What are the differences between various push-in valves

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LilyT

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Shark Bite, Accor Flow Tite, BrassCraft push-in, ……
Don’t they use the same technology, such as, metal rings with teeth, o-rings, etc.? Why does FlowTite seem to have bad reputation?
I have copper pipes sticking out the wall. Are compression valves better than all the push-in valves?
 

RS

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Yes, I think so. Whatever you use it's important the clean the copper tubing, and make sure there isn't any old solder on it. But, I have used Shark Bite type fittings with great success in the past.
 

LilyT

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My local Home Depot used to carry SharkBite lines a couple years ago in the store. Now they're all replaced by TecTite brand with almost identical looks - the removing tong has the exact same shape and purple color. When asked about Sharkbite products, store employees still direct me to the TecTite shelves. What's the story between these two brands? Are all parameters the same between the two?
 

Mitchell-DIY-Guy

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In my last "go around" when buying a lot of fittings for some plumbing modifications on my own home, I had a choice of three brands: SharkBite, BlueHawk, and Watts. I had no issues with the SharkBite or Blue Hawk, but in at least two cases with ¾" fittings, the Watts simply would NOT hold together under pressure. Yes, I scrupulously cleaned the tubing, and used the tool to mark the depth and clean the ends. This was on my home with a well system and I doubt the pressure ever exceeded 60psi. The only ones to not hold were the Watts.

It made quite a mess as these failed, but as soon as I replaced them with BlueHawk, the problem went away. I had the defective ones plus some unopened ones and they all went back to Menards.

I have not seen or heard of TecTite yet...last time I went into Home Depot this past summer they still had SharkBite.
 

Jeff Handy

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I would use compression valves on copper pipes.
The push on valves work fine, but the valve body will usually rotate, which can be a pita.
 

LilyT

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Thanks, Mitchell & Jeff!
Yes, I’m changing all my Accor FlowTite valves to 1/4 turns, the compression type, because I have no more confidence on push-on types.
However, it’s tricky when tightening the compression nuts. It takes way more adjustments than instructed to have a complete seal, the process is time consuming too, at least to a DIYer. Maybe a professional plumber can quickly find the sweet spot of the right amount of torque.
 

pakle

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I must have the worst luck ever with the 1/4-turn compression valves on my toilet & sink shut-off valves. Handyman put in Brasscraft 1/4-turn about 6 yrs ago. All was fine until last year or so when I had to turn about 6 of them (some for the first time in 5 yrs) for countertop work. 3 started leaking (slowly) afterwards, and did not stop even with multiple valve changes (to Brasscraft). I thought it was because the Brasscraft valves have plastic stems so I got some Dahls which have brass stems. One still leaked and I gave up since the only other solution was to cut the copper pipe and re-do. After several months, the Dahl stopped leaking. I replaced a toilet bidet last week, now that Brasscraft is leaking very very slowly (found it after a week). I'm going to leave it alone to see if it stops leaking in a few months. ALL of the Brasscrafts have these green deposits on them which I'm thinking are slow leaks that eventually sealed themselves up. So maybe they all leaked at some point, and ignorance was bliss. Turning them seems to re-activate the leaks if that makes sense.

At this point, I don't know if my high failure rates are due to bad parts (Brasscraft), poor installation technique by handyman (too tight? didn't used thread compound?), or something inherently wrong/got deformed with my copper pipe from repeated changes, or all of the above. I do know that it's an expensive and stressful problem to fix for 14 of these things at this point. And I'm probably looking at cutting the copper pipe on all 14 of these if I ever were to change again...
 
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LilyT

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Thanks for sharing your story, pakle! I felt the same stress and frustration with these stop valves!
I have 19 such valves, all Accor FlowTite type installed by the builder 20 years ago. They actually performed okay these years except felt oily & sticky on the outside of the tube. But once they had some movements, e.g., in my recent replacement of kitchen faucet or after my gentle wipe of the oily skin of the tube, majority of them would fail the next day. I replaced the failed ones with Home Depot’s 1/4 turn compression type. I spent lots of time to adjust and test the seal on each one. I hope these compression ones will perform better than the old FlowTite!
Anyway, your story kind of warns me of the uncertainty, it seems no matter what type they are all delicate and fragile!
BTW, don’t be afraid of cutting copper pipes. They can be extended by soldering. Maybe hiring a plumber next time, he should be better than the handyman.
 

pakle

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Finally someone who understands! And yes I had a plumber replace the one with the Dahl, which leaked shortly afterwards but seems to have sealed itself up. Super disappointed and I agree these things seem delicate and every time I have to turn one, I feel like I'm playing Russian roulette like "is it going to leak later?" Then 50% of the time it does and I have to put something underneath and monitor it for several months... It's so stressful. And expensive. The plumber quoted $200 to come back, cut the pipe, and put another one on. I said no thanks and luckily it stopped a few months later. No warranty on this stuff. I'm literally scared to turn anything unless I absolutely have to.

Not sure other types of valves besides compression are better, and other stuff may have its own cons. Does anything guarantee no leaks after it's turned for the first time in many moons? How much do I want to pay to find out? And why didn't the plumber mention it? And do I want to have 14 pipes cut to find out? Maybe better to stick with the devil I know. Anyway good luck replacing all your valves!
 

pakle

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Thanks, good tip. Right now I'm using regular white paper towels which I can't tell from afar if it's wet or it has been wet then dried. So I end up having to stick my head next to the toilet to check which is super-annoying. That's actually my next project. Trying to figure a permanent system to detect water leaks in an inconspicuous manner, i.e. not ugly & no batteries, and not alerting every visitor to the fact that "I Want to Know If I Have A Water Leak Problem." To be able to spot a difference in texture from afar or by opening the cabinet door. Because right now I also have an active J-bend leak under a bathroom sink and I discovered that when it soaked through a a cardboard box directly underneath, and I saw discoloration in the cardboard when I opened the cabinet door. It's never-ending...
 

Mitchell-DIY-Guy

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Thanks, Mitchell & Jeff!
Yes, I’m changing all my Accor FlowTite valves to 1/4 turns, the compression type, because I have no more confidence on push-on types.
However, it’s tricky when tightening the compression nuts. It takes way more adjustments than instructed to have a complete seal, the process is time consuming too, at least to a DIYer. Maybe a professional plumber can quickly find the sweet spot of the right amount of torque.
I hate compression valves; that's my personal opinion. Every valve will eventually fail, need repair, or replacement, and compression fit valves are "one and done". I like to do things such that they can be removed and replaced without a lot of fuss; I expect that I will be the one making the replacement, so I make it easy. Once you put that compression ring on, and tighten it down so that there are no leaks (as you note, it be quite a bit of torque on it) you'll never get that ring off without carefully sawing it. Usually the copper tubing (if we're talking about copper here) gets deformed in the process. As others note, you have to cut off and try again, but rarely is there enough excess tubing in which to do that. Compression on PEX is different.

In cases where I've had the ability and opportunity, I've soldered an MPT fitting on and used threaded valves. This isn't always possible of course.

In my home now, built in 2019, the stub outs for toilet water supply, and sink faucet supply, are dangling pieces of PEX. The "shut off" valves are these POS push/pull plastic things. The plumbers rarely left enough height for moldings or cover plates, a common problem. Just shoddy work. Personally if I were doing it (but of course the builders would say it's too costly) I'd have copper stub outs, rigidly attached to framing.

I have not had issue with the push on except for Watts as previously noted. @Jeff Handy's comment about the valve body twisting is 100% correct but hasn't been an issue for me. Once all connected and not leaking things stay in place.

Good luck in whatever you choose!!
 

pakle

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I hate compression valves; that's my personal opinion.
Thank you for sharing your experience with compression. I saw the guy saw off the compression ring, and I remember thinking that can't be good for the pipe... And when it leaked, they just kept tightening... I'm convinced at least half, if not all, of my 14 copper pipes are deformed at this point. I'll really have to think about what to put in when it comes time to do a re-pipe of the entire house. Several of my neighbors have done it recently because they had CPVC pipes that got brittle over time - I should ask them what they put in.
 

LilyT

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Hi pakle, sawing off the compression ring doesn't sound right to me. If the pipe is not deformed, he should be able to remove the ring by using tools like "compression sleeve puller" sold at Home Depot (Armour Line Adjustable Faucet Handle and Compression Sleeve Puller-RP77233 - The Home Depot) or if space is extremely limited use this tool English Tool Co.. If the pipe is deformed and these puller tools do not help, then he should use pipe cutter (AUTOCUT 1/2 in. O.D. Pipe Tubing Cutter-ATC12 - The Home Depot) to remove the bad section. If the leftover stub-out is too short, he can extend it by soldering. Then work from there.
 

LilyT

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here is the video on how to use the Home Depot's compression sleeve puller:
 

pakle

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Hi pakle, sawing off the compression ring doesn't sound right to me. If the pipe is not deformed, he should be able to remove the ring by using tools like "compression sleeve puller" sold at Home Depot (Armour Line Adjustable Faucet Handle and Compression Sleeve Puller-RP77233 - The Home Depot) or if space is extremely limited use this tool English Tool Co.. If the pipe is deformed and these puller tools do not help, then he should use pipe cutter (AUTOCUT 1/2 in. O.D. Pipe Tubing Cutter-ATC12 - The Home Depot) to remove the bad section. If the leftover stub-out is too short, he can extend it by soldering. Then work from there.
Yeah I have no idea... handyman couldn't pull it off so he sawed it, and put in a Dahl with new ring but it still leaked. Then plumber took it off, re-used the ring and put thread compound on the Dahl and put it back on. But it also still leaked... Now I know it's clearly deformed.

Sounds like you cannot tell if the copper pipe is deformed just by looking at it, truly a bummer!
 
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Twowaxhack

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Yeah I have no idea... handyman couldn't pull it off so he sawed it, and put in a Dahl with new ring but it still leaked. Then plumber took it off, re-used the ring and put thread compound on the Dahl and put it back on. But it also still leaked... Now I know it's clearly deformed.

Sounds like you cannot tell if the copper pipe is deformed just by looking at it, truly a bummer!
try a wrap of Teflon on the ferrule then retighten.

Be sure to wrap the Teflon in the direction the nut will be turning to tighten.
 

Jeff Handy

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I hate compression valves; that's my personal opinion. Every valve will eventually fail, need repair, or replacement, and compression fit valves are "one and done". I like to do things such that they can be removed and replaced without a lot of fuss; I expect that I will be the one making the replacement, so I make it easy. Once you put that compression ring on, and tighten it down so that there are no leaks (as you note, it be quite a bit of torque on it) you'll never get that ring off without carefully sawing it. Usually the copper tubing (if we're talking about copper here) gets deformed in the process. As others note, you have to cut off and try again, but rarely is there enough excess tubing in which to do that. Compression on PEX is different.

In cases where I've had the ability and opportunity, I've soldered an MPT fitting on and used threaded valves. This isn't always possible of course.

In my home now, built in 2019, the stub outs for toilet water supply, and sink faucet supply, are dangling pieces of PEX. The "shut off" valves are these POS push/pull plastic things. The plumbers rarely left enough height for moldings or cover plates, a common problem. Just shoddy work. Personally if I were doing it (but of course the builders would say it's too costly) I'd have copper stub outs, rigidly attached to framing.

I have not had issue with the push on except for Watts as previously noted. @Jeff Handy's comment about the valve body twisting is 100% correct but hasn't been an issue for me. Once all connected and not leaking things stay in place.

Good luck in whatever you choose!!
You can almost always leave the old ferrule on the copper pipe.
Just clean off minerals with a few swipes from a scotchbrite pad dampened with vinegar.
Then rinse off the vinegar.
Then just install a new valve of the same brand and style, re-using the old ferrule and the nut trapped behind it.
Sometimes you need to add a little dab of pipe dope around the ferrule, or a few wraps of teflon tape, if the ferrule is a little pitted from age.
Or just unscrew the guts of the valve, then install the guts from a new identical valve.
Or get a rebuild kit, which has the parts that wear out.
I always buy Brasscraft, because they are reliable and you can find them everywhere.
The old style multi-turn, easy to swap out or rebuild.
Yes, 1/4 turn valves are nice, but they have their own issues too.
 

pakle

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Thanks Twowaxhack and Jeff Handy, I've copied both of your comments for future reference. For the valve that has leaked & been changed 4 times in the 12 months, I believe the ring was pulled 3 times (Brasscraft) by the handyman and left on by the plumber (Dahl). So I'm pretty sure that pipe is deformed by now even though no one has checked. Mercifully it seems to have sealed itself up after several months. It's good to know that the ring doesn't need to be pulled in the future. I'm trying not to turn the valves but sometimes you have to, even just to change a toilet fill valve, and risk getting a leak... Too bad the leak typically takes a week to show up.

PS. I'll be buying some 3M Water Contact Indicator Tape to wrap around the valves and pipes. It's only $11 and white so not too ugly but turns bright red when wet. Hopefully I can finagle a system that's not too hideous.
 
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