There will come a time when you will have to change your cast iron pipe fittings. It could be a simple leak or a massive burst pipe. Either way, in changing pipes, you may notice that the biggest challenge in this task would be loosening the fittings. Since this job relates to having to deal with materials exposed to water, naturally, the pipes will rust. This makes it harder to loosen the specific fitting to fix or replace. Here are some basic steps on how to change those rusted and stubborn iron fittings.
Required Tools and Materials for the Project
- Pipe Wrenches
- Bucket for catching water
Step 1: Turn off Main Water Valve
Before you start with this project, be sure to turn off the main water valve first, and open some of the faucets within the direct pipeline of the leak. By doing this, any excess water still in the pipes will be drained. It may take a couple of seconds before the water is fully drained, so just be patient.
Step 2: Applying Lubricant
Now go to the location of the leak, and lubricate those fittings. You can use spray-type lubricants, as this is much easier. You may also opt to use an oil-based lubricant, but that’s your call. Applying lubricants will loosen the rust and prep the pipe for detachment later. The more rust that you see, the more lubricant you should apply, so don’t skimp on it.
Step 3: Hitting the Pipe
Hitting the cast iron pipe fittings with a hammer will cause the rust to come loose further and will make it easier for you to remove the pipe. Be careful not to use too much force, or you might do more harm than good by damaging the pipe. A few solid hits will probably do the job. Anything more may be hazardous and destructive.
Step 4: Unscrewing the Fittings
Remove the fitting by using the wrench. It is actually advisable to use 2 wrenches and turn them in opposite directions, in order to get more grip and leverage. To do this, attach one wrench to the fitting, and one to the pipe. Then, pull one wrench toward you and push the other one away. Getting a friend to help you out with this portion of the project would make it easier. Expect to still experience some resistance from the pipe at this point, due to the rust. If the fitting still does not want to come off despite the opposing forces of the wrenches, add some more lubricant to further loosen the rust.
Step 5: Removing the Fittings
Once you are able to loosen the fittings from the pipes, carefully turn them counter-clockwise using your hand and remove them from the system. Once the cast iron pipe fittings have been removed, you can now take it to your local hardware store as a sample so you can get a replacement.