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How To Loosen Brass Fittings That Are Stuck

Every homeowner hates dealing with plumbing fixtures and stuck or rusted parts, as loosening pipe fittings can create more of an issue. Patience helps as you’ll come across many threaded plumbing fixtures in your home that could require attention.

At some stage, you’ll have a leak, and you need to loosen stubborn fittings as there is no way to fix them, and they need replacing. Because you can face many an uncooperative stuck pipe coupling in your copper water pipes, it’s good to know the best ways how to remove copper pipe from brass valve fittings.

How to start loosening brass fittings in this case? Due to rust or excessive tightening, brass fittings, which are typically used to join one piece of pipe to another on hot or cold-water lines, get stuck. Turning the locknut counterclockwise direction to tighten it even more and then turning clockwise to loosen it can sometimes be all that is necessary to free a stuck brass fitting.

Guide to Loosen Brass Fittings That Are Stuck

The easy fix is to grab a hacksaw and cut off the ending section, yet then you need to go about adding many new fittings and possibly soldering copper water pipes after you have cut them to length.

In our guide, you can learn more about dealing with shower heads, hose bibs, threaded pipe, or other threaded plumbing fixtures that get stuck to each other. By the end, no matter how bad the mineral deposits are, you’ll know how to loosen copper pipe fittings and get your plumbing working again. (Learn How To Remove Pedestal From LG Washer)

How To Loosen Threaded Plumbing Fixtures

Here is a more in-depth look at how to free these fittings.

1. Plan

Plan how to proceed as there are many chances of something going wrong. For example, if you need an obscure part in a hurry, you may not be able to get one.

Besides this, you’ll need an arrangement of various tools in case of access issues. So get all the parts and tools you need beforehand.

2. Turn Off Mains Water

Before starting work, turn off the house’s water supply. Verify that you can shut off the water as trying to turn off the main shut-off valve after breaking it with too much force by accident will worsen your problem.

3. Clean the Area

When disassembling plumbing, take a moment to clear any accumulated debris from the affected area you are going to loosen.

Any loose debris, such as rust or lime, can be cleaned off effectively with a wire brush, or you can use a chemical like CLR (Calcium Lime and Rust Remover).

4. Use the Right Tools

The proper tool must be used when applying torque to a stuck brass fastener or any other material.

Use two tools when possible, as you can lessen the torque by gripping the part with both wrenches and pushing in the opposite direction.

Open-end box wrenches are an excellent example because they have a firm grip and don’t bend as an adjustable wrench can.

Another example is using locking pliers; while it makes your toolkit lighter, it’s not wise to use them in plumbing, as they will cause more damage.

Although they are a handy tool to use, they are best avoided for work on plumbing fixtures and copper pipes.

5. Try To Tighten First

Sometimes the objective is simply to start the fitting moving. For example, trying to tighten a connector, nut, or a plumbing connector can be enough to loosen the part enough so it can be loosened.

6. Add Penetrating Oil

Apply penetrating oil when possible; if you have tried all the above and are still stuck, you have issues. By now, you know you have a problem.

Spray Pipe Break on the affected area that has been bound up by rust. A very low surface tension and the ability to take advantage of small gaps in the rusted surface allow Pipe Break to penetrate enough to work.

The next step is to tap the area sharply and safely. (wear safety glasses)

From this point forward, adding more penetrating oil with each thing you try makes sense.

Each effort made can help to create a way into the cracks and crevices of the rust for the penetrating oil to work.

If you don’t have space for a hammer, you may need to use a center punch (a rubber mallet won’t work). Both the vibration and the tapping are like a vibrator being used to loosen stuck nuts. (Read Bathtub Spout Height Guide)

It moves the built-up debris to allow the piercing oil to penetrate even further.

Set the center punch on the stuck fixture and give it a hard hammer blow. Alternately, to remove a fixture, place a wrench on the nut and whack the handle sharply with your hammer.

Again, a rubber mallet absorbs the vibrations, so it is counterproductive.

Apply heat To Loosen Brass Fittings That Are Stuck

7. Use Heat

It could be useful to use a material’s expansion or contraction. By making an aperture, it should employ differential expansion or contraction of two metal parts to break loose parts sealed by rust or mineral deposits.

Apply heat with a hair dryer or heat gun to make the plumbing nut expand on the fixture.

If yours is a metal fixture, a heat gun might not get it hot enough; instead, you’ll need to try a propane torch; just make sure to cover any flammable materials within 12 inches of the flame with heat-resistant fabric.

Wear heat-resistant gloves and eye protection, and keep a bucket of water or a fire extinguisher nearby.

Ensure you don’t use a larger flame than necessary on your propane torch, and hold the torch upright to heat the nut evenly. Then, while it’s still hot, turn the nut or fixture.

If you have used penetrating lubricant, ensure it is dry as it can be flammable.

8. The Final Cut

If nothing else works, you have no choice but to cut. You’d typically, a cold chisel, Dremel, portable grinder, or hacksaw blade would be used to remove just the fastener.

A hacksaw blade can be ideal for tight confines; wrap some duct tape around it for a makeshift handle.

Note: On stuck plastic plumbing fixtures, never use a propane torch. You will easily overheat plastic fixtures until they melt.

How You Loosen Stubborn Brass Fittings

Because of rust or over-tightening, brass fittings, typically used to join one piece of pipe to another on hot or cold-water lines, get stuck.

Turning the locknut of the brass stuck fitting in a counterclockwise direction to tighten it even more and then tuning clockwise to loosen brass fittings can sometimes be all that is necessary to free a stuck brass fitting.

By enlarging the connection, brass fittings that are stuck requires expanding so they can be released. (Learn How Tight To Tighten Toilet Tank Bolts)

Before removing a brass fitting, ensure the water supply to the line is shut off and the water has been drained from the line.

Sometimes, homeowners or plumbers use threaded pipe with brass fittings in place of soldering copper water pipes together.

The rag-covered bolthead should be covered with the wrench, which should be turned in a counterclockwise direction.

To release the bolt, squeeze the wrench firmly and evenly. As you work the wrench on the bolt, spray more penetrating catalyst on it. When you can remove the bolt by hand, the bolt will start to loosen.

Ways loosen a stuck pipe fitting

How to loosen a stuck pipe fitting

If the initial application of penetrating oil fails to loosen an unwilling stuck pipe coupling or nut.

Another option is to place the wrench back on the part, secure it, and tap on it to enhance vibration and provide greater leverage on the stuck adjustable wrench doesn’t offer the torque needed.

Put a wrench on the fitting and the pipe part, and then crank the wrenches in opposing directions. Then, pull one wrench toward you and push the other one away.

How to loosen rusted galvanized pipe

Place one of the pipe wrenches on each side of the rusted connection. Spray the joint with spray lubricant for 15 minutes before trying to unscrew the pipes. Then, rinse the pipe with water.

Remove rusted cast-iron pipe fittings

Then, as the lead ring starts to melt inside the pipe, pry the entire ring out of the pipe.

With the handle of the pipe wrench pointed to the left, position the jaws of the wrench around the protruding square peg on the plug’s end.

Start removing the cleanout plug by gently heating the fitting and cleanout plug to loosen the old pipe dope with your propane torch. (Read Does Spray Paint Dry Faster In Heat Or Cold)

The lubricant softens and cuts through the rust, and the wire brush aids in further rust removal. Keep your fire extinguisher close by.

How To Loosen Brass Fittings That Are Stuck