How to remove a rusted steel pipe fitting

Written by danny donahue
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How to remove a rusted steel pipe fitting
Pipes carry the gases and liquids we need to where we need them. (steel image by Oleg Guryanov from

Steel pipes were the standard for carrying gas and water for many years until safer, easier plastic and fibreglass pipes became readily available. Steel pipes oxidise over time, and the rust forms an almost "welded" chemical bond between the pieces of metal. Separating rusted pipes and fittings is a common evil when working on older steel pipes. To remove a rusted fitting from an old steel pipe, you will need a few minutes of your time, the right tools and a few tips.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • 2 pipe wrenches with 24-inch handles
  • 2 heavy metal pipes, each 24 inches long
  • Oil in an oil can
  • Torch
  • Safety glasses
  • Heavy leather work gloves
  • Fire extinguisher

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  1. 1

    Slide a pipe wrench onto the fitting and another onto the pipe. Place the wrenches so the handles are facing you and are separated at a 45-degree angle. Press the handles to loosen the fittings.

  2. 2

    Slip a heavy metal pipe onto the handle of each wrench to gain more leverage when attempting to loosen the fitting from the pipe.

  3. 3

    Spray oil onto the rusted fitting, and allow it to penetrate the rusted juncture for 15 minutes. Remove the fitting with the pipe wrenches. Use the leverage-extender pipes if necessary.

  4. 4

    Heat stubborn junctures for 15 to 30 seconds with a torch to soften the metal and allow easy removal.

Tips and warnings

  • Always wear gloves when working with hand tools.
  • Always wear safety glasses when working with rusted metal.
  • Always have a fire extinguisher close at hand when working with a torch.

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