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Can Sharkbite Fittings Be Reused? (Explained)

Sharkbite fittings are one of the most popular elements of plumber fittings. They are considered a time-saving element for their unique style and usability. Plumbers prefer using them for their simplicity and efficiency. 

Today, we are going to discuss whether sharkbite fittings can be reused or not.

Can sharkbite fittings be reused?

Sharkbite fittings can be reused a couple of times. Sharkbite fittings become weaker with every reuse. The lubricant inside the sharkbite fittings starts to fade away with every reuse and causes them to leak. A reused sharkbite fitting should be installed in easy-to-access places.

To understand if sharkbite fittings can be reused, first of all, we will need to talk about the function mechanism of sharkbite fittings and how it is used and reused in plumbing fittings.

Plumbing fittings:

Plumbing fittings are one of the most important elements of a building’s structure. Plumbing fittings help in putting together pipes that maintain the flow of gas, water, and waste through a building. 

Without using proper plumbing fittings, the entire plumbing system will fail to operate.

There are several categories and kinds of plumbing fittings. Sharkbite fittings are one of them. They fall in the category of the push-to-connect fitting. 

Compared to other plumbing fittings, sharkbite fittings are new to the scene and there are still a lot of undiscovered things about their uses and functions.

Sharkbite fittings are known for tolerating high temperature and pressure because of their brass body. Their brass body protects them against cold temperatures.

One of the eye-catching features of sharkbite fitting is the ring of teeth that it has around its collet area. This ring of teeth is responsible for holding the pipe in place. Sharkbite fittings also have a plastic spacer that is essential for locking down the tube.

Sharkbite fittings can be reused as plumbing fittings. But they can be reused only two to three times. If they are reused on a regular basis, the O ring of the sharkbite fitting will go bad and your pipe will start to leak.

It is recommended by plumbing experts to reuse sharkbite fittings for testing purposes only. If you reuse a sharkbite fitting, the lubricant inside the fitting will be wiped away causing it to leak water or gas. 

If you want to avoid repairing your plumbing fittings, it is better to use a new sharkbite fitting. Reusing a sharkbite fitting will only increase the chance of leakage.

4 reasons why sharkbite can be reused

There are several reasons that give the sharkbite fittings the ability to be reused. Let’s discuss in detail.

Their structure:

Sharkbite fittings possess a unique structure. Their body is made of brass that is lead-free. That is an impressive feature as it gives them the ability to maintain their performance under high temperatures and pressure. 

They also have a ring of teeth that is crucial when it comes to connecting the pipe. These strong structural features give them the ability to be reused.

Their durability:

Sharkbite fittings are more durable than plastic and rubber fittings. It protects the plumbing system from corrosion. Corrosion and rust can cause leakage and sharkbite fittings are able to fight against it. 

Sharkbite fittings are free from corrosion and rust and can be reused if needed.

Their function:

Sharkbite fittings belong to the category of push-to-connect design. You need to push the sharkbite fitting onto the pipe and the ring of teeth and plastic spacer will do the rest. Their easy-functioning style makes them reusable.

Their easy removal:

Sharkbite fittings are also easily removable. Their removal does not take a lot of time and effort. Their removal being as easy as their functioning makes them more reusable than other plumbing fittings.

How many times can you reuse sharkbite fittings?

It is believed that sharkbite fittings can be reused only three times. Anything more than that will practically diminish the ability of the sharkbite fittings. The ring of the sharkbite fittings is coated with a special lubricant. With every reuse, the lubricant gets less and less. 

The decrease of lubricant can affect the watertight ability of the sharkbite fittings and cause them to leak.

As sharkbite fittings are easy to use, they are popular in all kinds of the plumbing systems. But reusing the sharkbite fittings in difficult-to-access areas can create problems as reused sharkbite fittings are suspected to leak. 

So reusing a sharkbite fitting is possible, but it is better to use a new one.

How to remove and reuse sharkbite fittings?

Removing and reusing sharkbite fittings might seem like a difficult task. But it is actually easy to do if you follow the steps correctly. Let’s discuss in detail how to remove and reuse sharkbite fittings.

Choose the tool:

Many tools can be used to remove a sharkbite fitting from the plumbing system. The list of tools includes an adjustable wrench, pipe clip, pipe hose, and rope. You can even do it using your bare hand. 

But removing it with a bare hand is not recommended as it can cause injuries.

Push the collar off:

You will need to place the tool you have selected in front of the collar of the sharkbite fitting. If it is an adjustable wrench, use the range to push on the collar. The collar after being pushed will unzip the O ring and remove the sharkbite fitting from the pipe.

You can also use a pipe clip to push the collar and remove the sharkbite fitting. Whatever tool you use, using it precisely is the key to removing the sharkbite fitting.

Wash the sharkbite fitting:

After removing it from the pipe, you will need to wash the sharkbite fitting thoroughly and inspect it for any leakage. If there is no leakage or any other issues found, you can prepare it to be reused.

Cut the pipe:

The pipe you are intending to use in the reuse of the shakbite fitting needs to be cut properly. A square-cut will do the trick in this case. The pipe needs to be inspected for any scratches or leaks. 

An unhealthy pipe will cut down the efficiency of the reused sharkbite fitting.

Make the insertion:

In the final step, the pipe needs to be inserted into the sharkbite fitting. You can make an insertion mark on the pipe. You will need to push the pipe into the sharkbite fitting up to the insertion mark of the pipe.

When you push the pipe in, the O ring of the sharkbite fitting will do the job of holding the pipe accurately.

Check for any leakage:

You can start the water flow to check for any leakage inside the sharkbite fitting. Reusable sharkbite fittings are prone to leakage as it loses lubrication with every reuse. 

If you find a leakage after reusing a sharkbite fitting, it is better to remove it and install a new one instead.

Do sharkbite fittings fail over time? Does reusing it make it weaker?

Sharkbite fittings have an expiry date just like everything else. They possess the certification of international plumbing codes for permanent installation. Sharkbite fittings are also approved by the uniform plumbing code.

The sharkbite fitting manufacturers provide a warranty of twenty-five years. It means if sharkbite fittings are installed accurately according to the manual, then they will stay good for a long time.

However, removing and reusing a sharkbite fitting cut down its lifespan significantly. A sharkbite fitting can be reused only three times. After that, it starts to leak and loses its ability to maintain the natural flow of water through your plumbing system.

Can SharkBite fittings be used permanently?

There is a false theory that sharkbite fittings work best as a short-term solution and can not be used permanently. But sharkbite fittings are approved by several plumbing codes for permanent installation. There is nothing to worry about using sharkbite fittings as a permanent solution.

A properly installed sharkbite fitting can stay good for up to twenty-five years. If you find it difficult to install a sharkbite fitting by following the manual, you should take the help of a plumber. 

The brass body of sharkbite fittings gives your plumbing system protection against high temperature and pressure on a permanent basis. The ring of teeth can firmly hold the pipe in place for a long time.

Final Thoughts

Sharkbite fittings can be reused three times at the very most. The removal and reuse of sharkbite fittings are easy. But sharkbite fittings lose their effectiveness against leakage with every reuse. It is better to use a new sharkbite fitting rather than reusing an old one.