How much twisting force will copper pipe take

dwpcFebruary 3, 2013

I have to replace a Watt anti-siphon hose bib but the copper pipe its attached to is entirely within the wall so there's no way to put a wrench on the pipe while turning the valve. How much force can I use to remove the valve without damaging the pipe in the wall?

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In my experience, it's not the amount of torque that the copper pipe will take, but the amount that can be withstood by the elbow which is directly in back of the faucet - and it's not a whole lot.
My faucet was installed with soldered connections, not threaded. So after the elbow twisted off and came out with the valve, I had to open a hole in the inside of the wall to do the plumbing work and then repair the wall.
YMMV - good luck

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 9:51AM
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You are in AZ? Is this a freeze proof faucet? Crawl space or basement where the pipe is accessible?
I do not know if basements are typical in AZ, but know of no reason why not. Basements make plumbing repairs much easier.

This post was edited by bus_driver on Wed, Feb 6, 13 at 20:15

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 10:53AM
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"My faucet was installed with soldered connections..."

Frost proof faucets should always be screwed into an elbow on the warm side.

It make the far easier to replace when the time comes.

Most of them come IPT on the outside of the fitting, and C (copper sweat) on the inside of the end fitting.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 11:35AM
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I tried to remove a hose bib by unscrewing it and it twisted the copper pipe right off inside the wall. I ended up cutting a hole in the wall (should have in the first place) to repair the pipe and also to hold it while I tightened the new hose bib into place. It also helps to make sure you have no leaks at the connection.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 6:38PM
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I did something similar, but in my case I was trying to remove a hose from the bib that had corroded itself to the bib. I didn't anticipate the bib breaking off first, hence I hadn't shut off the supply inside the house.

Kinda funny if you were watching it.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 1:31PM
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" I didn't anticipate the bib breaking off first..."

At least it was clean water.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 10:20AM
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I'm not sure how you busted the bib off, but hilarity indeed.

Every hose bib I'm seeing on new construction is on pex, crimped. Absolutely no way to remove without cutting the wall, no screw on fitting, no extra shutoff. No access panel either. They're usually run into an inside wall to give them the clearance. It would be so easy to put in an access panel... I guess in theory you can replace the innards of a frost-free.

I am so glad when I replaced both of my taps with frost-free I used screw-on fittings, and left them accessible. One, I used a 1/4 turn ceramic, the other one's conventional so it will need replacing eventually, but my neighbour gave it to me, so I couldn't really say no. :)

Twisting pex like that would be so much worse.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 5:09PM
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Terry Love

The only way to replace a through the wall frost free faucet is to open the wall and put a wrench on it.
Many times, faucets will be a different length, sometimes requiring some soldering.
To make a nice job of it, you can pick up a plastic access panel that pops back to cover the hole. You may need to have access at a later date anyway.

It's not so much what the solder joint can handle, it's that the pipe can curl up and twist to the point of complete blockage.
Plumbers always work from the back side of a frost free faucet.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 3:07PM
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