How to Install a Water Line to Your Fridge

To install a water line to your fridge, gather the right tools and follow the steps listed here.
Written by Claire Beaney
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
Updated on Aug 10, 2022
Whether you're replacing an old model or installing a new one, you might have to install a water supply line to your fridge to enjoy fresh water and ice. Here’s how to do it, step-by-step.
Though it may seem intimidating, especially if you have no prior plumbing experience, running a water line to a fridge is actually a super simple task. While unreliable, leaky saddle valves used to be the tool of choice, flexible tubes and convenient adapters have now made this DIY task easier than ever.
Here to walk you through the entire process of installing a water line is
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Gather your tools

Before getting started on this project, you’ll need to gather all your supplies:
  • Rag
  • Bucket
  • Two pairs of tongue-and-groove pliers OR two adjustable wrenches
  • Add-A-Tee adapter (easy-to-use, threads onto the outlets of a standard shutoff valve)
  • 1/4-inch flexible water supply tubing with compression connectors
Before you begin, ensure there is no existing water line and shutdown valve behind your refrigerator—it would be either extending out of the wall or sticking up through the floor. If so, just connect 1/4-by-1/4-inch flex supply tubing to the shutdown valve and the fridge.
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How to install a water line to a refrigerator

If you’ve got everything together, you can go ahead and get started on installing the water line to your fridge! 

Turn the water off

Find the fixture shutoff valve on the cold water supply line (typically under the kitchen sink). Turn the valve to shut it off until it stops. If there is a water pipe, turn the lever handle so that it is perpendicular to the pipe. 
Turn on the kitchen sink's cold water faucet to release any pressure in the water supply line.

Disconnect the water line from the faucet

Put a rag or bucket beneath the supply valve to capture any water that drains from the supply tube. Using two sets of pliers or two adjustable wrenches, disconnect the faucet supply tube from the valve.
To keep the valve body from shifting, use one pair to secure it. Loosen the compression nut on the supply tube with the other pair.

Attach the Tee Adapter

Screw the Add-A-Tee adapter onto the shutoff valve's outlet port. Start by hand, then use two pairs of pliers to finish tightening the adapter. One pair should be used to hold the valve, while the other is used to tighten the adapter.

Connect the supply tubes for the faucet and the refrigerator

Reconnect the faucet supply tube to the Add-A-Tee's ⅜-inch outlet. Like before, use pliers to tighten the connection. Attach the ¼-inch end of a flexible supply tube to the adapter's ¼-inch outlet and tighten it with pliers.

Connect the refrigerator's supply tube

Connect the new supply tube to the refrigerator's back panel. Attach the tube's other end to the fridge’s ¼-inch water supply fitting. Using pliers, tighten the connection slightly more than hand-tight.

Turn on the water

Turn the knob under the sink counterclockwise all the way (or turn the lever parallel to the water line to open the shutdown valve). Check for leaks at every connection before pushing the refrigerator back into place as needed. 
Make sure that the water dispenser and/or ice maker are both working!
Pro Tip Flush a few gallons of water out of the dispenser to get rid of air and any other things that might be in the water line. If you have an ice machine, toss out the first two batches.

Does my home insurance cover my fridge?

Your insurance usually won’t cover any costs associated with installing a water line to your fridge. And keep in mind that if you accidentally damage any of your kitchen components during the installation, insurance won’t cover any requisite repairs, either. 
Home insurance will cover your fridge in specific instances—namely, if the damage directly results from a situation named in your policy. Some
named perils
it may cover include fire, inclement weather, and burglary and vandalism.
Malfunctions, normal wear and tear, and voluntary installations like you’re doing here usually aren’t covered. Be sure to read over your specific policy to see what is and isn’t covered.

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