Preventing icemaker from leaking

marvelousmarvinAugust 2, 2013

The dishwasher, washing machine, and icemaker in the fridge are the three most common reasons for water damage in a home.

Out of those those three, a small leak from the icemaker doesn't seem like it would be so bad. But, if a icemaker leak behind the fridge goes undetected long enough, it can also cause a lot of havoc too.

So, what's a good, proactive way to prevent the icemaker from leaking in the first place?

I'm thinking there's two things to do:

1) Replace the icemaker valve, a small metal needle/saddle valve on the cold water pipe near the refrigerator, with a ball valve because a ball valve is less likely to leak.

Minerals clogging icemaker valves also seem to be a problem, but I don't know if a ball valve would be any better for that problem.

2) Replace the plastic tube connecting the valve and fridge with a steel braided hose because the plastic tube is often the source of pinhole leaks.

I know copper is also a popular option to replace plastic tubing because its less likely to leak but I'm worried that copper is vulnerable to kinking.

Plus, my contractor scoffed about mixing PEX tubing in the kitchen with a copper line.

Am I missing anything else I can do?

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You can have a belt and suspenders and your pants can still be yanked down. In other words, do all you can in the planning stage, and then just don't sweat it. That's what insurance is for. Just make sure that you have the proper type of insurance for a rental, and don't worry about it. As soon as you idiot proof a rental, someone invents a better idiot.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2013 at 10:04AM
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Or, get rid of the ice maker. I don't have one and rarely "miss" it. Particularly, in a rental.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2013 at 11:54AM
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I wouldn't put an ice maker in a rental. Heck, I'm not even putting an ice maker in my own house.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2013 at 2:03PM
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Huh! Didn't know we had so much company on the no-icemaker thing. DH has always been a no-icemaker kind of guy. Since we installed our own cabinetry and could see the route and the obstacles between the sink and the fridge, I was perfectly happy to give the whole icemaker thing a pass. We had two large groups of relatives over recently and purchased a bag of ice at the store for the occasions.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2013 at 2:20PM
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Our family goes through a ton of ice, so I would not want to do without our icemaker. I replaced the valve for the icemaker connection with a ball valve and the plastic hose with a steel jacketed one. The original valve failed (stem blew out of the valve body) and even though we got the water turned off quickly, it damaged the hardwoods in the kitchen. It took over 6 months for the cupped boards to lay back down. Our current reno included refinishing the floors, so all evidence of the damage is now gone. I have replaced all of the other water valves in the kitchen and powder room, as I now don't trust the valves put in by the builder.

That Farmer's insurance commercial reminded me to replace our washing machine's hoses. They were just rubber hoses that were over 8 years old, so it was overdue. I replaced those with steel jacketed ones.

I may consider using leak detectors at all water sources, but am not sure really how effective they are.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2013 at 2:55PM
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Fori is not pleased

I'd go with a leak detector and live on the wild side.

If it's a remodel and not a retrofit, I would definitely do number one though. Plumb the dang thing properly! :P

    Bookmark   August 2, 2013 at 3:22PM
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I didn't catch that you had a saddle valve. I agree with fori. Replace that sucker as soon as possible. Eventually, they will leak. Better to get a plumber in and put in an appropriate connection.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2013 at 3:47PM
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I don't supply a icemaker for this rental because I don't supply a fridge. So, the tenant is responsible for the fridge and it seems inevitable that there will be a icemaker because it seems like a pretty common feature in fridges.

I wish we could turn back the clock on icemakers in fridges and self-cleaning ovens because they seem like more trouble than they're worth. Icemaker leaks, and I believe that a lot of oven problems can be attributed to overusing the self cleaning feature.

Sometimes, it seems we're inundated with all these fancy features on our appliances that we never really need or use. With more parts and features, that means there's more things that can breakdown or go wrong.

I'd rather have those washing machines and dryers we had 20 years ago, which were much simpler and lasted much longer than the gimmicky washing machines we have today.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2013 at 6:17PM
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IMO, refrigerators are to keep food and drinks cold or frozen not dispense ice or water.

It's a nice addition having Ice dispensed but the problems and hassles (to me) outway the advantages.

Besides, i drink beer and don't need ice.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2013 at 8:15PM
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IMO, kitchens shouldn't have wood floors if you're going to worry yourself silly about getting the floors wet.

Would you ever put wood floors in the bathroom? If not, then why would you put them in the kitchen?

    Bookmark   August 5, 2013 at 8:35PM
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Now, that we're talking about maintenance for fridges, what about cleaning the condensors. To me, I'd be more concerned about the fridge condensors burning themselves out than the icemaker.

Yet, how are you supposed to clean the condensors when they always put them in the back of the fridge? Why don't they put the condensors near the front, where it'd be easier to clean them?

    Bookmark   August 5, 2013 at 8:39PM
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