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How to Install a Water Line for a Refrigerator [Detailed Guide]


How to install refrigerator water line
Image by Bruno /Germany from Pixabay

Learning how to install a water line for a refrigerator is not as difficult as some think.

Many newer refrigerators use a water line to supply water to the ice maker and water dispenser.

Before now, the installation was usually done with a quarter-inch bendable copper tubing that was connected from a water source to the refrigerator with fitting like the saddle valve.

Now, you can easily install a water line to your refrigerator using flexible water supply tubes.

That being said, it’s important to note that the length of the connecting tube depends on how far the water source is from the fridge.

But it typically varies within the range of 1 to 20 feet.

Most people run their water line through the faucet in the kitchen through the cabinets and then to the refrigerator.

But if you cannot run your water line through your kitchen cabinets, then you may have to take it through the floor.

How to Install a Water Line for a Refrigerator – Tools required

You need only a few tools to install your water line. Here they are:

  1. A flexible water supply tube
  2. Two pairs of channel-type pliers
  3. Adapt-a-tee fitting


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How to Install Water Line for Refrigerator – If Water Supply Pipe is Available

If there’s a water supply pipe (including a shutoff valve and stub-out) in your kitchen, installing your water line becomes an even easier process.

The presence of this water-supply stub-out and shut off valve means there’s an existing connection either through the cabinets or through the floor.

So, all you need to do is buy your 1/4 inch by 1/4 inch flexible tube.

Connect one end to the fitting on the water supply valve and the other to the fitting behind your refrigerator.

Afterward, turn on the water supply and check if the water is flowing as it should.

Also, check for leaks and tighten the fittings with a suitable plier if they are not tight enough.

How to Install Waterline for Refrigerator – If Water Supply Pipe is Unavailable

Installing your water line when there is no water supply is a little bit more technical than when the pipe is already available.

But here’s what you need to do:

  1. Find a good spot

Firstly, you need to find a spot close to the refrigerator where you’ll hook up the water line. Most times, there’s an existing water hookup point.

To save yourself the time, make use of it.

  1. Use your tee fitting

Add a tee fitting between the water supply shutoff valve and the pipe, or you can replace one of the existing fittings with a 3-way angle stop.

Using an Adapt-a-Tee is very easy and saves you a lot of time because it is very easy to install. In addition, the Adapt-a-Tee provides you with an extra line (in case you might need it later).

Your tee adapter needs to fit into the water supply shutoff valve. So, ensure that one of the outlets is 1/4-inch on the outside so that the tube will fit properly.

  1. Install the tee adapter

To install the tee adapter, attach it to the shutoff valve and tighten it with your hand.

Then, use the second set of pliers you bought to fasten it. Ensure the shutoff valve remains in place and doesn’t twist on the pipe.

After putting your tee fitting in place, measure the distance between the water pipe and the refrigerator. This would serve as a guide for the length of the tube you need to buy.

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  1. Connect the water supply tube

Make your connection between the refrigerator and the water supply valve by reattaching the Adapt-a-Tee to the faucet supply tube.

Using your pliers, tighten the supply tube onto the 3/8-inch nipple of the tee fitting.

Then, attach your new 1/4-inch flex tube to the tee and tighten using the pliers (use one plier to hold it down and the other to tighten it).

The open end of your flex supply tube will be connected to the refrigerator. Extend the tube till you get to the back of the refrigerator.

The measurement you did earlier would prevent the tube from running out. Attach the tube to the water supply fitting behind the refrigerator.

  1. Check for leakages

Your installation is complete after connecting the tube to both the tee adapter and refrigerator.

Turn on the faucet shutoff valve and let water flow to the refrigerator.

Check around where the tube connects to the refrigerator and tee for leakages. If there are any leakages, adjust the connection appropriately with the plier.

You can also check out the video below to learn how to install a water line for an ice maker:


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Installing your water line is an easy process that can be completed in some minutes.

If there’s a water supply pipe available, all you need to do is run your flex tube from the pipe to the refrigerator. If there’s no water supply pipe available, install a tea adapter to an existing hookup point. Then, connect your flex tube to the tee adapter and refrigerator.

Ensure your run water through the tube several times after installation.

Also, run several gallons of water through your water dispenser to get rid of the air in it.

If you only have an ice maker, dispose of the first few batches of ice until you’re sure the ice is clean and can be used.

Now that you know how to install a water line for a refrigerator from the detailed description given above, you can now go ahead with the process and enjoy features like the water dispenser and ice maker on your refrigerator.

You can also check out our post on how to change a refrigerator water filter if you need tips on how to get that done.