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Are SharkBite plumbing connectors as reliable as soldered connectors?

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2  
Using a propane torch is more fun though. –  ManiacZX Aug 11 '10 at 19:48
    
See also diy.stackexchange.com/questions/207/…. –  Jeremy McGee Aug 12 '10 at 5:59

3 Answers 3

I've had a few SharkBite connectors installed for a couple years without any leaks. They are pricey but save a lot of time when trying to make repairs or otherwise plumb in tight spaces. In fact, I've seen more leaks from improper solders that then have to be re-soldered than I have from SharkBites, primarily because tight spaces can inhibit applying the torch/flame correctly.

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So far they seem to be just as reliable, although given that they've only been on the market for a few years they don't have the same history as soldered connections. Here in the UK almost all new-build houses use push-fit connectors for concealed work as it's much quicker and easier.

You most likely do need to take extra care that the tube is perfectly round for an inch or so at the end, and that there's no bits of swarf, paint or other dirt there. Solder is good at filling in little gaps which push-fit connectors won't seal. On the other hand it's very easy to not heat a solder joint up enough to melt the solder properly, especially in confined spaces.

Obviously, make sure you push them in firmly.

Finally you don't really want to use them for exposed pipes, soldered joints are much neater.

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I've not used Shark Bite, but I have used other push fit connectors and as long as you make sure that you push the pipes firmly into the connectors they do the job they're intended for.

I haven't had any leaks or other problems with them.

Another advantage is that you can rotate the pipes and fittings once they're in place so if you have a tight or awkward space to work in you're less restricted.

If you're not confident about your soldering skills then using compression or push fit connectors is probably a better idea as you can sort them out after the water's turned back on without necessarily having to drain the system again.

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