Sharkbite with short copper pipe

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Bill Rose

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I cut out the fittings behind the wall/tile of a 1950s upstairs shower and then used a propane torch to remove the sweat-soldered fittings. The cuttings did not shorten the 1/2" copper pipe elbows that were connected to the fittings. What I have remaining are left (hot) and right (cold) copper elbows exposed to connect to my new shower control. There is also a top pipe that runs up to the shower head. The access I have is not great, but reasonable.

Since I don't have experience with this sort of thing, I bought Shark Bite connectors rather than trying to sweat solder with the torch.

Kind of miraculously, I screwed the threaded ends of the Shark Bite connectors into the new shower unit and they seem to be in the perfect position to make the connections. I will use emery cloth to clean up the elbows and top pipe.

I have two questions:

1) The copper elbows only have about 3/4" of pipe to connect up to. The instructions of the SharkBite say to go to the stop, or about 1". I will be short about a 1/4" on each elbow. If I need to put in different elbows to get that full 1" then I will have to torch them to remove them and then do something beyond my current abilities to get that full 1" back. Not using the torch anymore is a goal, so I would rather not do that. From playing with a spare piece of pipe, it seems the SharkBite starts biting at about 1/2". Am I asking for trouble if I only provide 3/4" of pipe to the SharkBite?

Assuming the answer to 1) is that it is okay to proceeed:

2) The instructions talk about twisting the pipe into the connector, but the elbows are sweat soldered to their supply pipes and will not be twisting. Could I get the necessary connections by just pushing them in without twisting? Or somehow use the SharkBite removal tool to open the connector and just push the elbows in?

Thanks for the advice, Bill


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San Diego, CA
Not sure you mean by connecting an elbow to a sharkbite. It you are talking about the spigot end of a street elbow, I don't think that is long enough to make a proper connection in the sharkbite. If the manufacturer says 1", you are asking for trouble not complying with those instructions.
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