I just installed this sharkbite valve. 1/2 copper pipe. The right side of the valve is dry, but the left side is leaking. What could be the problem? I tried pushing more of the right side of the pipe into the valve but it won’t go any further. What can I do from here? Cut it out and get a longer valve to make up the space difference?

sharkbite valve leaking on the left

  • 3
    Check the manufacturer's installation instructions, for a non-destructive removal procedure. You can usually remove push fittings, without cutting the pipe or damaging the fitting.
    – Tester101
    Dec 7, 2017 at 12:50
  • 4
    Wrap a sheet of rigid plastic, like from a soda bottle, around the pipe and slide it into the fitting to disengage the teeth. Pull the pipe out, then remove the sheet. You can't do plumbing with such egregious contamination on the pipe and expect success.
    – isherwood
    Dec 7, 2017 at 14:17
  • 2
    Your home improvement or plumbing shop will have a removal tool. Looks like a horseshoe.
    – raterus
    Dec 7, 2017 at 14:55

3 Answers 3


It looks like the paint on the pipe is causing your problems. I'd recommend shutting off the water, removing the shark bite connector, and stripping the paint for a couple inches on either side. The hardware store will have chemicals to help strip the paint so you don't have to do it all manually.

Here is a video of how to use emery cloth to clean a copper pipe. The video is a bit long for the topic but covers it well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q4LvzHt4m3M

When you reinsert it, SharkBite recommends 15/16" insertion depth for 1/2" pipe. Typically you should measure that distance from the end of the pipe and mark it with a permanent marker so you have a sight line for reference when pushing the fitting on.

SharkBite Pipe Insertion Diagram


You can also use any number of abrasive or sanding products but that paint has got to go. The wall of the pipe has to be absolutely free of debris.

  • 1
    Emery cloth will clean the pipe just fine but you may need to replace the sharkbite fitting if the o ring inside has been damaged by the irregularities of the paint on the copper pipe.
    – Alaska Man
    Dec 7, 2017 at 18:48
  • Be careful about stripping that paint with an abrasive. I would be surprised if it wasn't lead paint.
    – Joe
    Dec 7, 2017 at 21:12

You can fix this with just a standard pair of pliers.

Use them sideways to put pressure on both sides of the lock nut to release the pipe.

After the fitting is completely removed, run the pliers around the pipes to scrape the paint off (DO NOT squish the pipe at all). It looks like it will all come right off, if not, finish with an abrasive.

If it still leaks, you've messed up the fitting; get a new one. If it still leaks after that, the pipes are likely deformed. At that point the easy fix is over and it's time to sweat it. Or you can keep cutting bits off to get a better connection and trying SB connectors: you'll need a length of pipe to make up the difference and some straight couplings.

Check that fittings and pipe are clean, in good condition and are free from damage and foreign objects. Cut the pipe so that the ends are square. Ensure that there are no burrs or damage to the cut end. Wherever possible proper pipe cutting tools such as rotary pipe cutters (copper tubing) or pipe shears (for plastic pipe) should be used.

sharkbite.com, pdf

Crap inside the pipe doesn't really matter; they're talking about the OD: "in good condition and are free from damage and foreign objects."

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.