Malco Products’ C-Rhex Sawtooth hex driver, a reversible drive socket tool for 1/4- and 5/16-inch hex screws, takes Gold honors in the Components & Accessories category.
The latest addition to Malco’s C-Rhex line of reversible drivers features a new sawtooth design on the end of each socket that can cut through the adhesives or sealants that often cover screws on sheet metal in HVACR systems. That eliminates the need for a separate cutting tool, making disassemblies quicker and technicians’ jobs easier.
The C-Rhex Sawtooth was introduced in April after about two years of research and is available in two different drive-shaft lengths: 2-inch and 4-inch.
“This multipurpose tool allows trade pros to increase both productivity and flexibility on the job,” said Jon Navratil, a product development engineer at Malco.
The socket fits onto a 1/4-inch magnet-tipped, ball-locking drive shaft; the opposite end of the shaft can be used to quickly clean the socket of sealant debris when it becomes clogged. The 1/4-inch, 5/16-inch reversible socket is built for the most common screw sizes found in HVAC and metal roofing applications.
Veteran HVAC tech Jamie Christensen, who recently launched his own company, Elevated Mechanical LLC, in Lake Stevens, Washington, north of Seattle, said he likes the C-Rhex Sawtooth’s reversible feature.
“It’s really nice and convenient and quick, you know, to swap that bit back and forth,” said Christensen, who has 20 years’ experience as an HVAC tech.
He also appreciates the sealant-busting sawtooth design. “Prior to the Sawtooth coming out, it was a pretty big pain getting the screw out” when it was covered with sealant or caulk, he said.
“Technicians need to remove multiple fasteners to repair or replace equipment and materials. This product is three, four times faster … for removing fasteners in sealed applications,” said Navratil.
User feedback, interactions at trade shows, online research, and a study of marketing data went into designing the C-Rhex Sawtooth, Navratil said.
He said the C-Rhex line of reversible hex drivers has been popular among HVAC contractors since it was launched in 2017, which shows a demand for that type of product.
“The company continues to see a wide variety of future opportunities to expand the line further,” he said.
The C-Rhex Sawtooth is made from hardened steel, giving it extended durability, Navratil said.
One DDA judge called the C-Rhex Sawtooth “a well-thought-out and extremely useful” tool. “Our first impression when seeing it was, ‘Where have you been all my life!’” the judge wrote.
The Asurity-brand UltraCP Series Condensate Pumps from DiversiTech won Silver in Components & Accessories.
The UltraCP series pumps are upgraded versions of DiversiTech’s CP-22 pumps and include the features HVAC technicians have come to know from that line, such as 22 feet of lift, an integrated overflow switch and a three-year warranty, said Eric Martini, a DiversiTech product line manager. The UltraCP pump is designed to evacuate condensate or water discharge from HVACR equipment and push it by as many as 22 feet vertically, once the liquid in the reservoir reaches a specified level.
“After receiving contractor feedback, our engineering team worked on how to make it easier and faster to inspect the pump without having to disassemble the installation,” Martini said. “The solution was an obvious one: Make the tank translucent to allow for quick inspection without taking the pump apart.” That feature simplifies the work of the HVAC contractor, Martini said.
Two years of research went into designing the UltraCP series pumps, and research included interviews with contractors.
The Combat P-Trap, from a company of the same name, is the Bronze winner in Components & Accessories.
The trap allows for easier drain-line maintenance of HVAC condensate systems by providing a blowout valve that can be used to access the line and clear out clogs with a nitrogen tank, a vacuum, or a CO2 gun. The Combat P-Trap also has a dispensing system for condensate treatment tablets, making it easier to protect the system from buildups of slime, sludge, scale, bacteria, and other contaminants.
“The Combat P-Trap is a time-saver for technicians who traditionally must cut drain lines to blow out or suction out a blockage that has already caused the system to fail and possibly overflow water into the home,” said Sarah Perez, a part-owner of the company and its vice president of marketing.
Perez said the Combat P-Trap can be easily insulated with standard insulation materials, accommodates many types of condensate-treatment tablets, and doesn’t require special tools for installation. Combat P-Trap (the company) put six years of research into the product, testing it, hosting focus groups, gathering survey results, and demonstrating the Combat P-Trap to potential customers.
Perez said the company plans to donate a portion of the sales of Combat P-Traps to organizations that help combat veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries.