Experiences with, opinions on "Shark Bite" pipe fittings?

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I love the things for some applications. If you're doing a largish job the fitting cost will add up very quickly, but for smaller jobs, particularly repairs, they're a godsend. Snip, snip, click, done.
As far as the longevity, Cash Acme has been around for a hundred years and the fittings come with a 25 year warranty. I know warranties always exclude anything but product replacement, but if the product is defective a class action suit will bring almost any company to its knees, so I doubt Cash Acme took the long warranty lightly.
There's not a lot that can go wrong with the fittings. As long as care is taken to make clean cuts and debur the pipe inside and out, then it's all up to the EPDM O-ring - and there's a long positive history on those under a lot tougher conditions than residential water temps and pressures.
As far as guarantees, there are none. Not too long ago I had to open up a ceiling, then a tiled tub apron, to get to a sweated copper fitting that the plumber had gotten _almost_ 100% good. It lasted for more than three years before the leak showed up. He was a good plumber, had used him on projects for 20 years and he wasn't rushing. Stuff happens.
R
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re: "Any experiences or opinions?"
I've used them for one project and as far as ease of installation, I can't say enough good things about them.
I've used compressions fittings and sweated lots of connections, so I have experience with all three technologies.
Project: Front hose spigot was at street pressure, plumbed before PRV. Backyard spigot was after PRV, therefore had much less pressure. The project was to tap into the street pressure pipe at the front of the house, run a pipe across the basement ceiling - up in the joist bay, over some duct work, over the I-Beam, over some more duct work, etc. to the back of the house. I had avoided it for years because it was going to be a real pain in the arse.
Then I heard about Shark Bites and decided to give them a try.
The first task was to remove the existing pipe and shut-off for the backyard spigot from the house system. I was watching a football game when I decided to get started. When a commercial came on, I turned off the main water valve, cut the pipe to the hose spigot, popped on a Shark Bite cap and turned the water back on - all before the commercial was over.
I then sweated a bunch of short pieces of copper together on my workbench to create a zig-zaggy run to get me from the joist bay down to where the spigot came out of the wall.
Last Part: I cut the street pressure pipe (up in the cramped junction of the rim joist and sub-floor) and slipped in a Shark Bite tee. There's no need to "aim" to tee in the direction you need to go since the Shark Bite fittings swivel after they are installed. I then ran a single length of PEX across the basement, used one more Shark Bite fitting to connect it to the copper set-up I had made earlier and I was done.
Since both Shark Bite connections were made in very tight quarters but no sweating or tools were required in those spaces, the job couldn't have been easier. The single run of PEX, instead of multiple lengths of copper over the duct work, etc. was a breeze.
As far as longevity, I can only trust that they will last as long as everyone says they will. As far as installation, as I said, I think they are perfect for quick jobs and tight spaces.
Yes, they are much more expensive than sweat fittings, but since time is money in many cases, the time saved with Shark Bites could offset the cost even on big jobs. I'll leave to some one else to run those numbers.
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On Thu, 25 Nov 2010 04:50:52 -0800 (PST), brassplyer

would have been extremely difficult if not impossible. So far no problems, but tney are not 20 years old yet, either. Personally I don't like compression fittings. My experience is they "always" leak. Very, very little, but enough that after a few years there is green-white corrosion / mineral deposit all around them.
Whenever possible, on copper plumbing, I solder. As for springing a leak inside a wall, copper pipe has been known to do that too. So has galvanized iron pipe.
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snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote in wrote:

Guess I'll have to give Sharkbites a try some day. Seems the majority of experiences from this group and external are positive. Problem is I'm to frikkin cheap to try them. Besides, how can Sharkbites replace being a real man with a torch and melting metel :-)
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We have an Invacare whirlpool tub at work that had Sharkbite fittings on the sanitizer system and had one leak after a year and a different one fail at about 2+ years. I wasn't impressed with them being used on a commercial unit.
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Yeah, that's odd. It wouldn't inspire confidence to see what's really a retrofit fitting used that way.
R
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Why do you say that they are "retrofit fittings"?
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Because I think it is their strongest point, not that they are limited to just that. They're too expensive to plumb an entire house or addition - doesn't make sense financially - and their ability to marry PVC, PEX, and copper makes them ideal for plumbing repair work and transitions from old to new.
R
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re: "They're too expensive to plumb an entire house or addition...doesn't make sense financially"
I'm not arguing, but I'd like to see some actual numbers on that. With long single runs of PEX from a Shark Bite manifold to each fixture, or even a manifold and some Tee's sprinkled in here and there, the *labor* savings would be huge.
If the job was priced based on "labor and materials" as opposed to a "per fixture" flat rate I wonder which one would work out better for both the client and the contractor. Two "expensive" Push and Click connections at each end of a 75' twisted run vs. sweating a "cheap" CU connection at each junction. The time savings might well be worth it.
I know that from my admittedly limited experience, the extra cost for the Shark Bites vs. how quickly I was done with the job was well worth it - and I was basically working for free.
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From what I have read, it seems like any installation that has vibrations would be suspect. Also, I wonder how often they are assembled without thoroughly deburring the pipes they are joining.
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On Thu, 25 Nov 2010 15:13:58 -0800 (PST), Bob Villa

A couple questions. Were these *real* sharkbites, or 'sharkbite type'? Installed at the factory, or during the site install? Were they in a spot that might be getting some vibration from the whirlpool?
I've got just one in my house- in a spot I dread having to solder- though I will if I ever get a drip, but it has been a few years now. Maybe by then they'll have waterproof duct tape.<g>
Jim
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Installed at the factory, or during the site install? Were they in a spot that might be getting some vibration from the whirlpool?
These are "actual" SharkBites installed at the factory used on 1/4" poly tubing subject to pump vibration within inches of the sanitizer. (So they probably lose their grip on the polyethylene)
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On Fri, 26 Nov 2010 05:37:26 -0800 (PST), Bob Villa

Hadn't even thought of the poly. I would say the recipe for disaster here includes somebody in a factory shoving them together all day & not paying particular attention to them- the poly instead of a more solid bite like on copper- and then the vibrations.
I feel better about mine already.<g> Thanks.
Jim
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The Sharkbite fittings have stainless steel teeth that grab onto the pipe. I could see in an extreme vibration situation like the whirlpool that the teeth would pretty quickly gnaw into the plastic pipe and compromises the hold on the pipe. A recipe for disaster. It makes me wonder who was asleep at the wheel when the decision was made to use that type of fitting in that application. Who was the manufacturer?
R
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Silcraft/Invacare
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wrote:

You ARE a real man if you can put on a Sharkbite fitting using ONLY your dick and balls. (No hands allowed). Lets see you do it, and be sure to video the whole ordeal for Youtube.com. (Sorry. you can not take viagra to do this, since that would be cheating). :)
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snipped-for-privacy@thenet.com wrote in

You severely underestimate the versatility of duct tape.
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Obviously I'm having send issues here.
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I thought it was the duct tape.
R
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No, your Send function is working just fine...over and over and over again. ;-)
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