Don’t Get Bitten

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As a homeowner, plumbing issues can be a major headache. Whether it’s a leaky pipe or a damaged connection, you need a quick and reliable solution to get your plumbing system back up and running. This is where plumbers’ SharkBitesTM come into play. 

SharkBites are a type of push-to-connect fitting that allows you to join pipes without the need for soldering. Homeowners love them because they’re simple to install, reliable, and save time. Some plumbers like them for the same reasons, although many still feel that old-fashioned soldering is the way to go, probably because they’ve seen the damage that the incorrect insertion or removal of these fittings can cause.

What Is a SharkBite Fitting?

SharkBite fittings, also known as push-to-connect or push-fit fittings, are designed to simplify plumbing repairs. They have three main components: a segmented collar, an O-ring, and a locking mechanism. The collar has metal teeth that securely grip the pipe, while the O-ring creates a waterproof seal. The locking mechanism holds everything in place, creating a watertight join.

SharkBite fittings are compatible with various types of pipes, including PEX, CPVC, and copper. They can be used on hot or cold pipes and don’t require any special installation tools. They’re also advertised as reusable, which is where some homeowners run into trouble.

One of the reasons DIY enthusiasts are in favor of these push-to-connect fittings is their ease of use. Push the fitting into the ends of the pipes you want to join, and you’re good to go. The connection is done in seconds, a significant time-saver compared to traditional soldering methods. Most homeowners don’t have the tools and experience to weld pipes together safely, so this type of fitting is an attractive option.

The Debate

While SharkBite fittings offer convenience, professionals have differing opinions regarding their use. Some plumbers believe these fittings should only be used as a temporary or emergency fix, not as part of an enclosed, permanent plumbing system. They argue that soldering is more reliable for long-term fixes. However, a growing number of homeowners and DIY enthusiasts trust these fittings for both temporary and permanent repairs because they’re versatile and work well with different types of plumbing projects.

Using Push-to-Connect Fittings

Whether you’re doing plumbing repairs yourself or hiring professionals to do it for you, it pays to know a little about them. Here are some things you need to know about push-to-connect fittings like SharkBite:

  • Don’t rush. While shark bite fittings make the installation process quick and easy, it’s important not to rush. Jamming the fittings too quickly can damage the O-ring and lead to leaks. 
  • Start clean. Before inserting the pipe into the fitting, remove burrs from the pipe’s end to prevent damage to the O-ring. Make sure the pipe is clean-cut to start. Rough edges will lead to leaks later.
  • Insert properly. When inserting push-to-connect fittings, it’s essential to push them all the way into the pipe. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for the required insertion depth.
  • Remove carefully. If you need to remove a shark bite fitting, don’t just pull it out. Instead, firmly press down on the fitting’s release collar and pull gently.

While SharkBites are convenient and easy to use, they’re not for everyone. Proper installation is critical if you want to avoid damage or leaks in your plumbing system, two issues that often occur as a result of incorrect installation. To prevent this, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines. Better yet, if you’re unsure of what you’re doing or uncomfortable with handling plumbing repairs, call a professional to do the job for you.

Beemer Plumbing Handles All Types of Plumbing Repairs

Beemer Plumbing is your hometown plumbing company. We’re a family-owned business that’s been around for over 20 years. We pride ourselves on caring for your home like we care for our own. If you need plumbing repairs, whether from a leak or an incorrectly installed SharkBite fitting, give us a call. We’ll get you fixed up and in working order in no time!