How to Install a Refrigerator Water Filter

Quick-connect fittings make installation and maintenance easy

Purify the water supply to your ice- and water-dispensing refrigerator. Simple inline water filters help remove chemical tastes and odors, making water fresher and better tasting.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

Cut the pipe and install the fittings

Install a refrigerator water filter to remove the bad taste from drinking water and ice cubes. An inexpensive inline refrigerator water filter reduces chlorine, rust, sediment and odors for water- and ice-dispensing refrigerators. Filters are available from home centers and appliance stores.

The filter splices into the standard 1/4-in. copper or plastic refrigerator water supply line (Photo 1). Locate the filter as close as possible to the water shutoff valve. Leave at least 6 in. of clearance between the wall and refrigerator when installing the filter behind a refrigerator. Once you install the system, quick-connect fittings make it easy to change the filter.

Turn off the shutoff valve and disconnect the 1/4- in. supply line from the valve (hold a bucket under the valve to catch residual water). Some types of valves leak. You may have to turn off the main water supply valve to your home. Cut back the tubing (Photo 1) and attach the quick-connect fittings (Photo 2). Snap the filter into the fittings.

Secure the tubing on the fridge side with a 1/4-in. copper strap and flush the filter to dispense any fine loose carbon particles (Photo 3). If a leak occurs, tighten the nuts or fittings. Strap the filter to any nearby support to take stress off the tubing. Write the installation date on the filter and replace it every six months with a new one.

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Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

  • 4-in-1 screwdriver
  • Adjustable wrench
  • File
  • Rags
  • Bucket
  • Slip joint pliers
  • Tube cutter

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.

  • Inline water filter
  • Pipe strap
  • 1-1/4-in. screws