent and redundant seals, technicians can join piping with considerable time savings without giving up the confidence of reliability that brazing has provided for decades,” said Mueller.
In the future, the company plans to introduce refrigeration valves and protection devices with integrated press cups so that the fittings can be made with press tools.
“HVAC equipment producers will similarly be converting equipment to offer straight tube connections, whereas all currently have braze cups,” Mueller said. “Together with the Streamline ACR Press Fittings, these parallel advancements will allow technicians to fully install all types of HVAC systems without a torch — with speed and real confidence.”
QUICK AND EASY: MasterCare 1 Shot Concentrated Coil Cleaners are liquid cleaning products designed to help technicians easily and quickly clean a variety of HVACR system components with no measuring and less mess. (Courtesy of DiversiTech)
MasterCare 1 Shot Concentrated Coil Cleaners are liquid cleaning products designed to help technicians easily and quickly clean a variety of HVACR system components with no measuring and less mess.
The four cleaners, which come in 4-ounce bottles, the precise amount for making 1 gallon (128 ounces) of cleaning solution, were the Silver winner in the Components & Accessories category. The 1 Shot line of cleaners was introduced in early 2022.
“This product line saves time and excessive chemical usage, offering the correct premeasured quantity of chemical for the appropriate cleaning application,” said Eric Martini, a product line manager at DiversiTech.
The cleaners are super-concentrated and packaged for ease of use, Martini said. Technicians simply take a bottle appropriate for the cleaning job, pour the contents into a sprayer, and fill with water to the 1-gallon mark. No mixing, measuring, or second-guessing, he said, and the small bottles take up minimal truck space.
The 1 Shot line is made up of Pro-Green, a light-duty cleaner for condensers, evaporators, fan blades, grilles, electronic air filters, small condenser and evaporator coils, and mini-splits; Triple-D, a medium-duty product for condensers, evaporators, fan blades, grilles, small condenser and evaporator coils, electronic air cleaners, and mini-splits; Pro-Blue, a heavy-duty cleaner for condensers and small condenser coils; and Pro-Red, an extra heavy-duty cleaner for condensers and small condenser coils.
About three years of research went into the design of the 1 Shot line. DiversiTech used focus groups; feedback from contractors and technicians, including some who used product samples; and personal interviews to collect data before finishing product development, he said.
Martini said DiversiTech will continue developing its line of cleaning products with the goals of saving contractors time and money.
Matt Jachman is the legislation editor at the ACHR NEWS. He has 30-plus years of experience in community journalism and a bachelor’s degree in English from Wayne State University in Detroit.REVOLUTIONARY:QUICK AND EASY: