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Thread: RFI: reliability and safety of Sharkbite plumbing fittings

  1. #1
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    RFI: reliability and safety of Sharkbite plumbing fittings

    This is a spin-off from the water heater pressure relief valve thread - I already resolved that, and am now trying to deal with other plumbing issues at my new place in NH that has high water pressure from the utility.

    I have copper water pipe.

    I want to install a new quarter turn main shutoff valve on the house side of the meter/backflow preventer replacing an older gate valve. I also want to stick a pressure regulator in there to take my static pressure down from 80 - 100 PSI to something more reasonable.

    A second project is water heater related - the cold water shutoff gate valve appears to have a broken stem, it just spins.

    There are all sorts of plumbing parts now with Sharkbite including shutoff valves and pressure regulators. I just remembered I used a Sharkbite freezeproof outside spigot in the dog run about 10-15 years ago and never had problems besides how it spins unless you anchor it. If I used Sharkbite I could install a new shutoff and pressure regulator in about a half hour, and probably about the same for the water heater feed valve since it’s a little space restricted.

    I can sweat, but it’s far from my favorite thing in the world. If I sweat I’d want to pick up supplies and practice on scraps first to get some skills back before I cut into the house lines.

    What’s the common thinking about using Sharkbite on copper? Are they safe (meaning no Ark imitations) and reliable?

    This is what I’m working with. The utility comes in at the bottom of the pic, they are responsible for everything to the top of the backflow preventer (the squarish thing above the meter horn.) I’d be cutting in the replacement shutoff where the exiting house side shutoff is located (the top valve) and the new pressure regulator right above that.

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    Ken

    BBI: ...”you better not forget the safe word because shit's about to get weird”...
    revchuck38: ...”mo' ammo is mo' betta' unless you're swimming or on fire.”

  2. #2
    I've used Sharkbite straight line to fix pin holes in my copper water lines. They seem to work OK. Easy to use and no leaks.

    I ended up re-plumbing the whole house with whatever the latest and best plastic is.

  3. #3
    HAS ELECTROLYTES LittleLebowski's Avatar
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    Rock solid for years in my experience. The maintenance guys at my federal office building have switched to Sharkbite and report no issues and a lot of time saved.
    #RESIST

  4. #4
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    I used sharkbites on copper on about a half dozen joints/shut offs in my rental property a decade ago- been good to go since. I've used them around the house on pex pipe with similar results.

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    "There are two ways to do most anything- right and again."

  5. #5
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    Should I have any concerns about using Sharkbite on the higher pressure side of the system - which may spike to 120 PSI? I know spec is 200 PSI max, but...

    I support the trades, but the estimate I got to do this work was insane. Sharkbite would make doing it myself much easier.
    Ken

    BBI: ...”you better not forget the safe word because shit's about to get weird”...
    revchuck38: ...”mo' ammo is mo' betta' unless you're swimming or on fire.”

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by HeavyDuty View Post
    Should I have any concerns about using Sharkbite on the higher pressure side of the system - which may spike to 120 PSI? I know spec is 200 PSI max, but...

    I support the trades, but the estimate I got to do this work was insane. Sharkbite would make doing it myself much easier.
    I looked into this a few months back as I had some plumbing to do and a Sharkbite was going to make it much easier as I lacked access to get a torch and solder in.

    They are not code in a few places (Chicago that I know of) and there are some people that don't like the idea of their use because over time the o-ring could degrade and cause a failure behind a wall. Their view is that if you do a plumbing job, you should do it so that it can last 50-60 years, because otherwise you are just giving someone else a potential catastrophe.

    As much as I can tell, that's bunk. Seals of that material regularly last 30 years in old cars where they are subject to much more extreme conditions. What can and does happen is they don't get installed correctly. A very slight nick on an o-ring might not leak initially but over time, expansion and contraction with heating and cooling a small leak can start up and erode material which makes for a failure. So I used them, but I was very careful that everything was clean, inserted fully and straight, and that there was no tension on the joint. If you do that I think you'll be good.

  7. #7
    Member eb07's Avatar
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    I used sharkbites on copper pipe in my 1978 home when I couldn't solder on without tearing out drywall. going on 5 years with no issues and the water here is terrible. High calcium tears everything up.

  8. #8
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    Ok, based on the responses I think I’m safe - none of this will be inside walls so is able to be inspected. I noticed they offer “slip” versions of many items so you can insert them without flexing existing piping runs. They offer several Cash Acme pressure regulators with Sharkbite fittings, including models with metal caps (most of the big box ones are plastic cap.)

    I’ll get stuff ordered so when I’m home again in a few weeks I can rock and roll.

    Thanks, all!
    Ken

    BBI: ...”you better not forget the safe word because shit's about to get weird”...
    revchuck38: ...”mo' ammo is mo' betta' unless you're swimming or on fire.”

  9. #9
    I have used Sharkbite fittings and had good luck. I did buy the Sharkbite tool that de-burrs the outside of the copper pipe to prevent it damaging the seals. It's a cheap tool and they sell it near the fittings.

    There's also a removal tool that they sell. Make sure you get the correct size you are working with.

    Regards.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by lwt16 View Post
    I have used Sharkbite fittings and had good luck. I did buy the Sharkbite tool that de-burrs the outside of the copper pipe to prevent it damaging the seals. It's a cheap tool and they sell it near the fittings.

    There's also a removal tool that they sell. Make sure you get the correct size you are working with.

    Regards.
    I remember the removal tool from before, and they seem to include it with some of the items. But the installation tool is new info, and very helpful - I’ve only done crocus cloth cleanup like you’d do with sweating a joint, a good deburring is probably essential. Thanks!
    Ken

    BBI: ...”you better not forget the safe word because shit's about to get weird”...
    revchuck38: ...”mo' ammo is mo' betta' unless you're swimming or on fire.”

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