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Sharkbite as Better Dielectric coupling????

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  • Sharkbite as Better Dielectric coupling????

    Hello, I replaced my leaking GE (Rheem) 50gal. water heater (cracked and/or corroded tank) with the same model (I even got $241 back for the 12-year "warranty"). Everything was already copper and the original installion used dielectric unions. I wasted a half a day trying to contact GE "technicians" and anyone else I could think of to ask questions about galvanic corrosion. No one understood my question. Normally, I do NOT like flex lines -- especially since everything was already perfectly soldered.

    HOWEVER: When I removed and closely inspected the existing dielectric unions, I noticed that one was nearly 30% closed-off due to corrosion and more interestingly -- after I scraped off the corrosion -- I noticed that the actual steel was being undercut by corrosion in the seal area. This heater was only 7 years old and we have a good water softener. I really do NOT enjoy cutting existing copper and replacing it with flex, but the Home Depot person (who is supposedly a plumber in his other job) showed me the Sharkbite fittings. I was immediately suspicious, but the more I thought about it, the less I liked the obvious galvanic corrosion that I saw on my old unions. (It was so significant that I thought that one of the unions may have started leaking within another 2 to 3 years.)

    I'm an automotive and aircraft mechanic by trade, but I've been soldering (and plumbing) for many years. Though I despise this new low-lead solder (compared to the "good old days"), I've done my share of low-lead soldering. Fear of solder is NOT the cause of my question. It was with GREAT unease, and actual sadness, that I cut my perfectly good copper to install sharkbite connectors.

    There were no leaks and they were the easiest connections that I could ever imagine: TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE?????? Still I am very concerned about galvanic corrosion. It is the mortal enemy to any type of dissimilar metals.

    The job is done and everything works fine. Are there any experts in galvanic corrosion on this forum? The Sharkbites design appears absolutely superior (dielectric-wise) to the old dielectric unions.

    Any input about Sharkbite longivity or any other ideas about better ways to isolate/insulate the copper pipe from the steel water heater tank??

    I suspect that galvanic corrosion provides MUCH "job security" within the plumbing world!

    Thank you,
    Robert Greenstreet

  • #2
    Re: Sharkbite as Better Dielectric coupling????

    a brass nipple is the only thing i will use on steel to copper.

    a shark bite will not stop electrolysis.




    • #3
      Re: Sharkbite as Better Dielectric coupling????

      Im sure you will get more answers from licensed plumbers, but I can tell you that NO ONE on this forum is going to tell you a sharkbite is a good thing. Ive used em but dont like them myself.


      • #4
        Re: Sharkbite as Better Dielectric coupling????

        the heater should already come with a plastic lined dielectric set of nipples.

        by the nature of the construction, a sharkbite is brass and will provide some level of protection. the galvanic scale will dictate the similarities and differences to each base metal.

        you want 100% protection, use a stainless braided flex. although those have other issues.

        phoebe it is