The easiest way to remove a SharkBite fitting is by fitting a specialized removal tool onto the pipe. Then, slide the tool up until it is pressed firmly against the release collar at the base of the fitting. Grab the tool and fitting in one hand and pull. As the tool pushes the collar upward, it will release the SharkBite fitting from the pipe. The fitting will slide off. If you don’t have a specialized tool, you can use an adjustable wrench to remove SharkBite fittings.
Table of Contents
How Do You Remove a SharkBite Fitting with a Disconnect Tool?
SharkBite fittings make for fast construction and a reliable permanent installation, but removing them can be tricky. If you’re not familiar with removing SharkBite fittings, just follow these easy steps:
Purchase a Removal Tool
The best tool for removing SharkBite fittings is this set of removal tools. Tools designed to remove SharkBite fittings are simple and very inexpensive. It’s good to have a set on hand so you can remove fittings from most standard pipe sizes. However, if you know the diameter of the pipe you’re working with, you can purchase a single tool very cheaply. These tools work better than other methods, so you’re less likely to scratch and damage pipes during fitting removal.
Ensure the Pipe Can Travel
Before you attempt to remove a SharkBite fitting from a pipe, make sure there is enough play for the pipe fitting to slide off the pipe. Some plumbing installations make it difficult for pipes to move without bending or breaking the pipes they are connected to. If you are working with a complex junction, such as a three-way connection, you may have to remove the fittings in a specific order so each pipe can easily slide out of the SharkBite fitting.
Slide the Tool Onto the Pipe
Select the correct removal tool size and slide it around the pipe, below the fitting. The direction the tool is facing matters. Make sure the flat side of the tool (it often has the tool size printed on it) is facing away from the fitting. The side of the tool with the hollowed-out horseshoe shape should be facing toward the fitting.
Snug the Tool to the Base of the Fitting
With your tool in place, slide it toward the fitting until the tool is pressed snugly against the release collar at the base of the fitting. The release collar is the sleeve of tan-colored plastic that extends past the fitting. If your release tool does not fit snugly, you may have the wrong size. Try a smaller size. You want to use the smallest tool that fits the pipe.
Pull to Remove the Fitting
With your tool snug against the release collar, grab the tool and fitting in one hand, then pull with steady pressure. As you pull, make sure the pressure of the pulling motion is on the removal tool, not the fitting. By pulling the removal tool against the release collar, you will disengage the fitting. Then, the fitting will slide free from the pipe. If it is undamaged, there are even cases where you can reuse a SharkBite fitting.
How Do You Remove a SharkBite Fitting Without a Tool?
If you have encountered SharkBite fittings during a plumbing repair but don’t have any removal tools on hand, you can still remove them. Just use this method.
Use an Adjustable Wrench
For this job, you’ll need an adjustable wrench, like this one. Use the smallest wrench that can fit around the pipe. Smaller wrenches allow for more fine-tuning, which helps get the wrench snug. The more snug the wrench is on the pipe, the easier time you’ll have removing the SharkBite fitting.
Tighten the Wrench onto the Pipe
Open the wrench to fit around the pipe at a point below the fitting you wish to remove. Then, tighten the wrench until it grips the pipe. Now, open the wrench slightly. You want the wrench to be as tight as possible, while still being able to slide along the pipe.
Slide the Wrench to the Base of the Fitting
With your wrench adjusted, slide it up until it is pressed against the plastic release collar at the base of the SharkBite fitting. Make sure the wrench makes firm contact with the release collar on 3 sides (the jaws of the wrench, as well as the base). If the wrench isn’t making proper contact all the way around, try another wrench. You can damage or break your pipe and fitting if you try removal without properly releasing the collar of the fitting.
Pull the Wrench and Fitting for Easy Removal
Grip the wrench securely around the head. Then, pull steadily, putting all the pressure on the wrench so that it presses the SharkBite release collar upward. As the collar is pressed upward, the fitting will slide off. This system works for SharkBite fittings installed on copper pipe, as well as PVC and PEX.
How Do You Remove a SharkBite Fitting that is Stuck?
The best trick for removing a stuck SharkBite fitting is to first try using the removal tool at a different angle. For instance, if the top of the horseshoe removal tool is pointed toward the ceiling and the fitting won’t slide off, rotate the tool so the top is pointed toward the floor, then try again. If this doesn’t work, use the tool to depress the release collar, then push the pipe further into the fitting by ¼-inch (6 mm). Next, attempt regular removal with the tool.
- Rotate the removal tool to a different angle, then try removal again.
- Use the removal tool to depress the release collar, push the pipe 1.4-inch (6 mm) deeper into the fitting, then try to pull the fitting off.
- Never try to push or pull a stubborn SharkBite fitting when the release collar is not being depressed.
- When SharkBite removal tools fail, try pliers, a wrench, or removal tools made for other brands of push-to-connect fittings.
Whenever you are attempting to remove a SharkBite fitting, do not pull on the fitting if the release collar is not depressed. Pushing or pulling on a stuck SharkBite fitting will make the problem worse. If the standard removal tool is not working, try an adjustable wrench, pliers, or a removal tool for a different kind of push-to-connect fitting.
How Do You Disconnect SharkBite Push-to-Connect Fittings?
There are two main methods for removing SharkBite fittings. They are:
Removal with a Sharkbite Tool
- Purchase a SharkBite removal tool that fits the pipe you’re working on.
- Make sure the fitting can slide off the pipe without damaging other pipes.
- Fit the removal tool onto the pipe with the hollowed-out side facing toward the fitting.
- Slide the removal tool up and ensure it fits snugly against the release collar of the fitting.
- Pull the removal tool up to depress the release collar and remove the fitting.
Removal with an Adjustable Wrench
- Use the smallest adjustable wrench that will fit the pipe you’re working with.
- Tighten the adjustable wrench until it is snug but you can still slide it along the pipe.
- Slide the wrench up to the fitting and make sure it is making contact with the release collar on 3 sides.
- Grasp the wrench head and pull with even pressure to depress the release collar and remove the SharkBite fitting.
With these two methods, you’ll be able to tackle SharkBite and any other push-to-connect fittings you encounter. It is always recommended to use a specialized removal tool, to avoid damaging pipes and fittings, but the wrench method is very useful.