I have a Kenmore refrigerator (model 53552200) that has incoming tap water connected to a valve near the bottom on the back of the fridge. In addition, there is an exposed 1/4" plastic water line running on the back of the fridge, from the top, down to the bottom of the unit. This line already has a coupling in the middle of it, and I want to connect my reverse osmosis water filter to it directly, thus (hopefully) bypassing the fridge's internal water filter.

Do you know if my plan would indeed bypass the internal water filter? If so, which direction is the water running in this fridge line---from bottom to top, or top to bottom?

I understand that some fridges have fake filters that can be installed so that the normally-used input valve can be used, while still bypassing the filter. I am leaning away from this solution because there is already a water line connected to the fridge, and I'd prefer to leave that alone in case it is used in the future---I'd of course turn off the incoming water to this line while my RO connection is in place. This plan of mine just avoids having to disconnect/reconnect the compression fitting several times, avoiding any potential headaches associated w/ that.

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    I had to add 106 to the part number to get a correct model in sear's system searspartsdirect.com/partsdirect/part-model/Kenmore-Parts/…
    – HerrBag
    Commented Jun 7, 2013 at 14:53
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    Water runs from the bottom up, and is unpressurized within this line when the ice maker isn't filling. The bottom connection is a valve that only opens with the ice maker calls for more water.
    – BMitch
    Commented Jun 7, 2013 at 15:16
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    I second just hooking it up to the incoming supply line. If you REALLY want to have the option of RO or regular supply, without having to disconnect lines, you can install a 3-way diverter valve. This allows you to select one or the other supply. You of course don't want pressurized non-RO'd water coming into the RO lines, so the diverter valve mostly prevents this (just be sure you don't leave it half-way turned). Not sure why you'd bother though - if your RO unit breaks, is quickly getting water from the fridge THAT important?
    – gregmac
    Commented Jun 7, 2013 at 18:56
  • In the past, I had issues w/ a plastic 1/4" line to a different fridge leaking, which could have been due to me not using the compression fitting correctly. Also, I'm renting this place, so eventually I'll disconnect my RO filter. Based on everyone's feedback though, I'll connect my RO to the input valve. :) thanks! Commented Jun 7, 2013 at 19:45

2 Answers 2


This won't work because the valve at the bottom is what controls the water delivery. If you plumb in after that valve then the water will run continuously. You have to plumb in before the valve.


Link to Kenmore fridge 10653552200

EDIT: I'd just put in a new filter and run the RO in at the normal inlet (thanks to both BMitch and longneck for sussing valving aspect). It seems likely the external line is for the icemaker and thus after the filter. enter image description here

The water filter is #29 on the lower diagram. enter image description here

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