Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Icemaker line

If you have don't have a water line for the icemaker in your fridge, you can easily install one yourself in most cases.  It took me about 10 minutes today to install a water line for my fridge using a self-piercing kit from Home Depot (although you can get it at most any hardware store) that cost about $15 and a 6 foot water line.

Here's the process:

  • Locate an existing cold water pipe adjacent to where you want the icemaker line to be.  I located a line in the basement about 5 feet away from where I needed the icemaker line to be.
  • Drill a hole through the floor to run your line.  This assumes that you are coming through the floor to feed your icemaker.
  • Shut off the cold water at the main inside your house.
  • Position the self-piercing saddle kit on the water line where you want it.
  • Make sure that the icemaker valve is off.
  • Tighten the bolts on the saddle so that the tip pierces through the copper pipe, but does not exit the other side of the pipe.
  • Turn the icemaker valve on.  Although the water is still off, there will be enough water left in the pipe for water to drip out of the valve if you have effectively pierced the pipe.
  • Feed the flexible copper that comes with the self-piercing kit through the hole in your floor down and around to where you have installed the self-piercing valve.  Note that if you are installing this in a basement that you want to finish at some point, you may want to drill holes thorough the studs and feed the line through those holes.
  • Put the compression fitting on the end of the flexible copper and tighten the fighting to the self-piercing valve.
  • Get a bucket on the fridge side of the flexible copper and slowly turn on the cold water at the main.  Once the cold water is fully pressurized into the house, inspect the self-piercing saddle for leaks.  If there are no leaks, turn on the self-piercing valve and let the water run into the bucket for a couple of minutes to clear any sediment and inspect the self-piercing saddle for leaks.
  • Assuming there are no leaks, turn the self-piercing valve off.
  • In my case I ran the flexible copper against the wall in back of the fridge and cut the copper close to the floor.  I then put the compression fitting on the end of the copper and installed a male-to-male fitting between the compression fitting on the copper and the compression fitting on a piece of braided PVC water supply line.  You can also choose to install the copper line directly into the back of the fridge, but you do have to worry about bends in the copper when you push the fridge back into place.  For an extra $7, the braided PVC line is well worth the investment.
  • My fridge has an integral filter that filters both water and water used for ice.  I turned the ice machine off before turning the water back on at the self-piercing valve.  To clear any sediment out of the water and particulate out of the filter, I poured out about 5 48oz cups of water.  Then I turned on the icemaker and threw out the first batch of ice it made just to be sure that I was using the purest water possible for ice.

It sounds a little more complicated than it is and I certainly had the benefit of doing this project in an unfinished basement.  However, professional plummer can charge $100-$200 or more for this job, so it's worth investigating yourself before you bring someone else in to do it.

Best of luck.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Right, 10 mins. It took you longer than 10 mins to write up what you did...(grin). Realistically, this is about a 1-2hr job. Lets not forget finding the water line, finding the area of floor under the fridge, running the line over, bleeding the line, drilling holes, etc. It is an easy job, though, and I liked your last paragraph about getting all the lines clean. I did this before and after I hooked up the line (i.e. I also drained a few cups from the fridge water after first connection). I also found a kit from HD that had 25' of poly-tubing, which rocked.