Sharkbite Fittings and old copper

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by AKRBT, Sep 5, 2008.

  1. AKRBT

    AKRBT New Member

    Messages:
    23
    Location:
    Alaska
    so I was convinced to use Sharkbites- sick of seeing past homeowner solders pinholing, and I know I am also not great at soldering, especially up high, near wood, and with poorly drying cut lines.

    I also know I should hire a plumber, but I simply cannot afford it for small stuff like this (not at $130 an hour)..

    so I used PEX and Sharkbites to cut out old copper and install a new DW tee and used a "NEW" push-in Brasscraft 1/4 turn 1/2" push-in to 3/8" compression shutoff valve (seems like a Sharkbite rip-off, why doesn't Sharkbite put out shut off valves?- their globe valves are just two sharkbites connected to their threaded valves?!)
    .. the install seemed okay with one test, but then I noticed slight bubbling at one shark bite coupler to old brass.. I know I pushed it in far enough.

    I used plumber's emory cloth after I had cut the copper to clean it as they suggested however it seemed to scratch it up a lot.. I also have a bad HD pipe cutter that spirals a little, but I tightened gently as I turned and it seemed a OK cut.

    The PEX tubing also seemed impossible to cut perpindicular even with a $18 tubing cutter- will that also compromise the sharkbite fittings? That is not an issue, YET.

    Is it the scratches on the copper causing the slight drip?

    Have people have success with the removal and re-use of Sharkbite fittings? Seems to me that although they advertise that feature once you re-use an O-Ring and gripping "teeth" it could never be as good.

    Hate that I replaced a pinhole solder leak with an unknown cause Sharkbite leak...
  2. nhmaster

    nhmaster Master Plumber

    Messages:
    3,189
    Location:
    S. Maine
    That $ 130.00 an hour is looking better all the time.:D
  3. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    The sharkbite seals to the outside of the pipe with an "o"-ring.
    It needs a smooth surface to seal to.
    If the pipe has a burr where it was cut the burr can cut the "o"-ring ruining the sharkbite.
    There is a sharkbite deburring tool that should be used.

    $130/hr Thats Cheap! Go with it!
  4. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,525
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Sb

    The Sharkbite needs a smooth surface. If the copper was corroded, it might be pitted so that even if it looks smooth the SB cannot seal to it. I reuse certain SB fittings, such as caps, many times without leaks. You cut the PEX with a knife.
  5. ryan_siefring23

    ryan_siefring23 Engineer

    Messages:
    11
    Location:
    Indiana
    I use these push on fittings. However, it is suggested that you don't leave them on as a permanent solution. I still do it, i'm not sure when the o-rings will ware out, but I won't be around when they do. It would be interesting to know how lone these are supposed to last before they start leaking.

    When using the push on fittings, it is critical that you have a good sealing surface for the o-ring. It's really a lot of work. You must have a cut that relatively straight across, like " l " not like \ or / or it won't seal.
  6. nhmaster

    nhmaster Master Plumber

    Messages:
    3,189
    Location:
    S. Maine
    arrrrrrrggggggggggggg........
  7. Wrex

    Wrex New Member

    Messages:
    126
    Location:
    New Jersey
    If you are not comfortable soldering you could always use copper tubing with compression fittings.
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2008
  8. nhmaster

    nhmaster Master Plumber

    Messages:
    3,189
    Location:
    S. Maine
    You should drive on over and take of it for him buddy. At the very least you could Google compression fittings and swamp him with a page or two of incomprehensible text.

    I here by dub thee Google Boy. Lord or the search engine.
  9. Wrex

    Wrex New Member

    Messages:
    126
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Did you guys hear something?

    Oh I guess it was just nothing.
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2008
  10. nhmaster

    nhmaster Master Plumber

    Messages:
    3,189
    Location:
    S. Maine
    Zingggggggggggggggggggg.... Ouch
  11. AKRBT

    AKRBT New Member

    Messages:
    23
    Location:
    Alaska
    Thanks for (some) replies

    Thanks for the couple of useful replies- some others seemed to have issues with their digestion as they were trying to reply (LOL:)?! Yes, $130 buys you some security, but it is also hit and miss sometimes- I paid that rate for some ABS repairs, and the guy swamped on the ABS cement but it has since bubbled and failed- I recoated the joint with ABS cement and it has held so far. Sometimes not worth MY time missing work to have them come back and redo something. I think sometimes when SOME plumbers see crap old work they feel they don't have to do quite such a good job.. Just a theory, same goes for architects- crappy old building needs a renovation, hack architects will do the quickest cheapest that they can (and bill less than $130/ hour).

    Another plumber came out to review my current situation before I did all of this and basically said DIY.. was maybe not even worth his time? I usually have a laundry list of little things though and not one big plumbing job, so maybe that is understandable.

    Anyways- my faulty understanding from others, and from this forum, was that Sharkbites were great for visible REPAIRS (like in my unfinsished basement) with old copper pipe, PEX, etc.. my house is all old copper pipe with what appears to be a lot of scrapped together pieces (I am convinced by the sloppy solders and wierd abandoned pieces that one of the former homeowners was a contractor that did a TON of DIY.).. so if the copper is old is it NOT good for SharkBites??

    I cut well away for the old solder joints, I used a rotary (albiet crappy) piping cutter, and I marked and deburred the pipe with Sharkbites over priced depth gauge tool and the rotary cutters deburr-er. I think the problem with the connection in question was the use of the emory cloth, which scratched the surface rather than buffing it clean. It is not dripping now-- so I will just wait and see once the clothes washer and dishwasher connected through these fittings start pulling a lot of hot water.

    I cut the new PEX with a tubing cutter, not a knife, but it still seems pretty hard to get a straight perpindicular cut.. the PEX Sharkbite connections are not leaking (yet :)

    I actually have soldered a lot of good joints in a baseboard heating portion of another project in my house, but the pipe was dry and I had time. This is a bit trickier since it shut down the whole house water supply and the pipe are nearly flat and so very hard to dry out. My other big problem with copper is cutting lots of little pieces to correct length and then trying to get them exactly right, working over my head.

    Finally--- are Sharkbites and the resulting DIY craze (I see HD has switched out the bad pre-soldered fittings for a big shark-bite section) the next Polybute fiasco waiting to happen- that one should keep you guys going for awhile..
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2008
  12. Sharkbites are ok.. for now

  13. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    I have no problem with Sharkbites!

    They are approved underground and in concealed locations.

    That said, I wouldn't plumb a whole house with them!

    I often use the end caps on remodel jobs for temporary capping of a line, and I have used them as a means of getting it done on a line where stopping the water flow was difficult or impossible. I.E. that last call on a Saturday where the DIY home owner cut a pipe and the main was not shutting off. A Sharkbite and a valve gets you home!

    Just another tool in the box!
  14. nhmaster

    nhmaster Master Plumber

    Messages:
    3,189
    Location:
    S. Maine
    Redwood, Most times I'm in the same camp. And I know they have approval (purchased I suspect) but I can't help it I hate them. They are good for a quick repair that I will go back and solder later, and for testing they are great but I just can't make myself install them in someones house for permanent repair.
  15. Furd

    Furd Engineer

    Messages:
    446
    Location:
    Wet side of Washington State
    I have not used Sharkbites although I have used similar fittings in pneumatic work. These fittings do NOT require a perfectly square cut on the end; the end is not the sealing point. These fittings make their seal by means of the "O" ring on the outside diameter of the tubing. They DO require a smooth and uniform OD on the tubing to be leak free. They DO require that there be no external burr on the end of the tubing.

    Next time do NOT use emery ( not emory) cloth as it WILL leave scratches deep enough to cause problems, instead use a Scotchbrite pad to clean the tubing.
  16. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Furd, I to spent many years working in an industrial setting using fittings very similar to sharkbites. Some of the pneumatic circuits on CNC Machining centers are pretty intense and have a hot greasy environment where they are subjected to fast movements often for 3 shifts a day 6 or 7 days a week.

    The technology works and is reliable its that simple. The only problems we ever had was component failure and an occaisional machine crash involving a blank falling into a bad location and busting everything when it got pinched in a rapid traverse... The sheared off pneumatic lines were the least of our worries when that happened.

    The Sharkbite deburring tool takes the burr of the outside of the pipe to keep from damaging the "O"-Ring.
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