Push-in plumbing fittings are increasing in popularity because of many factors, including their ease of use and compatibility with many different types of plumbing materials. These fittings, most widely known by commercial brand names such as Sharkbite, Tektite, and Gatorbite, place valuable resources into the hands of the average amateur plumber.
They are not without their detractors, who specify their higher cost over other types of plumbing fittings as well as their reliability compared to other types of fittings. However, their benefits are obvious for easy and quick plumbing repairs and installations.
1. Ease of Use
Push-in fittings require only a clean cut on the pipes to be joined together for a smooth and simple installation. This can be accomplished through the use of a special de-burring tool that both cleans the ends of the pipe and provides an accurate measurement of the proper depth needed for insertion into the fittings.
When the pipe is ready to be connected, it is simply pushed into the fitting at the appropriate depth. The fitting has internal "teeth" that lock onto the end of the pipe, locking it in place, as well as an internal "" ring that provides a water-tight connection.
If the pipe needs to be removed for any reason, the fittings are provided with a small internal sleeve that can be removed with a small inexpensive accessory that allows the fitting to release its grip on the pipe. It can then be reinserted after corrections are made without loss of connection integrity.
Although the push-in fitting is held firmly in place by the internal locking mechanism, it can still spin freely around the circumference of the pipe, providing a greater flexibility in problem installation locations.
Compatibility With Various Plumbing Materials
This is an important quality because of the variety of plumbing materials found in residential plumbing systems. Push-in fittings allow different types of materials to be joined together for repairs or additions to existing lines.
Push-in fittings can be used to connect copper pipe, which usually requires labor-intensive soldering. It can also be used on CPVC or PVC (types of plastic) pipe, which normally require the use of dangerous cleaners and solvent-based adhesives for connection.
Finally, it can also be used on flexible Pex pipe, which is a recent innovation that is similar to push-in fittings in its ease of use. The only type of plumbing material in widespread use that is not compatible with push-in fittings is galvanized steel pipe because of its impenetrable surface. However, galvanized pipe is no longer the material of choice as in the past.
While push-in fittings and Pex pipe can help the average homeowner to perform some of their own plumbing work, there will always be a need for professional plumbers to come to the rescue when amateurs fly too close to the sun and run into problems that are beyond their skills and experience. If you have a complicated plumbing problem, contact a professional plumber, like Mike Hensley Plumbing Inc.