I have been seeing small puddles of water in the kitchen. On further investigation I see this water line sticking out from the wall. I don’t see an individual shut off for this and it just started leaking.

Any suggestions?

I’m assuming it’s an old cap that needs to be replaced, but what are my options for a quick/lasting fix?

unused water line behind fridge

unused water line behind fridge

  • FWIW, when I've had work done on my refrigerator, they had to shut the entire water valve off to work on the analogous pipe, so you may be forced to do the same until you can more permanently fix it. Commented Mar 29, 2023 at 20:04

4 Answers 4


First, check to see if there is a shutoff under the sink that would control this copper tubing.

Secondly, that is a compression fitting with a cap on the end of it. You'll need two adjustable wrenches or open ended wrenches. Place one wrench on the middle, base, piece and try tightening each of the two end pieces. It might take a little force. Hopefully, that will stop the leaking.

  • 6
    I'd argue that this shouldn't take much force at all. Compression fittings are very sensitive to overtightening. All it should take is a gentle nip with the wrenches on each joint,
    – SiHa
    Commented Mar 29, 2023 at 6:39
  • @SiHa Everything's relative. The OP has to overcome the initial force to tighten it in the first place, hence the "little force". People who had not done these before usually have to go back and tighten them because they were afraid of over tightening them... :-)
    – JACK
    Commented Mar 29, 2023 at 11:32
  • No need to muck about with trying to hold the middle and tighten both ends separately - just tighten the two ends at the same time: much much easier.
    – MikeB
    Commented Mar 30, 2023 at 12:12
  • @MikeB Not mucking about. The fitting was designed that way and since the OP might be unfamilar with it, might as well describe the right way to do it.
    – JACK
    Commented Mar 30, 2023 at 13:59
  • @JACK But that ISN'T the right way to do it - if you tighten the 'good' end first then you end up over-tightening, and 'unsettling' a joint. Tightening both ends, due to the laws of physics, means that only the loose end moves.
    – MikeB
    Commented Mar 31, 2023 at 9:30

The valve at the head of this line is likely in a basement or crawl space (if it's not in a nearby cabinet). It's also likely to be a flimsy puncture-type saddle valve, where closing it may just move the leak to that location. See what happens.

If the valve leaks or won't close completely I'd repair the plumbing to eliminate it. A clean pair of cuts at the puncture and a Sharkbite coupler may make quick work of it.

  • 1
    If you websearch "saddle valve" at your favorite hardware store or home center's website, you'll find pictures that may help you recognize it when you see it. It'll also probably be the only thing with that thin a water line attached to it.
    – keshlam
    Commented Mar 29, 2023 at 2:44

If you cannot find the valve, or can't bother finding it, just bend the pipe really tight and it will pinch off all flow. Worst case you might get a single drop of water every month. They use the same technique on residential-grade refrigerators to hold the refrigerant in, although they use a special tool called pinch-off pliers.

  • 15
    Worst case is actually much worse - breaking the tube - and is not all that uncommon with old copper tubes. Fridge guys also solder the tube after bending it.
    – fraxinus
    Commented Mar 29, 2023 at 7:14
  • To be fair, a person could try this multiple times with the length of tubing available. It's very likely that one attempt would seal things off nicely, like the tail of a toothpaste tube.
    – isherwood
    Commented Mar 30, 2023 at 1:24

If the pipe gets broken or you are sure you won't be using the pipe, just cut it off (keep it long for potential future use) and cap it with a Sharkbite brass cap or a clone of the Sharkbite made by competitors.

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