How to Remove a Copper Water Pipe Line

What You'll Need
Locking Pliers
Blow torch
Hammer or Mallet
Safety gloves
Safety glasses

If you want to remove your old copper water pipe and fit some new PVC pipe instead, then you will need to take up all of the copper pipe that is connected together. This can be a very difficult job, as it was very common in the past for copper water pipe lines to be soldered, so that you will now have to remove them bit by bit, rather than simply unscrewing the fittings and taking away the pipes. Removing an entire copper water pipe line can be a long and difficult job, and you may even need to call in professional help. If you are determined not to have assistance, then you can manage this task yourself with some home improvement tools and by following a guide to removing the pipe.

Step 1 - Shut off the Water Supply

Before you start doing any kind of plumbing, particularly if it involves disconnecting pipes, you should make sure that the water supply is shut down. If you are going to be working on a long line of copper water pipe, then it is a good idea to shut of the water at the main supply for the whole house. Turn this off using your wrench to twist the valve to the side. You should then run taps in both upstairs and downstairs parts of the house in order to completely empty the copper water pipes.

Step 2 - Remove the Solder

The next step is to remove the solder from around the edges of the pipes. You can do this by just warming up the solder with a blow torch. This should make it soft enough to melt. You can then use the sandpaper to take off the rest of the solder. Rub the sandpaper over the solder until you can see the pipe below it. you will now need to separate the pipe from the fittings.

Step 3 - Remove the Pipe

Take one side of the former solder area, and fit the locking pliers over it. Make sure that they are locked fairly tightly. You should then attach your wrench to the other side of the former solder area, so you are holding two separate connections. Turn the wrench while holding the other pipe tightly using the locking pliers. You should see the pipe start to move. Continue twisting the pipes until they separate.

Step 4 - Removing the Pipe Line

Now that you have done one of the pipes, you can start to clear away the other copper water pipes in the line. Continue removing the pipes in the same way as before, until you have a pile of old pipes laying on the floor. When you come to the final pipe, take care not to damage the water supply connection on the other side, as this will be needed when you fit the new pipes.