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I just got the sacrificial anode rod to my hot water tank replaced (rod is shared with outgoing hot pipe). I told the plumber to make any changes necessary to make this task easy the next time (replace non functioning stop valves, more robust fittings, union). He didn't recommend the union, so I went with his judgement. He replaced all the piping to/from the tank and around the new stop valves. However, he used press fit fittings instead of sweated copper. Before I call to complain it is now harder to remove the anode rod, I need to know how you remove these fittings. I've only found one website that mentions this and it said to cut the pipe around the fitting. That can't be true--the pipe would now be too short to insert a new fitting.

How do you do it? Please note, these are PRESS fit types that need a crimper (ProPress, for example), not the push fit (sharkbite, for example). See picture below:

UPDATE: I now realize I wasn't clear about who would be removing this in the future. Thus, there could be two different answers: one for a diy and one for a professional plumber. I'm mostly interested in how a pro would to it, but I think for everyone's knowledge, a diy answer would be good information as well.

UPDATE: I just got done measuring things and to be fair, I think a plumber can cut a section of pipe and solder in a repair coupling (not press fit, thank you) so removing the anode won't entail cutting out the press fit fittings. You have to be careful how close to the fitting you solder because of the o ring. The distance is vendor specific. Viega ProPress is 3 tubing diameters which would make it easy in my application. However, the plumber used Nibco and they want 12 inches which is too far. But Nibco says if you can't meet the 12 inches, use a wet rag to keep the fitting cool. Not ideal, but for now, I'm calling it good enough.

enter image description here

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  • Have to balance ease of use to trust in not to leak. I think what you read might be referring to cutting the press fit fitting instead of the pipes. Ask your plumber how to remove those fittings.
    – crip659
    Jun 22, 2023 at 20:31
  • do you plan to replace it ?
    – Traveler
    Jun 22, 2023 at 20:58
  • Yes, it will regularly need to be replaced--every time I want to inspect/service my sacrificial anode. Jun 22, 2023 at 21:50
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    The plumber made it easy for the plumber to profit more this time and next time. If you missed the extended middle finger, it was reaching for your wallet... As for cutting the pipe, yes, that's accurate, and it means the plumbers "judgment" was entirely focussed on screwing you over to the plumber's benefit.
    – Ecnerwal
    Jun 22, 2023 at 22:38

3 Answers 3

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If you are hiring out the anode replacement it isn't a big deal.

If I was planning this I'd have used sharkbite leads for hot water tanks then all you do is use the disconnect pliers, unscrew the sharkbite lead from the hwt, replace the anode and put it back together. You might want to replace the sharkbite lead at that point as I am not sure how many disconnects you are allowed to do but given it is easy to inspect I'd just re-use.

Next time you might want to consider the electric anode option.

If you are using a gas hwt, you should also consider switching to a heat pump hot water tank (hybrid) next time. Rheem proterra is a good option. Still using an electric anode on the proterra is a good idea.

sharkbite lead

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  • Thanks. It's staring to look like you can't remove a fitting a replace it with another (easily). Next time I'll ask the plumber about push fit connections. FYI, what he removed was a sweated/soldered repair coupling. Now there's nothing, but maybe there's enough room to cut the pipe and add one. I don't know how close you can solder to these fittings because of the rubber o ring inside. Another question for the plumber (or I can post another question here). Jun 23, 2023 at 13:22
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You can very carefully saw or grind off the fitting but you still can't re-use the pressed pipe that's left behind. You must chop out a manageable section and replace it with new pipes and fittings. Sure the pipe will be too short but a few inches of new pipe isn't an issue if it's all exposed.

If you have something that will need frequent replacement (I can't think of an example) or where cutting out a "section" of pipe would be inconvenient because it isn't exposed (EG a stopcock barely sticking out of a wall), use compression, sharkbite, threaded, whatever suits so that you can remove the fitting without destroying all visible pipe.

(Planned Repeated removal of Sharkbite not allowed per instructions).

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    You bring up a good point--if that crimper distorts the pipe, then you need to cut out the fitting at the ends (cut the pipe at each end of the fitting). BUT, when you do that, the space left between the two pipes is larger and too big for a new fitting. Jun 22, 2023 at 21:59
  • Right, you need to cut out more, use two new fittings and a bit of pipe.
    – jay613
    Jun 23, 2023 at 0:28
  • I wonder if after removal you could solder a fitting to the remaining pipe, probably using end-feed rather than the somewhat easier type with a ring of solder in them. I'd certainly try, splitting the inappropriate part by cutting a slot nearly all the way through along the whole length, and all the way through to the O ring at the bulges, then levering open from the bulges with a screwdriver.
    – Chris H
    Jun 23, 2023 at 9:37
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ProPress fittings are meant to be a permanent fixture in your home and not to be removed or replaced.

To remove it is recommended to use trained professional. If you are DIY and have the knowledge and the specific tools, it is possible to remove and replace a ProPress fitting by yourself.

To replace use shark-bite type, those can actually easily removed if needed.

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  • I propose the linked article is pure click bait. It says you first saw out the fitting on both sides and then "carefully" use a (non existent) removal tool to remove it. After you've chopped it out :( The general meandering and pointlessness of most sentences says click bait to me.
    – jay613
    Jun 23, 2023 at 11:36
  • I may have seen the same article. I couldn't for the life of me find that tool. Jun 23, 2023 at 13:08
  • This is to Ruskes and your answer. I'm a bit confused. You say they are permanent (and so far I think you're correct), but you say to use a trained professional to remove it. You hint there may be a tool. If so, please state what it is. (I'm particularly interested about a jay613's answer: I think he implies the crimp tool distorts the pipe so it still has to have that part cut off). Jun 23, 2023 at 13:12
  • This is a link-only answer. Once that site goes down, it's utterly useless...
    – FreeMan
    Jun 23, 2023 at 13:53
  • As I said, my gut tells me the part of this answer that states they are permanent (and must be cut out) is the correct one, so I upvoted it. I will ask a plumber the next time I hire one. Jun 25, 2023 at 19:12

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