Are these fittings very reliable? I can't solder worth a crap, so I'm looking for alternative ways to fix my copper pipes.
Sharkbite fittings ARE NOT code approved for use on domestic potable water systems.
While I'm sure Lazypup is correct about the Code in his location, many codes do allow Sharkbite fittings on domestic potable lines in ACCESSIBLE locations. This means they can't be installed behind drywall or inside walls and ceilings (or under concrete). Check with your local Building Codes Department to find out what applies in your area.
If your pipes are inside walls or ceilings they really should be soldered. Sharkbites are really best for connecting 2 different types of piping together, such as copper to CPVC or PEX. To use them to avoid soldering can get pretty expensive.
Here is a link that might be useful: How To Unclog A Toilet and Other DIY Plumbing Tips
While some jurisdictions may have locally approved sharkbite fittings they are not accepted under the national codes basically because they are not ASTM rated for service at water supply pressures.They are ASTM rated for hydronic heating & cooling lines, but it must be understood that hydronic lines do not exceed 25psi.
according to what i have seen sharkbite fittings are code approved for domestic potable water. It looks like they are approved for underground and in-wall also. I could be wrong though.
see .pdf file
Here is a link that might be useful: sharkbite code approval
What I found to be the major issue for me in using sharkbite is the fact that it is not a full flow fitting which in my area with the decreased water pressure already it is problematic. I went with Copro Quick connection fittings instead which is full flow and when I put the two fittings side by side there really was no comparision. If you want to take a look at thier product you can find it at www.quickfitting.com
Unless something has changed recently, sharkbites are approved and can be hidden in a wall. I know two different plumbers who use them on service calls instead of soldering. They are very good fittings but very expensive too.
Under no circumstances may sharkbites be used inside a wall. Sharkbites are mechanical fittings and mechanical fittings may only be used in an exposed location. All joints in a concealed location must be soldered or brazed.
Lazypup this must be a regional issue with where you live maybe. Fully approved out In Oregon and allowed to be hidden. Inspectors have no issues with them and say they are code approved and compliant.
That may be a regional issue in Oregon but the national model codes have not approved them, and under the national model codes NO Mechanical fittings may be used in a concealed space.
So... isn't a PEX-to-ribbed fitting also considered to be a mechanical fitting, and aren't those buried in walls all the time?
FWIW I used a few Sharkbite fittings and ball valves for my recent tankless water heater installation and they worked great. I used CPVC piping to plumb the installation in the garage attic and connected that to the existing 3/4 copper hot & cold lines above the laundry room using Sharkbite tee and slip fittings. I will probably put a plastic cover over the access hole I cut in the ceiling so they will remain accessible.
No mechanical fittings, unless they have been certified which apparently sharkbite fittings have been.
Sharkbites will save the day in a 4" wall. If it can save you from burning up a wall.... use them. They are approved in my neck of the woods and they work beautifully.
Seems to me that SharkBite fittings can be used within a concealed wall. On SharkBitePlumbing.com, a FAQ states that the have been certified for use within a concealed wall, but youÂll want to consult with local plumbing codes for specific applications. They meet UPC, IPC and cUPC requirements.
The concern I have with them is the fact that they have an "o-ring" in them. O-rings deteriorate after a certain amount of time don't they? I know I've seen o-rings fail in other applications.
I work for a rubber company which specializes in o-rings. All o-rings will slowly take a "set" and deteriorate and leak.Have you ever seen a piece of rubber 20 years old? I just had a plumber come in and replace a section of copper. He used four sharkbites to do it. That makes 9 (one was a tee) new potential leak paths. I'm not happy.
"All o-rings will slowly take a "set" and deteriorate and leak"
This, and even at the low level of chlorine (or chloramine) in drinking water the rings will slowly be damaged.
Keep in mind they are in contract with the water 24/7/365 for years on end, and every time you use the line you move in new water with a new chemical load.