Refrigerator Water Line

refrigerator water line

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It has now become even easier to run a refrigerator water line for the purpose of the drinking water dispenser and ice maker.

In the past, this was usually done using bendable 1/4-inch copper tubing snaked to the closest water source from the refrigerator and connected to the water supply line with the use of a saddle valve or other fitting.

These days, there are more convenient flexible water supply pipes around 1/4-inch available in lengths of 1-20 feet, as well as Add-A-Tee adapters that can easily be installed wherever a shutoff valve exists.

Unlike a saddle valve, this fitting would not leak as easily and is also easy to fix.

The water supply line is usually run from a faucet in the kitchen through the cabinets and to the position of the refrigerator. Alternatively, the line can be run through the ground to the refrigerator.


Before you begin, check the back of your refrigerator to ensure that a refrigerator water line and shutoff valve does not already exist – either sticking up on the floor or protruding from the wall.

If it can be seen, simply attach a flex supply pipe around 1/4-by1/4-inch to the fridge and shutoff valve.

Before you start you should get to know what you’ll need for this project before gathering materials to begin.

Add-A-Tee adapter is very adequate for this project. It threads easily on a shutoff valve outlet of a standard fixture, such as can be found underneath your kitchen sink faucet.

The fitting comes with an outlet port around 1/4-inch to connect the flex water supply pipe to the refrigerator.

A few different sizes of this fitting are available which can accommodate water supply lines of around 1/2-inch or 3/8-inch.

Add-A-Tee required for the shutoff valve of a standard kitchen sink is around 3/8-by-3/8-by-1/4-inch.

A long 1/4-inch flexible water supply pipe will also be needed to connect to the fridge from the Add-A-Tee.

Extra length should be considered so as not to detach whenever the fridge is moved. Ensure to measure the length properly and purchase extra just in case.

Flexible water pipes can be found in braided steel or durable plastic nylon mesh.

Though costlier, braided steel provides more strength that can withstand water leaks, making it completely worth it.

Refrigerator Water Line: Shut the Water Supply

The shutoff valve is typically found on the cold water line underneath the sink in the kitchen.

Turn it clockwise to shut it off. If its handle is a lever, turn this perpendicularly to the pipe to shut it off.

Release pressure in the lines by running cold water in the faucet.

Detach the Water Line of the Faucet

Position a small bucket or rag under the valve in order to collect draining water from the supply pipe.

Detach the supply pipe from the valve using two adjustable wrenches or pliers. Keep the body of the valve secure with one pair, and loosen the supply pipe compression nut using the other pair.

Fix the Add-A-Tee Adapter

Thread the adapter on the shutoff valve outlet port, hand-tightening initially.

Use two pairs of pliers to completely tighten the adapter, with one pair holding the valve steady.

Attach a water pipe tee adapter.

Refrigerator Water Line: Connect the Supply Pipes to the Faucet

Reconnect the supply pipe of the faucet onto the Add-A-Tee 3/8-inch outlet. Use pliers to tighten as before.

Connect one end of 1/4-inch flex supply pipe to the adapter’s 1/4-inch outlet, and use pliers to tighten.

Connect the Supply Pipes to the Refrigerator

Run the supply pipe all the way to the back of the fridge.

Connect the tube end to the Refrigerator water supply 1/4-inch fitting.

Use pliers to tighten a bit more than a hand-tight.

Turn the Water Back On

Turn the shutoff valve under the sink counterclockwise or the lever handle parallel to the pipe to open the valve.

Check all connections for any leaks and position the refrigerator properly.

Make sure the ice maker and/or water dispenser are functioning normally.

Tip: Remove air and any contaminants within the dispenser water line by flushing several gallons of water through. For an ice maker, dispose of the first two sets of ice.

Why Should I Not Use a Saddle Valve?

Saddle valves used to be popular for connecting the water supply to refrigerators and other appliances, but now some area regulations do not permit them due to their leakage tendencies.

Ensure to replace this with a standard shutoff valve or simply splice a unique tee adapter with a shutoff valve into the refrigerator water line.

Call us at (559) 940-0890

Clovis Plumbing Services