SharkBite push fittings
• Manufactured by Cash Acme
• 877-700-4242; www.sharkbite.com
• Cost of 1/2-in. straight connector: about $5.50
I wasn’t too worried when I accidentally pierced a water pipe during a recent basement-remodel project. After all, it was only a slow trickle of water, and my skills with solder and a torch are at least passable.
I pulled back the fiberglass insulation to assess the damage and was dismayed to find PEX tubing. I had never installed this stuff before, so I didn’t have the fittings and crimpers I needed to make connections or repairs. To make matters worse, the only way to stop the flow of water through the pipe was to shut off the valve near the well pump. As the slow trickle gained speed, I had to admit defeat and call a plumber.
To my surprise, the plumber didn’t show up with a bag of barbed brass fittings, steel collars, or special crimping wrenches to fix the PEX problem. He just cut out the pierced section of PEX and slid the two cut ends into a SharkBite coupling to make a permanent fix.
He explained that the inside of each bronze SharkBite fitting has stainless-steel teeth that clamp onto the pipe while an O-ring compresses to make a watertight seal. Best of all, the same fitting can be used with PEX A, B, and C; type K, L, and M copper; or schedule-40 CPVC pipe. The fittings can be removed and reused, too. All you need is…