Help us move our fridge, please
January 1, 2011 5:56 PM   Subscribe

We're moving and need to disconnect the water line to the fridge's icemaker, but the compression nut won't budge. Before Sir Acorn and I do any more damage with pliers and wrench, what's the secret?

We did turn off the water and have a bucket and old towels at the ready. The fitting and the fridge are 2 years old. Please take a look at the pic and tell us how to loosen it.
posted by acorncup to Home & Garden (11 answers total)
looks to me like you've been trying to turn the wrong part. Try turning the brass nut on the right.
posted by cosmicbandito at 6:02 PM on January 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

Right. The hexagonal piece in the middle with all the plier marks isn't supposed to turn.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 6:04 PM on January 1, 2011

We're trying to hold onto the middle nut (silvery) and turn the copper one on the right but no joy.
posted by acorncup at 6:07 PM on January 1, 2011

Crescent wrenches are the secret. Your pliers are just going to keep messing things up and making it harder to eventually use the wrenches to get the job done. One crescent wrench on the silver hex in the middle, on crescent wrench on the bronze thing at the end of the copper tubing. Secure them, and twist them in the opposite directions.

If you only have one wrench and a set of vice grips, that may do the trick as well.
posted by pmb at 6:20 PM on January 1, 2011

I was going to suggest vice grips on the silverish hex and a wrench on the copper colored one. Better than a crescent wrench is a box-head wrench of the appropriate size, but a crescent wrench is enormously better than a too-small pair of pliers.
posted by Forktine at 6:22 PM on January 1, 2011

That fitting is only a few dollars. If a vice grip on the centre section and a wrench on the nut won't budge it then just cut it off. Before you'll be able to hook it up again the copper line (assuming that is the fridge end) will need to be cut with a tubing cutter but it would be fine to just cut it with a pair of side cutters or hack saw for the time being. If the plastic line is the fridge end you can cut it cleanly with a sharp knife. Either way leave the fitting with the house.
posted by Mitheral at 6:25 PM on January 1, 2011

We're using a crescent wrench and a possibly-too-small pair of pliers - everything else that's potentially useful is already gone. Guess I'm going to the hardware store in the morning, but I'm not convinced the things aren't somehow fused together. Would Liquid Wrench help? Would it also poison our ice cubes?
posted by acorncup at 6:31 PM on January 1, 2011

That's what I get for not previewing.

Mitheral, I like the way you think. As time is of the essence and energy is running low, I'm going to cut it off and buy a new fitting next week. Thank you!
posted by acorncup at 6:36 PM on January 1, 2011

You should actually be using tubing wrenches, not pliers or crescent wrenches. They're designed to put an even amount of pressure around several sides of the nut. Unlike pliers or crescents, which only put pressure on two sides. This results in squashing the nut making it even more difficult to remove.

I would've made the same suggestion, cut them off and put on a new one. Just be sure to use a tubing cutter on the copper line. Don't just mash it with diagonal cutters.
posted by wkearney99 at 7:05 PM on January 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

The secret to removing rounded off nuts is a pipe wrench. A high-quality pipe wrench has a sharp, hard gripping surface and they get tighter as you apply pressure. With a pipe wrench (you can get tiny ones), you'll know the nut can't be removed when the fitting breaks.

The best way to not round off a nut is to use two high-quality combination wrenches that are exactly the right size.
posted by klanawa at 9:46 PM on January 1, 2011

As wkearney99 says, the proper tools for the job are flare nut wrenches for tubing shown here. They look like crescent wrenches but instead wrap around to engage five of the six sides of the nut instead of just two for a crescent wrench. They also are often thicker than similar sized small crescent wrenches. This better distributes the stress on soft brass nuts and prevents rounding off the shoulders. Flare nut wrenches are weaker than a crescent wrench, the jaws can crack off, so you generally would not use them for regular steel bolts requiring high torque.

But as mitheral says, just cut off the plastic tube for now and replace with new fittings in your new location.
posted by JackFlash at 8:38 AM on January 2, 2011

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