I'm trying to remove the temperature and pressure relief valve of a water heater.

The problem I'm having at this point is the actual removal of the valve from the heater unit.

I've removed the copper outflow pipe, and am left with only the brass valve itself. I've unloaded nearly an entire 4oz of PB-blaster (per the suggestion of someone at the big box home store), and still nothing. I've even tapped around the entire area with a soft mallet. I have managed to shear off half of the female outlet stem from the side of the valve.

My main issue is that I cannot grip the valve. I've tried flat and angled beaks, screw and slip-adjust (pardon my lack of technical names) wrenches, but nothing will grip the brass valve to allow me to gain any traction -- they all just slip off.

I think I need something with a longer beak, or maybe I need to wrap the valve itself in something so I can grip it. I've considered the self-tightening rubber wrap wrenches, but I'm not sure that's going to provide any help, especially with the outlet stem still partially there.

I've also read I could wrap the stem area directly against the heater unit with a wet rag, and then apply some brief flame to the end area of the valve, and that this should help loosen things.

This is supposed to be easy enough to do w/o calling in a plumber, and I suspect it is if I'm using the proper tools. Can you please provide some assistance? Specific names/sizes/models are more useful than "get a big wrench".

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Thank you for any help you can send my way!

  • I do not know what "flat and angled beaks" is. "screw and slip-adjust" is an adjustable wrench ??. Have you tied a Pipe Wrench With a pipe slipped over the handle to give you a longer handle and thus more leverage. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pipe_wrench Beware if it is very corroded then getting it out may not be possible without damaging the water heater. PB Blaster is great, did you give it a day or two to soak in with repeated applications ? A photo showing the limited space would be helpful. ( the photos you linked to do not provide any context to the space. )
    – Alaska Man
    Mar 8, 2020 at 20:54
  • beaks.. the part of the wrench that wrap on either side of what you're trying to adjust. like bird beaks? either a flat line - , or a convex angled surface like a caret ^. Extra leverage isn't going to help when I cannot even hold a grip on the valve.
    – Adam L
    Mar 8, 2020 at 21:02
  • That is what a pipe wrench is for, You are not limited to positioning it on the flat spots of the valve, it has jaws ( beaks ) with teeth that clamp tighter as you pull on the wrench so You can position it on the round part of the valve at an angle that works for the space. youtube.com/watch?v=A5ERUP6Bt8g
    – Alaska Man
    Mar 8, 2020 at 21:08
  • Somethings wrong with that photo. the valve should be at the top of the tank and the pipe should go downwards.
    – Jasen
    Mar 8, 2020 at 23:27
  • try a harder hammer (not hitting harder, just a harder hammer) a soft hammer is just goping to bend the tank liner,
    – Jasen
    Mar 8, 2020 at 23:31

1 Answer 1


Get a 14" Craftsman or RIDGID pipe wrench. Clamp it on to the valve and turn it counter clockwise. Game over.

  • Pipe wrench will grip it , the problem is if seized removing it may damage the tank, I would heat the valve a bit (with a torch) may sound crazy as this will cause the brass to expand but it will soften pipe dope, if Teflon tape was used the torch probably won’t help.
    – Ed Beal
    Mar 8, 2020 at 22:43

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