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I am helping the in-laws remove their countertops and disconnect their kitchen sink in preparation for new countertops and a new sink. The only wrinkle is that the existing sink does not appear to have shut-off valves. I am guessing the plumbing was just installed that way - it's PEX plumbing, original I think, in a 1998 house.

They don't want to shut off the water for the whole house for 2 days while they wait for the countertop installers, so I had an idea to add shutoff valves (sharkbites) to the existing PEX supply pipes, close the valves, and just remove the sink. So basically, the pipes would terminate at the closed shut-off valves, and the house water supply would stay on. This is only a temporary measure (for 2 days) until the new countertops and sink are installed.

Is this OK or am I risking causing a water leak?

I have successfully tried this approach at my house (with copper pipes), but I don't know if it's considered "good practice".

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    Some people will say the more shut off valves the better. It does lead to more potential places for leaks to happen, but makes life nicer to wash hands if only one sink is off.
    – crip659
    Oct 23, 2022 at 19:51
  • I'm specifically concerned about temporarily leaving the shut off valve connected to nothing, while the water main is on (and the shut off is switched "off")... Is that safe?
    – ivorysoap
    Oct 23, 2022 at 19:57
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    That is what they are for. Good quality valves should last for years.
    – crip659
    Oct 23, 2022 at 20:35

6 Answers 6

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Yes that is fine. Plumbers use sharkbites as well. Just make sure the pex is fully pushed into the sharkbite shutoff. You could even leave them permanently - exposed plumbing is one of the better places to have sharkbites so you notice if they ever do start to leak.

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    "You could even leave them permanently" --> "You should even leave them permanently". Fixed that for ya'! The sink should have its own shut off valves for precisely this reason. There could be a leak or a simple desire to change the faucet or any myriad of other reasons to want to turn off the water here but not elsewhere in the house, and permanent shut-off valves on every fixture are the way to go.
    – FreeMan
    Oct 24, 2022 at 14:24
  • I agree on shutoffs on each fixture. I am torn on sharkbites.... I haven't had any fail but I don't like the idea of the o-ring, same reason I don't like propress. It just isn't that hard to crimp if you already have pex pipes. Oct 24, 2022 at 18:53
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I flip and fix and rent homes and leave new (never old) shutoffs under pressure for sometimes weeks. Never had a failure. It's ok you can leave them for a few days.

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so I had an idea to add shutoff valves (sharkbites) to the existing PEX supply pipes, close the valves, and just remove the sink

Yes, that's fine. Shutting off water is exactly what shutoffs are for.

The only consideration is whether someone would accidentally bump the shutoff and flood the house. This is not a fear that can be quelled by the Internet.

For peace-of-mind you could consider a SharkBite push cap:

SharkBite half-inch Brass Push Cap

It can be used instead of or in addition to the shutoff valve. When you're ready then just remove it.

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    If you're concerned that the valve might be turned accidentally, some electrical tape around the valve handle/pipe/valve body should ease fears of that. I'd just go with the valve and be done with it. Any reasonably competent cabinet installer (especially one used to doing remodels) will be used to working around "live" water and electric lines and shouldn't have a problem.
    – FreeMan
    Oct 24, 2022 at 14:26
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    @FreeMan Accidents don't heed to competence =)
    – MonkeyZeus
    Oct 24, 2022 at 15:04
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There is one caveat I would add to this: cap the unused connectors.

Brass cap

You'll spend a few bucks doing this, but there's two problems with just leaving a shutoff valve sitting unused

  1. You allow trash in. It's hard to clean the valves if they get dirty, especially if you're going to do more work later.
  2. You prevent any leaks (or worse) if the valve gets bumped.

Or you can use a Sharkbite stop.

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If I'm not mistaken, shutoff valves are required. Perhaps you just haven't found them. The traditional trunk-and-branch plumbing layout puts the shutoff valves by the sinks and toilets -- but there's another way of doing things.

Some houses use a home-run style of plumbing with a central manifold block. Dedicated PEX tube(s) run directly from each sink, toilet, and bath back to the manifold. The manifold has many ports each with its own shutoff valve.

Check near the water heater to see whether there's anything that looks vaguely like the example manifold pictured below.

Viega manifold

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  • Different places have different requirements. Perhaps ivorysoap's in-laws' house is in a country that didn't require such valves when it was installed? Oct 25, 2022 at 14:20
  • Sometimes builders can locate those manifold blocks in seemingly bizarre locations. I lived in a house for quite a while before I discovered I had one. Look all over the house for them, inside closets or cabinets, behind the washing machine, etc.
    – bta
    Oct 25, 2022 at 17:24
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I had to delete my entire previous answer. I read it too fast. I thought there were undersink shut off valves there that you were not sure how secure and reliable they maybe.

In the light what you got going on, what you have done is just fine.

I am assuming the location is not so that it gets kicked around or in the way of anything.

So long as everything is nice, tight and secure is what it is all about. Everything will be just fine.

Okay, you take care.

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