How to remove a rusted pipe joint

Written by dale yalanovsky
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How to remove a rusted pipe joint
Removing a rusted pipe joint can be a major DIY undertaking. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Although there are several types of metal piping available for water or gas line installation, only steel or cast-iron pipe will rust. Iron pipe is galvanised to prevent rust and give a long service life. But galvanised pipe does not last forever, particularly if it is used as a channel for water. Over time, the pipe deteriorates and rusts, creating an almost welded-like fusing at the joints. When these pipe joints need to be removed, it can become a major DIY project.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Penetrating spray lube
  • Hammer
  • 2 pipe wrenches
  • Plumbers candle
  • Propane torch
  • Hacksaw
  • Powered reciprocating saw

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  1. 1

    Spray the rusted pipe joint threads liberally with penetrating spray lube. Allow this to sit for a few minutes while lightly tapping the joint to draw the penetrating lube into the rusted joint threads. Attach one pipe wrench onto the joint, and attach one pipe wrench onto the pipe. Turn them in opposite ways to break the rusted joint free.

  2. 2

    Heat up the joint with a propane torch, available at any hardware store. Heat the back of the joint, then apply a plumbers candle where the joint meets the pipe. The heat from the torch draws the candle wax into the rusted threads, providing lubrication. Turn off the torch and attach the pipe wrenches to the pipes as in Step 1. Turn them in opposite directions to break the rusted joint free.

  3. 3

    Cut the rusted joint out with a hacksaw. A powered reciprocating saw will make this job go much faster. When the joint has been removed, attach a pipe wrench to the cut off pipes, and turn them out. Replace the pipes as needed.

Tips and warnings

  • Always use extreme caution when using a torch to heat up the pipe.
  • Safety glasses are a must when using a hacksaw or a powered reciprocating saw.

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