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Removing a dead section of pipe

Greetings! Before I take this on I’m wondering if there’s any tips from you all. I have a dead branch off my main loop that I’d like to remove because we have a treadmill in a spot where the dead branch would be in our head space. I have a breaker bar that I plan to use to unscrew the section and a cap ready to go in its place. Anything else I should consider?


  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,826
    Grab it as close to the fitting as you can (The fitting will help to keep the pipe from collapsing.) and brace the free end of the pipe so you don't end up twisting the main and loosening a fitting you don't intend to, and make sure you have good pipe hangers holding up the main—no perf straps!

    Using a cheater pipe on a pipe wrench will void the guarantee, if it has one, so wrap a rag around it so it doesn't scratch the paint, just in case.

    As far as I can tell from the picture, there's no pipe joint compound in the joint, so penetrating oil might make it easier to turn. You should use some pipe joint compound or PTFE thread tape on the plug.

    Turn off the heat while you're working. It always takes longer than you think it will.
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • dopey27177
    dopey27177 Member Posts: 887
    If you were never in this business and don't know the tricks of the trade have a pro come in and remove the pipe
    from the fitting.

    The location of the 45 degree el is not a good place to hold back
    with a second wrench.

    Using cheater bars or extra levers can cause the fitting to break and if it breaks at the steam main you are in trouble.

    Using a sawsall and a hammer and chisel will get the pipe removed with no damage,

    A pro knows how to do it!!

  • acwagner
    acwagner Member Posts: 505
    edited November 2019
    Put a second wrench on the fitting to resist the force of the wrench on the pipe. Without the second wrench, the force you put on the pipe might do something unexpected--like undo or break a fitting further down line.

    I redid the piping for my system over the summer. Just to see what it would take to remove a 90 year old 2" fitting from a pipe, I put an old portion of pipe with a 90 on it in my pipe vise. It required a 24" wrench with a 5' pipe extension on on it to remove it. It also deformed the pipe.

    An alternative is to remove the 45 degree fitting. I used a grinder to cut a slot in the fitting, and then a cold chisel to act as a wedge. It would either open up the fitting enough so it could be unthreaded or would crack the fitting off. You can then put a cap on in its place.
    Burnham IN5PVNI Boiler, Single Pipe with 290 EDR
    18 Ounce per Square Inch Gauge
    Time Delay Relay in Series with Thermostat
    Operating Pressure 0.3-0.5 Ounce per Square Inch

  • SeanBeans
    SeanBeans Member Posts: 506
    Yeah I’m with @acwagner

    I’d would remove the 45 probably and cap the nipple coming out of the T
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 4,822
    edited November 2019
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • Aberagejoemn
    Aberagejoemn Member Posts: 38
    edited November 2019
    Thanks everyone! I used some blaster penetrating catalyst on the joint along with a three/four foot long breaker bar attached to my wrench. A few slow pulls and it loosened. I reused the 2” cap from the section I removed as it’s the biggest cap I can get at Depot. I also put some thread sealer on it before locking it down. I fired up my boiler and no leaks from where I can see. Rads are hot so I think I’m in business.

    Thanks again for your replies!
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,826
    Keep an eye on your water level. If there's a leak in one of the main joints you might not see it under the insulation, but the water level will go down more than usual.

    Good job!
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24