In plumbing, soldering has been the way to do fitting work for a long time. But the new shark bite fittings have recently gained popularity because of their push to fit model.
Both of them are pretty good but depending on what you are using this for, you may want to use one over the other. Here we will discuss the pros and cons and where you can use one over the other.
Shark Bite vs Soldering
In terms of costs, soldering is way cheaper than the shark bite. Each soldering joint costs around sixty cents to one buck, granted you have the tool to do the soldering. But each fitting of shark bite costs five to ten dollars.
Soldering and Shark Bite Problems
Soldering is usually the go-to solution for all the fittings work. But it is hard to do. Also, you need flux, solder and heat torch to do soldering. If you are not a professional then chances are that you do not have any of these in the house.
Even if you buy all the items necessary for soldering, to do it right, you have to practice first and follow the caution. So, it is all out almost impossible to do it on your own.
If you are using shark bite then you have to make sure the water does not contain chlorine. Shark bite uses rubber to make the joint watertight. If the water contains chlorine, then yeah it will take some time but eventually, it will fall apart and leak.
Soldering vs Shark Bite Installation
Shark bite installation is very easy. Just take the pipe you want to install it on. Then, if it is a copper pipe, use sand paper to clean the oxidation. After that, just push the fitting into the pipe.
But if you want to do soldering then it is a bit harder. We have already talked about the items that are needed for soldering. Always use sand paper on both the fitting and the pipe to get rid of the oxidation. Then, use the flux on both of them.
Now, put the pipe inside the fitting. Use the flux to cover the joint. Then, start your heat torch and heat it from below. The reason we heat it from below is, heat always goes upward. So, if you heat the bottom then the top will get hot too.
After heating it use the solder and patch up the joint. So that, no holes are left in the joint. Then, wait for a few minutes to cool it down. After it is cooled, use a cloth to wipe off the extra flux.
If you are doing the soldering inside a wall, then you have to look out where the heat torch’s ray going. If you are not careful then it can harm the wall or start a fire. You can use an aluminium sheet behind the pipe to shield the wall from the torch.
It is better to use soldering if you doing a fitting that needs to last for a long time. A soldered fitting can last at least 50 years. Depending on the condition of the water, it can even last longer than that.
But shark bite is fairly new in the market. The company is about seventeen years old. So, it still hard to say how long the shark bite fittings last. Some sources say, it can last up to 25 years.
Which One Is Better for Your Work?
So far we have discussed the problems and how to install each fitting as well as the life expectancy of each kind. From there, it is easy to find out which one is better for you.
If you are doing the fittings for longevity then soldering is better. Soldering makes the fittings stay in one place permanently which is contributed to the longevity of the fittings.
On the other hand, shark bite is water tight but it can move with the water pressure. So, there is more chance to get a leak from all the moving.
Although the shark bite says it is usable underground and inside the wall, it is not recommended by anyone since it has more chance of leaking than a soldering fitting.
Now, a shark bite can be a great tool for using on the pipe that is outside of the wall. Like the pipes in the basement or on the heater. You can use the shark bite fittings on the pipes that need changing every 15-20 years. If you use shark bite then you can reuse it after changing the pipes.
Shark bites are reusable but there is a fluid inside the fitting that helps to make them slide into the pipe. So, too many reuses will lead to poor performance. But you can reuse it at least three times pretty easily.
Another use for the shark bite is for the emergency. If you need to attach two pipes as an emergency then a shark bite is a great option as it does not take much time. You just push the pipe inside the fitting. Later you can remove it using a removal tool.
Q: Which is less likely to fail?
Ans: If done properly then soldering is more reliable than the shark bite.
Q: Can I use shark bite on any pipe?
Ans: Yes, shark bite can be used on any kind of pipe.
Q: Can I use shark bite inside the wall?
Ans: Yes, you can but it is not recommended. As experts say, it is more prone to leak than the solder.
Q: Is it safe to use shark bite on boiler pipe?
Ans: Yes, it is safe.
Soldering and shark bite both types of fitting can be used based on the situation. But all the professional usually goes for the soldering as it is more secured and it is also cheaper. Unless you are going to be changing the pipes soon, soldering is all out a better option.
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