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#2270522 - 05/25/11 11:01 AM Refrigerator water tap replacement
JHZR2 Offline



Registered: 12/14/02
Posts: 33780
Loc: New Jersey
Hello,

Our refrigerator has water service for ice and water supply. We recentrly had to pull the refrigerator for service, and found that the water supply valve that is tapped into the pipe in our basement is not shutting off fully. Because of this, Ive lost confidence and want to replace. The pipe is plastic, looks like nylon, PEX or something like this. Quite long run too...

The thing that is installed into our pipe looks somewhat like the clamp-on water pipe ground attachments. It has two screws which are tightened down to connect the item to the pipe. The actual valve is just a very small thing, which sits on some sort of a soft rubber o-ring to maintain the seal. I think this is a saddle valve.

Im going to shut down the water supply, pull the thing off and hopefully replace it with an identical item. Any recommendations of how to be sure to have success? This doesnt seem like a big deal so long as the new stuff is lined up and inline with the old hole.

Is this thought process right? Am I better off installing something else? Ultimately I'd prefer to tee off of the water line, install a ball valve to shut off completely, and then just cap a length of pipe that would be tapped. Not sure if that is the most prudent either though...

Thanks!

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#2270546 - 05/25/11 11:30 AM Re: Refrigerator water tap replacement [Re: JHZR2]
bullwinkle Offline


Registered: 10/09/04
Posts: 4088
Loc: Cincinnati, OH, USA
The best way to do it is cut into the line & install a ball valve, and then adapt down to the small (usually 1/4") copper tubing with a compression fitting. Unless you're sure you can get ALL the water out of the line, use a compression tee & solder your first pipe thread adapter onto a short piece of copper before you install it, and it's safer to use a FPT (Female Pipe Thread) ball valve (to avoid melting the nylon seals inside when you solder it). The self-piercing saddle valve adapters (which is what you have now) are leak-prone & can send copper bits into your refrigerator's water valve when installed. Be sure to de-burr all your tubing cuts too. Good luck!
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#2270568 - 05/25/11 11:46 AM Re: Refrigerator water tap replacement [Re: JHZR2]
meangreen01 Offline


Registered: 02/14/10
Posts: 884
Loc: WI
Yes, what you currently have is a saddle valve. Is the pipe it attaches to copper or galv. steel? Is the valve piercing the bottom of the pipe(Galv. and bottom of pipe is a no-no)?

For the sake of ease there's nothing wrong with just putting on a new saddle valve. Nothing really wrong with them. I'd be more worried about the long run of plastic tube running to the fridge. Personally, I'd upgrade that to copper before worrying too much about upgrading from saddle to ball valve.
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#2270578 - 05/25/11 12:01 PM Re: Refrigerator water tap replacement [Re: JHZR2]
JHZR2 Offline



Registered: 12/14/02
Posts: 33780
Loc: New Jersey
It is copper pipe that the saddle valve is connecting to. I can run copper and for the most part it is no big deal, however, the way that my refrigerator is installed, I MUST have flexible line with some slack to be able to pull the fridge out some way in order to disconnect. It is in a very tight corner with no access to the refrigerator on any side! From that angle, I like the flexibility of the plastic line... it can leak in the basement, that's OK...

Wonder if it would be prudent to run copper most of the way and then use a quick connect and change to plastic for the last few feet?

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#2270611 - 05/25/11 12:43 PM Re: Refrigerator water tap replacement [Re: JHZR2]
Sluggo0018 Offline


Registered: 01/24/11
Posts: 16
Loc: Long Valley, NJ
Originally Posted By: JHZR2
Wonder if it would be prudent to run copper most of the way and then use a quick connect and change to plastic for the last few feet?


This is what I have. In my house, there is a run of copper pipe to a recessed plastic box located in the wall behind the fridge. This box is equipped with a shut off valve. From this valve, the several feet of flexible pipe to the fridge is plastic tubing.

I'm not a fan of piercing saddle valves. I've had experiences with them leaking and not fully shutting off. I would replace that saddle valve with a tee and a 1/4 turn ball valve, then reduce down to 1/4 inch flexible copper tubing and run that all the way to the back of the fridge. I'm also not comfortable with the small section of plastic tubing that connects to my refrigerator, but it appears to be built into the unit and would require some effort to replace. I am considering replacing it with flexible copper and simply leaving a few coils of extra tubing behind to allow the refrigerator to be pulled out when needed.

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#2270617 - 05/25/11 12:50 PM Re: Refrigerator water tap replacement [Re: JHZR2]
meangreen01 Offline


Registered: 02/14/10
Posts: 884
Loc: WI
Originally Posted By: JHZR2
It is copper pipe that the saddle valve is connecting to. I can run copper and for the most part it is no big deal, however, the way that my refrigerator is installed, I MUST have flexible line with some slack to be able to pull the fridge out some way in order to disconnect. It is in a very tight corner with no access to the refrigerator on any side! From that angle, I like the flexibility of the plastic line... it can leak in the basement, that's OK...

Wonder if it would be prudent to run copper most of the way and then use a quick connect and change to plastic for the last few feet?


1/4" soft copper is very flexible. I don't know if I'd splice with a coupling as you're adding another potential leak point. But, if basement won't be damaged by any potential leak then I wouldn't worry about it.

FWIW, I've been accused of being a worry-wart over the use of plastic water supply lines. I can't say I know anyone that has had one break apart or anything, but have heard stories. I've got buddies with new houses and all the water lines are CPVC.

I just cringe thinking that plastic and PVC cement are all that's holding in 60 PSI of an endless supply of water. Make mine copper, please. Last thing I want popping in my head when lying on a beach 1500 mi away is if my pipes are still holding together, LOL. Like I said, I guess I'm a little anal.

All of my flex connectors to toilet, faucets, wash machine are S.S. cross-braided
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#2271652 - 05/26/11 04:03 PM Re: Refrigerator water tap replacement [Re: JHZR2]
JHZR2 Offline



Registered: 12/14/02
Posts: 33780
Loc: New Jersey
Well I just replaced the saddle valve. I got really disgusted. Saw some valves and even a piping kit made in USA - good stuff, was happy about that. Started reading it, this stuff is illegal to sell in CA and VT. Some of the parts are Chinese made. Everything has comments that the lead is higher than legal requirements.

Im not the most concerned about brass. Toilet, shower, something like that? No big deal... But this is SPECIFICALLY my drinking water. All that this water line will be for is drinking and ice for drinks. Id rather not have lead, even a little bit, even if I have a filter. Doesnt make sense to me to "not care" in a scenario like this.

So I guess Ill have to go to VT or CA and get some couplings and fittings to do it myself. Even the sharkbite quick connect fittings at HD had excess lead. UGH!

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#2271720 - 05/26/11 05:42 PM Re: Refrigerator water tap replacement [Re: JHZR2]
65cuda Offline


Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 720
Loc: wichita kansas
On mine I ran SS braided line to the fridge so that I could move it out if need be. I understand that it isn't legal here, but if you do it yourself they can't say much. Funny thing is they have no problem with you using that plastic tubing or copper line, neither that I'm too fond of. I'd also cut the pipe and splice in a tee then put the 1/4 turn valve in to go to whatever kind of line you want to use. That way if the valve does go south on you, you will be able to change it out easily.

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#2271754 - 05/26/11 06:37 PM Re: Refrigerator water tap replacement [Re: meangreen01]
doitmyself Offline


Registered: 06/03/02
Posts: 4740
Loc: MI
Originally Posted By: meangreen01
All of my flex connectors to toilet, faucets, wash machine are S.S. cross-braided


Inside that flex braid is plastic tubing.....just waiting to pop when you are sipping that umbrella drink at the beach!

A good plumbing web site frequented by pros for ideas is: http://www.plbg.com/forum/list.php?1

Be warned that they despise diy hackers on problems that could involve code violation or health risks. So, it is good to ask your question like this: I bought a new house with the refrigerator water supply plumbed "like this...". I want to hire a plumber to do the install correctly. What is the correct way that said plumber should be doing this?


Edited by doitmyself (05/26/11 06:45 PM)
Edit Reason: change link

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