How to Loosen PVC Plumbing

Written by joey pellham
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Sometimes you may have to work on your PVC plumbing. Perhaps your sink drain is clogged and you need to remove it. Or maybe your PVC pipe has a pinhole leak in it and needs to be replaced. The two most common ways to loosen PVC plumbing are to use a pipe wrench or channel-lock pliers, or cutting out a PVC section and regluing it.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Buckets
  • Towels
  • Pipe wrench
  • Channel-lock pliers
  • Spray lubricant
  • Mini-hacksaw
  • Flexible PVC connector

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    PVC Connections

  1. 1

    Set out some buckets or towels to catch any water that drains from the PVC pipes you are working on.

  2. 2

    Apply the pipe wrench or channel-lock pliers to the PVC nut you are trying to loosen. Turn the wrench counterclockwise until the seal breaks.

  3. 3

    Remove the PVC nut the rest of the way by hand. If the nut is stuck, spray some lubricant on the connection and let it sit for about 15 minutes or so.

  4. 4

    Use two wrenches for connections that have loose pipes in the walls. You will know this because as soon as you begin to turn the first wrench, the whole pipe in the wall will move.

  5. 5

    Hold one wrench on the wall pipe while you apply the other wrench to the connector. This way, the wall pipe won't break.

    Glued PVC Fittings or Pipes

  1. 1

    Cut the PVC pipe with the mini-hacksaw. Some PVC pipes or fitting are glued together. The only way to remove them is to cut out a section and then replace it with another PVC pipe or fitting.

  2. 2

    Attach a new flexible PVC connector by sliding one nut and washer over each end of the cut pipe. Tighten down both nuts with the pipe wrench or channel-lock pliers.

  3. 3

    Test the new connection for leaks.

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