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Big Bill 09-15-2006 07:00 PM

Heating Oil Pipe Removal
Hi everyone,

I was wondering if you might be able to give me some suggestions on removing cast iron pipes (fill and vent) from a oil tank (home heating oil) that's in my basement.
We're doing an small extension to our house, but the pipes are in the way of the new framing, and have to be relocated.

Now they are through the cement foundation, and I'm unable to "wrench" them.
I would use a sawzall, but I'm leery with the oil in them.
I don't have a pipe cutter, and not sure if I'd have enough room to get one in there anyway.

There's a 90 degree elbow in both of them. They look like 2" and 4" pipe.
Would hitting the elbow work (to crack just the elbow)?
If it would, does doing that ruin the pipe that the elbow screws onto?

Thanks for any suggestions.

Mike Swearingen 09-15-2006 07:22 PM

Cast iron is for drains.
Those pipes into your fuel oil tank have to be galvanized steel.
You need to get a larger pipe wrench. You can hammer on the fittings at the threaded area to try to break them. You also can try to "tighten" them, and then turn them back counter-clockwise to remove them. And you can also try to "soak" them in lubricant or solvent (aka WD-40).
Good Luck!

Big Bill 09-15-2006 07:50 PM

Hi Mike,
Thanks for the reply. I'll try what you say.

You're probably correct about the pipes not being cast iron. I thought they are cast iron because they're black in color.
I thought galvanized were gray. Opps.... I learned something. Thanks :)

The largest pipe wrench I have is 18". I'll see if I can add some "leverage".
There's this black looking thread sealer all on the threads, and it (the sealer) is hard as a rock.
I'm thinking of using some acid on it instead of WD-40 ..... :laughing: (just kidding).

Thanks again,
Big Bill

majakdragon 09-15-2006 09:20 PM

Big Bill. If the pipe is black iron or galvanized steel, the fittings are probably steel or mallable iron. In either case, they won't break by hitting them. A sawzall (if you can fit it in the space) is the best bet and I have never seen the blade get hot enough to ignite oil. You could also spray the blade with water as you cut if it worries you. I hope the black pipe dope isn't the type I have seen used in factories I have worked in. I don't recall the name, but, I have never seen anything hold so well. We used 2 48" pipe wrenches with 10 foot pipes on the wrenches and still could not break a 2" joint loose. Good luck.

Big Bill 09-16-2006 06:41 AM

Hi majakdragon,


Originally Posted by majakdragon (Post 18282)
We used 2 48" pipe wrenches with 10 foot pipes on the wrenches and still could not break a 2" joint loose.

It appears to be the same black pipe dope that you mentioned, because it's not moving.
As I said, the pipes are encased in cement, so I don't have to hold back on them, and all the leverage I can fit in there won't move them.
I'm off to the tool rental in a bit, to see if a pipe cutter might fit.

You may be correct about the sawzall being ok to use, but I'm going to try all other options first. I just don't feel comfortable using it on a tank that has oil in it.

It's obvious to me now that some cutting or breaking of the pipes are inevitable.
What would I need to do next, assuming I get the pipes cut?

Do the existing pipes need to be threaded, or is there some type of union (compession, solderless type) that can be installed?

Thanks for the help.

Ron The Plumber 09-16-2006 07:49 AM


Originally Posted by Big Bill (Post 18310)

Do the existing pipes need to be threaded, or is there some type of union (compession, solderless type) that can be installed?

Thanks for the help.

Are you planning on reusing this?

Big Bill 09-16-2006 08:13 AM

Hi Ron,

No, well ..... I have to install a new vent and fill.
Whatever I cut out, won't be reused.

(I'll try to get/post some pictures if it helps)

Thanks for any help.

majakdragon 09-16-2006 08:16 AM

A 4 wheel pipe cutter would work the best. Just make sure you get the cut started straight. With this type cutter, you only need to turn it a little over a quarter turn back and forth to cut the pipe. Make sure you get the cut started straight. 4 wheel cutters do not have a roller to help keep the cutter wheels going straight and it is easy to make a crooked cut. Just go slow when starting the cut to make sure the wheels go into the previous wheels cut mark. I don't know of any type coupling except threaded that would work for oil. Just cut new threads and use a good pipe dope compound, such as Rector Seal No.5.

Ron The Plumber 09-16-2006 08:18 AM

Sometimes hiiting the outside of the joint your working on with a heavy hammer on all sides can cause the fitting to free up enough to get it removed with a pipe wrench.

Big Bill 09-16-2006 09:42 AM

Hi all,

Thanks for the continuing help.
This is a picture of the fill pipe into the start of the new extension:
(The red arrow is the new floor level).

This is what the tank looks like:

And this is a close up of the pipes:

I have them soaking now, and will try later to hit them.

The 4 wheel cutter sounds good, but I won't have room to turn it on the pipe, with the existing sub floor above them.

Thanks again for all the help,

Big Bill

Ron The Plumber 09-16-2006 09:52 AM

1 Attachment(s)
I added light to your picture hope that was ok by you?

The arrow that you show, is this the spot your trying to take apart. if so you you taking the riser off or the 90 and the riser?

Ron The Plumber 09-16-2006 10:05 AM

Use a 36" pipe wrench and two people pulling on it, it will come off of there.

Big Bill 09-16-2006 10:09 AM

Hi Ron,

Thanks for lighting up the pic.... :thumbsup:

The arrow is where the new floor joists are going to be installed. The vent pipe is higher than the sub floor, so that's why it has to be removed.
I'd like to get the 90 off, but anything I can remove below the sub floor will be ok.
We have about 7/8 oil level in the tank, so the other pipes (that will need to be removed) can stay for now.
I was just trying to get it relocated in one shot.
But I need to remove the pipes in the way of the new construction by Monday.

Does the closeup pics help in anyway to see what kind of dope is on the threads?
Is there any "chemical" I can use to "dissolve" that dope?


Ron The Plumber 09-16-2006 10:15 AM

2 Attachment(s)
Here is lighting for other pictures.

So one pipe is for fill and the other is for vent, and your wanting to relocate these as well?

Big Bill 09-16-2006 10:34 AM

Yes, one is vent and one is fill, and both have to be relocated.

Some success.... :thumbup:

I was able to remove the 90 and the fill fitting on the outside, there was no dope on those threads....

I should have tried those pipes first.:oops:
So the "rush" to get it done is over.... for now.

It still leaves me with the concern of removing the rest of the :censored: pipes, so I'll keep soaking and hitting them.

Any suggestions, please feel free to post.

Thanks again!!!

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