Even with no water in the pipes and adequate heat you will occasionally
run into joints which are locked up "tighter than a bull's ass in fly
season" due to intermetallic componds which have formed in the soldered
areas. If you can "twist" the heated joint you sometimes hear a
screetching noise when they turn, and with enough rocking back and forth
while pulling the joint apart they'll finally come loose.
I agree that sometimes it's better to just give up and cut out the
fitting, then solder in whatever new parts are needed to get things back
as you want them.
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