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Thread: Broke the shower pipe changing the head

  1. #1

    Default Broke the shower pipe changing the head

    In trying to remove a 40 year old shower head I accidently broke the galvanized pipe all the way to the copper fitting. I tried to twist the pipe out of the copper fitting but it tore completely away all the way to the fitting behind the wall.

    My questions are, are the galvanized pipe threads on the inside or outside of the copper fitting? (I can't tell as it is behind the drywall) What can I use to loosen the fitting? Will I need an easy-out? Will I need to cut away the drywall to access the fitting?

  2. #2
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    Sometimes you can pry some of the broken pipe out of the fitting using an easy out.
    Sometimes if it's very thin metal left, you can pry it out with a screwdriver blade.

    Worst case, you will be going into the wall.

  3. #3
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    They do make an internal pipe wrench. It's basically a toothed cam that expands on the inside of the pipe with a shaft and you turn the end of the shaft with another wrench. Some may have a handle built in so you don't need a second wrench.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Talking use a hack saw blade

    you have broke off the brass shower arm in the copper socket...

    you need a hack saw blade or one of those tools that holds
    a hack saw balde

    you have to reach in withthe hack saw blade and saw through the remaining brass that was left in the socket...

    you saw through the brass in two spots till you get down to the fitting holding it in place.....

    then you get a sharp nail, punch, or screwdriver and
    pry out the old threads...

  5. #5
    Sr. Systems Engineer, Biotech
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    I've had that happen, but had to go into the wall to fix it. Last person cross-threaded on the pipe so the fitting wasn't really salvagable. I cut a small rectangular hole in the wall to gain access. At that point it was easier to cut off the old fitting and solder on a new one. I placed a peice of smoke pipe behind it to keep from setting the house on fire while soldering. After that, I could have easily played 'drywall guy' and patched the hole, but this bathroom is scheduled for a major remodel later this winter. I had a thin piece of aluminum sheet and cut a nice rectangle to cover the hole I made in the wall and used a step drill bit to make the center hole the pipe will pass through. I little bit of caulking to hold the plate to the wall and around the edges for a clean look. A quick coat of paint and it looks just fine, almost unnoticeable.

  6. #6
    I teach guitar:You call that a job? Howard Emerson's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ramzmusic View Post
    In trying to remove a 40 year old shower head I accidently broke the galvanized pipe all the way to the copper fitting. I tried to twist the pipe out of the copper fitting but it tore completely away all the way to the fitting behind the wall.

    My questions are, are the galvanized pipe threads on the inside or outside of the copper fitting? (I can't tell as it is behind the drywall) What can I use to loosen the fitting? Will I need an easy-out? Will I need to cut away the drywall to access the fitting?
    Ram,
    I've had that happen as well, but in an open wall, and with the tool they've pictured, it still did not work: I had to sweat the copper dog-earred L off and put on a new one.

    If you can access from behind, do yourself a favor and just bite the bullet, cut a hole, sweat it off (be careful with that torch in the wall!) and sweat on a new one.

    HE
    http://www.howardemerson.com/

  7. #7
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    I have had a lot of success using a #7 EZ OUT with 1/2" cut off the end of it to keep it from bottoming out in the drop eared elbow.


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    Plunger/TurdPuncher kingsotall's Avatar
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    So as you can see, manipulation of a tool is in order, be it a specialized plumbing tool or the tried and true. Are you up to the taskż

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