The Key to Using SharkBite Underground

Who says SharkBite fittings can’t be used underground? 

Plumber installing SharkBite underground

It’s time to set the record straight: Yes, SharkBite brass push fittings can be used underground. Don’t just take it from us. Take it from IAPMO too.

Working on pipes that need to be buried can mean digging, cutting, draining and then repairing with solder or using solvents and glues. That typically means extra time and materials, but SharkBite simplifies the process.

Using Push-to-connect Underground

“Using a SharkBite brass push-to-connect fitting saves time and the need for the extra devices,” says Product Manager Michael Kornegay. “And SharkBite works on multiple types of pipe — PEX, copper, CPVC, PE-RT and HDPE. There’s no need to sweat the copper.” 

SharkBite is made of lead-free brass, with an EPDM O-ring and a stainless steel 316 grab ring, all of which make it durable, long lasting and not harmful to drinking water. Installing SharkBite to correct a leak, for example, is a matter of turning off the water source, clearing the area, cutting the pipe and then inserting the SharkBite brass push fitting(s) on the pipe ends. SharkBite offers a cutting, measuring and deburring tool to create a smooth edge. And it can be installed even if there’s residual water in the pipe, unlike a job that uses solder. 

But the key to the perfect underground install, one that will help the connection last: wrapping the fitting with silicone tape

Why Wrap the Fitting?

In any given region, soil can be contaminated with all types of chemicals that occur naturally or through human activity. “We require SharkBite fittings to be wrapped because of the various ground conditions, which might affect pipes and fittings,” Kornegay says. 

The silicone tape won’t break down. Simply pull, stretch and wrap it over the fitting and the non-adhesive tape sticks only to itself. “It basically cements to itself and creates a barrier,” Kornegay says.

Wrapping in silicone is required for two reasons: 

  1. By doing so, it saves the contractor from having to play detective on soil contaminants. 
  2. Warranty protection. SharkBite has a 25-year warranty, but that may not hold if the install isn’t done correctly. So, that means wrap it up!

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