A plumber told me that the type of water feed I have tends to leak. I've owned the house for 10 years and it has never leaked, but I would like to think about upgrading. I plan to search the web for DIY instructions. But I have no idea what the feed is called or the name of the better method of feeding water. So, what is the feed below called and what is the name of the better approach?

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    Yeah, those are rubbish. They're just strap-on gadgets that pierce the pipe and try to contain leaks with gasket contact. Get rid of them, replace the pipes that were pierced, and fit proper valves. Or at least a tee with a proper valve protecting a section of pipe that you then vampire-tap, so you can at least shut off the pipe if the taps leak without affecting anything else. Nov 8, 2019 at 19:31
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    By the way, it's clear from the photo that this saddle valve has indeed been leaking. As noted, it's not a question of "if" but only of "when" it will leak.
    – jwh20
    Nov 8, 2019 at 20:42

1 Answer 1


These are called "saddle valves" or "vampire taps". They just poke a hole in the pipe with a little pressure around the hole to seal it. They almost always leak after some time but they are quick and easy to install.

The right way is to cut the pipe and install a tee fitting that then supplies a standard valve. You can use push-to-fit connectors these days to make the job simple or you can used a traditional soldering approach.

Because of the number of fittings in that small space and the fact that the pipe is damaged with two saddle valves, you'll be replacing that entire bendy section.

  • Plus, the aforementioned pinhole restricts flow -- even in that tiny copper pipe. So if you're drawing water, via a fridge for instance, you'll get better flow by doing it as described above. Nov 8, 2019 at 19:08
  • The usual reason they start to leak is that the rubber gasket starts to perish - as is visible on this one. I've successfully replaced one of these to get it to reseal, though you''re usually faced with buying a new valve to get hold of the seal,but a similarly sized valve can often be attached in place of a failed one, after cleaning up the pipe surface. Since the're pretty cheap, might be worth doing this as a first option.
    – Phil G
    Nov 8, 2019 at 19:12
  • @PhilG, if it's visible and accessible you could try this, but if it's in the attic or tucked behind an air handler I wouldn't take the chance of another bad seal.
    – JPhi1618
    Nov 8, 2019 at 19:14
  • What is a "standard valve" or what type of valve should I use: Ball, gate, globe, other?
    – Yehuda_NYC
    Jan 5, 2020 at 1:14
  • When I said standard, I meant a valve that attaches inline with the pipe rather than one that straps onto the side of the pipe. A ball valve would be best for this because it is only needed for on/off. Gate valves are good when flow control is needed.
    – JPhi1618
    Jan 6, 2020 at 4:26

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