We need a shutoff valve for our refrigerator. We live in California. We have a copper water line to the fridge. My questions are:

  1. The line kit included a small brass shut off valve. The installer said that we need a box shut off valve installed into the drywall. Are we supposed to have both of them?

  2. The icemaker shut off valves sold at Lowes differ by the type of connection: PEX, CPVC x Comp, sweat, etc. In California, do copper lines to the fridge need to be changed to PEX? What are those other types of connection?

  • Pricing is off-topic on this Stack due to its wide variability; however, we should be able to answer your other two questions. Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 19:45
  • how did you shut off the water to your old refrig?
    – JACK
    Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 21:06
  • You may need a box valve due to the depth of the fridge. A valve outside the wall obviously pushes things out. I removed the retailer rant from your question because it isn't relevant to resolving your issue.
    – isherwood
    Commented Oct 14, 2019 at 16:53
  • Thank you for your changes. We never needed to shut off the water to our old fridge until now. My husband had to turn off the main water shut off valve (for the house). The box valves lists different types of connections and I am having difficulty understanding "sweat". I looked up CPVC and PEX and I think I understand those. The line kit we purchased is stainless steel.
    – user108039
    Commented Oct 14, 2019 at 20:58
  • Sweat is a synonym for soldering. It's a technique used to join copper and/or brass fittings. A finished sweat joint can be recognized by the ribbon of silvery solder visible between the pipe and the fitting.
    – Greg Hill
    Commented Oct 14, 2019 at 21:49

2 Answers 2


If there's a shutoff requirement a single valve will satisfy it. There's no need to use two. The kind that installs in a box in the wall behind the fridge are a little more intensive to retrofit but they're convenient to use. I can't speak to whether you might have state or local codes that require this in-wall style -- and I'll wager the Best Buy delivery crew aren't trained on the subject any better. In most places a valve at the supply end of the tube is a fine an alternative to the recessed box behind the fridge.

Line kits often include a self-piercing saddle valve. It's a pair of half-round straps, screws to squeeze them together, a 'stinger' on the inside which pierces through existing plumbing, and a small pin as a handle to operate the valve. They're easy to install but they're always junk. They restrict the flow and they eventually leak at the site and/or the valve won't close fully when you need it most. Use this valve only as a last resort. typical saddle valve

It's much better to have a normal valve installed appropriate to the kind of plumbing in your home, then adapt it down to the 1/4" tube for the fridge.

  • Thank you for your help. The line kit they made us buy is stainless steel and came with the small valve that you showed (but did not include the saddle portion). I'm not sure why they won't use the copper line but I need to get this taken care of ;(because it has been 3 months without a kitchen fridgej. I appreciate your comment.
    – user108039
    Commented Oct 14, 2019 at 21:08

I'm speaking out of turn here, since I don't know CA's Ordinances that might be beyond the Plumbing Code. But yes, you need a shut-off valve. Even laughable alarmist Home Inspectors still aren't jumping all over them...very surprisingly.

Refrigerators were ignored for quite a while (almost 30-years as far as I've found), but with them essentially being Plumbing Fixtures as much as 40-years ago they do indeed require a shut-off just like any faucet or toilet.

I wouldn't really imagine a copper conversion to plastic requirement though. I've never seen crushed Coiled Copper, but I've seen plenty of kinked plastic.

Otherwise, your wall-box would just be a Brass or Chromed Brass shutoff that's either compression nutted onto your 1/2" copper supply within the wall or sweated-on with solder. After that, can be opaque plastic tubing (is not PEX or CPVC) copper or a stainless braided flexible line...according to the normal world.

  • Thank you for your help. I thought that I could move the process going and buy the box valve that the plumber could install but I am confused with which one to buy.(we have been usibg the garage fridge for 3months already...I did not anticipate this problem with the installation because in 2012, we did not need a box valve for the fridge. The line kit we bought is a stainless steel line. For the box valve, do I need to know what kind of pipe we have for the connection?
    – user108039
    Commented Oct 14, 2019 at 21:21
  • Typically, you don't buy anything but the Plumber themselves. You just tell them that you need a box valve installed for the fridge and they bring the box, the valve and the copper pipe needed to install everything legally needed. IF, your stainless steel line kit with valve is correct, then they'll use it. IF NOT, then they'll also decide whether to screw-on or sweat-on/solder-on the brass ball or quarter-turn valve and if its a straight or a 90-degree valve. But yeah, if the installer says you need it then they've been reprimanded or sued for ignoring its absence.
    – Iggy
    Commented Oct 15, 2019 at 5:13

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