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Old 08-18-2017, 07:28 PM   #1
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Sharkbite coupling failure


Got a call from a friend that he had a leak at his water heater at the supply shut off valve. This is a WH I installed for him about a year ago. I had cut the copper at the shut off and installed a Sharkbite coupling on the copper stub and transitioned to PEX to the WH. He had shut off the valve and when I turned it on the water sprayed out at the copper side of the coupling. I could see the insertion mark I had made on the copper and it was obvious that the coupling had slipped and the copper was barely inserted into the coupling. I pushed the coupling back onto the copper and the leak stopped. I then pulled the joint and the coupling pulled totally off the copper stub. WTF! I then took a new Sharkbite , removed the old, cleaned up the stub and installed the new coupling insuring it was fully inserted. Gave it a pull and and the new coupling pulled off the copper stub.
I have used Sharkbites in the past and never had an issue. In fact my own WH is plumbed exactly the same way and has been there for 7 years.

Any way, I removed the Sharkbites from both copper stubs, sweated on male adapters and used PEX female adapters to transition to the PEX.

Still mystified. Is it possible the copper was undersized? Friends house is about 30 years old and this is the third or fourth WH.
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Old 08-18-2017, 09:58 PM   #2
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Re: Sharkbite coupling failure


Could it possibly have been soft copper rather than hard? Not sure if the OD is different, but that is an anomaly for sure. I do note that on sharkbite fittings they come with tan plastic rings and bluish gray rings. The latter ones are for Polybutylene only, and will not fit copper/pex/cpvc. They blow off almost immediately.
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Old 08-19-2017, 08:13 AM   #3
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Re: Sharkbite coupling failure


Definitely hard copper and the tan plastic Sharkbites. I just looked at the Sharkbites I removed and the internal teeth do not seem to seem to protrude as much as others in my parts box. Wondering if I had defective couplings.
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Old 08-19-2017, 09:43 AM   #4
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Re: Sharkbite coupling failure


Could be. I bet Sharkbite/PEX would be interested in seeing that just in case there should be a recall or something.
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Old 08-19-2017, 10:01 PM   #5
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Re: Sharkbite coupling failure


I don't use Sharkbites after seeing a couple fail.
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