Ice maker water line

gpraceman55May 14, 2013

We will be doing a major kitchen remodel here shortly and I wanted feedback on if we need to change the current way the water supply line to the refrigerator ice maker is done.

Currently, there is an ice maker box installed in the wall next to the refrigerator but that isn't being used. Instead, the previous homeowner had Culligan install an under sink water filter and they ran a poly line over to the refrigerator. The line comes off a T going to the filtered water tap, down to the basement, over and up through the floor to the refrigerator. I don't know what these guys were thinking. They ran the poly line right through the return air duct and used a little electrical tape to prevent the line from chafing. Yet, they had drilled a 2nd hole (through the kitchen hardwoods) which would have kept the line out of the return air duct. Well, we took care of that issue as soon as we moved in by moving the line into that 2nd hole.

For our reno, we will be shifting the refrigerator over to fit an oven/microwave cabinet. I'd still like to run a line from the under sink water filter to the refrigerator, but would like to do it properly. Should I run a 1/4" copper line instead of the poly line? I would like to install a new ice maker connection box but would need to find adapters to get the line to connect to the box. The basement is unfinished, so I have easy access, but later on we might want to finish the basement off.

I do also intend to yank the old icemaker connection box in the wall and cap that line. We already had a small flood from that line from a water hammer that blew the valve stem right out. As it will end up behind the oven/micro cabinet, I really want it capped.

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If your under sink filter" is a Reverse Osmosis unit then do not use copper.

PE (polyethylene) tubing is the correct choice.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 9:45AM
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Reverse osmosis water is relatively aggressive at dissolving things, like copper.

This is one of the places that plastic tubing is actually better.

The worst thing you can do is use one of the 'saddle valves' that clamp onto a pipe and then punches a hole in the pipe (often with a steel valve stem).

They are not legal valves in most places, and rarely can be closed completely.

the electrolytic corrosion between the copper pipe and steel piercing also set up a leak problem that will show at the worst time.

Use a real ball valve (soldered for copper, with correct compression fittings for plastic).

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 10:40AM
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It is a dual stage filter system, not RO. There are no saddle valves being used. I know that such valves will eventually leak. I'll have to address that issue on the humidifier connected to the furnace.

For the ice maker line they teed off the poly line going to the filtered water faucet. The tee is plastic with push on connectors. I added a push on valve behind the refrigerator, so we could secure the water at the refrigerator instead of having to do it under the sink.

I guess that I am not sure if a poly line is appropriate to run through a finished basement ceiling (once we decide to finish the basement). That is why I was wondering if I should run a 1/4" copper line instead.

Secondly, I'd like to use an ice maker connection box in the wall. So, I'll have the issue of connecting up the supply line to it. This is the box that I found at Home Depot. It has a large threaded end to connect up to.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 12:52PM
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I would use copper line.

Anything push on is asking for trouble.

As the plastic looses its flexibility with age the push on connections lose their strength.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 1:50PM
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Perhaps PEX for the piping in the wall/ceiling? Put a connector to the poly from the filter under the sink where you can easily reach it.

We were going to put a valve box behind the fridge, but our plumber pointed out that that meant we'd have to move the fridge to turn the water off, which with the monster fridge we scrounged is no easy task. The valve right below it in the basement can easily be reached in the event of a leak. Just leave a small access door if you finish the basement ceiling.

After the second leaky poly line under a fridge I switched to copper and have never looked back.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 1:37PM
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Currently, we have a shutoff valve under the sink and one behind the refrigerator. I'll keep that arrangement once we put the kitchen back together, so we will be able to secure the water in either location.

I'm not sure if PEX is any different from the poly tubing that is in use right now.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 1:53PM
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