How to Remove an End Cap From a PVC Pipe
Sometimes a plumber will cap off a PVC water pipe in anticipation of a future addition, such as a faucet or a continuation of the line. When the time comes for that addition and you have to remove the cap, forget about dissolving the glue. PVC cement actually fuses together the two pieces of plastic it joins. The only way to remove the cap is to cut it off; hopefully the plumber who installed it left enough room for you to do that comfortably.
Turn off the water to the capped-off pipe. If you can't find a more convenient place to do it, turn off the main water supply for the house. It's usually next to the water meter.
Look for a faucet connected to the water line and open it. Even if the faucet is above the cap, it will relieve pressure enough to prevent the water from spraying out when you cut the pipe. Some water will still spill out, though, and you may need to catch it in a bucket.
Align a hacksaw with the edge of the cap and place it on the pipe as close to the cap as possible. Saw through the pipe with an even motion, as if you were sawing through wood.
Remove the cap and let the water drain. De-burr the edges of the pipe with 120-grit wet/dry sandpaper in preparation for gluing on a new fitting.
- Occasionally, someone will glue a cap so close to another fitting that there is no exposed pipe between them. In this case, extending the pipe may involve cutting off the fitting along with the cap and replacing the fitting.
- After you cut off the cap, throw it away. It can't be recycled.
Chris Deziel has a bachelor's degree in physics and a master's degree in humanities. Besides having an abiding interest in popular science, Deziel has been active in the building and home design trades since 1975. As a landscape builder, he helped establish two gardening companies.