How to Connect an Ice Maker Like a Pro
Ask This Old House plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey helps a special homeowner hook up her refrigerator with an ice maker
- Shut the water off to the house.
- Locate the nearest cold water line and determine its location compared to the location of the fridge.
- With that in mind, pull out the fridge and drill down with a feeler bit as close to the cold water line as possible.
- Use the feeler bit to determine the best location to drill for the water line. Drill the hole.
- Carefully uncoil the copper tubing and run it through the hole and close to the water line.
- Determine where the water line will be cut. Clean that area with the abrasive cloth and cut it with a pipe cutter. Have a bucket ready to catch any water that comes out.
- Once it’s dry, apply flux to the outside of the T and the inside of the pipe and the multi-turn shutoff valve.
- Fit the pipe, the T, and the shutoff valve together and solder it.
- Connect the ¼” copper tubing to the other side of the shutoff valve with the compression connection.
- Go back to the fridge and uncoil the rest of the copper tubing. Leave extra slack high on the fridge so that it can still be easily moved in and out.
- Find the opening in the back of the fridge to receive the copper tubing and screw it into place.
- Put the fridge back in the opening and turn the water back on.
While there are plenty of homeowner-friendly kits available for ice-maker hookups, Richard suggests doing a little extra work to ensure a secure connection that will last for a long time.
Richard replaced the plastic tubing with copper tubing, and instead of using a saddle valve, he connected it to the cold water line using a compression connection with a multi-turn valve, which he soldered into the cold water pipe using a T fitting. All of these materials are available at home centers and plumbing supply houses.