This pipe twisted and severed when I was trying to unsrew an old outdoor faucet. It's about 1.5" (4 cm) deep in the exterior hole. I can grip the pipe with needle-nose pliers, but I can't move it.

Pipe broken in exterior wall

How would I go about removing the pipe, ideally leaving the pipe fitting into which I would screw a new outdoor faucet?

The exterior siding is vinyl over insulation. On the interior side is a finished room with drywall. If it is necessary to cut into one of these sides, I'm curious which would be recommended (I think I'm leaning interior).

I am comfortable with basically every handyman task except plumbing; but in this case, because this pipe has a dedicated shut-off valve, I figure it's worth giving a shot. However, I also don't have many plumbing-specific tools. If soldering is necessary, I will call in a professional.

Update: I cut a hole in the interior wall to take a look, and the pipe is soldered. Other houses in the neighborhood, built in the same year, have threaded fittings, but alas. I taped over both holes and called a professional to take care of the rest.

I will come back and describe the plumber's solution for completeness. Pipe from inside

Final Update: The plumber cut the pipe at the vertical section, then soldered a small section of pipe to extend it to the previous height, then soldered an elbow onto that, and finally inserted a hydrant from the exterior and soldered that into the elbow. The hydrant is flush with the exterior and caulked.

Cost was 300 USD, but we have a dry foundation and I didn't burn the house down learning to solder copper pipe. I'm going to install an access panel instead of repairing drywall, per a suggestion in the comments. Thanks!

plumber's fix, viewed from interior

  • If you add more information to your post, you will receive answers that might be more useful to your situation. Often, this kind of pipe goes into a joist cavity under a finished floor. Can you access that? You'll need to. Separately, when performing your repair, consider installing a frost-free sillcock instead of the type you removed. Commented May 18, 2021 at 11:59
  • 1
    Looks like plumber has set himself up with an extra callout when the copper pipe freezes. Might be good to keep an access at that place in the wall- interior and exterior.
    – Tim
    Commented May 21, 2021 at 14:22
  • Nice work and nice post Sam Commented Jun 2, 2021 at 1:29

2 Answers 2


Interior is the side to cut in your case, and you will need to get into the wall to remove/replace the piping and hose bib. Simplest terms: you limit exposure to the elements/pests/etc. the greater the extent to which you leave the shell intact.

Cut an inspection hole in the wall to get an idea of the area you'll need to work with; cut the pipe out; sweat on new piping; install hose bib; patch and repair interior finishes.

  • 3
    Sweating pipes inside a wall should maybe come with a warning. Sometimes even trained professionals burn down wood frame buildings that way. Push connects or compression fittings deserve a mention as OP does not appear to be a professional, appears to need only one fitting, and may not own a torch or suitable fire protection materials. Indeed it could very well be the cheapest option, even given the need for particularly straight cuts, necessitating a tubing cutter. OP may also not own a hacksaw and file anyway.
    – K H
    Commented May 18, 2021 at 2:35
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    I will add that compression fittings (not necessarily "push-connect" fittings, which I do not trust and do not use) hidden in an inaccessible wall space may not be a good idea, or code legal in OP's area. Commented May 18, 2021 at 2:43
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    @TheGhostofJon These days, even pros use quicker connectors because they're quicker and the increased material price is offset by the decreased labor cost. A properly done sweat joint will last for decades, while a compression fitting might not, but, for someone whose skill set led them to twisting and breaking a copper pipe in the wall when attempting to unscrew the hose bib is likely to not have the skill set to properly sweat a joint in a wall without a significant chance of catching things on fire. Remember your audience! It's OK to give answers with OK, better, best options...
    – FreeMan
    Commented May 18, 2021 at 11:52
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    BTW, you did get my up vote, just don't be quite so quick to dismiss other options, especially ones that can work better for the less skilled (i.e., those seeking advice on an internet DIY Q&A site).
    – FreeMan
    Commented May 18, 2021 at 11:53
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    Hi FreeMan, one point I want to put out there now and I'll come back to the rest is where you look at pros using quick fittings as a cost savings to the owner, it's actually a business ess decision for increasing profitability (faster=more jobs; failed fitting can often justify a return service charge; markup on higher material price=more money in the bank all around. Commented May 18, 2021 at 16:38

Really, there's not enough info. here to help much. Where does the copper tube go inside? Is it accessible from inside? Does the tube go vertically inside the wall, then horizontally? How thick is the wall? What's it constructed with? Could the tube be left, and another fixed in a better place? And so on...

Given only the info. in the question, I suggest opening the hole outside, large enough to be able to work on the tube end. Maybe 3" square. Make tube end connectable, by cutting back to round again. Dremel works here.

Use compression fitting to extend tube for tap. Crowfoot spanners work well here. Check for leaks with tap attached. Remove tap, cut plate to cover square hole, cut out for tap. Plate could fit into hole, or over it. Finish as needed.

There seems to be comments (on some of these sort of questions/answers) about OP possessing appropriate tools/knowhow. OP either obtains tools/knowhow, or uses cash/time saved to employ someone who has both !!

  • Usual SE dv! Not bright enough, or bothered enough to reason why. What is the matter? What's wrong with explaining what you consider the problem is with this answer. Anyone could (and does) dv, with impunity and there's nothing learned from it. Except I have no respect for the dver.
    – Tim
    Commented Jun 1, 2021 at 19:40

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