A lot of refrigerators today will come with a water dispenser or an automatic ice maker.
In either case you will need a refrigerator water line installed to your fridge or freezer.
Most handyman that I have seen will take the easy way out and install a quarter inch polyethylene plastic line to the fridge from a cold water line that they can tap into, normally made from copper. They tap into the copper line with a needle valve. This type of valve actually creates a hole after you clamp it to the pipe and then close it for the first time. We prefer to do plumbing the right way.
This is a huge mistake!
There is no way I would run a quater inch polyethelne line to any fixture in my house.
These are the most common lines that I have had to fix when it comes to a water line bursting. Even though these lines are small, when one breaks you are going to get a lot of water damage in your home within minutes of the line breaking.
The reason handymen and some plumbers like to use these is becuase of how easy you can run a line from the water source to the fridge. Being a much smaller and a much more flexible line you can drill smaller holes and run a full lenght of pipe without nay joints for up to 25 feet.
Making the job easy now and cheaper now, just to have a huge expensive problem later on down the road makes no sense to me. This is not the way to go.
The Right Way to Install a Refrigerator Water Line or Install a Freezer Water Line in Edmonton
The right way to get water to your refrigerator or freezer is by running a half inch pex water line that you take off of a cold water line either under your sink or in some other location. When taking the water line off the pipe you can install a copper, polyb, or pex tee and run the new pipe to the fridge.
This means you might have to run the water line through cabinets, through ceiling spaces or up from the furnace room. With the half inch pex the job will take a bit longer and cost a bit more but is well worth the money.
In fact the last job I did I was the same price as a handyman that worked in the building. And he was going to run quarter inch polyethylene tube compared with me running the much more expensive half inch pex pipe. This means he was actually making more money on the job than I was, and his hourly would be about 20% higher than mine!
After you run through the cabinets or what ever way you could get your pipe to the fridge you can then install a half in pex by quarter inch compression shutoff valve.
I use the Dahl quarter turn mini ball valve. These are the best shutoffs in the industry.
From the valve to the fridge or freezer hookup I always run a quarter inch, stainless steel, braided supply tube that is 60 inches long. This makes it easy to pull the fridge out when you need to. And if you need to shut off the water you pull out the fridge and shut off the water with an easy quarter turn of the valve.
The lifespan of running your refrigerator waterline or ice make water line in this manner is far longer than using the method I mentioned at the beginning of this article. In fact of all the fridge lines that I have fixed or I have heard of others fixing I have never heard of this method breaking. Doesn’t mean it won’t, everything wears out in time.
The only way I would ever run a quarter inch line to a fridge is if the homeowner wanted me to, and then only if it was copper tubing. Not the way I would do it in my house, but there are people out there that love copper.
Even when using copper people would use the needle valve to tap into a cold water line. Normally somewhere close in the basement, then when the basement is finished there is no access to the valve. Meaning when you disconnect the fridge you will have to shutoff the water to your whole house.
Most people that hook up humidifiers do the exact same thing. The difference here is if that line breaks most likely it will be contained in the furnace room. I still suggest to go out to your favorite hardware store and buy the length of quarter inch, stainless steel, braided supply line and change the line out.
You can still use the needle valve but at least you will have a better supply line.
This will not take you long and will give you a lot of peace of mind for the problems that could happen later on.
I am not a fan of needle valves being used anywhere in the plumbing system. Too many times I have tried to close the valve and the valve keeps passing water. Meaning it will not close properly.
To change out the need valve you will need to remove the valve and cut the copper pipe, not once but twice so that you can get a half inch tee or a 3/4 inch by half inch tee into the space. Solder that on with a quarter turn mini ball valve that would be half inch copper by quarter inch compression.
Once you have done this your system will be good for a very long time.