Viega ProPress: Pipes, Fittings, and Tools That Save Time and Money

Contractors and DIY home repair folks usually dread plumbing.  When you rip out the old walls, who knows what you’re doing to find?  Often piping for either plumbing or gas becomes a major part of any major renovation.   Plumbing can get very expensive very quickly, so is there a way to save time and money when working with metal piping?  Viega ProPress is one way to do that.

What is ProPress?  ProPress uses specialized fittings to connect metal pipes.  Instead of traditional methods of soldering with a bonding agent, the fittings create a water- and airtight seal with a press tool, thereby speeding up the process of installing metal pipes.  Viega was at the forefront of ProPress development and should be your first choice.

What Is ProPress, and How Is It Different?

ProPress, created by Viega, is a relatively new product when compared to more common methods. Instead of using the more traditional methods, ProPress fittings use a precisely engineered sleeve meant to be crimped around pipes. The design of the fitting holds a rubber O-ring at each end. A pipe slides into each end, and a press tool is used to compress the area that holds the O-ring, creating both air and water-tight seals around the pipe.

Viega’s Propress technology gained a lot of popularity with contractors because of its ease of use, reliability, and the speed in which fittings can be attached. Because of the innovative design, many steps from traditional methods are eliminated, saving incredible amounts of time in the insulation process. Though the cost is a little higher than the traditional fittings, years of use have only grown their popularity and worth in the field.

In more tradititional methods, copper or carbon steel pipes have connectors that are joined together using either solder or welding. With copper pipes, multiple pieces of pipe are joined with fittings by applying flux and heat, and then solder is applied to the connection for a permanent hold.

Steel pipes are joined by using an electric welder at the joining of the different parts. Pipe and fitting installations have been done this way for a very long time, but products like ProPress have come into the market, promoting their superiority to the old ways.

How Does ProPress Work?

Traditional pipe fitting uses three general methods for pipe and fitting installation. One method uses threaded steel pipes. Each end of the pipe or connector uses a threaded design to fit into the next piece. Pipes are made to certain lengths and sizes and are often used with sewage and gas. This method doesn’t work very well with unknown or unusual pipe runs.

The other two methods are welding and soldering, depending on the material. Materials like copper come together with fittings that go over the pipe like sleeves. They are then heated and soldered together. Steels like carbon or stainless take more effort to properly connect and seal and are welded with electric welders.

ProPress, however, takes out a lot of time and effort from the installation. No welding or soldering, no waiting for work permits, no incredibly precise measuring required. In fact, the pipes don’t even have to be emptied or cleaned before installation because it eliminates fire risks. Let’s take a look at the steps needed for the Viega ProPress compared to traditional copper fitting installation.

Traditional Copper Installation: Replacing a Fitting

  1. Shut off water or gas flow
  2. Drain or empty the line completely
  3. Heat joint to remove solder. If heating isn’t possible, cut off the fitting entirely
  4. Prepare the pipe and fitting by sanding and cleaning any and all material from the surface. You want bare copper to be showing as corrosion or old solder could cause a lack of adhesion
  5. Apply flux to the pipe. This is necessary for the solder to adhere to the pipe
  6. Using a torch, heat the pipe. Be sure to be careful what is behind the flame if you’re in a tight space. When the pipe reaches the proper temperature, apply the solder to the joining
  7. Allow the solder to cool without moving it. Any movement in the joining could cause the solder to crack and cause a leak
  8. After the solder has set and cooled, return the gas or water flow and check for leaks. If leaks are found, the process will have to be started over to repair

For a better look at the traditional method of connecting fittings, check out this video.

Viega ProPress Copper Installation: Replacing a fitting

  1. Shut off water or gas flow
  2. Remove gas from the line for safety. Water lines do not need to be completely drained
  3. Remove old fitting. Use a torch if soldered or cut off the fitting
  4. Place new fitting over existing pipes
  5. Use the press tool to secure fitting
  6. Inspect Smart Connect dot to be sure the fitting is pressed properly. If not, reapply the press tool and try again

To get a look at how ProPress fitting installation works, check out this video.

And, if you would like to see these two methods go head to head with each other, check out this video.

As you can see, it may be nearly the same number of steps, but using the ProPress system requires much less time and work than traditional methods. Additionally, the care and experience needed to use traditional methods are far higher than the ease of use offered by the ProPress technology. ProPress also cuts down on materials, installation time, and hazards associated with the traditional process.

Who Is Viega?

Viega is a global market leader in piping technologies and manufacturing that have been in business for over 120 years. Oddly enough, they started in 1899, making beer taps for local breweries and taverns. Eventually, the company grew and moved from making drains and overflow fittings to manufacturing copper fittings for the sanitary facilities at the time.

In 1989, Viega came to the US Markets to offer radiant floor heating. In 1999 they began introducing their plumbing systems, teaming up with Rigid tool manufacturing.

Today, they are a producer of fittings and valves that use the ProPress systems. They manufacture fittings for gas and water lines that can be used in not just residential applications, but also industrial and marine applications. Viega also carries a line of heating and cooling parts, covering many market demands.

From their small ProPress valves to their MegaPress lines, Viega has everything you need for your piping jobs. Since the release of the ProPress line in 1989, their products see over 1 million installations a day. Their quality and reputation in this field come from their 120 years of dedication to quality and innovation, setting them apart from their competitors.

Viega also introduced the Smart Connect design that uses small dots on the fittings to indicate if they have been properly installed. This helps to remove human error from the products and to make them even more reliable. This patented design is one of the key features that ensure their repeated performance in the field.

Available Products and Tools

One major factor of any large piping job is the availability of materials. Another is the flexibility and product options available. If the product does not do all the things you need it to do, its uses and desirability are limited. Viega is one of those brands that handle every angle of installations.

Viega ProPress Copper

Copper piping is commonly used for water and gas supplies to homes and businesses. When replacing or installing new pipes, Viega has a copper line to handle any situation.

  • Approved for more copper piping applications than any other press fitting system
  • Available in many sizes, ranging from ½-inch to 4-inch pipes
  • 400 different fitting configurations to choose from, making it incredibly versatile
  • Has 3 different available sealing elements, EPDM, FKM, and HNBR, to allow its performance in hundreds of applications
  • Viega Smart Connect technology takes the guesswork out of fitting inspection, giving a clear indicator of unpressed connections

Viega ProPress Stainless

Some jobs require pipes to withstand more pressure or to house more corrosive materials than copper can handle. For that, Stainless steel is used, and Viega has you covered.

  • Approved for over 800 applications
  • More than 350 different fitting configurations ranging from ½-inch to 4-inch piping
  • Two available grades of stainless steel, 304 and 316, for harsh or corrosive environments
  • Complete system solutions with pipes, valves, fittings, and EPDM, HNBR, and FKM sealing elements available
  • Viega Smart Connect technology included

Viega MegaPress Line

When you need to move gas, air, or large amounts of liquids under higher pressure, you will need to pick the correct piping for the job. Often this means stainless steel and carbon steel.  Viega introduced their MegaPress, MegaPress Stainless, MegaPressG, MegaPress FKM lines to suit these needs.

Viega MegaPress

For Water, compressed air, or gas, Viega MegaPress has a lot to offer. The technology allows you to join stainless steel pipes with carbon steel without needing to replace lines. Their new technology also offers connections with Iron Pipe Size stainless steel.

  • Approved for more applications than any other carbon steel press fitting system
  • No manual tightening is necessary
  • Can be used with Schedule 5 to Schedule 40 carbon steel pipes
  • 50-90% installation cost savings
  • More than 200 different fitting configurations ranging from 1/2-inch to 2 inches
  • Eliminates downtime and cleanup times
  • Viega Smart Connect technology included

Viega MegaPress FKM

Viega’s MegaPress FKM is designed to be an extension to the MegaPress line, making larger sized carbon steel connections through use with the MegaPressXL PressBooster.

  • When compared to welding installations, there is a 40-60% installation cost savings and 90% installation time savings
  • First carbon steel press system for ½-inch to 4-inch fittings
  • Approved for use with Schedule 50 to Schedule 40 carbon steel pipes
  • Able to be used with higher temperature applications due to the FKM sealing element
  • Viega Smart Connect technology takes the guesswork out of fitting inspection, giving a clear indicator of unpressed connections
  • No fire watch, hot work, or burn permits necessary due to no welding being needed

Viega MegaPressG

Using an HNBR sealing element, the Viega MegaPressG is the first press fitting system approved for use with gas and oil fuel applications with carbon steel pipes.

  • Approved for use with ASTM Schedule 5 to Schedule 40 carbon steel pipe
  • Approved for more applications than any other carbon steel press fitting system
  • Approved for underground applications in accordance with Code and local AHJ
  • Almost 150 fitting configurations ranging from ½-inch to 4-inches
  • Viega Smart Connect technology included

Viega MegaPress Stainless

The MegaPress Stainless line is Viega’s newest line of fittings. The culmination of different materials and seals gives MegaPress Stainless an incredible range of uses.

  • Can be used with Schedule 5 to Schedule 40 pipe
  • Offers both 304 and 316 stainless steels
  • Megapress Stainless 316 has an option between EPDM or FKM sealing elements
  • Reduces cleanup times and callbacks
  • Viega Smart Connect technology included

Press Tools

Press tools for Viega fittings are available from Viega or Rigid. These tools are designed specifically for use with Viega products, meaning their precise machining gives you a consistent, accurate product every time. The jaws and rings are interchangeable between brands, which is always a benefit to contractors.

Power Press Tool

Viega and Rigid produce a variety of press tools that can be used with Viega jaws and rings. These tools use a uniform pressure to compress the ends of the fittings and create a perfect seal.

  • Press in wet or dry conditions
  • Battery operated
  • All Viega press tools work across all Viega product lines
  • No need for fire watch or hot work and burn permits
  • Standard and compact sizes depending on usage and needs
  • Makes connections in seconds, eliminating 50-90% of fitting installation times
  • Patented swivel feature on rings and actuator will allow you to make a press at any angle and in tight spaces
  • Specially engineered for use with Viega fittings, creating a reliable press every time

For smaller applications, Viega offers hand press tools for some of their lines. Though not as fast as the power tools offered, they are still much faster than the traditional fitting installation methods.

Jaws and Rings

The jaws and rings are sized to fit specific sizes of fittings. For each different size, you will need the jaws that coordinate with it. Never try to use the wrong size jaws as it will damage the fitting and possibly the pipe. All jaws and rings work with the press tools, eliminating the need for several tools.

Pros and Cons of ProPress and Traditional Pipes and Fittings

Traditional Fittings

Pros Cons
Parts and tools are far less expensive than ProPress parts and tools Experience is needed for attaching fittings through welding or soldering with accuracy and quality
Requires fewer tools or attachments for soldering or welding Much messier, as flux, solder, and welding often produce a lot to be cleaned afterward
The tools and equipment needed can be picked up at nearly any hardware store Welding requires skill, permits, time, and a lot of safety considerations
No specialty tools or parts for different sizes of pipe Overheating or underheating can cause solder failures
Movement of the joint during setting can cause cracks or leaks
Environmental control is necessary when welding
Must drain and dry systems completely before welding or soldering
Must completely clean surfaces
You will not know if there is a leak until the system is activated. Any leaks mean repeating the process over again

 

ProPress Fittings

Pros Cons
Drastically reduced installation times It can get expensive. Viega’s systems do come with a higher price tag for their tools and fittings at the huge decrease in time spent on the job
The simplicity of installation. Anyone can learn to use these tools and systems
Cleanup is quicker and easier since there is no flux, slag, or sparks to clean
No fire involved, which means no hot work permits are needed, and hazards are reduced
Wet system safe, meaning the system doesn’t have to be completely dried before installation
Just one tool needed for use with nearly every Viega system
The precision of the tool and fittings means a higher level of uniformity on all your work

Conclusion

In an ever-changing world where new technology constantly challenges old methods, we find innovations that not only do a job faster than we could do before, but it also does it more reliably. Viega ProPress tools and fittings are such an innovation. As its popularity continues to climb, so will its development and uses.

If you have a large scale job contract, or you’re a local plumber, saving time on a job means customer appreciation and more time for other jobs. Viega’s ProPress technology takes about ¼ of the installation time on average. When that is coupled with the accuracy of Viega’s Smart Connect technology, there’s no question as to the smart choice.