How to Use SharkBite Plumbing Fittings

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How to use a new plumbing fitting connection system called SharkBite.

A fairly new piping connection system has been developed by the company Cash Acme in Cullman, Alabama. The SharkBite® Push-Fit fittings are listed by IAPMO (International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials) and are certified for potable and hydronic heating water distribution. The SharkBite® Push-Fit fittings have been certified for underground applications and as a manufactured joint without access panels and they meet UPC, IPC and cUPC requirements.

This company has also developed several other hydronic and plumbing components that utilize the same connection system suck as flexible hot water heater connectors, pressure regulators, thermostatic mixing valves, ball valves, valve stops, and manifolds.

How it Works

The SharkBite® connection system uses an advanced push-fit design that works in two stages. When the copper pipe or tube is inserted into the fitting it passes the first stage through a release collar and then through a stainless steel grab ring. The grab ring has teeth that open out and grip onto the tube. At the second stage the tube is pushed through an o-ring protector which aligns the tube. A specially formulated o-ring is then compressed between the wall of the fitting and the tube before the end of the tube reaches the tube stop.

Only when the tube has passed through the o-ring and reaches the tube stop, is a secure joint created. The SharkBite® fittings can only be used with pipe or tubing certified to the following specifications:

• PEX (ASTM F876, CSA B137.5)

• Copper (ASTM B 88)

• CPVC (ASTM D 2846, CSA B137.6)

The SharkBite® fittings have an integral Tube Support Liner that is effective in supporting PEX tubing to ensure the o-ring seals correctly on the outside of the PEX tubing. The Tube Support Liner is not required for use with CPVC and copper piping; however these two types of tubing fit over the Tube Support Liner easily and hold it against the tube stop. But the tube liner may be easily removed based on preference or local codes.

Making Connections

Select the correct size fitting and tubing for the job. Check that fittings and tubing are clean, in good condition and are free from damage and foreign objects. Cut the tube so that the ends are square. Ensure that there are no burrs or damage to the cut end. Wherever possible use the proper tube cutting tools for making cuts such as rotary tube cutters for copper tubing or tube shears for plastic tubing. Once the tubing end is cut square and clean, use the SharkBite® Depth Deburr Gage and a permanent marker to mark the insert depth on the outside of the tubing. This mark is used to ensure that the joint is assembled correctly. To assemble correctly, the tubing needs to be pushed into the fitting until it meets the tube stop.

Follow these three steps to insert the tubing into the fitting.

1. Insert the tube through the release collar to rest against the grab ring.

2. Push the tube firmly with a slight twisting action until it reaches the tube stop.

3. To ensure that the tube is correctly inserted, check that the depth mark is within 0.005 in (0.13 mm) of the end of the release collar.

Removing a Fitting

Disconnection of the joint can only occur by using either the SharkBite® disconnect clip or the SharkBite® disconnect tongs. By applying pressure to the release collar with the clip or the disconnect tongs, the grab ring teeth are splayed. This action releases the tube, allowing it to be removed from the fitting.

1. Place the SharkBite® disconnect clip around the tube with the non-branded face against the release collar. If using the SharkBite®, disconnect tongs, and place the teeth around the fitting assembly. The fork end with the SharkBite® brand logo should be positioned around the tube and the other end around the neck of the fitting.

2. Push the clip against the release collar and pull the tube with a twisting action to release the tube. If using the SharkBite® disconnect tongs, squeeze the tool with one hand and pull the tube with a twisting action to release the tube.

3. Check the fitting and tube end for damage. The fitting and tubing should be free of damage, foreign objects and marks on the outside diameter. If the tubing is damaged or marked, then cut and use a new section of tubing.

Removing PEX Support Liner

The tube liner is not necessary with CPVC or Copper tubing, and may be removed based on preference or local codes. Removing the tube liner also makes it easier to insert copper pipe when in a horizontal position. The tube liner can be easily removed by pulling it past the o-ring, then with the aid of the SharkBite® disconnect clip or disconnect tongs (both sold separately), the Tube Support Liner can drop out of the fitting as it can move freely past the grab ring. Needle nosed pliers may be used to pull the Tube Support Liner out.

Gently work the Tube Support Liner past the o-ring.

Stop once the Tube Support Liner has been pulled past the o-ring, the Tube Support Liner cannot be pulled out any further due to the grab ring.

Put the disconnect tongs or clip in place and squeeze them together. This will cause the grab ring teeth to spread.

Once the disconnect tongs are squeezed and the grab ring teeth are spread, the Tube Support Liner can be easily removed.

While the cost of SharkBite® pipe fittings are much higher than that of traditional pipe fittings, but the ease of use often outweigh the price premium. The connectors can be swiveled while in place to optimize the location of fittings and valves, they can be removed and reused, and there is no need for using a propane torch to install the units which eliminates the chance for fire and hazardous fumes. The SharkBite® fittings can also be installed on piping systems that are not completely drained or when old valves are passing to complete a repair within minutes.


Jerry Walch
Posted on Dec 15, 2011
Posted on Dec 15, 2011
Roberta Baxter
Posted on Dec 15, 2011