Installing an Icemaker Supply Line is a relatively easy task that a handy person can accomplish in an hour or two if they have the right tools and a little knowledge. However, there are a number of things that can go wrong and cause flooding damage to your home if not done right. Even some installation kits can lead you in the wrong direction heading for leaks in your future. In this article I will tell you about the things to avoid and the things to do that best guarantee your success without leaks.
The first thing you have to do is find a cold water supply line that you can tie into. Frequently you can run a line from under the sink along the rear of the cabinets to the refrigerator’s location. Other times from a cold supply line in a basement or, crawlspace up through a hole drilled in the floor will suffice. If you are in a home where there is a slab under the kitchen and no access from through cabinets is available it can be tougher. Also consider water available in the wall near the refrigerator such as bathrooms and laundry rooms. Supply lines in the wall may require a plumber unless you can sweat pipe.
Once you have found a cold supply line you have to tap into it. One of the most common mistakes people make is using the saddle valve that comes with the ice maker installation kit. Throw it away! Don’t use it! With saddle valves it is not a question of “if” they will leak but a question of ”when” it will leak, besides some refrigerator makers are now specifically saying not to use one or, their ice maker may not function properly. The best plan is to attach a tee and valve into the supply line using a good method of attachment for the pipes you have. With copper pipe sweating in a tee and valve would be my choice but if you do not know how to sweat copper don’t despair, other options are available. If the pipe is in an open area and not concealed in a wall or ceiling Sioux Chief makes a compression tee and valve just for this use. SharkBite fittings and push on valves are also options on copper, CPVC, and PEX tubing as well. See related articles Plumbing With SharkBite Push-On Tubing Connectors, and Push On ¼ Turn Stop Valves to the Rescue. If you were really handy installing a Sioux Chief OX Box Icemaker Wall Box behind where the refrigerator would be a nice touch.
The tubing you use to run from the supply valve to the refrigerator is another critical choice. Kinking or, getting the refrigerator rolled over it causing leaks often damages the white plastic tubing supplied in many kits, and frequently the compression fittings in these kits are supplied with brass ferrules which will cut into the plastic tubing causing leaks. I would avoid the plastic tubing kits for these reasons. Copper tube is a good choice but again kinking when moving the refrigerator in and out will cause leaks and sometimes water conditions can cause problems for copper. In my opinion the braided stainless steel icemaker supply lines are the best option. They hold up very well and I have seldom seen problems with them. There is however one type that I would avoid and that is the Watts Floodsafe brand. I have seen the Floodsafe feature false trip shutting off the water due to high water pressure and on several of their other products I have seen connector failures causing severe damage from the leak.
If your refrigerator does not have water filtration you may want to consider an inline water filter when running the line. Icemaker water filters can improve the flavor of the water from the dispenser as well as make nicer ice cubes.
If you have any questions or comments please post them below.