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Upgrade Your Ice Maker Supply Line

Replace that inexpensive plastic water line.

FH08FEB_UPGLIN_01-2Family Handyman
If that plastic water line behind your fridge that feeds the icemaker makes you nervous about water damage, replace it with a stainless steel line and copper shutoff valve.

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Replace plastic water line

Photo 1: Turn off the water and cut the water line

Unscrew the valve and slide it aside. Cut the water line to make room for a new tee fitting.

Close-up of braided steel water line

Braided steel is a tough and better alternative than plastic water line.

Photo 2: Clean and assemble copper fittings

Clean, flux and assemble the copper fittings and the shutoff valve, then solder the joints.

Photo 3: Tighten the water line

Hand-tighten the water line to the shutoff, then turn the nut another half-turn with a wrench.

Photo 4: Attach water line to fridge

Attach the water line to the water inlet valve at the back of the refrigerator.

Inexpensive plastic water lines and saddle valves sold for icemakers can eventually clog or leak, causing water damage.

You can replace your plastic water line with a copper tee fitting, a high-quality shutoff and a braided steel supply line in a half hour—and never have to worry about leaks again. Braided steel is a tough, non-kinking alternative to 1/4-in. flexible copper or plastic.

Turn off the house water supply and drain the water from the entire system. Remove the saddle valve and cut out the copper underneath it (Photo 1). You may need to cut more, depending on how much play you have in the water line, to make room for a repair coupling and additional copper if needed.

Unscrew the packing nut from the shutoff and remove the handle and core before soldering. Jiggle the water lines to get all the water out, then clean and flux the fittings and solder everything together (Photo 2).

Allow the pipe to cool for several minutes, then reattach the shutoff handle. Close the shutoff and turn the house water back on to check for leaks. Attach the braided water line (Photo 3), then run the water into a bucket or sink for a few minutes to flush out any corrosion or bits of solder. Finally, fish the water line through the floor or wall to the back of the refrigerator (Photo 4).

Required Tools for this ice maker tubing project

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

  • Soldering torch
  • Wrench set
You will also need a pipe cutter.

Required Materials for this ice maker tubing project

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

  • Braided Steel Water Line
  • Copper Flux
  • Copper Repair Couplings
  • Copper Shutoff Valve
  • Copper Solder
  • Copper Tee Fitting