When done correctly, it's possible to reuse PEX fittings after the copper crimp rings have been removed. Knowing how to remove copper crimp rings may look difficult at first but with the right tools and steps, it's easier then expected. Not only is this helpful for existing systems, it can be used for new connections as well.
In this blog, we will cover two different options to remove copper crimp rings from PEX fittings. Included are Option #1using a ring removal tool and Option #2 using common tools if you do not have the specialized tool. For instructions on how to install a copper crimp ring, click here.
- Pipe Cutter
- Crimp Ring Removal Tool
- If you do not have a crimp ring removal tool you will need a flat head screwdriver, hacksaw or dremel or mini grinder with a cut off disc.
Removing the copper crimp rings requires a bit of effort and care must be taken to ensure the fitting is not damaged if it is going to be reused.
When a ring needs to be removed from fittings, within a system, in hard to access locations the use of a ring cutting tool makes the job easier. Ring removal is easiest if the fitting can be removed from the piping system and clamped in a vice, it is important to avoid clamping on the insert ribs or barbed area which will damage the fitting making it unusable.
Option #1 - Removing Copper Crimp Ring using Ring Removal Tool
Cut the fitting assembly from the tubing using a pipe cutter. The cut should be close to the fitting.
Depending on the brand of tool you have you may have to adjust the tool setting to the appropriate size of crimp ring. Follow the instructions provided by the tool manufacturer. Some ring removal tools are non-adjustable.
Insert the small jaw inside fitting and close the handles. It requires a little hand strength to squeeze it so that it cuts right through the copper ring. Be careful not to cut right through the PEX pipe damaging the fitting. A damaged fitting must not be reused.
Rotate the tool 120° - 180° to the uncut portion of the crimp ring and close the tool enough to cause the ring to open up. If needed, rotate the tool 90° and repeat until the crimp ring will slide off.
Expand the PEX pipe by re-inserting the tool into the fitting and fully closing the handles to pinch and expand the tubing, rotate the tool in the fitting and repeat every 45° to 60° around the PEX tubing until it can be removed.
If you are having difficulty removing the pipe, grip the pipe with a pliers and pull off with a twisting motion.
Option #2 - Removing Copper Crimp Ring using Common Tools
Cut through the crimp ring perpendicular to the pipe. Make sure that you do not cut through the PEX pipe making contact with the fitting. Any damage to the fitting will render it unsuitable for reuse. Various tools can be used, if there is room a hacksaw will work and if space is limited a Dremel with cut off disc works well.
Remove the Crimp Ring, you can use a flat head screwdriver and place it in the cut and twist to open the crimp ring. Then use pliers to bend the ring open and remove it, or you can slide it off the pipe if the pipe end is not connected.
Remove the PEX Pipe. The barbs on the PEX fittings make removing the pipe difficult, grip on the PEX pipe with a pliers, and with a twisting motion remove the pipe from the fitting. You may need to cut part way through the pipe in order to get the pipe to come off, great care must be taken to not cut right through and damage the fitting.
Even though the crimp rings can't be used again, the fittings can be when removal is done correctly and the fitting is in good shape. So before throwing the whole fitting away, consider following these steps to remove the copper crimp ring and reuse the fitting.
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