A compression sleeve puller is a specialty plumbing tool you probably won't need very often, but when you do, you'll be happy you have it.
This tool is used on compression fittings on copper pipe, such as those used to connect shutoff valves to copper pipes. When disassembling these joints, the small brass compression ring (sleeve) that fits over the copper pipe can be very difficult to remove—especially in situations where the fitting is recessed in a wall cavity or in another difficult to access location.
How to Use a Compression Sleeve Puller
There are many situations in which a compression sleeve puller might be used, but a common situation is when disconnecting a fixture shut-off valve, which is normally secured to a copper supply pipe with a compression sleeve and fitting. Here's how the process would look in that situation:
- As always, you must shut off the water before removing the shut-off valve. Test to make sure the water is off by trying the nearest fixture. The fixture should not be getting any water. There will be some residual water held back in the pipe by the shut-off valve, so it is a good idea to have a small bowl, sponge, or towels handy when removing the valve.
- Remove the shut-off valve by using two sets of pliers or wrenches—one to hold the valve, and the other to disconnect the compression nut securing the valve to the pipe. Use equal pressure on both pliers to prevent damage to the pipe. The shut-off valve should unscrew and leave the brass sleeve and the nut on the pipe.
- Back off the compression sleeve puller bolt enough so you can get it into position behind the nut. Screw the bolt in until it gradually pulls the nut and brass sleeve all the way off of the pipe. If the sleeve is very tight, it may be necessary to hold the puller with one hand and screw the bolt in with pliers or wrench.
With the old brass compression sleeve and nut removed, check to make sure that the pipe is in good shape before installing a new compression shut-off valve. If the pipe is damaged, the new compression sleeve and nut will not seal against the copper pipe.
Note: A useful variation of this tool is a style that combines a fixture handle puller with a compression sleeve puller. A combination tool of this type will be more useful to most DIYers.