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View Full Version : OT - Plumbing Woes/Sharkbite Joint System



lynnl
09-22-2010, 01:55 PM
I have a slow drip from an upstairs shower feed 5/8 copper pipe.
I've cut a hole in the ceiling sheetrock, and determined the leak is somewhere above the subfloor. But couldn't see any leakage at the shower valve assembly itself. So I guess I'm going to have to cut an access thru the closet wall behind the shower.

But my question here is if any of you have had any experience with this "Sharkbite" sytem of connectors?
See here: http://www.cashacme.com/prod_sharkbite_pushfit_products.php

A couple of months ago I had to bring in a plumber and a leak detection company to find and then fix an outside, underground leak. The plumber used some sort of push-on connector (I think) to make a join between copper and PVC. Don't remember if he used the term 'Sharkbite' or not.

Black_Moons
09-22-2010, 02:01 PM
Last plumber that was over here used them (or maybe it was alagator grip? or something like that), asked him about them, mentioning when I first saw them I thought they where a cheesy toy, but he seemed very impressed with the system. Lot faster then soldering.. apparently removable/reusable too.

Don't forget to read the package, there are little inserts you have to use or remove depending on the type of pipe you are connecting.

ckelloug
09-22-2010, 02:20 PM
I am very impressed with the shark bite system and they have saved my butt several times. The worst of these cases was a pipe where I had had to chip away part of a concrete slab to get to the pipe and couldn't get a good angle to solder a plug on the pipe. I managed to get an almost decent cut on the pipe with a dremel and then slipped a sharkbite plug on it.

I had to rerun the plumbing for the building this year when a leak developed between the meter and the building. I had to cobble together a somewhat difficult set of piping in a wall to keep it connected to both bathrooms and the new water line while not having it connected to the old rusty galvanized pipe that failed. A few shark bite couplings and a tubing cutter and that was done easily. They're very convenient for areas where it would be complex and difficult to get a good solder joint.

That being said, I have also seen some other brands crop up recently and while I haven't used them, I'm not as impressed. Cash-Acme is an American company that has been making quality industrial fittings forever. The real sharkbites I've used have been what appeared to be bronze and finished better than some machine tools. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them.

Regards,
Cameron

lynnl
09-22-2010, 03:19 PM
That being said, I have also seen some other brands crop up recently and while I haven't used them, I'm not as impressed. Cash-Acme is an American company that has been making quality industrial fittings forever. The real sharkbites I've used have been what appeared to be bronze and finished better than some machine tools. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them.

Regards,
Cameron

Where do you get them around here Cameron?
Is this a Lowes or Home Depot item?

oldtiffie
09-22-2010, 03:33 PM
Any help?

http://www.sharkbite.com.au/

http://www.google.com.au/#hl=en&source=hp&q=shark+bite+fittings&aq=3&aqi=g10&aql=&oq=shark+bi&gs_rfai=&fp=62a3b4c4a0e828f3

Too_Many_Tools
09-22-2010, 03:34 PM
They are a big problem just waiting to happen.

Consider this...a water system under pressure where the plumbing is often unaccessible, period of usage is 50+ years and when the system fails it can result in tens of thousands of dollars.

But hey...it is easy for the installer who is long gone when the problems begin.

Not in my buildings.

TMT

bewards
09-22-2010, 03:39 PM
ive used it one time at work where the wall would have to be ripped out completely to get to the problem to fix any other way. Its been there quiet a while now with no leaks.

be

Stu
09-22-2010, 03:40 PM
In SE PA Home Depot has them. I like them, been holding up fine for several years now on my hot water heater. Check your pipe size, I'm not familiar with 5/8" copper. HD has them in 1/2" and 3/4".

Bill

ckelloug
09-22-2010, 03:49 PM
Lynnl,

Home depot but not lowes has them. Also, Lewters hardware, and Park Supply, the big commercial plumbing supply off of Jordan are two other sources. Lewters and Park are both very helpful.

--Cameron

mike os
09-22-2010, 04:44 PM
most "major brand" pushfit is very good, life expectancy equal to copper & soldered joints if installed correctly.

Pressure wise, all the stuff I have used is instalation tested to 10-12bar....3-4+
x "good" working pressure. ( copper tests to 8 bar normally)

personally I would normally use it as a fitting method of choice in concealed spaces. also on the plus side there is no pipework corrosion or contamination.

lynnl
09-22-2010, 05:31 PM
In SE PA Home Depot has them. I like them, been holding up fine for several years now on my hot water heater. Check your pipe size, I'm not familiar with 5/8" copper. HD has them in 1/2" and 3/4".

Bill

Stu, I said 5/8, but it's probably 1/2" pipe actually. I just measured it to be .562 OD with a caliper. I guess that's really 1/2, type L copper pipe.

-----------------------------------
TMT, this house is just shy of 19 years old, and the original, existing pipe, with soldered joints, now has a leak. Who's to say that some of these push-on connectors are necessarily inferior, or less permanent? ...Huh?

C'mon, nothing lasts forever.

lynnl
09-22-2010, 05:35 PM
Lynnl,

Home depot but not lowes has them. Also, Lewters hardware, and Park Supply, the big commercial plumbing supply off of Jordan are two other sources. Lewters and Park are both very helpful.

--Cameron

Yeah I should've thought of Park Supply, I've dealt with them before. They're closer to me than Lewters, since I don't get downtown too often these days.
Thanks.

Norm W
09-22-2010, 06:34 PM
In places where you can't or shouldn't use a torch, or in places where you can't get the joint dry enough to sweat they work great. They are about 10x the cost but in time saved or frustration avoided they are worth it. Home Depot has "Shark" and Lowes has Gator.

Norm

DFMiller
09-22-2010, 07:42 PM
Sharkbites are great. I use them as do many professional I know. I am not a pro. The are CSA listed.
Dave

hoof
09-22-2010, 09:42 PM
I used the sharkbites a couple of times. I was impressed. However, I also recall reading on their package that they are not for use in CA or VT. Anyone know what's up with that ?

hoof

Too_Many_Tools
09-22-2010, 10:07 PM
Stu, I said 5/8, but it's probably 1/2" pipe actually. I just measured it to be .562 OD with a caliper. I guess that's really 1/2, type L copper pipe.

-----------------------------------
TMT, this house is just shy of 19 years old, and the original, existing pipe, with soldered joints, now has a leak. Who's to say that some of these push-on connectors are necessarily inferior, or less permanent? ...Huh?

C'mon, nothing lasts forever.

No it doesn't...but for plumbing one shoots for forever...that is why a good solder joint has been the mainstay of the profession.

Sharkbites are for temporary fixes...and I see people using them everywhere. Expensive material costs for the customer..and cheap labor costs for the contractor who uses inexperienced help.

Lifetested?..LOL..when one considers that most indoor plumbing was put in after WWII, the majority of residential supply plumbing is 50-60 years old. And Sharkbites are dimension sensitive...ever measure the diameter of old versus new pipe? And do you realize that pipe coming from China is all over the map dimensionally. Just because they don't leak today doesn't mean they won't later...in an inaccessible location...leading to mold or if they let completely go flooding your house.

History repeatily shows us that housing industry uses the consumer as the unpaid test bed for new technology...

If you want some reading...try this.

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&source=hp&q=plumbing+lawsuits&aq=o&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=

TMT

Too_Many_Tools
09-22-2010, 10:17 PM
Stu, I said 5/8, but it's probably 1/2" pipe actually. I just measured it to be .562 OD with a caliper. I guess that's really 1/2, type L copper pipe.

-----------------------------------
TMT, this house is just shy of 19 years old, and the original, existing pipe, with soldered joints, now has a leak. Who's to say that some of these push-on connectors are necessarily inferior, or less permanent? ...Huh?

C'mon, nothing lasts forever.

You may want to take a serious look at your pipes.

Solder joints are meant for many decades.

If your water is acidic, it can take out copper pipes in less than a decade.

If that is your problem, you have a big bill coming your way when you replace all your plumbing.

FWIW..for those with newer systems, bear in mind that copper pipes from China have had a known history of nonuniform sidewalls that result in pinholes along the pipe...it is just a matter of time before they leak.

There is a good reason why insurance companies go far out of their way to not insure internal flood damage in houses and if you do get them to your deductibles are large and their coverage is small.

TMT

boslab
09-22-2010, 10:35 PM
I thought they were bloody brilliant til i got badly scalded in my own bathroom when on blew off a hot pipe, took it in the chest but i didnt half hurt, i figure its safer in work than in the house!
I wouldent be in a hurry to use them again, i'm sticking to a blowtorch and end feed fittings from now on, though ive heard theres a crimping system thats quite good.
mark

Arcane
09-22-2010, 10:44 PM
Here's a look at them...
http://www.plumbingsupply.com/images/shark-bite-connection-system.jpghttp://www.plumbingsupply.com/images/sharkbite-construction.jpg

You should consult with local plumbing codes for specific applications before you go using these things. I certainly would never use them anyplace they weren't readily accessible. As far as longevity, I think it's premature to make the claim that they are equivalent to a soldered copper joint. Best I can find is they are aren't quite 15 years old (Australian invention) and probably haven't been used in NA that long either. That's a drop in the bucket.

bsmith
09-22-2010, 11:04 PM
There are multiple brands of these type of push on fittings. The best review I ever saw of these fittings is at post #31 here http://www.contractortalk.com/f9/gator-bite-fittings-feed-back-please-14095/index2/

The Shark Bite brand and the Lowes private label version of the Watts brand push on fitting are highly rated while the Gator Bite brand is very questionable.

ckelloug
09-23-2010, 12:53 PM
I got the same impression about the gatorbite just looking at the package.

Cash-Acme warrants the shark bites for 25 years.

I definitely take them any day over the stupid nutted compression fittings plumbers have begun using for things like toilet valves.

--Cameron

lynnl
09-23-2010, 02:18 PM
I haven't yet cut into the closet wall to find the exact location of the leak. In large part, that'll determine my fixit method(s). If feasible I'm more inclined to go with the soldered joints. If appearance is any good indicator, I'm sure I can do as good as the original plumbers did. Their joints look like bird poop. But manipulating the pieces to get all parts to align properly is a big factor to me.

If I do solder, I'm thinking I can use some half (thickness) firebricks to sheild any combustibles from the torch.

This line has a couple of 'L's to deal with. It would sure be nice if there were some sort of flexible connectors available to make fitting easier, but I haven't seen any such.

On that Cash-Acme site, and also at Lowes, I saw what's called PEX. I'd not heard of that before. I didn't really handle any of it. Is it flexible? If that would be a good option, I could join it to the existing copper with some of the Sharkbites.

plunger
09-23-2010, 02:29 PM
Just curious to know how long is an o rings lifespan and espesially the o rings on hot pipes