Can a brother get a hookup?
February 11, 2010 2:40 PM   Subscribe

Installing a new water hookup for a fridge.

We're buying a new fridge to take advantage of the "Cash for Clunkers for Appliances" program.

New fridge we want has an ice maker, which obviously (right?) is going to require a water hookup that our current suck-ass Magic Chef does not. How much of a Big Deal (in effort and cost; we're in Brooklyn, NY) is it to put in a new hookup? It's next to our kitchen sink, so the pipes should be right there.

If, for whatever reason, it's not practical to get the work done, is there any reason we couldn't just plug in the fridge sans-ice maker, and hook it up later?
posted by mkultra to Home & Garden (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
you should be able to download the manual on the net. See how the instructions read.

I suspect it will be as simple as putting a T on your cold water line and running a small plastic hose to the back of the fridge.... but... IANAP
posted by HuronBob at 2:42 PM on February 11, 2010

I'd bet you won't even need to sweat in a T. For an ice maker, a saddle valve should be sufficient.
posted by jon1270 at 2:46 PM on February 11, 2010

Home Depot sells a kit for this. It's just a little needle thing that taps into the existing pipe. I think it's a slightly different kit depending on if you have copper or PVC.

Piece of cake. No actual plumbing required.
posted by bondcliff at 2:48 PM on February 11, 2010

Yeah, if the fridge is going in right next to the sink, I would use a saddle valve on the cold line to the sink, then drill a hole in the cabinet to run the line. You should be able to do all of the work (except for drilling the hole) with basic hand tools and some common sense.

I am not a plumber, and this solution may or may not be up to code.
posted by indyz at 2:51 PM on February 11, 2010

+1 on getting a kit from Home D or Lowe's. it is very easy to do, and in your case you don't even have to worry about the refrigerator being far away from the water source. As for not hooking it up, it won't hurt the fridge, but the hookup is so easy you should just go ahead and do it.
posted by chosemerveilleux at 3:06 PM on February 11, 2010

Two things:

1) If you haven't actually purchased yet, I want to emphatically endorse buying a model with the freezer on the bottom!!!! It is SO very nice having the food you access most be right up there in front of your face.

2) Installing an ice maker line shouldn't be too hard. My husband recently changed ours out from a copper line to one of those lines that looks like a gas pipe (bendy and more durable because our copper line developed a kink in it and leaked). Depending on the type of line you use, you may have to make many, many batches of ice that you throw away because you can "taste" the plastic or whatever the line is made of. Not a big deal, just a pain that I thought I'd warn you about.
posted by wwartorff at 3:26 PM on February 11, 2010

I didn't understand saddle valve, so I looked it up. Looks pretty manageable. The part where it hooks into the fridge is a cinch. It uses quite narrow copper tubing. You may need to drill a small hole in the sink cabinet to pass the tubing through.
posted by theora55 at 3:26 PM on February 11, 2010

"If, for whatever reason, it's not practical to get the work done, is there any reason we couldn't just plug in the fridge sans-ice maker, and hook it up later? "

No problem what so ever; just make sure you Ice Maker is in the off position so it doesn't cycle all the type.

jon1270 writes "For an ice maker, a saddle valve should be sufficient."

Saddle valves are practically guaranteed to leak at some point in the future; especially under a sink where they are subjected to mechanical damage. Better is either a Compression Tee/Quick tee adaptor or a shut off valve with two ports if you can find one that matches your cold water sink shutoff. Either can be installed with just a couple wrenches and possibly a tube cutter.

The ice maker install kits will come with either plastic or copper tubing. The copper tubing is more expensive but less likely to be catastrophically damaged. When you run the line drill the hole in the cabinet as close to the floor and wall as you can. Then make a large complete loop in the tubing (approximately as large across as the width of the fridge; 5-7' of line) before attaching the end of the tubing to the water valve on the fridge. The loop will lay flat against the wall behind the fridge and allow you to pull the fridge out from the wall without damaging the tubing. Make sure you use the clamp that comes with the kit to attach the tubing to your fridge near it's valve so the valve doesn't get damaged.

If your water contains appreciable sediment (check for mud in the bottom of your toilet tank) and your fridge also dispenses chilled water then you should install an inline sediment filter. Otherwise that muck ends up in the cold plate that chills the water.
posted by Mitheral at 3:44 PM on February 11, 2010 [2 favorites]

Second using a Quick tee adapter, saddle valves really suck. Ignore the white plastic hose some kits sell, these hoses develop pinhole leaks that lead to water damage. Use a braided hose.
posted by Marky at 4:28 PM on February 11, 2010

The first thing you need to do is to look under the sink and see what type of supply goes to the cold water. If it is a valve body with flexible lines running up, check if the threads on the top are standard half inch pipe threads. If so, you can unscrew the water line to the sink and install a simple tee above the valve, re-install the water line and then install the kit-based line to the fridge. Of course you will have turned the water off before unscrewing anything. Right?

Take a cell phone photo of what's under the sink and show it to the plumbing "expert" at Home Depot or Lowes and s/he can show you all of the goodies you need. As has been noted above, the hardest part is drilling for the line through the cabinet and that's really no big deal. I choose to drill a little bigger hole than is necessary so feeding the ice-maker line through is a little easier. Also, drill this hole as far back as possible, so the line doesn't interfere with the stuff you keep in the cabinet.
posted by Old Geezer at 4:40 PM on February 11, 2010

Be sure that you can turn off the water to the pipe that you want to access. Is this a house or apt?
posted by Midnight Skulker at 5:23 PM on February 11, 2010

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