Part of my job, when I’m not out plumbing a boiler or servicing a client’s plumbing system, is to do my best to keep up with what is going on around this great country [and yes, Canada too because no matter how many jokes us Minnesotan’s have for our apologetic neighbors to the north, I have friends there and ultimately respect them for their innovative energy policies and building codes]. I visit multiple websites, most are sites I frequent but occasionally I’ll stumble upon one or two I have never visited. Magazine sites, manufacturer pages, forums etc. Forums can be fun but they often require some sort of login and I tend to shy away from the commitment. Others, like the social media sites Twitter and Facebook, are always a good source of current happenings in the plumbing and HVAC industry and I’m there already with an understanding of how they operate.
The other day I happened to be scrolling through my FB newsfeed, liking this and yes, hiding that when I stumbled on a picture posted by a friend proclaiming his disgust at how another contractor had used PEX tubing in a way that left the job looking bad [it did] and how he wouldn’t have ever done that. I’ll tell you he wasn’t lying, the PEX was actually fine but my preferences align closely to my contractor friend who, by the way, consistently shares photos of his own work and every one of them displays true craftsmanship anyone would be proud of.
Now I already said I agree with my friend but what I haven’t mentioned are the comments included on his post by others. Now the actual comments, word for word, are not important here. The ideas are what get me going and they are found all over, not just on the sidebar of his post.
I’ve seen it time and time again, whether on the awesome site heatinghelp.com or contractor blogs and websites. What I’m talking about are statements like: “We don’t use PEX, copper is better” or “ProPress is ruining the trades, it takes no skill to install it…”. I’ve seen many times other contractors take the time and effort to defend their reasoning for using such “modern” methods of piping and joining processes but it is always in response to someone professing their complete disdain for those who choose to do so. Pricing seems to play a big role in the ranting as well. Often I see many who think a newer product like press fittings or PEX should be considerably lower than the existing materials/methods they are using now and if it isn’t then it can’t be worth their time and effort.
I’m a huge fan of copper press fittings. I also use plenty of PEX but only where it makes sense. Also, the right pex product for the application can make all the difference. I don’t like the price of press fittings either but I stopped complaining long ago, right about the time when all of my labor (for piping) was consistently cut in half or more. I simply don’t understand anyone that knows what it takes to run a successful business that resists new technology designed to make our work faster and more profitable. That’s like saying you wont install a switching or zone valve relay because it makes the wiring too easy, yet we see them on every job!
I get the purist mentality but I cannot cash that in at my bank and it WONT win me more jobs. I have yet to be told from a customer that they would rather hire a contractor that is resistant to new technology or that insists on taking longer to perform simple work like piping installations. In fact, clients have literally awarded me work, be they architects, builders or homeowners because of a modern skill set and mentality. Their words, not mine.
End of rant.