In the last blog post, we outlined how to replace cast iron sewer pipes with PVC pipes. Here is a little more troubleshooting advice for that project!
Rusted cast iron fittings are the easiest way to bring this do-it-yourself project to a grinding halt. These stubborn fittings are used to connect sections of pipe and allow more flexibility in pipe lengths. However, as they are exposed to a great deal of moisture and water for long periods of time, rust becomes a common problem. The extent to which your pipe fittings are rusted will determine which method you will use to loosen them. No matter the amount of rust you are facing, always turn off the water supply before trying to loosen the fitting!
If you only see a little rust on the fitting, use an oil-based lubricant around the pipe. Usually, WD-40, Liquid Plumber or a similar brand available at a plumbing supply store will soften the rust and allow you to unscrew the fitting with ease. Spray the lubricant on the pipe, let it soften the rust for a few minutes and twist it free.Stubborn Rust
When lubricant alone will not work, it’s time to change your approach. Grab a hammer or wrench and take a couple of whacks at the fitting. Seriously! Letting out a little pent up aggression – but not too much – will loosen the rust and may be the trick to knock the fitting loose.Really Stubborn Rust
It’s still not time to give up on this pipe fitting! If the force from the hammer or wrench does not work, try a little more lubricant. Leave it sit for 15 minutes, and then attach two medium pipe wrenches facing opposite directions, with one on the pipe and one on the fitting. Try using the wrenches to loosen the fitting. It may take a few applications, but eventually this method will work.
No rusty pipe is too stubborn for your local plumbers! If you cannot loosen the fitting, contact the plumbing experts, as they should be able to remove it for you.
Image by Egan Snow