Icemaker installation

Icemaker installation requires a few tools, some hardware, drilling a couple of holes, and connecting to a waterline. It is straightforward enough as stated below.

Installing a waterline to a refrigerator is easy. You should have a small adjustable wrench, Phillips and slotted screwdrivers and drill bits to make holes for feeding the tubing from the source to the refrigerator. The only power tool required is an electric drill.

You will need to drill a 5/16-inch hole in the floor or through the cabinet to run the line from the valve to the refrigerator. You may also need a 1/4-inch hole in the galvanized pipe if you do not have copper plumbing.

The toughest part of the job is deciding where you are going to get the water. Usually the water supply is from the basement unless the refrigerator is close to a sink cabinet. If you are on a crawl space or in a slab constructed home, going down could be too difficult. This leaves going through the cabinets as the line of attack. The water supply valve should be a location that is accessible and not hidden because there could be a time when you will need to shut off the water in a hurry.

Before purchasing parts like saddle valve, tubing, compression nut and ferrule, you first need to determine if your plumbing is galvanized steel or copper. If you have copper plumbing, you can use a self-piercing valve that is easier to install. With a copper pipe installation, open the saddle valve (counter clockwise) so the piercing pin is retracted. Clamp the saddle and valve on the copper pipe. Then tighten the valve handle clockwise to puncture the copper pipe and complete the valve installation.

If you have a galvanized pipe, turn off the water and drill the 1/4-inch hole so the valve is out of harms way. Clamp on the saddle tee, screw in the valve with Teflon tape on the threads and turn on the water to check for leaks.

The water line from the valve to the refrigerator can be either plastic or copper. I prefer copper tubing because the refrigerator compressor possibly could melt the plastic line.

Allow at least eight-feet of extra tubing behind the refrigerator to prevent kinking when sliding in and out. Connect the line to the back of the refrigerator with a 1/4-inch compression nut and a ferrule. Use a brass ferrule with a copper line and a plastic ferrule with a stiffener on plastic line. Most refrigerators do not supply the nut or ferrule with a new unit so do not forget them in your materials list.

The saddle valves mentioned above are the easiest to install. However, if you want the best valve, install a compression or ball valve. It will allow for greater water flow and last for more years than the needle valves. The problem is you typically have to install a plumbing tee to attach the better valve.

Toss out your first couple batches of ice.