When it comes to valves and fittings, brass is among the best material options on the market. It’s very strong, can be machined precisely and resists corrosion. But when it comes to actually getting brass valves and fittings, you’ll need to find a reliable manufacturer. How can you choose which one to work with? Here are five questions you should ask any brass fittings manufacturer you’re considering:
- What Is Your In-Stock Inventory Like?
Whether you’re in charge of systems for a business that uses brass piping or you’re stocking a retail outlet, you need to make sure that the manufacturer you’re working with has a broad inventory of brass valves and fittings. A standard garden hose, for example, comes in 1/2, 5/8 and 3/4 inch sizes — that means you’ll want to have access to brass garden hose fittings in all those sizes, too. Make sure your manufacturer will keep those parts in stock and ready for available shipment, as well, so you (or your customers) aren’t waiting around.
- Can You Make Custom Parts?
Sometimes, no in-stock part will do. It’s best to work with a company that can make custom parts to your specifications. Ask about the precision capabilities a company can offer, as well as the average timetable for such custom jobs.
- Do You Offer Both Leaded and Lead-Free Parts?
It’s very important that you work with a manufacturer that can provide you with policy-compliant lead free brass fittings. Basic brass is made of about 67% copper and 33% zinc, but lead is also often added in quantities up to 2% of the final alloy. That’s a problem if you’re working on drinking water systems, because federal regulations now require that fittings for those systems contain no more than 0.25% lead. You may still want access to leaded fittings for other projects, however (the lead hardens the alloy and makes it stronger), so it’s best to choose a manufacturer that offers both.
- Will You Provide Me With References?
Customer loyalty is the best endorsement a company can earn. If a company can provide you with references that span many years of outstanding work, that’s a company that will probably provide you with excellent service for years to come.
- How Can I Reach You?
When you need to place an order or address a customer service issue, you don’t want to be scrambling to make calls during business hours. On the other hand, you don’t want to be confined to purely online contact methods; sometimes a two-minute phone call can fix what a many-email exchange can’t. For that reason, it’s best to work with a company that provides you with multiple channels through which to reach out.
Do you have anything to add to this list? Share your feedback in the comments.