Since the advent of heating and cooling technology, advancements in performance and efficiency of air conditioning units and refrigeration have continued on a consistent upward trend. Modern advancements have ranged from improvements in refrigerator quality to more user-friendly thermostats.
How SmartLock is Perfecting Refrigerant Line Technology
However, there has long been an unidentified and unaddressed need for improved refrigerant line technology. The traditional fittings that connect the lines and coils in HVAC systems can be inefficient, leaky, and sometimes dangerous. Contractors are subjected to high-risk, labor-intensive jobs that require extensive permits and specialty tools to complete. At SmartLock, we are proud to say these days are over.
SmartLock fittings are new and innovative products that utilize metal-to-metal sealing technology for a more secure and permanent seal, compared to other fittings on the market that use rubber o-rings as the primary sealing agent. Rubber o-rings deteriorate at a rapid pace once exposed to external substances and environments (refrigerants, oils, temperature, ozone, etc), but metal ferrule does not have those issues at all. In addition, SmartLock fittings have the market's highest design pressure range and burst pressure range.
The Old Fashioned Ways
There are two ways that refrigerant lines have been connected throughout history, and neither is truly safe or efficient for contractors. The first is called brazing, and can also be referred to as soldering. Brazing refrigerant lines is a process that connects two metal parts by melting a filler metal into the joint to form a strong bond. Brazing refrigerant lines for HVAC systems is not an easy task, and the process requires specialty tools and permits while creating a dangerous working environment. The work demands the use of gas and an open flame, while also being very labor intensive. There are four main steps for brazing refrigerant lines:
Brazing and N2 gas
Clean and prepare the joints
Apply flux to both joints
Connect the torch to your gas tank and heat both joints until they are red hot
Pour the brazing rod into one joint while applying pressure to the other joint
Brazing is an incredibly dangerous process because, while it is happening, the temperature of the metal reaches a point that causes severe burns and there’s a possibility that the tube could contain highly pressurized gasses that could break down into poisonous compounds.
The other common method for connecting refrigerant lines is called flaring. While flaring is a type of forging operation and is usually a cold working procedure, it is also time-consuming, requires specialty tools, and is prone to leaking for an assortment of reasons. The process of flaring includes:
Cut the tip with a tube cutter
Place the nut onto the copper tube
Place and tighten the Flare Tool
Remove the flare tool
Add a sealant
This method for connecting refrigerant lines for copper HVAC and refrigerant fittings is commonly done by DIYers because it offers a less dangerous environment than brazing, However, the fitting must still be tested for leaks, and adjustments are often required resulting from the required refrigerant amount and improper seals. Regardless of method type, both are outdated, time-consuming, and pale in comparison to SmartLock fittings.
Improving Safety & Efficiency
Brazing has been a more popular method amongst contractors for fitting refrigerant lines together because, with expertise and experience, it can create a proper seal. Yet, even the most tenured and advanced HVAC contractors face danger and risk. Extremely high temperatures and combustible gas always involve a level of unpredictability and uncertainty. Flaring is a tedious endeavor that requires time, precision, and patience, and even then can result in faulty or leaky connections. Our goal at SmartLock is not just to improve the quality of the connections throughout residential and commercial HVAC systems, but to also improve the efficiency and safety involved with installing these ac refrigerant fittings. Our overall product benefits mean replacing the arduous brazing and flaring work without special tools needed.
Our patented metal-to-metal sealing technology allows for the highest design pressure range on the market. Metal ferrule is the most durable and stable material that allows for compatibility with all refrigerants and tube types, as well as extending the lifespan of the fitting itself. We manufacture and produce a wide range of fittings to replace brazing and flaring for HVAC/R refrigerant lines, including:
FLARE CONNECTOR MULTI ANGLE (FCMA) – Connects copper/aluminum tube to flare valves without the need for flaring.
FLARE CONNECTOR REDUCER SPECIAL (FCRS) – Connects smaller-sized copper/aluminum tubes to larger-sized flare valves without the need for flaring. This gives more bang for your buck where FCRS fittings replace having to buy Flare Connector Multi Angle (FCMA) and Union Reducer (UNRD).
SWAGE UNION (SWUN) – Connects copper/aluminum tube to swage valve without the need for brazing.
ELBOW SWAGE UNION (ELSW) – Connects a copper/aluminum tube to a swage valve without the need for brazing. The kicker is the ELSW comes off the swage valve at a 90-degree angle for those tight corners.
UNION STRAIGHT (UNST) – Connects same-sized copper/aluminum tube to copper/ aluminum tube.
UNION REDUCER (UNRD) – Connects larger-sized copper/aluminum tube to smaller-sized copper/ aluminum tube.
ELBOW UNION (ELUN) – Connects same-sized copper/aluminum tube to copper/ aluminum tube at a 90-degree angle. There is no reduction in flow.
All of our flareless, no-braze, no-leak refrigerant fittings come in a variety of sizes to fit an assortment of HVAC and AC refrigerant lines. SmartLock fittings are a simple solution for Air Conditioning, Heat Pump, and Refrigeration Systems including Ductless Mini- Splits, Standard Unitary Swages, Multi-Zone Systems, and VRF Systems. Visit our website or contact us today to learn more about how to purchase SmartLock fittings today.
Whether you are a contractor in the heating and cooling industry or a distributor of HVAC and refrigerant fitting products, contact us today. At SmartLock, we have revolutionized the process and products associated with HVAC/R and refrigerant fittings. Reach out to us to learn more about how to purchase SmartLock fittings today!