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I am planning a project to remove a water heater. Following good advice on this website, I learned that it’s not a good idea to simply cap off the pipe. I should instead cut the pipe low on the ground, to avoid dead-end pipes.

Note that the pipe is thick plastic, not metal.

So the follow-up question for me is : how can I do this? I’ve been told I need a special machine to close the pipe. Any pointer on what this machine is, and how easy it is for a beginner to use it?

enter image description here

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    « Low on the ground » may not be sufficient to avoid a dead leg. Find the supply point and isolate that pipe from the source. – Solar Mike Feb 23 at 10:23
  • Unfortunately that will not be practical, that would generate too much work. However, I know that the T junction is in the flooring, so pretty close. – DevShark Feb 23 at 10:55
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    What kind of pipe are we talking about? – isherwood Feb 23 at 14:08
  • I am thinking the same as Isherwood what kind of pipe? It would be better to have a dead leg with a proper cap than try to cut off pipe. With both water or gas if you want to de commission lines go back to the connection point unscrew and put a plug in the fitting. DO NOT cut the pipe. If you can not get to the next fitting back cap it in place. I say this because it looks like steel pipe galvanized for water and black iron for gas? Using a cap or plug is the only way to seal these methods of plumbing. If the blue pipe is a type of plastic for water it can be cut and capped but use caution – Ed Beal Feb 23 at 14:22
  • Hey, thanks for all that. The gas I am not worried about, I can disconnect it from the other side. For the water, it is thick plastic. – DevShark Feb 23 at 14:44
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I'm not sure what kind of machine you're thinking of, but I usually cut metal pipe with a pipe cutter like this:

enter image description here
Images courtesy of Lowes.com. No endorsement intended or implied.

In your case, the pipe cutter will be difficult because you need clearance all the way around the pipe, and it appears that your wall is concrete and/or brick and it would be a lot of work to make clearance to swing the pipe cutter all the way around the pipe.

In your situation, I'd suggest using a simple hacksaw where the blade extends beyond the frame, something like this:

enter image description here

It will take a while, but you'll get there in the end.

If you're looking for a power tool way to do it, you could use an oscillating cutoff tool or an angle grinder with a cutting disk. These are both going to get through the pipe much more quickly than you will by hand, but you may not be up for buying a (potentially) expensive power tool right now. Here in the States, you can buy cheap ones pretty inexpensively, use it for your intended purpose and be excited if it lasts for the next job, or you can buy a more expensive one that'll last most of a lifetime. They're often available for rent at tool rental stores.

For cutting plastic pipe it depends on the type of pipe. For hard/rigid PVC/CPVC/ABS type pipe, you use one of the above cutters. For soft/flexible PEX type pipe, there are simple "scissors" style cutters, and fancier ratcheting style cutters (that simply increase the force with less hand effort) similar to this:

enter image description here

For capping plastic pipe, it again depends on the type of plastic pipe you're using, but your local hardware store (or their website) will have a variety of plugs you can choose from. Pick up one in the appropriate size along with the proper method of attaching it (glue, crimps, etc.)


Yes, I'm aware that smaller diameters of CPVC piping is flexible, but it's not as flexible as PEX. It can probably be cut with the ratcheting scissor style cutters, but I've not tried it, so I can't recommend it.

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    Hey, thanks a lot for that. I am fine with buying expensive equipment. The pipe is actually plastic, not metal. I need to not only cut it, but also close it definitively. – DevShark Feb 23 at 13:09
  • @DevShark note updates – FreeMan Feb 23 at 13:35
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    With old plastic use caution it can be brittle and although the scissors type of cutter is the proper tool for new pipe it may cause older pipe to fracture. In that case the hacksaw may be a better choice I might make my first cut well away to see if it cracks with a scissor type cuter. – Ed Beal Feb 23 at 14:29
  • Thanks for that. With your explanation, I am now clear on how to cut it. That seems doable. I am a little more worried though about the proper way to close it, after I have cut it. That seems a little trickier. – DevShark Feb 23 at 15:07
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    As I consistently tell my wife, the only reason to do a project is to have an excuse to buy a tool. – spuck Feb 23 at 16:24

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