I finally installed an outdoor spigot on the far side of the house for watering the garden, which is something I’ve been meaning to do for months, and needed to finish before the start of this year’s gardening season. I’ve never done proper “plumbing” before, and was fully preparing for the hassle of soldering copper pipes, but then stumbled on a much simpler solution: SharkBite connectors!
I located a cold-water supply line in the basement that was perfect for splicing into:
- It’s close to my desired location of the outdoor spigot.
- The pipe is totally exposed, which makes it perfect for experimenting with SharkBite fittings, in case something goes wrong, or it starts leaking, etc.
- There are shutoff valves nearby on either side of the spot where I want to splice into, meaning that I won’t need to drain the water from the whole house.
SharkBite fittings don’t require any soldering, and simply slide over the pipe, securing themselves with a rubber o-ring inside the fitting. This seems almost too good to be true, which is why some professional plumbers seem to be distrustful of SharkBite fittings. But from what I can tell, as long as they’re installed properly, they’re every bit as reliable as regular soldered copper joints. Since the pipe on which I used these fittings is exposed, I’ll be able to monitor it for any problems in the future, and will report back if there is any leakage.
For the length of new piping that leads to the outdoor spigot, I used PEX tubing, which is a lighter, cheaper, and more durable alternative to copper. The only new tools I needed to purchase were a pipe cutter for cutting the copper pipe, a special tool for cutting the PEX pipe, and another tool for crimping the connectors that join together the different segments of the PEX tubing. The overall total cost of all the tools and materials was about $100, and the total installation time was no more than one hour! This is an enormous savings over hiring a professional plumber, and while I encourage everyone to hire local professionals to do jobs that are beyond your comfort level, if you’re considering doing simple plumbing work that doesn’t impact “critical” portions of your house, then SharkBite fittings and PEX tubing are great options.