Removing a Sharkbite fittings from a PEX or Copper pipe with a tool or screwdriver. 5 BEST Methods

Sharkbite fittings can be a great way to connect copper or PEX. You just slide them over the pipe and it is installed. It is possible that they leak and need to be replaced. Another reason why you want to remove one is if you installed one in the wrong place. Just pulling it won’t work as the sharp ends hold on to the pipe. Let’s see how we can remove a shark bite fitting. 

We have discussed how to remove PEX clamps here.

Start by turning off the water supply by closing the nearby valve. If there is no valve, you will have to close the main water supply. Drain the pipe by opening the nearby faucets. It can be a good idea to have a bucket and some paper nearby when you open up the pipe by removing the fitting. It is also important to wear proper protection such as gloves and goggles when you do this. Once this is done, the real work can start.

How to remove a Sharkbite fitting from a water pipe: the best removal tool.

Start by measuring the diameter of the pipe. This will make it easier to know what tool you will need. 

1/ Use a plastic clip

There are plastic clips that slide over the pipe. You can then push these against the Sharkbite fitting. This will release the sharp metal pieces that hold the fitting in place. Once this is done, it should be possible to slide the fitting off the pipe. At this point, you can work on the pipe again. This step takes less than a minute and is the easiest way to remove the Sharkbite fitting from the pipe.

2/ Adjustable wrench (or pipe wrench)

If you don’t have the plastic clip at hand, you can use an adjustable wrench in the same way. Just make sure that you don’t overtight the wrench as this could damage the pipe.

Every plumber has this in his toolbag so it is an easy way to remove a Sharkbite from a pipe. It might take some practice to get it done. You need to apply some force to get the clips removed but it is quite straightforward to do.

3/ Pipe clip or hose clamp

Pipe clips are used to hold a pipe against the wall. It can be used to slide the Sharkbite fitting off the pipe; This works quite similar to the plastic clip that we have discussed before. Just slide it over the pipe and against the Sharkbite fitting. They are often made out of plastic and can break so you have to be careful.

Hose clamp work in the same way. You can use a screwdriver or power tool to adjust the size of the clamp to the size of the pipe. This makes it adjustable and easy to work with if you have different sizes of pipes on the installation. 

4/ Bicycle wrench

This wrench comes in different sizes. Just find the right one and slide it over the pipe. Be careful that you don’t scratch the pipe when you use this tool! It can take some trial and error to find the right size of wrench. This is not a standard tool but can be used by a DIY’er that is also a bicycle fan. 

5/ You can use your hands as well

This might require a lot of trial and error but it should be possible to open up the Sharkbite fitting with your hands. You can push it forward and then use your fingers to give the clip a nudge. This should open up the sharp parts and it should be possible to slide the fitting off the pipe. It is best to use gloves when you do this. Using a tool is always easier and is the preferred option. 

6/ Cord 

A cord can be used as well for this. It can be quite challenging to use this to do this as you need to find the right angle. You might have to use some trial and error to get it done. It is necessary to use a strong cord for this as you need to apply quite a lot of force. 

This is not the best method but can be used when you really don’t have any other option available. While it might not look very professional, it can work and that is what counts. This option also works great for narrow corners.

7/ Cut the piece off

If you really have a hard time removing it, you can remove the piece of pipe. For copper, we use a pipe cutter for this. Simply close the cutter and turn it around a few times. You might have to tighten the knife after turning it around a few times. Don’t forget to debur it afterward to remove the sharp edges. You can use a knife for this.

For PEX, we can use a PEX cutter. This is quite easy to use as you just have to close it a few times. Simply calibrate the PEX pipe and you can add a new Sharkbite connector.  This is the fastest way to remove the Shark bite fitting if you don’t have wrenches or the plastic clip. You might have to remeasure your pipes though. 

To conclude, we can state that removing a Sharkbite fitting is quite easy to do. We have outlined multiple options in this post. While some plumbers don’t want to use these fittings, they are quite easy to use and adjust. Make sure that you are prepared when you do this as you have to drain the pipes before you start and get the right equipment. 

We all can get distracted and the outlined options make it easy to remove a Sharkbite fitting if you made a mistake. 

As discussed here, PEX has a lot of advantages over copper or steel. This includes the ability to easily remove fittings. In fact, some of these fittings are so easy to use that anyone can do it without plumbing experience. In this article, we have outlined some of these steps.

Even if you don’t have the required tool to do this, there are still creative ways to remove the Sharkbite fitting without too many issues.

We have discussed how to install a compression fitting on a plastic tube here.