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Background: We recently had to replace our refrigerator. During installation, we discovered two problems - first, there was no shutoff valve to the water line that fed into the fridge; second, there was so much extra water line that the pipe was becoming tangled and kinked in multiple locations. The result was that the water pressure going to the fridge was so low that the water dispenser did not work until we had untangled it.

Plan: I want to trim down the extra water line to what is needed to pull the fridge out for cleaning and no more, secure the rest of the line along the top of the cupboard it runs through so it's out of the way, and what the heck, while I'm at it, install a shutoff valve.

I have...: 1/4" plastic tubing with a brass nut at the end to secure it to the refrigerator.

I need: To figure out what kind of shutoff valve to select, and what other materials I'll need to do the job, and any other tips or suggestions to keep things running smooth.

  • How is the water supply currently connected to rest of the plumbing? Is it currently just 1/4" pipe from a saddle valve? Do you have access to the connection? – Comintern Nov 28 '16 at 14:06
  • We don't know how it's currently connected; it appears to come out from behind a shower unit in the utility/bath room, through a small hole into a cupboard in the kitchen. We don't have access to wherever it's connected to the plumbing behind that. The house was previously 'fixed up' in a somewhat slipshod fashion, unfortunately. – Werrf Nov 28 '16 at 14:20
  • You could cut the copper line leaving a foot or so in the open area behind the refrigerator (unless you'd be leaving kinks) and install an inline 1/4" shut-off valve with compression fittings. From that valve you proceed with 1/4" line to the refrigerator. If the existing line has enough un-kinked length, you could cut off the kinked section and use that. Note that you must use a proper tubing cutter to cut 1/4" copper tubing without distorting the end. – Jim Stewart Nov 28 '16 at 14:36
  • @JimStewart SInce I don't have a copper line, that might be difficult. As I said, all I have is the 1/4" PVC tubing; it appears to be connected to something behind a shower unit that we can't access easily. That's why I want to install the valve here, so I have somewhere I can reach when we need to disconnect it. – Werrf Nov 28 '16 at 14:40
  • All modern installations I know of have a valve accessible behind the refrigerator. If the ice maker or the line to it begins leaking or you want to change an inline filter, one pulls out the refrigerator and shuts the valve. But in a retrofit it would be perhaps better if the valve were close to 1/2" or 3/4" water line that the 1/4" line is connected to. But from what I understand you cannot reach or even inspect the connection of the 1/4" line to the larger line which may be the cold water supply to the shower. – Jim Stewart Nov 28 '16 at 16:41
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Saddle valves normally have a T handle that acts as a shutoff:

enter image description here

These are notoriously troublesome. The original one in my home crusted shut, as did the replacement by the previous owner.

In any event, you'll give yourself a more reliable service and vastly improved pressure with a proper valve at the supply pipe, such as those found near toilets:

enter image description here

Of course, you can always add an inline valve if you wish to keep things simple:

enter image description here

  • The Inline valve seems closest to what I'm trying to achieve - would this use what I've seen called a compression coupling? – Werrf Nov 28 '16 at 14:30
  • That's one option. They're what's shown in the last photo. – isherwood Nov 28 '16 at 14:40
  • Excellent - Thank you very much! Here, have an Accept to go with your Upvote. – Werrf Nov 28 '16 at 14:43
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If all the kinks are in a section of the copper 1/4" line that you can cut out and still have enough line to reach the refrigerator when it is pulled out, then the simplest solution would be to cut out that section of the line behind the refrigerator and install an inline 1/4" shut-off valve with compression fittings.

If the kinks are too far apart to allow this, then you could cut-off the line in the open space behind the refrigerator (leaving enough accessible line to work on now and in the future). Install an inline 1/4" valve and from that valve you proceed with a new copper or plastic 1/4" line to the refrigerator. Note that you must use a proper tubing cutter to cut 1/4" copper tubing without distorting the end.

  • There is no copper line. There is a PVC line. For some reason you're not paying attention to the several times I have said this. – Werrf Nov 28 '16 at 14:55
  • OK so install an inline valve in the plastic line accessible behind the refrigerator and cut out the kinked sections of the existing line. – Jim Stewart Nov 28 '16 at 15:00
  • Again, the question was not "what should I do about the kinked sections", the question was "what components do I need to do this?" Which you brushed over, and the other answer here covered in detail. – Werrf Nov 28 '16 at 15:06
  • This* is the sort of valve I had in mind, but they also come in brass but I think will still accept plastic lines. *coleparmer.com/Product/… – Jim Stewart Nov 28 '16 at 16:47

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