Person filling up water bottle at refrigerator water dispenser

How to install a refrigerator water line in 5 easy steps

Your refrigerator stores dinner leftovers and keeps food fresh for your family’s next meal, making it one of the most important appliances in your home. Whether upgrading from an old model or installing a brand new one, you will need to install a water supply line to enjoy crisp water and ice. Get an idea of how to install a new line on your own by reviewing the guide below, then dive into your model’s installation instructions for full details. 

Read on for tips on how to install a refrigerator water line.

How to connect a water line to your fridge

Before installing your refrigerator water line, there are a few supplies you will need. Keep in mind that this is a general overview of water line installation, and different units may require different steps or supplies. Consult your installation instructions for information specific to your refrigerator model. Read on to learn how to connect a kitchen water supply line to the water line inlet on the back of your refrigerator.

IMPORTANT: Plumbing shall be installed in accordance with the International Plumbing Code and any local codes and ordinances.

Supplies
  • Tee fitting

  • ¼-inch copper water supply tubing

Tools
  • Flat-blade screwdriver

  • 2 adjustable wrenches

  • ¼” nut driver

 Water supply valve icon

Step 1: Turn off the water supply

Once you have unplugged the unit’s power supply, locate the water supply below the sink and turn it clockwise to shut it off. Allow the remaining water to flush from the line by turning on your faucet until the water finishes draining.

Water tubing supply icon

Step 2: Connect tubing to the water supply

Use a ¼” soft copper tubing, ensuring you have the proper length. Cut both ends square and slip the compression sleeve and nut onto the tubing. Insert the end of the tubing into the water supply outlet as far as it will go and screw the compression nut onto the outlet with an adjustable wrench.

Coiled tube icon

Step 3: Flush out the tubing

Place the free end of the tubing into a small bucket or sink and turn on the water supply. Allow water to flush through the tubing until it is clear to prevent possible water valve malfunction. Once complete, turn off the water supply and bend the tubing to meet the water line inlet located on the back of the refrigerator cabinet.

Water tube connection to refrigerator icon

Step 4: Connect the water supply tubing to the refrigerator

Once you have reached the back of the unit, remove the short, black plastic piece from the end of the water line inlet and connect the water line tubing, tightening the nut into place using a wrench. Be sure not to over-tighten. Install a water supply tube clamp around the water supply line to reduce strain on the coupling.

Water supply valve switched to “ON” icon

Step 5: Turn on the water supply

Locate the water supply valve beneath the sink and turn it back on by twisting it counterclockwise. Check for leaks at all connection points of the tubing and tighten the connections as needed. Once you have checked that there are no leaks, push the unit back into place and reconnect its power supply.

What size line is used when installing a refrigerator water line?

When it comes to installing your new refrigerator, the tubing used to connect the water supply to your unit should have a ¼-inch diameter. This will enable the tubing to connect to the refrigerator’s supply fitting.

Additional tips for refrigerator water line installation:

  • Use copper tubing to prevent off taste and odor in water and ice.

  • Tubing should only be installed in areas where temperatures will remain above freezing.

  • Flush out several gallons of water to rid the line of any air and residual contaminants.

  • Dispose of the first two batches of ice from your ice maker.

Shop Whirlpool® Refrigerators and Ice Makers

If you’re ready to purchase a new Whirlpool® Refrigerator or Ice Maker, you can choose from several efficient and long-lasting options.

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