How to Remove a Soldered Outside Faucet

Soldered outside faucet joints can prove troublesome to remove if you choose to loosen the joint by heating the solder.

Remove faucets by heating or cutting the copper line.Remove faucets by heating or cutting the copper line.
This is the best place to start, however, and if the solder heats quickly the job won't take much time. On the other hand, if the solder takes a long time to heat up, as old soldered joints generally do, simply cutting the copper pipe is a more time-efficient way to perform the same job.

Turn off the water at the shut-off valve and completely drain the pipe. Light the propane torch and hold the flame on the faucet joint, moving it slightly to ensure that the heat is equally distributed. If the solder becomes shiny and starts to melt, use water pump pliers to hold the faucet and separate it from the copper line. If the solder does not melt after two minutes of holding the flame to the faucet, however, turn off the propane torch.

Choose a location on the copper pipe to cut the line: you could cut right by the faucet if the copper pipe comes out of the interior wall or choose to remove a long section of copper pipe if it's attached to the outside of the wall. Place a tubing cutter over the pipe and tighten it. Turn the cutter one rotation and tighten again. Repeat these steps until the pipe is cut through.

Sand 1 inch of the end of the copper pipe with an emery cloth. Also sand the inside of the end cap. Apply lead-free soldering paste, or flux, to both the pipe end and the inside of the end cap. Push the end cap onto the end of the copper pipe. Unroll 8 inches of solder from its spool, bending 2 inches on the end at 90 degrees.

Turn on the propane torch and heat the end cap, moving the flame slightly to evenly distribute the heat. When you hear the flux sizzling, touch the solder to the joint between the pipe and the end cap. If the solder melts, take away the torch and apply 3/4 inch of solder to the joint; capillary action sucks the solder into the joint.

Wipe away excess solder with a rag. Wait for the joint to cool before turning on the water at the shut-off valve.

Things You Will Need

  • Propane torch
  • Water pump pliers
  • Tubing cutter
  • Emery cloth
  • Copper end cap
  • Lead-free soldering paste (flux)
  • Lead-free solder
  • Rag

Tips

  • Always make sure that the copper pipe is completely drained of water before soldering, as the pipe won't reach the required temperature for solder to melt with water still in the pipe.
  • Check the size of the copper pipe: 1/2- or 3/4-inch diameter pipe is usually used in residential homes. The end cap must be the same diameter as the pipe.

Warning

  • When wiping away solder, remember that the pipe will be hot.

About the Author

Steve Sloane started working as a freelance writer in 2007. He has written articles for various websites, using more than a decade of DIY experience to cover mostly construction-related topics. He also writes movie reviews for Inland SoCal. Sloane holds a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing and film theory from the University of California, Riverside.