How to Remove Copper Pipe Compression Fittings

  • 2-4 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 0-100
What You'll Need
Clean cloths
Muriatic acid
A wrench
A hacksaw

Pipe compression fittings are used in a variety of plumbing situations. They are necessary for jobs where two different pipes or tubing systems are connected. The fittings fit the parts together in order to prevent any leaking. A tight seal is formed when the fitting is compressed against the pipe or tubing. The compression created removes all space left in the join and keeps any fluid from leaking. The fitting includes: a pipe with a threaded end, an over-sized nut and a small ring. Copper compression fittings are easy to install and replace.

Step 1 – Locating the Water Supply Valve

Locate the water supply valve to the area in which you are working. The water supply valve has a handle in the shape of a circle or an oval. If you are working on sink plumbing, the shut off valve will be located under the sink. If you are working on refrigerator, the shut off valve will be located at a water connection that is close to it. Simply locate the water hose from the refrigerator and follow it to the water connection.

Step 2 – Shutting Off the Water Supply Valve

You will need to turn the valve off to stop the water from flowing through the pipes. Turn the water supply valve in a clockwise direction until it will not turn any further.

Step 3 – Inspecting the Compression Nut

Inspect the compression fitting nut for any damage or corrosion. A corroded fitting nut can be difficult to turn and loosen. Excess force can cause damage to the copper tubing. It is best to remove the corrosion before you attempt to loosen the nut. Apply a small amount of muriatic acid to a clean cloth. Rub the cloth over the corroded area. Immerse another clean cloth in cool water. Squeeze out any excess liquid. Use the damp cloth to rinse the acid from the nut. Apply a small amount of glycerin to the threads on the pipe.

Step 4 – Removing the Fitting Nut

Use a wrench to remove the nut from the compression fitting. It is located at the back and should be turned counterclockwise. Once the nut is loose, slip it further up the copper tubing to keep it out of the way while you are working.

Step 5 – Cutting the Copper Tubing

Remove the copper tubing from the valve. Position the copper tubing so that you can easily work on it without causing any damage. Use a hacksaw with fine teeth to cut the tubing. Be careful not to bend or dent the copper while you work. The cut should be made close to the compression ring.

Step 6 – Prying Off the Compression Ring

Pry the ring off with a screwdriver. Be careful not to bend or damage the copper tubing. Bent or damaged copper tubing may require replacing. Replacing the tubing will require more time and skill to accomplish.