These Shark PEX fittings are the best available. They are made from high quality materials and have an appearance that is flawless, very finished looking. Installation is a breeze using PEX tubing and clamps. There are no bad surfaces showing on the sealing ends and I expect they will seal very well and last indefinitely on any piping system in your residence.
PEX is the best kind of plumbing for homeowners. Working with crimp fittings and flexible plastic tubing is much easier than soldering copper with a torch. It's also easier than gluing together PVC pipe. The attached picture shows a job I did myself with PEX.
I wanted to replace the control manifold in a 50-year-old radiant heating system. The valves on the old manifold were all frozen, and it was risky even touching them. The was no way to balance the system, or properly flush it. The problem is that the new manifold is much larger than the old one, and worse - opposite-hand. The plumber refused to even return my call when I asked about this, so I decided to do it myself.
The first step was to get some copper fittings, watch a few videos on YouTube, and teach myself how to sweat pipe joints. It's really not difficult. Then I cut off all the old copper, and sweated PEX adapters onto each end. Each of the 3/8" ends required a separate adapter for the PEX adapter, which made 10 joints all together.
Once that was done, I put away the torch, and did the rest with the crimper. I recommend the pinch-ring style of crimper, as it only requires access to the front of the pipe, not all the way around it. The pinch rings are more expensive than the plain rings, but there is no way I could have done this otherwise. The crimp tool is expensive, but once you have it, you have it forever.
PEX tubing is flexible, but not flexible enough for this job, you can see all the elbows I used in order to make the new manifold fit in the same space, with the valves facing forward, even though, as I said, it is opposite-hand. There are something like 3 dozen crimp joints here. If I had to do all that in copper with a torch, it would have been a nightmare, but with PEX it was easy.
There were no leaks, and after three years it is still bone-dry. Once I got the system re-filled, I closed all the valves and flushed each loop one-by-one. The gunk that came out was incredible - 50 years' worth. After that, the heating system worked much better - every zone. This project didn't work out too well for my plumber though - he is now 'fired' - if I can do this, I can do anything. PEX is great!
I've always found SharkBite parts to be top quality.
I do not know how the company markets this as 5/8. Attached is a photo taken with my caliper on the outer diameter (OD) of the barb. As you can see it is .57 OD which is slightly larger than 1/2 inch - not .625 or 5/8 inch OD that these are being sold as. The ones I ordered are going back.
Was this helpful?
Response from SharkBite SupportFebruary 26, 2016
William - you are correct these fittings are .57 OD, which is the exact ID of 5/8" (OD) PEX Pipe. These are called 5/8" Fittings because they work on 5/8" PEX Pipe. In the first sentence of the Marketing copy it states "The SharkBite 5/8 in. x 5/8 in. Lead-Free Brass 90° Barb x Barb Elbow is compatible with PEX pipes", however in a response you made to a question on February 17th on Home Depot.com you stated you were using them on Auto Heater Hose/Oil Catch Can, these fittings are not designed for Automotive applications as clearly stated on all of our PEX Pipe Barb Fittings. We apologize for the confusion and your troubles. Thank you.
See the attached picture. That is a replacement manifold for a radiant heating system. The old manifold was leaky and the system was partly blocked, with no effective way to flush it since all the valves were frozen. When I inquired with the plumber who knows all these houses ( Levitt neighborhood, hundreds of houses all fitted-out the same weird way ) he would not even return my call! That's how much he didn't want the job. So I decided to bite the bullet and teach myself plumbing.
Turns out there are lots of great instructional videos on sweating pipe joints on the YouTubes. I watched a few, and made a some test joints on the workbench, and it was simple. Then I went in the rather cramped linen closet and cut out the old manifold, which you can see on the floor at the right. Onto each cut end I sweated a barbed PEX adapter - six in all.
The new manifold is both bigger and opposite-hand or mirror-image of the old one. That meant either installing it backwards, or getting clever. Installing it backwards was a bad option - you'd have to reach around the back to adjust the valves, and when it is running it is hot. So I sat down and started sketching things out, and this is the final result. The whole thing is folded-up so tight that it fit into the original space, and when I was done I simply replaced the shelf above.
This installation has 6 adapters, 9 elbows, one tee, one valve, and the manifold itself. There are 16 pieces of PEX tubing of different lengths and sizes, with two joints each, for a total of 32 crimped connections. To do all of this the old-fashioned way in copper and solder would have been a real pain. But with Pex tubing, barbed elbows, and crimp rings, it was easy. Well, as easy as it could be, it still took several hours. But I would much rather be crouched in that small space with the PEX crimper than a torch.
My first thought was to bend the tubing, but it is not that flexible, so I resorted to the elbows to keep the installation compact. When I turned the water back on, not one joint leaked, nor has one ever leaked in several years since I built it. The manifold works perfectly, and you wouldn't believe the gunk I flushed out of the system, one loop at a time now that I had working valves. The entire heating system works noticeably better now; rooms that once got no heat are now toasty, and rooms that got to much heat can be throttled-back.
This is an example of what you can do YOURSELF with minimal pipe sweating and PEX. Needless to say, I have not called the plumber since. This is the worst job I could imagine doing, and I pulled it off perfectly. Everything since then has been easy by comparison. The one downside of PEX is the startup cost of the tools and materials - a good crimper is not cheap. But once you have it, and a small torch to install the adapters if needed, you can do pretty much anything, including things your plumber wanted nothing to do with !!!
These brass elbows are ... brass elbows. They are exactly what they should be, nicely finished with no manufacturing flaws, ready to use.