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Old 12-19-2009, 07:09 AM   #1
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Are shark bites reliable?


I basically know very little about plumbing. I recently stopped by my local plumbing specialty store to discuss an issue I have with a shower riser. The guy at the plumbing shop suggested I use PEX tubing with shark bite connections. He showed me how it worked. As a novice my first thought was, "Your kidding me. This actually works without leaking". But he insisted it was a very reliable fitting. How realiable are these fittings?

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Old 12-19-2009, 07:21 AM   #2
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Are shark bites reliable?


Very reliable. Some old time plumbers only use them if they are still exposed. But these guys do not like any changes. with some conduit types you need to use the plastic insert and with others you do not use this piece. So follow the instructions and you will be fine.

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Old 12-19-2009, 12:46 PM   #3
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Are shark bites reliable?


I looked for some varied opinions on push-fittings prior to deciding I would use them on my remodel. They have been good so far here after 6 months of heavy use. They are okay for concealed locations in my jurisdiction. They are silly-easy to take off and reuse as well.

I installed a shower mixing valve and riser using sharkbite drop ear ells and npt/sharkbite adapters in my new bathroom, btw...
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Old 12-19-2009, 01:49 PM   #4
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Are shark bites reliable?


Surprisingly effective, but one word of caution: you have to ensure you have a very solid connection, and have to cut the PEX tubing "square" to make sure it fits into the Sharkbite fitting solidly all around.

The Good: I fixed a plumbing leak at the joint in PEX like tubing at my rental property a couple of years ago. The connection was made under the crawlspace, where the fitting is "exposed" to outside temperatures. It was surprisingly easy to connect, and has held up for more than 2 years without any issues under various temperatures. Granted, I live in a mild climate, where the temperature extremes aren't huge - but the guy at Home Depot said they're used under crawlspaces in Alaska, which if true, means they're field tested in harsher climates.

The Caution: The first time I connected it, everything seems dry and tight. A week later, I noticed one of the ends was loose and there was a minor leak, so I had to get under the crawlspace and tighten the fitting again. I'm not sure if wasn't fully tightened the first time or if the tubing wasn't cut square, or if it just came loose somehow. It was a bit disconcerting, but I trimmed the tubing, reefed the fitting on and haven't had problems since.

Luckily in my case, the fitting was in an open crawlspace. If it was buried within a wall, I'd have covered over it, and it would have been a complete pain in the ass to rip out the wall again to get at the fitting when I discovered it was leaking. Even worse, I might not have noticed the leak until substantially more water damage had been done to the structure.
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Old 12-19-2009, 06:33 PM   #5
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Are shark bites reliable?


".......so I had to get under the crawlspace and tighten the fitting again"

Uh, how do you tighten a push on fitting??? I'm confused. I've used them
and they're fine within limits. The pipe where you put them MUST be secure. You have pipes dancing around and a soldered joint can leak over time, a Sharkbite surely will. Be sure to cut the pipe (or the Pex) squarely and clean all burrs inside and out. Don't forget the plastic insert as it MUST be used with Pex but is not used on the copper or PVC. I know "they" say they're OK for use inside walls and such but I don't ever do it.
In my opinion,there long term reliability has not been tested but that's just me.
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Old 12-19-2009, 07:48 PM   #6
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Are shark bites reliable?


Used one on a shower riser about a year ago. It was to close to a fiberglass shower encloser that had just been refinished. Sofar so good.
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Old 12-20-2009, 06:04 AM   #7
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Are shark bites reliable?


I have now had them in my home for about 4 years with very hot conditions in the summer and very cold winters with no leaks at all even when the heat went out in the middel of winter last year and it was 16 below 0.I have had to move several pipes due to the continuing remoldel and they worked out great just wish the price would come down a bit
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Old 12-20-2009, 07:54 PM   #8
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Are shark bites reliable?


Quote:
Originally Posted by LeakyMike View Post
".......so I had to get under the crawlspace and tighten the fitting again"

Uh, how do you tighten a push on fitting??? I'm confused. I've used them
and they're fine within limits. The pipe where you put them MUST be secure. You have pipes dancing around and a soldered joint can leak over time, a Sharkbite surely will. Be sure to cut the pipe (or the Pex) squarely and clean all burrs inside and out. Don't forget the plastic insert as it MUST be used with Pex but is not used on the copper or PVC. I know "they" say they're OK for use inside walls and such but I don't ever do it.
In my opinion,there long term reliability has not been tested but that's just me.
The plumbing guy sold me pex tubing and sharkbike fittings but no plastic insert ! Should I take it back?
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Old 12-20-2009, 08:03 PM   #9
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Are shark bites reliable?


Yes cerntainly. Pex you will note is flexible as you can see if you squeeze it with your fingers. The sleeve gives it support when inside the Sharkbite.
I will leak for certain if you don't use them. Copper and CPVC don't have this problem.
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Old 12-20-2009, 08:12 PM   #10
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Are shark bites reliable?


Quote:
Originally Posted by LeakyMike View Post
Yes cerntainly. Pex you will note is flexible as you can see if you squeeze it with your fingers. The sleeve gives it support when inside the Sharkbite.
I will leak for certain if you don't use them. Copper and CPVC don't have this problem.
Thanks. So much for going to the most reputable pumbing supply in town. Maybe I should went to Lowes. lol. Hopefully they take returns. I think I'm gonna remove the 2x4 and put in copper.
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Old 12-21-2009, 12:10 AM   #11
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Are shark bites reliable?


Quote:
Originally Posted by LeakyMike View Post
".......so I had to get under the crawlspace and tighten the fitting again"

Uh, how do you tighten a push on fitting??? I'm confused.
Well, ummm, you push the pipe into the SharkBite fitting more tightly. It worked its way loose after the first attempt. The second time, I trimmed the pipe more squarely and pressed the pieces together as hard as I could. And then again and again to make sure it was as tight as it would go.

Last edited by TitaniumVT; 12-21-2009 at 12:13 AM.
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Old 12-21-2009, 06:33 PM   #12
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Are shark bites reliable?


I guess my concern is how many of you would use them inside a wall that has cabinets on one side and the other side is CBU and Tile, which probably cannot be matched?
My problem is I need to make connections in copper, and not melt the shower PVC liner which is about 3 inches away. Maybe if I use a real low flame and wait a long time, I can get it heated enough to solder and not spread the heat so far it melts the liner.
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Old 12-21-2009, 09:27 PM   #13
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Are shark bites reliable?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mickey53 View Post
I guess my concern is how many of you would use them inside a wall that has cabinets on one side and the other side is CBU and Tile, which probably cannot be matched?
My problem is I need to make connections in copper, and not melt the shower PVC liner which is about 3 inches away. Maybe if I use a real low flame and wait a long time, I can get it heated enough to solder and not spread the heat so far it melts the liner.
The "shark bite" fittings are pretty new in my neck of the woods (our local wholesalers only started selling them within the last few months). I've used them in crawlspaces, but I can't imagine burying them in a concealed space. Sure they'll be fine for a year, two, three, four - who knows how long they'll last? What I do know is they won't last 80 or 100 years like copper fittings and tubing soldered properly. Eventually, the little rubber o-ring inside the shark-bite fitting is going to get brittle and start leaking - just like the rubber washers and o-rings in faucets and valves and just about any/all plumbing fixtures you can think of. They have their place, but (IMO) are not appopriate for concealment in walls and ceilings.

If you're worried about burning or melting something behind what you're trying to solder, you should use a "flame protector". It's basically a woven cloth/rag of fiberglass material sold specifically for the purpose of protecting things adjacent to the soldering work:
http://www.wmharvey.com/prod/cat7/flame_protector.php


Last edited by Ishmael; 12-21-2009 at 09:30 PM.
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