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How to Use an Internal Pipe Wrench

Updated: Nov. 25, 2019

Problem solver for rusty pipes

how to use a pipe wrenchFamily Handyman

Avoid crushing rusted galvanized pipes and nipples by using an internal pipe wrench instead of a standard pipe wrench. Here's how to use one.

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Removing rusty fittings & how to use a pipe wrench

Internal pipe wrench in action

Slide the internal pipe wrench into the nipple or fitting so the cam rests in the threaded area. Then turn the wrench. The wrench applies torque to the threads, not the body of the nipple.

Replacing old galvanized fittings and nipples can be a real challenge if you don’t have the right tools. DIYers usually just slap a standard pipe wrench over the body of the fitting or nipple and crank away. Big mistake! The pipe wrench can break off the body and leave the rusted threads stuck in the fitting. That’s why plumbers always use internal pipe wrenches to remove old rusted fittings and nipples. If you own an older home with galvanized pipe, your toolbox should include standard and internal pipe wrenches. You can buy internal pipe wrenches individually and in sets at home centers and online. (General Tools & Instruments Set of 3 Internal Pipe Wrenchs is one brand, and is available through our affiliation with