How to Connect a Refrigerator to a Water Supply Line

How to Connect a Refrigerator to a Water Supply Line

Whether you’re installing a new refrigerator or replacing an older model, you’ll need to connect the appliance to your home’s water supply line. This can be a frustrating task for novices, but it’s one that most skilled home contractors are familiar with.

First, you’ll need to determine the location of the existing water supply. It may be a direct connection to the sink or it could be connected to a kitchen faucet, either way, it will need to be tapped for your fridge’s water line.

Once you’ve determined the source of your water, map out the shortest path from it to the back of the refrigerator or where you’ll be installing it. Depending on your setup, you might be able to run the water line through the cabinets, or it might have to be installed underneath the floor. The piping may need to be made of copper, braided steel or plastic tubing.

Next, cut the 1/4-inch diameter tubing to a length that will reach from the back of the refrigerator or where you’ll place it to the water source. The tubing can be made of any flexible material, but most professionals prefer copper line or braided steel line because it’s stronger and less prone to cracking than plastic tubing.

You’ll need to tap into the line using a tee fitting, which will require disconnection of both the hot and cold water shutoff valves below the sink. You’ll also need to flush any standing water out of the supply lines before reattaching them.

For the connection at the refrigerator, you can use either a self-tap saddle valve or a tee stop valve, which uses a small metal rod to pierce the outer wall of the pipe when screwed in and then back out. Some refrigerator makers recommend these valves for their simplicity, but they’re not dependable and often don’t work properly.

If you’re unable to run the water line through the cabinets, install the tubing above and behind drawers. This will help prevent any damage to the tubing and keep it from kinking as you run it up to the back of the refrigerator.

After you’ve run the tubing, turn on the refrigerator to make sure it’s functioning and to check that all connections are tight. If the tubing has kinked, replace it with a new tube and repeat the process until you’ve completed the entire route to the back of the refrigerator.

Finally, you can install a compression joint on the end of the tubing and attach it to the back of the refrigerator to finish the job. This is the most common method, but it can be a little more difficult for a novice to complete and isn’t always recommended by professional plumbers.

Once you’ve finished the installation, be sure to flush the tubing out with a gallon of water before closing the refrigerator’s shutoff valve. This will help prevent any future leaks and keep the refrigerator working at its best for you and your family.

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