Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.
Need to contact us? Visit https://heatinghelp.com/contact-us/.
Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.

cutting iron pipe inside wall

Bug Member Posts: 4
I'm replacing a deteriorated length of iron pipe in an ancient closed hot-water heating system.  This section runs vertically inside a 4" wall, about an inch away from a stud.  The threads on all the joints are frozen up, and there are no unions visible.  So I've decided I have to cut the pipe and re-thread, but there's not enough clearance to move a pipe cutter all the way around the pipe.  I'm worried about sawing off the pipe because I want to avoid getting filings into the system.  What are my alternatives?  Thanks!


  • Can you,,,,,,,,,,

    perhaps use a 4 wheel pipe cutter on-it?
  • Bug
    Bug Member Posts: 4
    < 90 degrees

    Anybody know of a 4-wheel pipe cutter that will work with well under 90 degrees of rotation? 
  • confined space pipe cutting

    can you cut or break any of the fittings as a start?-nbc
  • Bug
    Bug Member Posts: 4

    First, thanks Dave and Nicholas for the input.  Now I'm looking at Nicholas' suggestion of breaking fittings.  Let me add some background here...

    I'm on the second floor servicing a pipe in the wall that feeds a rad on the third.  For fittings in this section there's (I think) a tee below the floor for another rad that's on the 2nd floor, and a couple of 45 elbows near the ceiling.  There's some very bad rust where it goes through a sheet-metal lined hole in the top plate (2x4), and I the leak is inside that hole.   In addition, the whole length going through the second floor is badly rusted (though not leaking) and should be replaced.  My plan is to first cut the pipe above the top elbow, just below the top plate, in order to free the pipe from the hole, then cut again below the elbows at a comfortable height.  I will also have to cut above the leaky area up on the third floor , then replace the entire cut section from mid 2nd floor to the 3rd floor cut.

    So I guess breaking the top elbow might save me the initial cut at the top plate, but I still would like to cut below that to replace the rusted length on the 2nd floor. 

    Maybe I should just forget trying to replace the lower rusted section and only cut near the top.  There's good clearance along the diagonal section between the elbows so I can get both the cutter and re-threader in there pretty easily.

    Any reactions out there?

    And oh yeah - is it a mortal sin to risk getting some filings in there by using a reciprocating saw?  How bad would this be, really?  Would you do it in my situation?

    Thanks again....
  • Yep,,, I would,,,,

    Sawzall whatever you have to for removal of this pipe,,,, you can flush the system after.

    If the piping is that crappy, installing a sediment filter at the boiler may not be a bad idea. :-)
  • Bug
    Bug Member Posts: 4
    Have Sawzall Will Flush

    Okay, if flushing will clear the filings, I'm not worried about it.  And will look into a filter at the boiler as well.  Thanks again, I really appreciate it!!
This discussion has been closed.