How to loosen corroded water pipes

Written by elizabeth knoll
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How to loosen corroded water pipes
Pipe connections can become severely corroded over time. (pipe fitting image by Joann Cooper from

You put your wrench on your plumbing pipe, and you try to turn it, but it doesn't budge. You then pull a little harder, and it still won't budge. This is actually a common problem with old plumbing pipes that were made out of black iron or galvanised iron. Over time, the thread sealant between the threads breaks down, and the threads corrode together.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Liquid Wrench or PB Blaster
  • Pipe wrenches
  • Plumber's candle
  • Propane torch
  • Reciprocating saw

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  1. 1

    Squirt the joint between the two pipes with a lubricant such as Liquid Wrench or PB Blaster. Allow the mixture to sit for several minutes. Place a pipe wrench on the stuck pipe, and place another pipe wrench on the fitting next to it. While holding the pipe wrench firmly on the fitting, turn the pipe wrench on the pipe counterclockwise.

  2. 2

    Heat the fitting with a propane torch until hot. Apply a plumber's candle to the joint. Drag it around the entire joint to allow the wax to flow into the joint. Remove the heat, and orient the wrenches the same way as in Step 1 to loosen the pipe.

  3. 3

    If the above two methods do not yield positive results, cut the pipe with a reciprocating saw. If you plan on reusing the pipe, you will have to thread the cut section of pipe with a pipe threader.

Tips and warnings

  • You may want to try using a breaker bar on your pipe wrench before resorting to cutting the pipe. Sometimes the extra torque is sufficient in breaking the connection.
  • Place a dust sheet underneath the pipe to catch any wax that drips. Wax can be extremely hard to remove from some surfaces.

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