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Plumbing gadgets

Article-Plumbing gadgets

I’m finally getting around to finishing a patio on the back of an addition to our house.  The addition was finished over a year ago.  The patio?  Soon, I hope.  The patio will someday  include an outdoor cooking setup, so I made sure that electricity, hot and cold water, and a drain were all available on the outside.

For reasons known only to the plumber, the hot water comes out the side of the building and has a shutoff valve installed, while the cold water was run under the slab forms to the outside, capped with a threaded cap.  After building the retaining wall and filling the patio, the cold water was now buried about 18 inches underground.  I wasn’t looking forward to shutting off the water, digging it up, and sweating additional pipe onto the end to bring it above ground.  I rate my copper pipe sweating skills as decent at best, so a job like this could easily go awry and result in an extended water outage.

While I was at the hardware store to buy the copper fittings I needed I saw the “Sharkbite” display.  I’ve seen them before but hadn’t given them a try.  Based on the recommendation of the hardware store guy (”They’re like candy”) I got a couple to see how they work.  To look at them you’d think “no way”.  They look like a brass version of the “John Guest” connectors you see on refrigerator and RO filters.  The body is metal but the working parts on the inside are all plastic.  This is going to seal to a 3/4″ copper pipe that has been buried in the ground for a year?  I got some conventional copper fittings just in case.

I was very happy with the results, however.  What a great gadget this thing is.  About 10x the cost of a regular sweat fitting but it snaps together in a couple seconds, doesn’t leak, and it actually allows the pipe to swivel around!  It took longer to fill the hole in than it did to install the additional pipe to bring the connection to grade level.  The fitting has a little plastic collar that you can push back to release the pipe, making it reusable.  I’d be curious to know how durable that connection is.  If the pipes move around a lot, due to water hammer, will it eventually start to leak?  With mine buried in the dirt I’m not too worried about it moving.

Steve Ravet

Design News Gadgeteer

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