How to Disconnect a Copper Pipe

copper pipes
  • 1-20 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 0-200
What You'll Need
Propane torch
Utility knife
Leather gloves
Safety glasses

The copper pipe usually used in homes is welded together using a flame. The heat from the flame causes the copper to melt and the two pipes are soldered together. These can be disconnected using a propane torch. The heat from the flame of the propane torch will melt the welding and turns it brittle. This helps in dismantling the copper pipe. Follow the instructions below to successfully complete the task of disconnecting a copper pipe.

Step 1 - Safety Precautions

Before you commence working with the copper pipe make sure you have taken all necessary safety precautions. Wear safety glasses to protect your eyes. Leather gloves for your hands provide additional safety.

Step 2 - Remove all Flammable Objects

This procedure as mentioned earlier requires the use of propane torch. Thus, it is imperative to move all flammable items away from the work area.

Step 3 - Remove Insulation

If the copper pipe has any insulation it has to be removed. Use a utility knife to shred the insulation from the copper pipes.

Step 4 - Turn on the Propane Torch

Make sure the gal valve is on as you ignite the propane torch. If the propane torch does not have a built-in igniter you can use a match.

Step 5 - Direct the Flame on the Copper Pipe

The flame of the torch has to be four inches away from the piping. The flame should be targeted directly at the point where the copper piping needs to be disconnected.

Step 6 - Concentrate on the Welding

flame from a torch on a copper pipe

Once the direction of the flame has been set, it has to be used to heat the welding point of the solder which holds the copper pipes together.

Step 7 - Use a Wrench

Continue to apply the heat and once the copper pipes are hot, twist the copper fitting with the help of a strong wrench. This pressure will help in freeing the pipe. Getting a good grip on your wrench is important. Your body should be in a comfortable position. Only then will you be able to apply proper pressure with the wrench.

Step 8 - Free the Pipe

Increase the pressure on the wrench and keep twisting it until the copper fitting breaks loose from the pipe.

Step 9 - Disconnect the Pipe

The pipe joint can now be easily disconnected by pulling the copper fitting from the other pipe.

Step 10 - Cool the Fitting

pile of copper pieces

Place the copper fitting in a bucket filled with water. Be careful as you handle the fitting as it will still be hot.

Step 11 - Cool the Pipe

Wipe the ends of the pipe with a wet rag to cool the pipe.

Step 12 - Multiple Jobs

In case you need to disconnect any other connection on the copper pipes, repeat the same process.