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If the compression fitting is removed properly, it can be reused; however, the ferrule will remain useless. Ring-type fittings can be used only once, but other types of compression fittings can be reused if they’re installed and removed correctly, yet the ferrule must be replaced in any case.
Can You Remove A Compression Fitting?
Compression fittings are used in plumbing to connect two pipe or tube sections. These fittings are composed of two pieces; a compression nut and an “olive” (an inner compression nut named ferrule).
The olive shape can vary, but in any case, it is compressed but the nut to line both pipe sections.
Some people prefer compression fittings over soldered joints because they are easy to install and do not need any soldering point nor expert application. Furthermore, compression fittings are preferred over a soldered joint when heat can’t be applied to a pipe.
Since compression fittings don’t need soldering, these are easy to remove. However, compression fittings don’t withstand dynamic stress as soldered joints do.
A compression fitting is ideal for pipes that don’t require any bending; though, the compression fittings are convenient if someone needs to remove them. Moreover, making maintenance to a compression fitting is easier since anyone can remove it.
How Do You Remove a Compression Fitting?
There are two types of compression fittings, and both have different removal procedures. The standard compression fitting is the British type-A, and the British type-B is the compression fitting which is also called flare fitting.
A flare fitting is a compression fitting used in tubes or pipes with a complicated or inaccessible location. They are considered a soldered joint alternative, but they can be used only with flared pipes. Flared fittings are used in applications that require high pressures, yet the pipeline won’t receive any vibration.
Moreover, the installation and removal are more complex than standard compression fittings procedures.
Since standard compression fittings and flared fittings have different removal techniques, I will explain both in detail.
Steps to remove a compression fitting
Standard compression fittings have an easy removal process, and you will only need a pair of adjustable pliers. The hardest step is to remove the ferrule that commonly needs to be cut off.
Shut off the water. This type of compression fitting is often used on a hydraulic system, so you need to shut off the water if you want to remove the fitting; otherwise, the water will drip while you’re trying to remove the fitting.
Loosen and remove the compression nuts. Compression fittings have two nuts, a female and a male nut. On hydraulic systems, the compression fittings have a shutoff valve; this is the male nut. So, hold each nut with the adjustable pliers, move the male nut clockwise and the female nut (shutoff valve) counterclockwise until both are loosened.
Unscrew the nuts. You can unscrew the nuts with your hands, so take the pliers off and unscrew the nuts by hand; it will be easier.
Remove the ferrule. It is hard to remove the ferrule, and this is usually cut off. However, you can try to loosen it with the pliers until you can remove it, but if the ferrule does not come off in that way, you will need to cut it off.
Then, you will need a hacksaw, so place it on the pipe near the ferrule and cut it there.
How to remove Flared Compression Fittings?
Flared fittings only match with flared; then, the installation is somewhat more laborious. Then, removing flared fittings is a bit more difficult than removing standard compression fittings; though, it can be faster.
Shut off the water. Just as with standard compression fittings, the water system ––or the plumbing system–– must be turned off; otherwise, the water will drip over the floor.
Cut the tube. Instead of loosening the compression nuts, you can cut the pipeline first. Cutting the tube will fasten the overall process and make it easier to remove the fitting. You don’t need to worry about cutting the pipe; however, you will replace that whole pipe section.
Loosen and remove the compression nuts. The fitting still attaches to one of the tube sections, and now it’s time to remove the fitting from it. Place a plier on the tube, a wrench on the fittings, and turn the fitting with the wrench until this is loosened. Once it has loosened, you may unscrew with your hands.
Can Compression Fittings Be Used Twice?
When a compression fitting is used, the ferrule (olive) is pressed against the pipeline; this pressure seals the ferrule to the pipe. Compression fittings are mostly used to connect the tube with threaded components. They give strong support to the segments and pipeline; so they can replace soldering joints.
Compression fittings are a reliable long-term solution, and in case of any leak, the compression fittings are more effortless to repair than other joints.
Moreover, they can work at different temperatures; though, they won’t endure flexing or bending. However, people prefer compression fittings because they’re easy to install, and the tube doesn’t need any previous preparation.
Then, people often ask if compression fittings are reusable.
In general terms, I can say compression fittings are reusable; though, it can be extenuating to remove without damages. Besides, even if the compression fitting comes out unscathed, you won’t be able to use some part of it ever again.
Compression fittings have three parts: two compression nuts and a ferrule.
Some fittings can vary in shape or model according to the type of compression fittings, but in general terms, most fittings have three pieces or more. Then, not all the fitting parts are reusable.
Above, I explained how to remove a compression fitting; whether the tube is cut or not, the compression fitting should come off. Though removing a compression fitting does not always turn out well, and we may need to throw the fitting away. In better cases, we can remove the compression fitting perfectly, but the ferrule remains unusable.
All compression fittings have a ferrule (olive or sleeve), the standard and flared fittings. The ferrule will always remain useless once it is compressed by the nuts.
The ferrule can have different shapes, and even some have two parts; however, this is not reusable, and most of the time, we need to cut the tube to remove the ferrule.
So, yes, you may use a compression fitting twice, but you will need to replace the ferrule.
Can You Overtighten A Compression Fitting?
People prefer compression fittings because they are easy to install and replace. However, one of the most common mistakes is to overtight the fitting.
Understanding how compression fittings work is not hard. Compression fitting works as a stable joint between two elements such as different pipe sections; a tube, and a valve; and so on.
The nuts compress the ferrule, so this is sealed to the pipeline. As much as we screw the nuts in, a greater force will be applied against the ferrule; as result, this will be hardy compressed to the pipeline.
Tightening the fitting too much may break the ferrule and even the pipe. A perfect compressed ferrule will give the right strength to the joint, so this will resist the flow pressure.
Most people think that overtighten the fittings will secure or strengthen the joint. Well, overtighten may work in some cases, but never with compression fittings.
The ferrule will be deformed, and if you tighten too much, you may need to replace the whole fitting. In the worst cases, you may damage not only the fittings but other external components such as the valve.
Leaking is also a side effect of overtightening a compression fitting. You may think that you screwed the nut enough, but if you start the plumbing and there is any leak, that is a sign of overtightening. Then, you may need to start once again.
If you don’t want to overtighten a compression fitting, screw the nut with your hand, turn the system on, and with a wrench tighten the nut until there is no leak.
Some people prefer compression fittings over soldered joints because they are easy to install and do not need any soldering point nor expert application.
Yet, they need a correct installation and removal; otherwise, they will be useless even from the beginning.
However, compression fittings are a reliable long-term solution, and in case of any leak, the compression fittings are more effortless to repair than soldered joints.