How Do I Connect an Ice Maker Supply Line?

Q.  I purchased a new refrigerator and need to install a water line to the ice maker. How do I connect to the existing supply line?


A.  A water line for an ice maker is a 1/4- or 3/8-inch line that runs from the rear of the refrigerator to the nearest supply line, usually in the basement or under the sink. The connection to the existing supply line is made with a saddle valve. At many home stores, you can purchase an ice maker kit, which comes with the saddle valve, all the fittings and the water tubing (copper or plastic) necessary to make the connections. To install, first locate the fitting through which the tubing connects on the rear of the refrigerator. Using the fittings provided with the ice maker kit, take the tubing that came with your kit and connect it to the back of the ice maker unit. Next, locate a place on the main trunk supply line where you can tap the saddle valve. The location of your tap will determine how many holes you have to drill to feed the water line through. Once you’ve drilled the path, snake the ice maker line through the holes to the connection point. Connect the saddle valve to the main supply line according to the installation instructions that came with the kit. The valve is sold in pieces that bolt together to form a clamping device that straddles a water line like a saddle on a horse. No soldering is required to install the saddle valve. Saddle valves are self-tapping for connection with copper supply lines, in which case the connection can be made without shutting off the main water supply. However, if your supply pipe is galvanized steel, then you will have to shut off the water and drill a hole for the valve. Once installed, just connect the saddle valve to the ice maker tubing with the compression fittings that come with the kit. Make sure all connections are tight. Finally, turn on the water to the ice maker by turning the saddle valve’s handle clockwise and then checking for leaks. If the refrigerator includes a water dispenser, you can test the connections immediately. Otherwise, the ice maker should start dispensing ice as soon as the water freezes.

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