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Thread: Ice maker line from cold line of water heater?

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  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member
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    Default Ice maker line from cold line of water heater?

    At the hardware stores, they say, "Oh yeah, it'll be easy", but I'm getting last-minute jitters. Please pardon any improper terminology and general ignorance... this is my first DIY attempt at plumbing.

    So I bought a new refrigerator that has an ice-maker and water dispenser, but there is no existing water line for it. I can't tap off the sink and run a line through cabinets because it's on the other side of the room.

    There is a bathroom sink on the other side of the wall directly behind the fridge, but there's no acccessible copper lines (they're in the wall). Just the (stainless steel?) pipe w/shutoff valve comes out of the wall.

    The water heater is right beside the fridge in a closet. The vertical copper cold water line -- from top to bottom -- has a (ball) shutoff valve, a threaded 3/4" male end, connected to a copper flex pipe which connects to the nipple of the hot water heater. I bought a shorter flex pipe so that I can insert a T above it.

    The horizontal section of the T is 1/2", where I'll solder a 10" section of 1/2" pipe to it. On the other end of the pipe I'll solder a 90 degree L, and to that another 4 feet of pipe which will run vertically, ending about 2 feet above the floor. The gentleman at the hardware store suggested I attach a (sink-type 1/4 turn) shutoff valve at the end of this pipe. It has a compression fitting. This valve outputs to a 1/4" compressioin fitting, where I'll attach the 1/4" copper tubing to run to the refrigerator.

    During my research I read many warnings about using self-peircing saddle-valves. A non-peircing drillable valve would be so easy... just attach the saddle valve to the 3/4" pipe, and run the 1/4" copper tubing to the fridge and I'm done. But I'm trying to "do it right".

    My main concerns are:
    1.) The water pressure. Sounds like a lot of pressure from a major line, which will be made worse by all the reducing down to 1/4".
    2.) Using a blow-torch around a gas water heater. I'll assemble and sweat everything outside first, but need to solder the T to a new threaded female adapter in the closet. I will shut off the gas to the heater, and I plan on using a heat-shield.
    3.) The flex pipe for the cold line is warm to the touch. It is coolest at the top, so that's where I plan put the T.

    Sorry about the length of this. With the new tools and parts, I'm $100 into it and want the satisfaction of doing it myself, but I have to wonder if my male ego is getting the best of me and I should hire a pro. Any help ASAP greatly appreciated... I'm diving in Sunday afternoon.
    Last edited by ccash; 10-10-2004 at 01:42 AM.

  2. #2
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default valve

    1. Put the "fixture" valve right at the tee and run 1/4" copper to the icemaker. Do not worry about the pressure, 1/4" copper is stronger than 1/2".

    2. Unless you have a gas leak, and that would be a major problem, there is no more danger to using a torch around a gas water heater than anywhere else, as long as you do not set the building on fire.

    3. I does not matter where you install the tee. By the time the water reaches the icemaker it will be the same temperature as the air in the room. In fact, sometimes connecting to the hot water side will give clearer ice cubes, but you might not want to experiment.

  3. #3
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    Default

    I love this advice. Obviously you were able to translate my posting, because the exact scenario you described had crossed my mind too. It will be much easier for me to just deal with the 1/4", but I was afraid this wasn't "doing it right".

    And thanks for clearing up my concerns about the pressure and gas (sounds like a personal problem, huh?). I will feel much more relaxed today. Thanks!

    Curt

  4. #4
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    Default Follow up

    Finally finished, the ice maker is churning in the background and I didn't blow up the house. But in retrospect I would have hired a pro.

    I had an unwelcomed surprise when I turned the water back on for the first time. The silver "fixture valve" (angle valve) is connected via a comression nut and ferrule. I had read warnings everywhere on the net about not over-tightening. So I hand tightenend and gave it another half turn with a wrench. It could still spin on the pipe, which I didn't like at all, but it was snug as far as not being able to pull it off. So I thought aaaalllright then, if they say so.

    I think the not over-tightening advice may have just been for plastic, and I got it confused with metal parts, because when I turned the water back on, the valve shot off the end of the pipe like a rocket, and I got drenched. It's kind of funny now, but at the time all I could think about was how I was going to fix this mess.

    Here's the question: I ran to the hardware store, got some backup parts, and the guy there said I should give it another try and tighten it a lot more. So I did, and all seems well. But I don't know if I should trust it. It's been a few hours now... no leaks or anything. He said that if it was going to blow again, it'll do it right away, and that if it seems OK, it will remain OK. Do you agree?I'm afraid to leave it alone while I'm at work tomorrow. Not to mention there are two more compression nuts on either end of the 1/4" from the valve to the fridge. Based on the amount of water I got everywhere in 5 seconds, I can only imagine what hours would do. Anyone recommend closing the cold water valve to the water heater/fridge until I get home? I wonder if I should sleep on the kitchen floor tonight!

  5. #5
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default valve

    As long as you tightened it is far as you could without straining yourself, you should not have anything to worry about.

  6. #6
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    Thanks hcj, that makes me feel better. I slept on the couch just in case!

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