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The Dos and Don'ts of Installing SharkBite Fittings


Summary Page: How To: Install SharkBite Push-to-Connect Fittings 

Pros know SharkBite fittings for their quick install times and versatility. However, an improper installation could create an unstable connection, resulting in damage to your customer's home. To make sure your connections are sound, we’re covering the dos and don’ts of SharkBite installations and disconnections. 

How Push-to-Connect Technology Works 

Familiarize yourself with push-to-connect technology before installation to understand how these fittings create secure connections. SharkBite fittings use an advanced push-to-connect design that works in two stages. 

Watch How SharkBite Push-To-Connect Fittings Work | Animation on YouTube.


 1. Collar 

When the pipe is inserted into the fitting, it passes through a release collar first, then through a stainless-steel grab ring. The grab ring has “teeth” that open out and grip onto the pipe. 

 2. O-ring

The pipe is then pushed through an o-ring protector, which aligns the pipe. The specially formulated o-ring is compressed between the wall of the fitting and the pipe before the pipe reaches the tube stop. The pipe must pass through the o-ring and reach the tube stop for a secure connection.


The same is true of the next generation fitting from SharkBite — SharkBite Max. Read below for additional information on how SharkBite (1st Generation) and SharkBite Max technology works.  

Read More: See What’s Inside a SharkBite Max™ Fitting 


Read the guidelines below for all three steps of SharkBite installation. 

dos and donts

 1. Cut the Pipe

This is the first step of installing a SharkBite fitting. Cutting the pipe properly is key to a sound connection. Not cutting the pipe square or leaving burrs on the pipe can keep the o-ring from making a watertight seal.


  • Leave room for an inch of space between fittings or from a wall so that the fitting can be removed if needed.
  • Use proper pipe-cutting tools and cut the pipe squarely and evenly. Use rotary pipe cutters for copper, pipe shears for plastic pipe and PRO PEX cutters to cut PEX pipe.  


  • Use a hacksaw to cut pipe. 

2. Prepare the Pipe 

After you cut the pipe, prepare your materials so you’re set up for success. Neglecting to properly prepare piping often leads to connection failures, whether caused by something getting into a fitting or a section of damaged pipe. These situations can prevent a secure connection, but they’re easily avoidable and don’t take much time to take care of. After you pick the correct size fitting and pipe for the job, inspect their condition.


  • Ensure the materials are clean, undamaged and don’t have any foreign objects in them or on them. If the pipe just has dirt or debris on it, you can simply wipe it off with a wet cloth.
  • If working with copper pipe that has old solder on it, use fine sandpaper like 180 grit to remove it. Be extra careful not to scratch the pipe.
  • Check that the pipe is round and free from other scratches, cuts or gouges.
  • Look to make sure there are no burrs or sharp sections on the cut end. The SharkBite deburr & gauge tool allows you to quickly deburr copper pipe with a simple rotation of the tool once the pipe is inserted.


  • Forget to clean or deburr piping. Old solder, debris, glue and aging pipe can damage the o-ring in the SharkBite fitting, which keeps it from forming a secure connection.
  • Shine up copper with sandpaper or emery cloth like you would if you were going to solder. This can leave superficial scratches on the pipe that could cause a leak between the o-ring and the outer surface of the pipe. 

3. Connect the Pipe to the Push-to-Connect Fitting 

While push-to-connect installations are designed to be less tedious than other methods, they still require technique to complete. Be sure to take these steps to properly install SharkBite brass push fittings.  


  • Measure and mark the insert depth on the outside of the pipe. Check the SharkBite insertion depth chart* for the correct depth for your application. For the joint to be assembled correctly, the pipe needs to be pushed into the fitting until it meets the tube stop, which is indicated by the measurement mark.
  • Always use the deburr and gauge tool to measure pipe insertion depth. People often think they’ve pushed the pipe into the fitting all the way only to find it leaking because it wasn’t fully inserted. Avoid this issue by always using the tool before attempting to make a connection.
  • Always use silicone wrap to bury brass push fittings underground.
  • For SharkBite adapters, install the threaded end first to prevent pulling on the push-to-connect end as you tighten the fitting.
  • After installation, make sure your piping is properly supported so it doesn’t create a side load on the fitting, which could leak.
  • Winterize after installation by insulating pipes, which prevents freeze failures.

*SharkBite Max fittings have a different insertion depth than SharkBite (1st Generation) fittings.

Read More: Winterizing Tips: 6 Ways to Help Your Customers Prevent Frozen Pipes


  • Push in the piping at an angle.
  • Remove the stiffener in 1st generation fittings when using with rigid pipe, such as copper. While these types of pipes don't require a stiffener, the grab ring can be damaged when removing it. Rigid pipe will fit over the stiffener easily and hold it against the tube stop, so you can simply leave it in. 


disconnection tool, install

While SharkBite brass push fittings are intended to be a permanent connection and aren’t designed for repeated connection and disconnection after the installation, you can remove a fitting with either the SharkBite disconnect clip, tongs or Pro disconnect tool. These tools allow you to apply pressure to the release collar, splaying the grab ring teeth and releasing the pipe from the fitting. Follow the guides below for a successful disconnection.  


  • Pro disconnect tool: Ensure the side labeled ‘pipe’ is fully seated in the pipe and the ‘fitting’ side is placed above the barrel of the fitting. For more information, check here.
  • Disconnect clip: Place the SharkBite disconnect clip around the pipe with the non-branded face against the release collar.  
  • Disconnect tongs: Place the teeth around the fitting assembly. The fork end with the SharkBite brand logo should be positioned around the pipe and the other end around the neck of the fitting.


  • Pull on the fitting or the pipe before pushing in the release collar. While this won’t damage the fitting, it will make removal more difficult. The teeth are angled in one direction, so pulling on the fitting or the pipe without pushing in the collar will make the teeth of the grab ring dig even deeper into the piping.
  • Use pliers to remove fittings. This will put the fitting collar at risk for damage and denting.  

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