When it comes to connecting PEX piping to fittings/other pipes, a lot of plumbing professionals use Pex clamps largely because of their more straightforward installation compared to Pex crimps even in tight spaces.
Another benefit is that clamp connections are also way easier to undo if you placed the clamp in the wrong spot or you’ve made some other mistake.
That said, it’s important to understand the correct tools to use and the exact removal procedure to prevent damage to the pipe or other components.
Which is where this article comes in…
Keep reading to learn how to remove Pex clamps using different methods and tools (some pretty inexpensive).
How to remove pex clamps
As mentioned previously, there are a couple of good ways to remove PEX cinch clamp.
Method 1: How to remove pex clamps with a Pex clamp cutters.
- Pex clamp cutter tool such as this excellent cutter for removing clamps
- Needle nose pliers (optional)
- A clean piece of cloth/rag
Put on your safety gloves to protect yourself from possible injuries when cutting the Pex clamps.
- Shut down water supply
Shut down the water supply to the PEX water line where the Pex fitting you plan to remove is.
For the most part, you can do this by simply rotating the right water supply valve.
- Cleaning the surface
Wipe the surface in and around the Pex clamp with your clean piece of cloth/rag. A clean working area is a boon to your efforts.
Step 1: Get ready to cut the clamp
Slide the clamp cutting tool around the clamp such that the jaws of the cutter will be right under the Pex clamp.
Step 2: Cutting the clamp
Without using excessive energy, compress the handles of your clamp tool.
This applies pressure on the jaws and they will cut through the clamp at some point.
Ramp up the pressure if necessary but again gently.
Tip: You’ll hear a click-like sound as the tool cuts the Pex clamp.
Step 3: Pull the Clamp out
Finally, pull the remaining part of the clamp off.
Tip: Use the needle nose pliers to force the clamp off if you fail to do so with your hands.
Method 2: How to remove Pex clamps using a wire cutter
This tactic is very close to the method we have tackled above with the key difference being that you replace the Pex clamp cutter with a wire cutter.
It’s worth trying out if you have a wire cutter and not a Pex clamp cutting tool at home.
- A wire cutter
- A flatbed screwdriver
- A clean piece of cloth/rag
- Shut down the water supply
- Clean the area as indicated in method 1
Step 1: Cut off the ears
To begin with, slip the wire cutter over the clamp – be sure to position it at the right spot -and cut it off.
Step 2: Remove the remaining portion
You then pry the remaining bit with the flatbed screwdriver.
Step 3: Pull out the clamp
Now proceed to pull the fitting out.
It should again come out with slight effort.
Tip: I must say that there are people who use bolt cutters in place of either the wire cutter or the Pep clamp cutter successfully.
Method 3: How to remove Pex clamps using a screwdriver
This is perhaps the fastest and most economical method to remove the cinch and mend the installation.
- A flat head screwdriver (a thin model preferred)
Shut down the water supply to the PEX water line as always.
Follow these steps to remove the Pex clamps and redo the plumbing..
Step 1: Insert the screwdriver strategically
Insert the flat head screwdriver at the point where the band wraps around itself.
Step 2: Work the end loose
Start to wiggle the part back and forth while also pushing it until it becomes loose.
When the end loosens, everything else becomes easy-peasy.
Step 3: unwrap the band
Now all that remains is for you to simply unwrap the band.
You may not even need any tool for this- your fingers should still suffice.
There is another technique you can use to remove the steel Pex clamp still with the screwdriver.
Here are the steps:
Step 1: Lift the edge of the clamp
The first thing to do is lift up the edge of your cinch clamp- insert the screwdriver in an appropriate location.
Step 2: Heat the Pex tubing
Now heat the PEX tubing around the fitting. The idea is to have the Pex expand out of position.
Here you may use a heat gun or even a blow dryer to heat the tubing up.
On the question of how long to heat it, 2 seconds (or thereabouts) should be enough to achieve sufficient expansion.
Step 3: Pull off the fitting
If done right, the fitting should easily come off by now.
There are other techniques you can try though with varying degrees of success.
For example, I have seen folks simply use end nipper pliers to peel off the clamp with end nipper pliers.
This will require that you first bend the clamp ear until you get some room to fit the pliers.
From there you just need to pry the dogged thing apart.
Others use chisels to pry it off.
Of course, some of these processes are more tedious but there’s no harm in being aware of all available options.
Overall, the easiest way to remove Pex clamps is by using a Pex clamp removal tool and we have given you an example (You can even use a PEX Cinch Tool with a removing function) and the steps.
But if you don’t want to spend those few bucks on the tool, you can try the flathead screwdriver method or any of the other inexpensive methods.
Whichever your preference, this will be a handy DIY skill to have moving forward.