How to Disconnect Reverse Osmosis Tubing

The average American household has about 1.5 gallons of water per day, so it’s no surprise that there are multiple appliances used to store and use this resource. One of them is the reverse osmosis system, which purifies water by removing dissolved salts and minerals. The health benefits of drinking reconstituted or purified water are widely recognized and include preventing heart disease, osteoporosis, kidney stones, and a host of other medical problems. However, if you have a problem with your reverse osmosis system, you can save time and money by understanding how to disconnect the tubing. Here are 6 steps for doing so!

Disconnecting RO Connection

The first step to disconnecting your reverse osmosis system is shutting off the water supply. Depending on what you have in your home, this may be done by a valve near the faucet or a knob under the sink. The next step is to remove the tubing from your RO unit. This should be done by first turning off the water supply and then loosening the connections from both ends of the tubing with pliers. Next you need to loosen any clamps that are holding the tubing in place. Finally, unscrew the nut that is holding your tubing in place and remove it from your RO unit.

Disconnecting RO Tubing

If you have to disconnect your reverse osmosis tubing, the method will depend on where it’s located. If it’s in-line, you can simply turn off the valve that connects the tubing to the filter. If it’s an under-counter water filter system that has a connection for both input and output, then disconnecting the tube is as easy as turning off the corresponding valves.

Disconnecting RO Pump Tubing

If your RO system needs service, you will need to disconnect the tubing in order to remove it. But before you start disconnecting, make sure the power is turned off at the breaker for your water filter system.

The following procedure will work for most RO systems that are not too high above ground. You can also use a ladder or step stool to get into the right position.

  1. Turn the water filter system off at the breaker (or unplug it).
  2. Turn on cold water and let it run for 10 seconds to clear out sediment from the lines. This will help prevent dirt or debris from clogging your filters when you remove them.
  3. Remove any screens or filters on top of the pump; these will be located at either end of the pump body, one on each side of the outlet of the filter tank. If there are no screens or filters, skip this step.
  4. Loosen hose clamp with pliers on both ends of hose just enough so that hose can be removed easily without kinking or twisting it. Keep track of which way hose was originally connected so that you can reconnect it later if necessary, remembering which end was on top and which on bottom.
  5. Carefully disconnect hose from top of pump and set aside.
  6. Remove cover from pump by loosening screws that hold it in place. You may have to use a Philips screwdriver to do this, since some RO systems use tamper-proof screws that require a special tool for removal.
  7. Remove pump from housing and set aside (you may need to loosen hose clamp at bottom of pump with pliers).
  8. Remove all filters one at a time and rinse each one with water as you remove it; this will help prevent dirt or debris from clogging your filters when you put them back in. If any filter is especially dirty, run water through it several times; if necessary, use brushes or cloths to clean the filter, being careful not to tear or damage it.
  9. Thoroughly rinse out your housing and all parts with water (or use a garden hose to flush it out). Make sure that you clean any large debris from housing.
  10. If your housing has a screen at the bottom, remove it and check for holes or tears in it; if necessary, run water through it several times to clean it. Replace screen and make sure that none of the holes are blocked by debris.
  11. Remove all screens from inside of pump; rinse each one with water as you remove it, then dry thoroughly with a towel or cloth (or use a hair dryer on low setting). If any screen is especially dirty, run water through it several times; if necessary, use brushes or cloths to clean the screen, being careful not to tear or damage it.
  12. If your pump has a plastic impeller inside of it, remove the impeller and rinse it with water; if necessary, use brushes or cloths to clean the impeller (make sure that you do not bend any blades on the impeller). Replace impeller and make sure that none of the blades are bent.
  13. Replace all parts in reverse order of disassembly. When putting housing back together, be careful not to scratch or gouge its interior walls. If you have difficulty getting all parts back into housing, try using a rubber mallet to gently tap them into place.
  14. If you have a pump with a removable handle, install the handle; if necessary, replace the handle gasket and re-secure the handle to the pump housing using the hardware that was removed in step 5.
  15. If you have a submersible pump that is installed inside of a water feature, do not run water through it until you are sure that it is working correctly and there are no leaks. If your pump has an air release valve on it, close it when you first turn on your water feature.
  16. Turn on your water feature (if applicable). Check for leaks around all connections and hoses; if necessary, tighten any loose connections or replace any cracked or damaged hoses.
  17. Re-install the pump cover (if applicable).
  18. Turn on the water feature. Check to make sure that your filter and other equipment are working properly.
  19. Enjoy!
How to remove RO tubing from JG fittings

Disconnecting RO Tank Tube

You’ll need to disconnect the tube from the RO tank and discharge hose before you can replace any parts.

1. Turn off the faucet and flush your RO system for two minutes. (This prevents any sediment or debris from entering your drinking water.)

2. Disconnect the tubing from the RO tank by grasping it at its opening and pulling firmly to remove it from the fitting.

3. Disconnect the tubing from the discharge hose by turning off the faucet and twisting or pulling firmly on one end of it until it’s detached.

Removing the Tube from the Tank

If you have a problem with your reverse osmosis system, one of the first steps in troubleshooting is removing the tube from the tank. This will prevent water from flowing until you’ve fixed the problem.

The process for disconnecting the tube is pretty straightforward. It just takes a few minutes to complete, and you’ll be able to get back to enjoying clean water again.

  1. Turn off the faucet that feeds into the tank
  2. Open up the valve on top of the tank
  3. Unscrew the hose clamp on top of tank
  4. Release pressure by opening tap on bottom of tank
  5. Pull out hose and close tap
  6. Turn on tap again

Removing the Tube from the Pump

  1. Turn off the water supply to the unit and unplug it from the wall.
  2. If you have a dishwasher, remove the drain tube and the supply tube and place them in a safe location.
  3. Disconnect the black rubber washer from the fitting by loosening its screws or nuts with a wrench or pipe wrench.
  4. Remove all of the fittings from the tubing line except for those at either end.
  5. Pull as much as possible of the tubing out of both ends until it becomes taut, then gently pull outward on each end to loosen it from where it is attached to other parts of your system, such as your faucet or spigot; then carefully pull out any remaining tubing slack by hand until you can finally pull away one end and leave behind just enough length for water to drip into your sink’s drain area when you’re done using your system (typically about 3 inches).
  6. Finish by tightening fittings that are still connected for long-term storage purposes by screwing them back onto their corresponding connections with pliers, then reconnecting it to electrical power, after which you can plug in your device again to resume normal use without leaks!
How to remove “Pressure Fit” tubing/plumbing - RO system

Knowing When to Call a Plumber

If you have a problem with your reverse osmosis system, and your efforts have not led to much progress, it’s time to call a plumber. In the case of a leaky or broken pump, if you don’t fix that issue right away it can lead to bigger problems down the line.

If you’re not sure whether it’s time for a plumber or not, here are some symptoms that might show you need one:

  • There’s water coming out from under the sink and onto the floor.
  • The reverse osmosis filter is dirty and needs to be replaced.
  • You see water bubbles coming out of the faucet or your pipes.
  • The pressure seems low and doesn’t seem like enough water is filtering through at once.
  • There’s an obvious leak in the plumbing near your system.

How to Disconnect Reverse Osmosis Tubing

It’s important to understand how to disconnect the tubing from a reverse osmosis system, in order to avoid water damage or contamination. Here are 6 steps for doing so!

  1. Turn off the power and water supply. Make sure the power is turned off at the breaker box and the water is turned off at the valve located near the kitchen sink.
  2. Unscrew any fittings that connect to an outside faucet or refrigerator door.
  3. Remove any tubing from a refrigerator door or ice maker.
  4. Disconnect any tubing from a hot water heater, countertop, or dishwasher.
  5. Open up your faucet and turn on the cold water for 10 seconds to purge air from lines in your water system.
  6. Close up your faucet and reconnect all of your plumbing connections if they were previously disconnected.


Knowing how to disconnect reverse osmosis tubing can save your wallet the hassle of a costly visit to the hardware store. It’s also an important skill to know for those who like to maintain their RO system so that it’s functioning properly.

Meet the author: Nancy Hernández

Nancy is a yoga instructor and a knitwear designer. She has been teaching yoga since 2013 and is certified by Yoga Alliance. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, tennis and cooking. “As a mother of three, my kids keep me busy. But spending time with them is really a treat. They are growing up so fast and I do not want to miss anything!” Learn more about Nancy and the rest of the team.