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Old 03-08-2013, 11:38 AM   #1
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1964 19' Globetrotter
South Kingstown , Rhode Island
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Sharkbite blowout

We arrived at our campsite in Carmel Valley last night in the rain and dark, got the Globie hooked up and poured something to drink, and the sound of the rain got.... louder and closer, almost like it was inside. It was inside- a hot water pex sharkbite connection had blown out, fortunately where I could get to it. Also fortunately, I had put in ball valves to isolate the fixtures, so I could turn it off and still have cold water. Off to the most likely local place to buy another sharkbite piece to replace the one that failed. Maybe i didn't secure the pipe adequately and it vibrated apart? I was able to shove everything back together, but under pressure, the pex worked it's way out of the fitting in about 10 seconds. The pressure didn't seem excessive, and I never turn on the spigot to the trailer more than a quarter turn to start with. I'd enjoy any words of wisdom or otherwise. Thanks
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Old 03-08-2013, 11:44 AM   #2
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Sharkbite blowouts are usually caused by either:

1) pipe not inserted far enough into the sharkbite, or
2) not cutting the end of the pipe square.

There is a place and a time for Sharkbite and similar fittings (the big-box stores sell ones made by Watts around here) but they are not as reliable as crimped connections.
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Old 03-08-2013, 11:48 AM   #3
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When the hot water heater is turned on there is expansion in the system, that can cause various leaks, or undo a weak connection. Follow these threads about cures for that problem:

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Old 03-08-2013, 11:51 AM   #4
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I would measure the depth of the sharkbite fitting and mark this on the pipe. Push the pipe in as far as you can in relation to the mark on the pipe. Try to retract the pipe to see if the teeth bite into the pipe.

When I replumbed my first trailer with pex I used the quick connect fittings from Lowes. While they were not Sharkbite fittings though they worked similarly. The pex had to be perfectly square to the fitting or else they would leak. I tore them out and returned them. I purchased a Zurn crimp tool and associated fittings. No problems thereafter. I would keep the quick connect fittings as an emergency backup in the trailer toolbox.
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Old 03-08-2013, 11:55 AM   #5
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The square cut of the pex is the key to sharkbite installation. I've been there.

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Old 03-08-2013, 12:08 PM   #6
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Hi, wow, thanks for the quick responses. The end is cut square and it was in all the way- I have about a dozen other sharkbites in the trailer and no problems.... so far. I'm not a plumber, but have plumbed two homes with copper and ABS myself, so I know something, maybe just enough to be dangerous, but have had good success. I will go through the other posts that you linked to. It's great to have this sounding board when something goes wrong, rather than being literally out in the wilderness alone! Even so, it was a great night in the trailer, good food and wine and reading, and a good night's sleep.
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Old 03-08-2013, 02:10 PM   #7
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I had a Sharkbite leak in the house

The problem was that weight of the water made the connection bow. I straightened it, and supported it. To be safe, keep it straight and figure a way to support the line near the fitting.
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Old 03-08-2013, 02:49 PM   #8
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Is it possible that you undid that fitting once while putting it all together? They can be disconnected and used again, but the teeth that bite the pipe and deform ever so slightly. I never trust them after they were set once.
Watts type fittings are made of plastic, shark bite fittings are bronze cast with plastic innards. The two are very different. I used Watts type once on my own trailer and would never use them again except in an extreme situation. Crimped on fittings are bullet proof. They never leak except the plastic swivel unions when cross threaded or over tightened.
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Old 03-08-2013, 05:09 PM   #9
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Sharkbites and their twin....Gatorbites, both have a depth gauge for different sizes of tubing so you can mark them to be certain that they are fully inserted. I would highly suggest using one if you use these connectors.

I have never had one of these, or Sea-Tech plastic fittings get loose or blow out, and I use a lot of them every day.
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