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Trouble Removing a soldered fitting

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BigMak
BigMak Member Posts: 44
I'm trying to remove a soldered copper elbow that is very close to wall. can't cut. I heated it up, and nothing. the connect pipe and fitting did loosen, but not the one i needed to loose. I tried again, bringing the fitting the point of it practically glowing orange. and still it won't loosen.

what am i doing wrong?
can over heating a fitting bring it to the point of irreversibly joined?

Comments

  • HVACNUT
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 5,886
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    It happens sometimes. Since the wrong joint loosened anyway, cut it back and make a new piece. If you can't get the pipe off the wall, slip a piece of sheet metal between, and have a fire extinguisher on hand.
    GroundUpMad Dog_2
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 7,241
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    You've over cooked it.  You might give it one more shot.  Heat it up but no too much.  Use a generous dab of Flux and try to force it in to the joint.  Keep the majority of heat away from the joint..favor the fitting.  Use 440 Channelocks to try and twist it off...add more Flux if needed.  Back and forth, it should come off.  Once you get elbow off, take a 3 M pad and wipe all solder globs off.  Clean off pipe with clean damp rag removing all Flux.  Now wipe immaculately clean with a clean, dry rag. Now use open mesh grit cloth and clean to a high shine.  Fresh Flux on pipe & fitting.  Don't over heat...resolved.  worth a shot.  Mad Dog 🐕 
    mattmia2
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,940
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    Wrap a wet rag around the fitting you don't want to loosen.
    Mad Dog_2RayH
  • Dave Carpentier
    Dave Carpentier Member Posts: 604
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    If you're pulling/prying hard on a fitting while torching it, keep in mind what could happen when it lets go. Protect face from flying solder/flux !
    30+ yrs in telecom outside plant.
    Currently in building maintenance.
    pecmsgSTEVEusaPACLamb
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,913
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    Mad Dog_2 said:

    You've over cooked it.  You might give it one more shot.  Heat it up but no too much.  Use a generous dab of Flux and try to force it in to the joint.  Keep the majority of heat away from the joint..favor the fitting.  Use 440 Channelocks to try and twist it off...add more Flux if needed.  Back and forth, it should come off.  Once you get elbow off, take a 3 M pad and wipe all solder globs off.  Clean off pipe with clean damp rag removing all Flux.  Now wipe immaculately clean with a clean, dry rag. Now use open mesh grit cloth and clean to a high shine.  Fresh Flux on pipe & fitting.  Don't over heat...resolved.  worth a shot.  Mad Dog 🐕 

    Mad,
    Why flux for removing the pipe from the joint?

    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • BigMak
    BigMak Member Posts: 44
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    can a joint like this get to the point where it is permanently fused together
  • dko
    dko Member Posts: 642
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    It's definitely not permanently fused together. But can be a case where the fit was extremely tight due to manufacturing tolerances. I've had copper pipe and fittings that were just dry fitted and you couldn't take them apart easily at all due to friction.
    MikeAmann
  • Big Ed_4
    Big Ed_4 Member Posts: 2,827
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    There is still water in the pipe . You can't raise enough temperature to melt the solder with the water absorbing the energy . Cut a drain hole in the fitting to drain the water ........

    There was an error rendering this rich post.

    MikeAmann
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 3,383
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    Hi, I like Mad Dog’s approach. If that isn’t doing it for you, as you already heated the copper fitting enough to soften it, you could take snips and start a cut. Then with two pairs of pliers, tear the fitting the rest of the way, until it can come off easily.

    Yours, Larry
    mattmia2Mad Dog_2
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,913
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    Big Ed_4 said:

    There is still water in the pipe . You can't raise enough temperature to melt the solder with the water absorbing the energy . Cut a drain hole in the fitting to drain the water ........

    If he had it glowing there isn't water in it.

    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    Mad Dog_2
  • Big Ed_4
    Big Ed_4 Member Posts: 2,827
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    If it glowing , you fired the connection , you have to go back further on the line to get good pipe .

    There was an error rendering this rich post.

  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 8,166
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    What is on the other side of the wall? What is the wall made of? If it is an outside foundation wall, then you may be digging a trench to replace that pipe from the opposite side of the wall. If it is just a plaster or sheet rock wall, than you just need to remove some wall, make the repair, then patch the wall board or plaster. Plumbers may need to do a little plastering from time to time. Unless it's on a Union Job!

    Edward Young Retired

    After you make that expensive repair and you still have the same problem, What will you check next?

  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,949
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    What is on the other side of the wall? What is the wall made of? If it is an outside foundation wall, then you may be digging a trench to replace that pipe from the opposite side of the wall. If it is just a plaster or sheet rock wall, then you just need to remove some wall, make the repair, then patch the wall board or plaster. Plumbers may need to do a little plastering from time to time. Unless it's on a Union Job!
    I’d be concern with Wood Lath!
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,940
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    What is on the other side of the wall? What is the wall made of? If it is an outside foundation wall, then you may be digging a trench to replace that pipe from the opposite side of the wall. If it is just a plaster or sheet rock wall, than you just need to remove some wall, make the repair, then patch the wall board or plaster. Plumbers may need to do a little plastering from time to time. Unless it's on a Union Job!

    What if it is tile?

    Like @Larry Weingarten said, if you cut or tear the outer fitting and start pulling pieces off, it will peel off of the solder cold then you can clean the solder off the nipple.
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 7,241
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    Chris....Flux will lubricate the annular space and let it slide off.  Cherry red is close, but its not welding it together.  Great idea on PPE..I don't worry about my face..just the eyes 👀...Mad Dog 🐕 
    DJD775
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,940
    edited June 2023
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    Mad Dog_2 said:

    Chris....Flux will lubricate the annular space and let it slide off.  Cherry red is close, but its not welding it together.  Great idea on PPE..I don't worry about my face..just the eyes 👀...Mad Dog 🐕 

    sometimes under the right conditions things weld without melting. it is usually called seizing, but if they rub together right they can bond.

    that being said this is more likely they distorted such that they won't come apart
    Larry WeingartenBigMak
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 8,166
    edited June 2023
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    pecmsg said:

    I’d be concern with Wood Lath!

    I once installed a return grill on a plaster wall. I used a fine tooth blade on my reciprocating saw (several actually) to make the opening in the wood lath. there was a small crack that looked like it would be just fine. The next day I returned to install the covers on all the supply openings in the floor and the one return opening in the wall. That cover caused about 4 feet of plaster to dislodge from the wall. My stomach dropped when that happened. The home owner was sort of OK with it. I cleaned up the mess I made and went to the truck to fetch some Structo-Lite® Basecoat Plaster. You may recall from other posts that I use it as chimney base cement on furnace maintenance. There was just enough to cover the lath that was exposed by the mishap.

    The following day I brought some drywall installing tool and a bucket of premixed drywall compound. After one coat of that MUD, I continued to install the rest of the duct system in the home. The following day I sanded and layed a second coat of mud. The wall looked as good as new. The homeowner had some matching paint in the basement. On the last day of the job, a coat of paint made the wall look as if nothing had ever happened. I was impressed that I was able to make that happen. Since then, I have no fear when it comes to opening walls. Everything man made can... be made again!
    mattmia2 said:

    What if it is tile?

    Are there extra tiles in the basement or garage?
    If they are really old tiles then get something close and get creative. Paint, Stencils, or a boarder of new tile or maybe add a return grill to cover the opening for future access. There are some pretty fancy grills and covers available to match all types of decor.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CxRB_9NRbyc

    Edward Young Retired

    After you make that expensive repair and you still have the same problem, What will you check next?

    CLamb
  • Big Ed_4
    Big Ed_4 Member Posts: 2,827
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    Once you fry the fitting and with the twisting , the pipe is out of round and pinched...

    There was an error rendering this rich post.

    Mad Dog_2rick in Alaska
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,940
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    Big Ed_4 said:

    Once you fry the fitting and with the twisting , the pipe is out of round and pinched...

    it is copper, unless you've really mangled it up that can be fixed.
    Mad Dog_2
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,467
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    Cut it out, a new ell and a repair coupling or two

    once you burn copper it is tough to get it cleaned and solderable.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    EdTheHeaterManLarry Weingarten
  • Big Ed_4
    Big Ed_4 Member Posts: 2,827
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    I do agree you can braze with silver rod . But I would not against a concrete wall .

    There was an error rendering this rich post.

  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 7,241
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    Sometimes they ARE  beyond getting them apart, but its worth one good shot...I get 90% of them apart and resoldered like that.   The joint is all filthy and cooked, the Silver braze might not take, but you have nothing to lose trying.  I agree about being able to get egged copper back in to round.  Run an Orange 🍊 Ridgid Round mini cutter or #15 around the end leaving the cutting wheel flush against the edge if the cut pipe.  If this joint were out in the open, I wouldn't waste time and would just cut it out.  However, since it is flush up against a Wall and a headache to do that, the extra time is worth it.  Mad Dog 🐕 
    BigMak
  • BigMak
    BigMak Member Posts: 44
    edited June 2023
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    final update. thank you all for your prompt feedback and suggestion'

    I cut the elbow fitting and peeled it off. to close to the wall to cut pipe, would have left a 3/4-1" of exposed pipe to work with; and cutting into wall was not a task i wanted to add to this job if possible. apparently the pipe was deformed and very soft. the elbow was pushing against the water heater, so over the years and WH changes it got banged up. also, some of the solder wouldn't heat up and run, even with direct heat. I trimmed the pipe back a 1/4" and rounded it out, sanded, and soldered new fittings and extended away from the back of the WH. this was a High temp water over flow drain pipe. I gave it a little pitch and it is about level with the HTOF valve. the previous setup was just about level too. but their was a lot of corrosion and rust on the valve and pipe. unfortunately this setup doesn't allow air to flow through discharge hose to aid in evaporation after discharge or HT valve annual test, as it is in a condo building.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,940
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    When you heat the pipe especially when it isn't going well you anneal the copper and make it softer. Doesn't affect it enough for the pressure you're dealing with but it makes it bend a lot easier.