Fittings: Do more and make connections that really last

Push-fittings, or push-to-connect, solutions have been saving invaluable time for plumbers and contractors over the past few decades.

Push-fittings provide a water-tight seal and are easily installed without the use of special tools, solder, or solvents. Without the use of special tools, push-to-connect fittings provide a faster installation and they are an efficient choice for plumbers.

Some contractors remain skeptical on the durability and ease of use that push-to-connect fittings offer. If you haven’t tried the fittings out for yourself yet, then I might give you a reason to finally ditch the tools and see for yourself how easy it is to use push-fit plumbing solutions.

Compatibility

Those who install push-to-connect fittings and PEX as a system typically choose these products for their speed and durability. The fittings are compatible with a variety of types of pipes including PEX, copper, HDPE, PE-RT, and CPVC.

PE-RT, a polyethylene (PE) resin designed to allow operation at elevated temperatures (RT), is a durable tubing that provides long-term hydrostatic strength at high temperatures. It is commonly used in domestic hot and cold plumbing applications.

PEX, cross-linked polyethylene, has become increasingly popular with contractors due to its ease of use and flexibility. When the need arises to transition from different pipes to PEX, using push-to-connect fittings provides the desired versatility of connecting different types of pipes as well as efficiency.

Time saving

Tim Redd, a plumber with nearly 30 years under his belt, used SharkBite Universal brand fittings and PEX to renovate a home built in the 1950’s. The project required Redd to get into tight spaces frequently, and SharkBite worked perfectly for the job. “It’s a lot easier than us having to try to get into a tight space and solder.” Redd said to SharkBite in a case study. “A lot of times crimpers won’t fit in the walls. So, you use a push-to-connect fitting and it goes right in.” The team was reportedly impressed with the time savings experienced during this job.

When push-to-connect fittings are used with PEX, they require fewer fittings than rigid piping and result in quicker installations. PEX can be curved to fit around corners without the need for elbow fittings, and PEX can be installed in long runs without the use of couplings. Water will be able to flow silently, effectively eliminating or decreasing the water hammering or knocking sounds often associated with metal pipes.

Rethink repairs

Push-to-connect fittings are not limited to making new connections. These fittings offer a more permanent solution to leaking pipes compared to tape or a clamp.

Pinhole leaks in copper pipes are common across all types of facilities. SharkBite slip couplings are a game changer when it comes to addressing these leaks. After cutting and removing the piece of pipe with the leak, simply push the slip coupling in its place and the leak is repaired—it’s that easy.

Take this repair a step further by replacing a leaking segment of pipe with SharkBite ball and check valves. Shutting off the water to make a repair to pipes in the building can be a headache for tenants. By repairing pipes with this type of push-fitting, you are able to stop water from flowing only in the pipes that need to be repaired, then quickly turn the water back on.

A step outside your comfort zone

Although push-to-connect fittings have risen in popularity, some plumbers and contractors are reluctant to use them due to concerns about the potential for leaks and having no previous experience with PEX or push-to-connect fittings. Understanding the practices to follow prior to using push-to-connect fittings can provide plumbers with confidence before stepping out of their comfort zones.

First, ensure the push-fittings are stored in a clean environment. Dirt, dust, and other small particles can compromise the seal between the fitting and the pipe. But, if the systems need to buried in dirt then the manufacturer’s instructions must be reviewed. When installing a push-to-connect system outdoors, unburied, it will require protection from sunlight. Manufacturers will typically provide information regarding the UV rating of their PEX.

Avoid damage to the fitting by always removing push-fitting with a designated removal tool. Manufacturers will have information on the number of times a fitting can be reused.

Use a pipe cutter to make clean cuts every time you are installing a push-fitting. Hacksaws and bandsaws create serrated edges that may never fully seal with a push-fitting. For copper pipes, don’t sand when using a push-to-connect fitting. Sanding can compromise the even surface of the pipe.

Push-to-connect fittings provide a tight seal on their own and need no adhesives or tape. Glue, lubricants, and tape applied to push-fittings can create the potential compromised connection.

Ditch the bag of tools and get to the next job so much quicker by using push-to-connect fittings. Trusted for decades, push-to-connect fittings will make a permanent connection and provide you with the confidence needed to get the job done right.

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