Monday, September 26, 2022


Ask Dave: Any safe lubrication for quick connect water connections?

Dear Dave,
Last year after my RV sat in place (full time) for almost two years because of COVID, I started to disassemble the water connections on it. I use mostly quick connections. Many of them were now “welded” together, and even with large pliers could not be separated. Is there some drinking-water-safe lubricant I can use on these quick connect water connections that will prevent this from happening again? —Larry

Dear Larry,
Over the past few years I have run across about four different brands of the quick connect/disconnect water connections and have had the same problem. The first brand I found was Shark Bite sold at Ace Hardware stores. They were really handy and seemed to hold very well. Those could be removed with the special tool and seemed to come apart easier as they had copper in the valve as well as plastic. You can also find them on Amazon.

The next brand I came across was Watts at my local home improvement store, and these were all plastic and much less expensive. Then Pex got into the market and it made sense as Pex is the same tubing used in most units.

These fittings are very easy to use, inexpensive, and come in a variety of sizes and configurations like shut off valves and “Tees”.

Problem with these quick connect water connections

The problem I have encountered with these is the hard plastic of the connection expands and contracts at different rates than the softer plastic of the pipe. They can literally weld together once they get hot and then cool down.

Using a spray lubricant such as CRC Silicone would probably jeopardize the connection and cause it to leak. There is a potable white lithium grease that I have seen at home improvement stores and on the internet. However, I feel that it might also cause the fitting to not grab as intended and eventually leak.

What I have also found is the more you connect and disconnect, the more it cuts or scuffs the pipe and the harder it is to disconnect. I have this issue with the demo piece you see in the photo, as I take this to my seminars and show how easy it is to repair a pipe or add a winterizing kit. It seems about 4-5 connections and the pipe is to a point it does not want to disconnect. I take it back home, heat it with a heat gun on low and it usually comes off. Then I get a new piece of pipe for the demo.

I do have a question. If you are disassembling your water connections and adding upgraded Pex pipe or connections, why do you need to disconnect them after that?

Do our readers have suggestions?

I’ll open this up to our readers to see if anyone has come across this and has a better way to disconnect the fitting. I know that Winnebago has used Flair-It system. That is a compression fitting, although not the push-in type. Rather, the barb goes into the water line and a plastic compression nut tightens. It is similar to the old-style copper and steel compression plumbing fittings. These are notorious for welding to the barb and usually have to be cut off.

OK, readers. Has anyone found an appropriate lubrication for the quick connect water connections or better solution?

Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and author of the “RV Handbook” as well as the Managing Editor of the RV Repair Club.

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7 months ago

I Use silicone grease. Available in hardware stores or

Mark K
7 months ago

For the various o-rings on my beer kegs, I always used a food grade keg lube that you can find on amazon.

Dave Solberg
7 months ago

Opps, completely missed that one! When I read; “started to disassemble water connections” I went straight to the several water connections in the plumbing system. Breezed right past what I spent the last ten years working with, “Quick Disconnects”. I ran a company that manufactured a pressure washer installed in fast food restaurants and we used a wide variety of QDs for the hoses and gun/wand assembly. The issues we had were brass QDs on the ball valves meeting other metal used on the hose end seizing up, hard water, and O-rings getting brittle. The product recommended by General Pump, the company we purchase them from was Fluid Film as it protected from rust, lubricated, and did not swell the o-ring. I do not think this was food grade rated however? So I would suggest the plumbers grease.

Sorry for the miss.

7 months ago

Larry was definitely talking about quick connect garden hose adapters like these : Garden Hose Quick Connect Fittings Solid Brass Quick Connector 3/4 Inch GHT Garden Water Hose Connectors with Extra Rubber Washers, Male and Female (4 Set) : Patio, Lawn & Garden
They are susceptible to calcium deposit buildup in the bearings inside the adapter, which causes them to lock up. If you have good clean soft water, they last a long time, but hard water ruins them quickly. If you have hard water, I’m not sure a lubricant will help all that much.

7 months ago

Plumber’s grease. It’s made for O rings and faucet valves. Safe for all types of rubber and plastic. Drinking water safe.
I use it on the threads of my water heater anode rod. Keep the threads from rusting.
Yep, Dave missed this one.

7 months ago
Reply to  Bob

I get my food grade safe O-ring grease at the local hardware store. I use it on my whole house water filter and whole RV water filter O-rings before screwing in the canister. I also keep a separate tube of it and gloves to grease the toilet O-ring

Tana Shively
7 months ago
Reply to  Bob

So is the plumbers grease used on the anode rod in place of the Teflon tape?
Does the grease prevent leaking at the connection?

Last edited 7 months ago by Tana Shively
7 months ago

As some others have noted the OP could have been talking about hose connections from the campgoround supply to the camper. Most often the seizing of the quick connect to the fitting is caused by dissimilar metals. Especially if one of the fittings is made from aluminum. I have seen hoses with aluminum fittings seize to faucets and other fittings. The first thing I would suggest is to avoid aluminum fittings altogether. (This is what i do.) Anti-seize compounds can be used but with limited success on fittings that see a lot of movement.

7 months ago

If you have a need for a safe lubricant just search for a “ Food Grade “ lubricant. They can be found on Amazon or many other places

Rock & Tina
7 months ago

Dave, I think you may have addressed the wrong type of “quick connections.” I believe he was referring to the type I use on my hoses which are made to quickly connect and disconnect hoses not the much more permanent shark type connectors.

7 months ago
Reply to  Rock & Tina

I agree with Rick & Tina. I thought they meant 2 lawn type water hoses

Bob p
7 months ago
Reply to  PDN

Yep he missed the boat on that one, the gentleman is asking about quick connect hose couplings, which I never could understand their use on a RV.

7 months ago
Reply to  Rock & Tina

These are what I thought the question was about. I use these for my shore water connection. Have never had a problem. But they seldom stay connected for more than a week.

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