Take the 2-minute tour ×
Home Improvement Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for contractors and serious DIYers. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Our department just moved physical locations. We were able to bring the fridge from our previous break room, but our new location does not have a water line anywhere nearby for the ice maker. The simple solution, of course, is to just use ice cube trays, but I would really like it to be constantly producing ice (not have to rely on coworkers to refill the trays).

My thought is to get a 1-2 gallon container, and hook the water line into the bottom and then set it on top of the fridge. This way you can refill it in large quantities at once, rather than tray by tray. The container would be clear, to see the water level and to see if it needs to be cleaned, and with a lid to keep out dust. With the container sitting above the fridge, gravity should provide sufficient pressure to supply the maker with water.

Would such a system work? Does anybody see any potential problems with setting up something like this? Are there any better alternatives?

share|improve this question
2  
Welcome. A phone call to the mfr might or might not reveal a minimum water pressure. There might be regulatory issues with health codes, or practical issues with bacteria over the long run, perhaps exacerbated by, for example, warm air from the mechanicals keeping the gallon container above room temperature. –  mike Oct 29 '13 at 23:56
1  
Do a test run. On many fridges, the tray will barely fill or the valve will not operate properly without sufficient pressure. –  Brock Adams Oct 30 '13 at 0:01
2  
Did you check with the building engineer? You may not be able to see any nearby waterlines, but there could be one in the walls or ceiling that you can't see. (of course, whether or not he's willing to tap into those lines for you is another story :) ) –  Johnny Oct 30 '13 at 0:18
2  
A photo would help. Commercial buildings often have lots of options for running things. A flex tube through a suspended ceiling for example. +1 on the concerns about bacteria over time. –  Bryce Oct 30 '13 at 4:06
    
What I want is a fridge with chilled-water dispenser but no icemaker. Haven't seen that on the market yet –  keshlam Aug 14 at 14:02

7 Answers 7

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Comment converted to answer as per this suggestion

this GE document specifies a water pressure of 40-120 psi, for the ice maker to function properly.

  • The water pressure must be between 40 and 120 psi.
  • Pressures below 40 psi may cause a malfunction of the icemaker (i.e. producing hollow cubes or no ice production).

Which as BMitch points out in chat would mean the 1-2 gallon container would have to be about 100 ft. above the fridge.

Tester101: How tall would a 1/4" tube have to be, to produce 40 psi at the bottom if it was filled with water?

BMitch: if the link I found is correct, 93 feet

share|improve this answer
2  
Actually 40 psi would occur at 85 feet. –  wallyk Sep 10 '14 at 19:31

Well I don't know what your budget is, but you could go ahead and get a keg and a compressed air tank and hook it up to the refrigerator! Easy 100psi, it'll make you 15 gallons of ice before refilling the keg (With water. The keg is to be filled with water. In case anyone missed that.)

Anyways now I have an awesome idea to use a fridge as a keg tap, if only I was in college where that'd be necessary.

Parts would be:

Really easy version: Buy an entire homebrewing kit including tank and just put water in instead of beer, hook output up to fridge input.

Easy version: Set regulator of the compressor to 50psi, connect hose directly to barbs of gas in port of the keg. Hook the output port up to the fridge input.

Hard version: Find a used compressor. Experiment with tightening the pressure switch until it turns off at 50psi. Remove compressor motor/pump assembly from tank, hook previous tank input up directly to keg, then keg output to fridge input.

share|improve this answer
2  
Liquid can't really be compressed. A compressed liquid is normally a liquid with a solid or gas pushing down on it, and in the case of this setup, the air would just be pressurized at the top of the keg pushing down on the water. On a keg, the pickup for the liquid is at the bottom, so what happens is the pressurized air pushes the water through the spout at the bottom, then out to the fridge. –  kavisiegel Jun 10 '14 at 20:32
1  
@Tyrsius Yep! Air "floats," being of a lower density than water. It's as if you attached a hose to the bottom of a water bottle, then blew air into the top of the water bottle - it would force water out of the hose. The most important hardware would be a keg coupler, which would have two ports - air in and water out. You can buy a compressor and hook it up to the keg full time, or you can buy a small tire compressor and wire up a pressure switch for a bit cheaper. –  kavisiegel Jun 11 '14 at 14:21
1  
I'm not sure how well anything can grow under 5 atmospheres of pressure and in complete dark, as well as in water that's likely already been chlorinated by the municipality supply. I'm not saying it's a non-risk, it's just not too likely in my opinion. Just keep the container clean. Perhaps the compressed air should be filtered, though. –  kavisiegel Jun 13 '14 at 1:48
2  
@MichaelKohne It will also be frozen before it is consumed. –  Tyrsius Jun 13 '14 at 1:51
1  
Be careful to limit the air pressure inside the keg to 100–120 psi (7–8 bar). A standard keg has a pressure relief valve set a little above that; if that valve were to fail, the tank might explode at pressures over about 160 psi (11 bar). See homebrew.stackexchange.com/a/10040 –  wallyk Sep 10 '14 at 19:28

You could use something like this bottled water dispensing pump system, from Ebay.

enter image description here

share|improve this answer
    
Spoiled on city water, we use one of these at the summer home. –  Mazura Mar 9 at 23:10

Another option would be to not use the icemaker in the refrigerator, and replace it with a countertop icemaker:

enter image description here

These are available in different capacities (and prices), and many are designed with a refillable water reservoir so it doesn't need to be connected to a water line.

As an added bonus, if your refrigerator icemaker is removable, you can free up some significant freezer space by removing it.

share|improve this answer

My refrigerator instructions (28 cuft frigidaire) says minimum of 20psi is needed.

You may want to check this product called flojet bw4000, which is the simplest most reliable solution for using bottled water (5 gallon). It can sit on the floor, or inside cabinet up to 20 feet away from your fridge.

share|improve this answer

Maybe too late, but obviously all above answers just a bunch of not related BS. Obviously asked in original question setup would work, but with just one change: -- Use Dummy Fridge Water filter or just connect your water container directly to the output of the filter (not the input as required). Anyway, anything that eliminates filter would work, as almost all pressure losses are to move water through it.

Just buy big plastic water 1-2 gallon container, place it above fridge, make sure containers outlet is at the bottom (rotate it upside down), and make a whole at the top (original bottom), so air can easily get in.

Everything should work. If it doesn't -- It wasn't me who gave this answer...

share|improve this answer

I may do my method because the city water has chloromine and other cleaning agents, so I'm using spring water, in Google type micro water pumps they are DC pumps. Just one line, copper line needs to be pressurized at 50 psi, the plastic hose side doesn't need the pressure. I'm a nice person. It is easier to hook the pump either into custom on/off switch or plug in and uncle plug

You can take a 5 gallon jug, put water in it. In the cap drill a hole for tubing, 6mm, the seal the water up, the short inlet hose will go into a micro pump, 20-100 psi in line pressure booster, 12 v, like coffee maker in wattage. The connect the pump to 1/4" copper tubing down to the bottom of frigerator, you'll need a couple of elbow in copper, turn on pump. The with water and ice maker, turn them on from off position, wait 24 hours till ice is made, or keep using for ice. You'll need to shut the pump off when not using ice maker and or turn off water. Total cost, bout 120 bucks, cause you micro pump will need a plug in.

  • The micro pumps -$20.00
  • The plastic hose-$ 5.00
  • The switch Broan variable power- $40.00
  • Soft 1/4" copper tubing - $20.00
  • Little reducers / expanders $2.00
  • 5 gallon water jug $20
  • Sealant for jug cap, with hole in cap -$3.00
  • 10 dollars for beer
share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.