Tool Tips -- September 2006
Removing Stubborn Screw Pipes
No More Breaking Large Metal Fittings
New Light, Old Situation
Working in dark crawl spaces would be easy if we all had night vision. I don't have that, but what I do have is a 10-ft. rope light, the beefy indoor/outdoor type. These string lights are very useful - they don't burn the forehead, they don't blind the eyes, they are very compliant, there is no shadow, you don't need an assistant to hold them, and, so far, I haven't broken one. What you do is dangle them along your work, and it gives you light, not to mention a festive look. I use them with my safety GFI extension cord.
I maintain steam systems that have old pipes and old condensate receivers. These rope lights are also ideal for shoving down an open pipe or through a hand hole - you get an easy visual inspection that has much more depth and focus than with a powerful work light.
C.G. Egli Inc.
An old-timer once taught me a long time ago the trick to removing those stubborn screw pipes and fittings. Before you break out the heat or the persuader, just try tightening the pipe or fitting a touch (always hold back). Once you do that, reverse your wrenches and they come right apart. Sounds funny, but it works every time.
James D. Berg Sr.
Great Lakes Plumbing and Heating
Wood Dale, Ill.
It took many times breaking larger metal fittings in the wall before I came up with this solution. Cut your nipples' length so you are able to get your sawzall in there. With a metal blade, cut out a 1/2-inch portion of the pipe at the top of the fitting, being careful not to cut into the threads. Once you have cut through, take a slotted screwdriver and remove the cut portion. Place your channel locks or pipe wrench on the nipple, and it is easily removed.
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