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 Sharkbite compression fitting
Author: Anonymous User

I am a homeowner who has just undergone a bathroom remodel, and am soliciting opinions from the experts on my situation:

The plumber I hired did some very simple work to install an additional shower head and installation of all new fixtures. After he completed the work, he noted that the hot water pipe behind the cabinet had snapped, and he had to fix that, but it is now fine.

I noticed evidence of a leak, opened the cabinet and the pipe was slowly leaking. The evidence was not evident for 2 months (molding started showing water damage). He came out and fixed it saying that the "sharkbite" fitting was not defective and didn't know why it was leaking.

I have done some research and I am wondering about using a sharkbite compression fitting behind a cabinet. The fitting was not accessible without cutting out the back of the cabinet.

The county building code plumbing supervisor says that the newer compression fittings can be used behind walls.

My brother-in-law is in the building trade (but not a plumber) and he said a compression fitting should not be behind a wall - it may only last 10 years or so.

I have done some internet research and the sharkbite fitting seems to get good reviews, but I can't really ascertain a consensus opinion as to whether my plumbers use of the sharkbite compression fitting is Ok or not.

Could I get some info on this?

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 Re: Sharkbite compression fitting
Author: Scott D. Plumber (VA)

It seems to me that one of two things happened. Either the fitting WAS defective, or the plumber did something wrong when he assembled it.

I like this fitting system and would use it on an emergency repair where it would be accessible, but that is about all. I personally am not ready to put these or anything like it in a wall or concealed space. This is the first negative comment I have heard on them. (Not to say there have not been more elsewhere of course.)

Thank you for sharing this post! We all need more information on products that are installed in the real word and how they perform. It is very important to the advancement of the trade.

One other thing to keep in mind though; Sometimes plumbers have leaks. A person can have a pipe pass a pressure test only to have a leak later in a wall. A leak is possible with any piping system. Of course care and experience minimizes this risk and generally if there is going to be a leak it will show up in the first couple of years. Any plumber who ever tells you “I have never had a leak” either has not been doing it very long or is...being less than truthful. :-)

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 Re: Sharkbite compression fitting
Author: e-plumber (NY)

Supposedly these types of fittings are permitted to be concealed. They really are not that new to plumbing, they've been used for many years, (push-fit style) for under sink water filter connections, water fountains and the like but in smaller diameter sizes.

Right now I would consider them only a 'quick' (temporary) fix until a more permanent repair can be made. I personally consider them to be very similar to brass compression unions or any compression by compression fitting.

Your Brother-in-law is correct about not installing any compression fittings behind a wall.
I guess that tells you something about compression fittings...

e-plumber



e-plumber
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"The society which scorns excellence in Plumbing as a humble activity and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an
exalted activity will have neither good Plumbing nor good philosophy: neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water." -
John William Gardner 10/8/1912 - 2/16/2002

Repair your leaking Plumbing fixtures ASAP [www.theplumber.com]
This slow drip will waste 7+ gallons of water per day.

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 Re: Sharkbite compression fitting
Author: hj (AZ)

A Sharkbite fitting NEEDS a perfect piece of pipe to seal, because it has no mechanical way to reround a pipe that is out of shape, and the rubber seal cannot conform to imperfections in the pipe surface. It is a "quick and dirty" way to make a repair, but I would not trust using it anywhere that it was not both accessible and easy to replace at some time in the future.

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 Re: Sharkbite compression fitting
Author: Masterplumb (NY)

I wouldn't use them in my house concealed or not.

Chris

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 Re: Sharkbite compression fitting
Author: Dunbar (KY)

This most likely is going to come back from the insurance company as "workmanship error" and the installer is going to get chased with a legal bill.

I don't think I'll ever afford these pricey connectors on my truck. I live in an area where 95% of the water piping is copper with no problems with corrosive water. And if there is pinholing, it is mostly linked to a grounding problem with the electrical panel.


So job security with my thinking that I will be working with copper till the day I retire. And I'm sure that it will be around long after I am gone as well. New products have their places....some fail and some stay even though they are not always proven reliable.

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 Re: Sharkbite compression fitting
Author: packy (MA)

the person or persons who wrote the code allowing these fittings to be concealed ought to have them installed in a concealed location in their own home.

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 Re: Sharkbite compression fitting
Author: Drainrunner (CA)

Sharkbites website says that they connect anywhere cpvc/ pex is installed....In Cali we have thousands of connections behind walls.......Thats not unusal here

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 Re: Sharkbite compression fitting
Author: hj (AZ)

I assume then that you will take the advice of some "engineer" who has never installed one of these inside a wall, or on a working system for that matter, and believe that it will never have a problem? Do you want to buy a nice bridge in New York?

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 Re: Sharkbite compression fitting
Author: jjbex (IL)

In Illinois, mechanical joints in water lines have to be accessible. Now, behind drywall is considered accessible. I use sharkbites when I can't stop water from trickling thru, or in crawls where the copper is so oxidized and nasty, that I can't clean it. Usually, on the first or second floor, you can shut off the water and clean the pipe so you can solder. Supply houses charge plumbers around 5 bucks a fitting for sharkbites.


Peace out,

Kordts

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 Re: Sharkbite compression fitting
Author: steve_g (CA)

packy's reply sez it all.

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 Re: Sharkbite compression fitting
Author: Anonymous User

Original poster here - I need to clarify something - the pipe in question is CPVC, as is all of the plumbing in my house. Does this make the sharbite compression fitting more or less appropriate vs. copper?

Much thanks to all of the experts who have taken time to offer their advice! Thanks and any more observations are greatly appreciated.

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 Re: Sharkbite compression fitting
Author: hj (AZ)

If the pipe is "so oxidized and nasty" that it cannot be soldered, then there is no way I would trust it to seal to that poor surface, regardless of where it was.

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 Re: Sharkbite compression fitting
Author: hj (AZ)

Only in that it should not have any problem with out of roundness, and the surface should not be compromised. Other than that the replies address it being "enclosed" which has nothing to do with the pipe materail.

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 Re: Sharkbite compression fitting
Author: jjbex (IL)

Well,
sharkbites can seal on a surface that isn't surgically clean. I don't like to sweat on copper unless it's shiny as a new penny. Sharkbites work real well in certain situations.


Peace out,

Kordts

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 Re: Sharkbite compression fitting
Author: Masterplumb (NY)

Thats why they make emory cloth and scotch brite pads!

Chris

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 Re: Sharkbite compression fitting
Author: jjbex (IL)

Chris,
believe me, I love soldering whenever possible. But a lot of crawl spaces around here were never dug out and stoned. It's just dirt. The copper reacts over 20-30 years in these crawl spaces, and it is usually pretty much impossible to clean good enough to solder. I know, I have fought enough losing battles with it. I finally wised up and started using compression fittings. Now sharkbites are just another option in my crawlspace filled world.


Peace out,

Kordts

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 Re: Sharkbite compression fitting
Author: hj (AZ)

A Sharkbite fitting depends for its sealing on the resiliency of the "O" ring or chevron seal inside it. There is no way to "tighten" it down to force it to conform to an "imperfect" surface. Therefore I would not use one unless it was almost "surgically clean".

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 Re: Sharkbite compression fitting
Author: dlh (TX)

i have found that c-flux with heat and a wire brush works pretty well to clean oxidized piping

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 Re: Sharkbite compression fitting
Author: tonto4275 (MS)

Yes it is ok to install the fitting in the wall.It is not a true compression fitting.A compression fitting uses a threaded connection and sharkbite fittings are a push connect fitting.They offer a warranty to repair and replace if anything goes wrong with the fitting. You can find this on their website cashacme.com

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 Re: Sharkbite compression fitting
Author: diyplumber15 (MN)

Yes, according to SharkBitePlumbing.com, SharkBite fittings have been certified for use within a concealed wall, but you'll want to consult with local plumbing codes for specific applications. They meet UPC, IPC and cUPC requirements.

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