Why Plumbers Hate SharkBite (5 Reasons Plumbers Don’t Recommend It)

“If it’s too good to be true, then it probably is.” This well-known proverb comes to mind when discussing SharkBite plumbing fittings. Despite the promises of easy installation and a quick fix, many professional plumbers steer clear of these products.

Here, we’ll dive into the reasons for this and other aspects worth considering.

Why plumbers hate SharkBite

Plumbers may have mixed opinions about SharkBite fittings, but some might express a level of dislike or frustration towards them for several reasons.

First, SharkBite fittings are often marketed as a quick and easy solution for DIY enthusiasts or homeowners looking to perform simple plumbing repairs without professional assistance.

This can lead to inexperienced individuals attempting complex plumbing tasks without fully understanding the intricacies of the system, potentially causing more significant problems down the line.

Plumbers may feel that this undermines their expertise and the importance of professional training in the field.

Some plumbers argue that SharkBite fittings, while convenient, may not always provide the same level of durability and longevity as traditional soldered or threaded connections.

Over time, they may be more prone to leaks or failures, which can result in costly repairs.

Plumbers who prioritize reliability and long-term solutions may prefer traditional methods that they are familiar with and have proven track records.

Ultimately, while SharkBite fittings have their advantages, plumbers who prefer traditional techniques might harbor a certain level of disdain for them due to concerns over quality, longevity, and the potential devaluation of their profession.

5 reasons why plumbers don’t recommend SharkBite

1. Reliability concerns

Some plumbers have reservations about the long-term reliability of SharkBite fittings.

While they are designed to provide leak-free connections, there is a perception among plumbers that traditional soldered or threaded connections offer greater durability and less risk of failure over time.

Plumbers who prioritize long-lasting solutions may be skeptical of relying on SharkBite fittings for critical plumbing systems.

2. Lack of skill development

SharkBite fittings are designed to be easy to install, making them popular among DIYers and homeowners without extensive plumbing knowledge.

However, this ease of use can discourage individuals from developing proper plumbing skills or understanding the intricacies of the trade.

Plumbers may view this as a detriment to the profession, as it undermines the value of their specialized training and expertise.

3. Limited applicability

While SharkBite fittings are versatile and can be used in various plumbing applications, there are situations where they may not be suitable.

Certain high-pressure or high-temperature applications may require more robust and specialized connections, such as soldering or threading.

Plumbers, with their experience and knowledge, may prefer to use traditional methods to ensure the appropriate choice of fittings for specific circumstances.

4. Cost considerations

Although SharkBite fittings offer convenience, their upfront cost can be higher compared to traditional alternatives.

Plumbers may view this as an unnecessary expense, especially when they are already proficient in traditional methods.

If a SharkBite fitting were to fail or require replacement, the cost of replacement parts could add up, making it less cost-effective in the long run compared to traditional connections.

5. Compatibility concerns

Plumbers often work with existing plumbing systems, which may not be compatible with SharkBite fittings.

Retrofitting older systems to accommodate SharkBite connections can be challenging and may require additional modifications.

Plumbers may prefer to stick with familiar methods that are compatible with existing infrastructure to ensure a seamless and reliable installation or repair.

How reliable and durable are SharkBite fittings?

SharkBite fittings are generally considered reliable and durable for a wide range of plumbing applications.

They are designed to create secure connections without the need for soldering, threading, or specialized tools.

When installed correctly and used within their specified parameters, SharkBite fittings can provide leak-free connections that withstand typical water pressures and temperatures.

However, it’s worth noting that there have been occasional reports of failures or leaks with SharkBite fittings, although these instances are relatively rare.

As with any plumbing component, proper installation and adherence to manufacturer guidelines are crucial to ensuring their longevity and performance.

Plumbers and homeowners who follow the recommended installation practices and inspect fittings regularly should generally experience satisfactory reliability and durability with SharkBite fittings.

Are there any safety risks associated with using SharkBite fittings?

When used properly and in accordance with manufacturer instructions, SharkBite fittings do not pose significant safety risks.

They are designed to meet industry standards and undergo rigorous testing to ensure their reliability and safety.

However, it’s essential to note that the safety of any plumbing system relies on proper installation, maintenance, and adherence to building codes and regulations.

Improper installation, such as failing to insert the pipe fully into the fitting or using the wrong size fitting for the pipe, can lead to leaks, pressure issues, or other potential hazards.

Also, if a SharkBite fitting is used outside of its recommended parameters, such as for high-pressure or high-temperature applications, it may not perform as intended and could pose safety risks.

How do you make SharkBite fittings more watertight and leak-proof?

  1. Properly prepare the pipe: Make sure the pipe ends are clean, smooth, and free from burrs or debris. Use a pipe deburring tool to remove any sharp edges that could damage the O-ring seal inside the fitting.
  2. Insert the pipe fully: When inserting the pipe into the SharkBite fitting, ensure it is inserted all the way until it reaches the depth mark indicated on the fitting. This ensures that the pipe is fully engaged with the internal components, providing a secure and watertight connection.
  3. Check for proper fit: Verify that you are using the correct SharkBite fitting size for your pipe. Using the wrong size can result in an improper fit and potential leaks. Double-check the compatibility and size specifications provided by the manufacturer.
  4. Inspect for visible gaps: After inserting the pipe into the fitting, visually inspect the connection for any visible gaps between the pipe and the fitting. A snug and tight fit without any visible gaps indicates a proper connection.
  5. Pressure test the system: Once the SharkBite fittings are installed, it is advisable to conduct a pressure test to ensure there are no leaks. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for pressure testing the specific system, and monitor for any signs of water leakage or pressure loss.

How do SharkBite fittings compare to other plumbing fittings?

  • Ease of installation: One of the key advantages of SharkBite fittings is their ease of installation. They are designed for simple push-to-connect installation without the need for soldering, threading, or specialized tools. This makes them particularly convenient for DIYers or homeowners looking to perform basic plumbing repairs without professional assistance.
  • Time-saving: SharkBite fittings can significantly reduce installation time compared to traditional fittings. With SharkBite, there is no need to wait for soldering to cool or to apply sealants. The push-to-connect mechanism allows for quick and efficient connections, potentially saving time on plumbing projects.
  • Reusability and flexibility: SharkBite fittings are reusable, which means they can be easily disconnected and reinstalled if needed. This flexibility can be advantageous for system modifications or repairs. In contrast, traditional fittings like soldered or threaded connections often require cutting and replacing sections of the pipe.
  • Versatility: SharkBite fittings are available in various sizes and configurations, allowing for a wide range of applications. They can be used with copper, CPVC, PEX, and PE-RT pipes, making them compatible with different plumbing systems.
  • Potential limitations: While SharkBite fittings have their advantages, they may not be suitable for all plumbing applications. High-pressure or high-temperature systems may require more robust connections, such as soldered or threaded fittings. Additionally, some plumbers may have concerns about the long-term reliability and durability of SharkBite fittings compared to traditional methods.

How do SharkBite fittings compare in price to other plumbing fittings?

SharkBite fittings are generally pricier than other types of plumbing fittings. For example, they can cost up to 15 times more per fitting compared to traditional soldered fittings.

However, many people believe that the higher cost is worth it because SharkBite fittings offer several advantages.

They are known for their durability, meaning they can withstand the rigors of plumbing systems over time.

They are designed to be incredibly easy to use, making plumbing projects more accessible for homeowners and DIY enthusiasts.

It’s worth noting that SharkBite is confident in the quality of their fittings and offers a warranty of 25 years when used in conjunction with SharkBite tubing, providing additional peace of mind regarding their longevity.

Are SharkBite fittings easy to install and use?

SharkBite fittings are specifically designed to be easy to install and use.

They employ a push-to-connect mechanism, eliminating the need for soldering, threading, or specialized tools.

Installing a SharkBite fitting involves simply inserting the pipe into the fitting until it reaches the depth mark, ensuring a secure connection.

This ease of installation makes SharkBite fittings particularly accessible for DIYers and homeowners who want to tackle basic plumbing repairs without professional assistance.

The user-friendly nature of SharkBite fittings simplifies the process and reduces the learning curve associated with traditional plumbing fittings, making them a popular choice for those seeking convenience and simplicity in their plumbing projects.

Is SharkBite okay for use in your home?

SharkBite fittings are generally considered safe and suitable for use in residential homes.

They are designed to meet industry standards and undergo rigorous testing to ensure their reliability and performance.

When installed correctly and used within their specified parameters, SharkBite fittings can provide secure and leak-free connections for various plumbing applications in homes.

However, it is important to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines, ensure proper installation, and comply with local building codes and regulations to ensure the safe and appropriate use of SharkBite fittings in your home.

If you have any specific concerns or unique plumbing requirements, consulting a professional plumber can provide further guidance on the suitability of SharkBite fittings for your specific situation.

What should you use SharkBite for?

  • Repairs and replacements: SharkBite fittings are particularly useful for quick repairs or replacements in plumbing systems. They allow homeowners or DIYers to address leaks, damaged pipes, or faulty connections without the need for specialized tools or extensive plumbing knowledge.
  • Temporary connections: SharkBite fittings can be used to create temporary connections when needed. For instance, during construction or remodeling projects where plumbing systems may need to be altered or modified temporarily, SharkBite fittings offer a convenient solution that can be easily disconnected and reused as required.
  • DIY projects: SharkBite fittings are popular among DIY enthusiasts who want to undertake simple plumbing projects on their own. They offer a user-friendly alternative to traditional fittings, allowing homeowners to tackle tasks such as installing new fixtures, connecting appliances, or adding new sections to plumbing systems.
  • Emergency repairs: In emergency situations where immediate plumbing repairs are necessary, SharkBite fittings can be valuable. They provide a quick and reliable method to address urgent issues and restore the functionality of the plumbing system temporarily until a permanent repair can be made.

How long do SharkBites last?

SharkBite fittings have a typical lifespan of 10 to 25 years, varying depending on the type of fitting and proper installation.

SharkBite provides a 25-year warranty for their fittings when used with SharkBite tubing, highlighting their confidence in their durability.

While these fittings are generally considered durable, like any plumbing component, they can be subject to wear and tear over time.

The O-ring inside the fitting is particularly susceptible to becoming brittle and cracking as it ages.

There have been allegations that SharkBite fittings may contain a higher-than-normal level of zinc, which can potentially lead to premature failure when exposed to water.

This can result in various issues, including leaks and even flooding, if left unaddressed.

Regular inspection and maintenance of SharkBite fittings is advisable to identify any signs of deterioration and address them promptly to ensure the continued reliability of the plumbing system.

Special considerations to keep in mind when using SharkBite fittings

  • Compatibility: Ensure that the SharkBite fittings you choose are compatible with the type and size of the pipes you are working with. SharkBite fittings are designed to work with specific pipe materials, such as copper, CPVC, PEX, and PE-RT. Using the wrong type or size of fittings can result in improper connections and potential leaks.
  • Proper installation: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully when installing SharkBite fittings. Make sure the pipe is cut cleanly and smoothly, without any burrs or rough edges that can compromise the seal. Insert the pipe fully into the fitting until it reaches the depth mark, ensuring a secure connection. Avoid twisting or applying excessive force during installation.
  • Pressure and temperature limitations: SharkBite fittings have specific pressure and temperature ratings. Make sure to use them within their recommended parameters. High-pressure or high-temperature applications may require alternative types of fittings that are specifically designed for those conditions.
  • Regular inspection: Periodically inspect your SharkBite fittings for any signs of damage, such as cracks, leaks, or corrosion. Pay particular attention to the O-ring seal, as it can deteriorate over time. Promptly address any issues to prevent potential leaks or failures.
  • Water quality considerations: In areas with water quality concerns, such as high mineral content or corrosive properties, it is advisable to consult with a professional plumber to determine the suitability of SharkBite fittings. Certain water conditions may affect the longevity and performance of the fittings, and alternative solutions may be recommended.

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