JRT Mechanical Saves Time and Labor Costs with TestRite
Having the benefit of supplier support for an infrequent commercial plumbing task like drain, waste and vent (DWV) testing may be unusual, but it means something to Kevin Rose, project manager with JRT Mechanical.
“Our rep takes good care of us,” Kevin says of his HoldRite territory manager. “I like to use something that I know the manufacturers can back us up on.”
Kevin explains that his HoldRite rep supports the mechanical contracting company in all its purchases, including the TestRite DWV Inline Testing System. That was not the case with other DWV testing devices JRT Mechanical used to use, Kevin notes. “We didn’t really have much support on those. We didn’t have a rep that would back us up.”
As project manager for JRT Mechanical, Washington-based heating, cooling and plumbing company, Kevin tests and selects products for the company. Prior to two years ago, the company was using either inflatable test balloons or test plugs that could be threaded into the pipe system for its DWV testing. Neither were ideal, but there were few other options.
“There were definitely some things with the old way of testing that I did not like,” he says.
One of the problems with inflatable testers is its susceptibility to being punctured. - Kevin Rose, Project Manager
“Balloons can fail, and you can’t really tell that they’re failing,” he explains. “Sometimes they can come out of the cleanout and go the wrong way into the drain pipe,” he added. “I’ve seen that happen.”
The old test devices also required a hose or some type of plumbing connection to fill systems with water from above and removing inflatable testers was problematic.
“With the old balloons you would pull them out and it would cause a mess, and there would be a lot of pressure on that water, so it wasn’t safe either.” Kevin explains how there’s just no easy way to remove a balloon device from plumbing pipes while under test pressure.
Even with these issues, Kevin adds, “that’s how our industry has done it for years.”
But when Kevin learned about HoldRite's new DWV testing product, TestRite, through the supplier’s sales rep, his interest was piqued.
“I had a few projects coming up where I thought it would be a good fit.”
Kevin likes that the TestRite Test Wedge doesn’t use a balloon, can be reused, and allows pipe systems to be filled and drained right from the device, rather than through piping. He also views the TestRite Test Tees, an integral part of the system, as an equivalent, if more streamlined, version of traditional sanitary cleanout tees.
“It just looked like a cleaner, innovative system that would save labor for our guys in the field,” he says. “With TestRite you can hook up a hose to it and open it up.” On the other hand, with the inflatable device, “You just have to let the air out and you might lose your whole test,” he says.
Having used the system on multiple jobs, Kevin finds TestRite to be a safer, faster and more efficient testing system.
“You can drain it with the hose, you can fill it with the hose, and it’s more reliable,” Kevin says.
Another benefit is reduced water use because the number of failed tests has dropped dramatically.
“When you’re testing a big building there’s probably a couple balloons that will fail, so you have to find them and replace them.”
Partial tests are also easier and faster, since TestRite allows for partial drainage, if repairs are needed. Another plus, Kevin says: Tests can be held for the full 15 minutes required and then some, which was not always the case with inflatables, Kevin says.
“Having a system that holds the water level consistently for a longer period of time makes it easier,” he says. “I think this would hold the test for as long as you want it to hold.”
Now that they’ve switched to TestRite, Kevin says, the DWV testing process is much more efficient. “You don’t have any balloons leaking and you’re not running around trying to figure out if your balloons are leaking.” he says.
The time savings have helped when it comes to labor costs and staying on schedule: “There’s always a push, so it helps us to test the systems faster,” he says.
When it comes to tooling costs, Kevin says TestRite is similar to previous methods because most of the test wedges were purchased upfront and can be reused. As for the supplier support from HoldRite, it too has been a distinct difference from the company’s previous process.
“We now have support on something we might not have had in the past.” says Kevin. “It’s nice to have good products in the market from a vendor that I trust,” he says.