Tricks for disassembling cold water pipes?

I've got to disassemble the last 4-6 feet of cold water piping leading to my washing machine because the water pressure is very low. Six feet from the washer, the same pipe splits to an outside spigot that gets about 4.5 gallons/minute, but at the washer it's getting around 1 gallon/minute. It's old galvanized iron pipe in a house that's 94 years old. I disassembled the last 5 feet or so and reamed it out with a steel rod, but it's that first 6 - 12 inches of elbows that's impeding the flow, obviously.
I couldn't completely disassemble the piping. There's an elbow that's male on one end and female on the other and the male part's stuck so tight I'm having real trouble getting it apart. I'm going to replace it all in not too long, but I just want to get the washer working for the time being. The plumbing overhaul for this house comes later.
It's not crucial to get that elbow out. But I'd like to. Anyway, I'm more concerned about the 6 - 12 inches of elbows near that spigot that I've got to disassemble. Are there some tricks I can try? Something like heating the pipes with a propane torch? If that will work, how exactly do I do it? How about striking the joints lightly with a hammer? Will that help?
Thanks for any tips.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
If it were me, and I was planning to replace the plumbing soon anyway, I'd disconnect the galvy at the joint you've already had apart and replace from there to the washer with new copper.
You can buy special adapters from galvy to copper to prevent the battery effect from causing corrosion but if the whole works is getting replaced within a year or so, I wouldn't even worry about that - just use a regular brass or copper threaded to soldered adaper.
If you install the copper properly then you won't have to redo it when the rest of the house is done.
John

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

it is called a street ell

Take a hacksaw and cut the pipe back some distance that is convenient. Some place that you can rethread. If that is not available then go the home/ plumbing store and see what kind of compression fitting you can buy. That should make it easy to change over to copper from there. Ideally the fitting should be dialectic. Galvanized and copper will react some, hence the dielectric fitting. They are common for water heaters. Re-plumb in copper and replace all of the valves. When you redo the plumbing this will be one area that does not need to be replaced. Copper is easy to work with as long as you clean, flux and solder in that order. I use a standard propane torch on 1/2 and 3/4 pipe. Bigger I use Mapp gas or acetylene
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I usually go to the next size larger wrench. I've also broken off my share of pipes!
--

Christopher A. Young
Jesus: The Reason for the Season
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Fri, 6 Feb 2004 18:43:13 -0500, "Stormin Mormon"
:I usually go to the next size larger wrench. I've also broken off my share :of pipes!
I have two pipe wrenches. A fairly small one I bought new and a bigger one I just can't remember where I picked up. Ya gotta have two pipe wrenches. LOL.
Ya know what? I have NOT broken off my share of pipes, and I dodged that bullet this time too. And boy did I have to crank... I bet plumbers have a basic occupational hazard, being elbow tendinitus and shoulder problems. Anyway, I had to crank on this stuff pretty hard to stop the leaks entirely. I was very very lucky in that the beginning of the run that had the flow problems didn't leak when I put it back together. I really thought my odds weren't very good of that happening. If I had a leak there I'd have had to probably replace the whole assembly and I might have gone with copper as people suggested. I did replace 4 pieces, being a 12" straight, 2 female - female short straights and a male - male short straight. I replaced with all galvanized and it cost me a bit over $5, and I guess it will all be replace when the plumbing's upgraded. I just don't know how soon that will happen. Probably anywhere from 6 months to 4 years. My flow's back to full to near full, and the water's clear and there's no leaks.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
You're right, that plumbers develop some good biceps. And I'm sure many of them get bad shoulders, wrists, etc.
My biggest pipe wrench is 24 inches long, bought a set of three. My former boss has a 36 incher, and at one point ended up buying a 48 incher because the 36 didn't give him enough leverage on a couple jobs.
--

Christopher A. Young
Jesus: The Reason for the Season
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I remember one time as a teen, when someone else, hit the 6-8" sprinkler line in the warehouse with the forklift, which required the cast iron pipes in the ceiling area to be disassembled to replace the broke pipe.
The plumbers had an articulated wrench, which looked not unlike a huge pipe wrench, but had a joint in it about 2' back from the head, to which about a 4' handle. The joint attached to the pipes and worked like a ratchet. The worked their way from one end of the piping, where they could open it up, back to the broke pipe, then re-assembled all.
Weird but cool.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
If you know about the issue prior to close of the deal, its been disclosed. Don't close the deal and expect you can get an adjustment later. Renegotiate now or buy and be happy. Bueyr's remorse is common.
-- Remove -NOSPAM- to contact me.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sat, 07 Feb 2004 03:13:28 GMT, "John Keiser"
:If you know about the issue prior to close of the deal, its been disclosed. :Don't close the deal and expect you can get an adjustment later. :Renegotiate now or buy and be happy. :Bueyr's remorse is common.
I closed the deal almost 4 years ago. It was an as-is purchase - this house has too many issues to put down in 3 pages, probably. I got a GREAT deal, but I sometimes wonder if the house shouldn't just be bulldozed instead of fixed. My contractor tells me that the land is worth more than I paid for the house, and it's kept the rain off my head (I've had to get up on the roof with roof cement to prevent that - quite literally!) since I bought it and best of all I bought it outright - no mortgage. Hey, the bank backed out! I was broke, but like I say, there's a roof over my head.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Stuck threaded pipes can nearly always be loosened by hammering but striking lightly is not likely to do it. If you can get something substantial like a heavy hammer or axe on one side of the outside (female) part and hit the opposite side "like you mean it" (as my dad always told me), it will generally free the joint. This method is best used for sections already removed because of the risk of breaking something else in the process. There are threadless unions with rubber compression seals if that will help you connect it back up. Don Young

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Stick a long pipe extension (5 or 6 ft.) on the pipe wrench handle. This gives you more leverage. Then have one person bang the pipe with a hammer while you apply pressure.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.