How to Disconnect Copper Piping

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The copper piping in your home is normally soldered together. When copper piping is soldered, the joint is heated to a point that the solder will melt and seep in between the copper pipe and a copper fitting. But soldered joints are easily separated because the heat that made the joint will also allow you to disconnect it. When using a flame to heat the copper piping, you need to be careful because many materials around the pipe will be highly flammable.

Things You'll Need

  • Safety glasses
  • Leather work gloves
  • Utility knife
  • Propane plumbing torch
  • Striker
  • Pipe wrench
  • Bucket of water
  • Rags
  • Put on your safety glasses, leather gloves and inspect the area around the copper piping for flammable materials.

  • Use a utility knife to cut away the insulation from the area where you are going to disconnect the copper pipe.

  • Turn on the gas valve of the propane torch and light the torch with the striker if it does not have a built-in igniter.

  • Place the flame of the propane torch 3 to 4 inches away from the copper piping, with the flame pointing directly at the copper fitting where you need to disconnect the piping.

  • Run the flame around the entire copper fitting, evenly heating the solder holding the copper pipe together.

  • Grasp the copper fitting with the pipe wrench and attempt to twist the fitting free from the copper pipe.

  • Continue to heat the copper fitting as you apply twisting pressure to the fitting with the pipe wrench.

  • Pull the copper fitting away from the copper pipe when you can twist the fitting with the pipe wrench. Pull until the copper fitting pops free of the copper pipe.

  • Pull the heated copper fitting from the other piece of copper pipe to remove the fitting and disconnect the pipe joint.

  • Drop the hot fitting into the bucket of water.

  • Wet a rag in the bucket of water and run the wet rag around the ends of the copper piping that entered the fitting to cool the ends of the pipe.

  • Repeat the procedure at each location where you need to disconnect the copper piping.

References

  • Photo Credit Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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