Sharkbite fittings are quite flexible push-to-fit fittings that have been around since 2004. They offer an easy way to connect copper, PEX, and CPVC pipes. While they make pipe connections seamless, most people always ask if they are durable.
So, how long do Sharkbite fittings last? Sharkbite fittings can last 10-25 years, depending on the fitting type and installation. Another thing, while their components are durable, they are susceptible to wear and tear over time.
The O-ring, however, is susceptible to brittle and cracking. Should you use them in place of copper soldering or threaded joints? Do they wear out? Are they reliable long term? Get all these answers below.
Sharkbite fittings have been around since 2004. During this time, many people have developed different opinions on their reliability. So, how long do they last?
SharkBite fittings generally come with a limited warranty period ranging from one to 25 years, depending on the specific product.
So, in theory, the actual lifespan of Sharkbite fittings will likely exceed the warranty period if installed correctly and not exposed to excessive pressures, chemicals, or other conditions.
Unfortunately, these products haven’t been around that much to prove they can last over two decades. Some plumbers that have used the Sharkbite fittings have confirmed they can last over 10 years with an expectation of reaching over 20 years.
However, others argue that they may actually last only around 10-15 years before leaks start to develop.
Yes. SharkBite fittings use a mechanical clamping system instead of soldering or threading pipe. They have three main parts: a brass head, stainless steel teeth, and a rubber O-ring.
These fittings are designed to be long-lasting when properly installed. However, like any product, SharkBite fittings can experience wear over time.
The brass head of the fitting will likely last several decades with proper care. Brass is a durable material that is resistant to corrosion from water.
However, prolonged exposure to some chemicals, such as chlorine, can accelerate the corrosion of the brass over time.
The stainless steel teeth work by clamping onto the pipe when the fitting is pushed on.
While stainless steel is a very corrosion-resistant metal, these teeth can experience wear from repeated clamping and unclamping of the fitting.
Over many uses, the teeth may become less sharp and effective at gripping the pipe.
The rubber O-ring provides an airtight seal between the fitting and the pipe. But, it’s the most vulnerable piece to wear and tear. The O-ring can be degraded by exposure to UV light, chemicals, and hard water.
UV light from the sun can cause the rubber compound in the O-ring to become brittle and crack over time. Chemicals like chlorine, certain cleaning products, and substances in hard water can interact with the rubber and accelerate its breakdown.
SharkBite push-fit fittings are a fast and easy way to make plumbing connections, but their reliability has often been questioned. After all, you can’t compare them to copper soldering, which can last way over 50 years.
Considering their lifespan has been proven to be over 10 years, you could say they are reliable for long-term applications. However, you might still be concerned about where you use them.
As mentioned earlier, most plumbers won’t attempt to install them behind the wall. Their unproven reliability might be the main cause, but others cite that they wouldn’t rely on the O-ring used in them.
So, that means you want to use them in places where you can access them easily, such as under the sink or in the crawl space. That way, it’s easier to notice when there is a leak, and they will be easier to replace.
Yes, SharkBite fittings can be used for permanent plumbing installations. They are approved by the International Plumbing Code, the National Plumbing Code of Canada, and the Uniform Plumbing Code.
While their longevity has been questioned, many people use them for their easier, quick, and leak-free connection. They offer a reliable connection for CPVC, PEX, and copper. You can rely on it for a permanent solution, at least for over a decade or so.
While Sharkbite fittings won’t last forever, you can do a few things to extend their lifespan.
The most important thing is to install SharkBite fittings correctly, to begin with. Ensure you;
- Use the right tube cutter to get a flush end.
- Deburr the copper to avoid damaging the O-ring.
- Avoid soft tubes – you want to make sure the fittings hold well and tight
- Measure the depth using a depth tool to know how deep the pipe needs to go for a better, tight seal.
- Avoid kinking or bending the pipe too sharply, as this can damage the O-rings inside the fitting.
- Avoid installing them in UV-exposed areas as that will cause the O-ring to be susceptible to brittle and eventually breaking.
- Avoid exposing them to extreme heat – over 200°F (93°C).
Try to use SharkBite fittings only once, and do not reuse them multiple times. Each time the fitting is joined and disconnected, it stresses the O-rings while reducing the lubrication, making them more likely to fail.
Do not expose SharkBite fittings to pressures higher than their rated limit, typically 200 PSI for typical residential fittings. They are made for normal residential applications. So, excessive pressure can damage the internal components faster.
Use SharkBite fittings only with potable water. Do not expose them to corrosive chemicals, solvents, or drain cleaners that can damage the materials faster.
Inspect SharkBite fittings at least once a year for signs of wear or problems. Check for cracks, leaks, drips, or loose fittings that may need to be replaced. Earlier detection leads to easier fixes.
Here is a video of the Do’s and Don’ts of using SharkBite fittings to ensure long-term use:
Here are a couple of top questions asked that are related to this topic:
While there aren’t many cases of SharkBite fittings leaking, they are susceptible to leaks when the O-ring fails. They might also leak if the pipe wasn’t deburred, inserted, or cut properly.
SharkBite fittings come certified to 200°F (93°C) and 200 PSI. So, anything above this would compromise the durability.
Yes. You can reuse SharkBite fittings. However, you cannot use the reused for permanent installation.
How long do Sharkbite fittings last? They have proven to last over 10 years and possibly beyond with care. Proper installation, minimizing reuse, protection from UV light and chemicals, limiting excessive pressure, and inspecting regularly can help maximize their lifespan.
While not ideal in all situations, SharkBite fittings can provide years of reliable service when installed and maintained properly in the right applications. They are ideal for permanent connection thanks to their practical, leak-free connections. For maximum durability, though, traditional soldered copper remains the best option, especially for permanent in-wall plumbing where accessibility is limited.