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Debunking 3 Common Myths About SharkBite O-Rings

cross section of sharkbite fitting

Many plumbers today are wary of push-to-connect fittings because they rely on o-rings. O-rings are rubber mechanical gaskets that create air-tight or water-tight seals between components. They are common in connectors, valves, pumps and more to prevent liquids from escaping.  

Though o-rings are designed to create long-lasting seals within SharkBite fittings, many people see push-to-connect fittings as temporary solutions because of this component. To help address common questions and concerns about o-ring connections, we’re busting some of the key myths surrounding them. 

Myth: You shouldn’t use o-ring connections for plumbing.

Fact: Many plumbing products use o-rings to create a durable, watertight seal.  

If you don’t think SharkBite o-rings are durable enough for pipe connections, transitions, and other major plumbing applications, just look at how the rest of the industry uses them. O-rings are commonly used for faucets, valves and connectors for both hot and cold connections. Whether for the kitchen sink, washing machine or shower, plumbers have relied on o-ring seals for decades.  

SharkBite is not the only one to use this type of seal. Press fittings, which are widely accepted across the industry, also use o-rings. Although these fittings create connections using a press tool, the o-ring is what ultimately seals the connection. As o-rings are used more in the industry, it’s apparent that they are effective and durable enough for major plumbing applications.  

How o-rings work in SharkBite fittings 

Not all o-rings are created equal, though. The ones inside SharkBite fittings are made of peroxide-cured, EPDM (ethylene propylene) rubber, which is a high-quality rubber made to resist liquids and create a watertight seal.  

SharkBite uses an EPDM rubber with exceptional elasticity and resistance to fluctuations in temperature, which is perfect for potable water lines, even for different types of pipes. This makes SharkBite o-rings ideal for plumbing applications, especially for long-term use.

Our EPDM o-rings create a seal by compressing between the pipe and the fitting wall. Positioned on either side of the tube stop, two o-rings create this watertight seal. Plus, we coat our o-rings in grease, which makes insertion of the pipe easier and protects the o-ring from damage during assembly, reducing the likelihood of punctures.

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

SB Fitting Cutaway Callouts

Myth: Don’t trust an o-ring behind the wall.

Fact: O-rings are used in concealed spaces across many industries.

You may have heard that using an o-ring connection in a concealed space is risky, but more than likely, there is a concealed o-ring in your home right now. O-rings are used in appliances like refrigerators and washing machines and are even used in the cooling systems and breaks of your car. These are not easy places to access, yet the seal stays secure for years.

Rubber o-rings have been trusted across many industries like automotive, medical and agriculture for decades. Just as o-rings can be trusted in many technologies and appliances, they can be trusted for plumbing, even behind walls and underground.

Read More: Myth vs. Fact: A Closer Look at SharkBite Behind the Wall & Underground 

plumber using deburr and gauge tool

How SharkBite o-rings are built for longevity 

There’s a reason that plumbers are extra cautious when working in concealed spaces. A leak behind the wall could mean costly damage to your home, while a leak underground means a pricey water bill and possible property damage. When it comes to o-ring seals, plumbers hear horror stories and assume these connections won’t stand the test of time in concealed spaces.

This isn’t the case for the o-rings inside SharkBite fittings. Our o-rings are designed to handle these applications and have longevity in mind, as long as they are handled properly. Consider these factors that affect the longevity of an o-ring seal: 

  • Cuts
  • UV exposure
  • Type of rubber
  • Water quality
  • Excessive temperatures
  • Exposure to incompatible materials 

Many plumbers worry about o-rings ‘drying out’ or degrading, but there are ways to avoid this. For the best, longest-lasting results, keep your fittings away from incompatible substances and minimize their exposure to UV light. This will protect the rubber and allow it to perform properly. For example, avoid leaving your fittings in the back of your pickup truck.  

What can cause o-rings to fail 

Although SharkBite o-rings address these issues by using EPDM, chloramine-resistant rubber, the most common reason for leaks is a cut in the o-ring. This cut or other mechanical damage is almost always the result of not deburring the pipe. That’s why it’s so important to use our deburr and gauge tool and ensure the pipe is completely free of debris before installing a SharkBite fitting.  

Read More: Can SharkBite Be Used Behind Walls? 


Some plumbers know that you can get a reliable seal with SharkBite with less time and effort than traditional methods. This is true of Adrian Da Costa of Da Costa Plumbing & Heating Ltd., who has used SharkBite specifically for underground repairs. In his experience, most underground leaks are not from a failed o-ring or other connection issue, but from an incorrect installation.  

Read More: Guide to Using SharkBite Underground  

For SharkBite brass push-to-connect fittings, you must wrap the fitting in silicone tape for underground installations. This protects the fitting and its internal parts to ensure a secure connection. According to Da Costa, “the silicone tape makes a nice tight seal around the entire brass fitting, so I can sleep at night not worrying about how long the brass fitting will last.”  

I’m completely confident in my repairs knowing that once I have wrapped the fittings in the SharkBite silicone tape that I won’t have any failures down the road due to corrosion from long-term exposure to the soil elements

Adrian Da Costa of Da Costa Plumbing

Read More: Plumber Uses SharkBite Transition Fittings to Fix Underground Pipe Leak  

Myth: O-ring seals aren’t safe for residential plumbing.  

Fact: SharkBite fittings are third-party tested and code-approved. 

inside fitting, o-ring

Some plumbers are not comfortable using SharkBite fittings for residential applications or new builds because they fear it will leak or possibly be unsafe for potable water applications. Not to worry. SharkBite fittings are both expertly designed and rigorously tested to pass all the right industry approvals.

Manufacturing. Safe, reliable fittings start with an excellent manufacturing process. SharkBite’s manufacturing is set apart from most, as we have full control of the process from start to finish. This means we use only the best materials, easily improve our products, and go above and beyond in our quality assurance.  

Read More: 4 Ways SharkBite Manages High Product Quality 

Materials. SharkBite’s o-rings are designed with the resident, and potable water applications, in mind. Most public water systems in the United States use a group of compounds called chloramine to treat drinking water, but it is known to attack rubber. SharkBite fittings consider this and are chloramine resistant since we use a high-quality peroxide-cured EPDM rubber o-ring that is more resistant to chloramine, guaranteeing its performance over time.

Code compliance. Plus, you can have peace of mind knowing SharkBite fittings are backed by codes and approvals. The most critical code that ensures the safety of SharkBite o-rings is NSF 61, since most of our o-rings are used for drinking water. This code indicates that, through standard IAPMO testing, joining and sealing materials in SharkBite fittings are approved for potable water applications.  

Read More: NSF 61 

Key Takeaways 

1. O-rings create watertight seals that can be trusted for plumbing applications.  

Not only are o-rings used in plumbing for sinks, showers and other fixtures, but they are used for making plumbing connections. This includes press methods and push-to-connect, which both rely on the o-ring for a watertight seal. SharkBite connections are reliable because of the peroxide-cured, EPDM (ethylene propylene) rubber that resists liquid, making it perfect for plumbing applications. Plus, SharkBite adds grease to its o-rings to protect it during assembly and installation.  

2. SharkBite o-rings are made for long-lasting connections, including in concealed spaces.

O-rings are used in concealed spaces every day, including in your own home. From your washing machine to your refrigerator and even the breaks of your car, the right o-ring can last you a long time, even in concealed spaces. This is true of SharkBite o-rings, but it’s also important to care for your fittings properly.  

To keep your fittings from leaking behind walls, make sure your pipes are free of debris and barbs, which could cut the o-ring and ruin the connection. For underground applications, use the SharkBite silicone tape to protect the fitting from corrosion and the elements.  

3. SharkBite fittings are safe for residential applications.

The o-ring seal in SharkBite fittings can be trusted for both residential and new-build plumbing projects because of our manufacturing, materials and code compliances. Our manufacturing prioritizes innovation and precision, ensuring a quality product every time. Plus, we only use the best materials, including for our o-rings. We use a high-quality, peroxide-cured EPDM rubber that is chloramine-resistant, guaranteeing its performance over time. Our fittings are rigorously tested and NSF 61 approved, making them safe for your home and all potable water applications.  

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