Plumbing for Fridge Freezers – Here Are a Few Tips
There’s nothing quite as refreshing as having a fridge equipped with a plumbed-in ice and filtered water dispenser. If you’re considering plumbing for fridge freezers, you can look forward to never having to wait for cold water again.
However, before committing to plumbing for fridge freezers, there are some important factors to consider. Fridge plumbing always has to be done by a fully qualified plumber, so make sure you confer with a professional when planning to upgrade your refrigerator.
For a start, let’s answer the basic question …
What is Fridge Plumbing?
The purpose of plumbing for fridge freezer combos is to connect your refrigerator to the mains water supply with a system of pipes and valves in order to have a chilled water tap and an icemaker. This type of system usually includes a shut-off valve, a water filter and a supply line.
The water filter removes impurities from the water so it’s ideal for drinking or making ice. The shut-off valve controls the water flow to the refrigerator and can also be turned off when the fridge is not in use (e.g. if the home is unoccupied during a vacation)
In most cases when using plumbing for fridge freezers, the system is connected to your home’s main water supply line. This is usually located under the kitchen sink or in a utility closet.
Here are a few tips to use when doing plumbing for fridge freezer units.
Find the Right Space and Fridge Location
Fridges with water dispensers and ice makers tend to be larger than standard refrigerators which don’t have them. This can make it difficult to find a model which suits your kitchen, particularly in an older home.
French door style, bottom mount and top mount fridges all come in different sizes and styles, and some may offer more fridge capacity than others. Make sure you do your research to find the right-sized fridge without compromising functionality for extra features.
The location of your fridge is another crucial factor to consider. If you’ve found a fridge that is right for your kitchen, you need to determine if a plumber can run a water connection to its location.
When doing plumbing for fridge freezers in existing kitchens, this usually means running a water line from the sink to your refrigerator. The plumber can run the water line through the walls, ceiling, floor or inside cabinets to conceal it.
However, depending on the appliances in the way, running the connection can be challenging. If it’s a significant kitchen renovation or you’re building one from scratch, a water connection can be installed at the location during planning.
Do You Have Space for Plumbing Fittings?
You’ll also need to ensure that there’s enough space for all the required fittings to plumb in an ice and water dispenser.
The fittings needed include:
- Mini stop – this controls the flow of water
- Water filter
- Pressure limiting valve
Consult with your professional plumber to determine if there’s enough space to install these fittings while allowing enough clearance space.
If there’s enough space, you can also install the plumbing in a cupboard next to the fridge. This means you’ve got more room for these fittings and will always have access to the stop tap in case of a leak or burst pipe. Changing the water filter will also be easier.
Get Power Surge Protection
Since plumbing for fridge freezers will involve a refrigerator that costs more than a standard model without these features, it’s wise to buy a surge protector to safeguard your investment from power loss or surges.
Depending on the surge protector, it may make your fridge stick out from the wall more as the power plug is more prominent. Therefore, when choosing your fridge size, make sure you plan for this extra space or search for a surge protector with a different design (some plug into the bottom rather than the front).
There are No-Plumb Fridge Options
If a plumbed-in fridge isn’t feasible in your kitchen, there are other options available. You can opt for a no-plumb fridge with a water dispenser, which can be handy.
There are some drawbacks to this cheaper option, however, including:
- Having to refill the water manually
- Waiting for water to cool
- Water may sometimes have a “fridge taste”
If you are really keen to have immediate chilled water, the other alternative is to install an instant tap at your sink.
Common Problems in Plumbing for Fridge Freezers
Fridge plumbing problems can be significant, particularly if they prevent your fridge from properly cooling or freezing your food. Some of the more common fridge plumbing problems include:
- Clogged water lines
- Leaking water lines
- Ice maker breakdowns
To fix these issues, it may be necessary to clean or replace the water filter, tighten any loose connections or replace damaged water lines. If in any doubt about the cause of the issue, be sure to contact a qualified plumber.
Find a Professional Plumber
Finally, the most important message to impart is this – don’t make plumbing for fridge freezers a DIY project. It is actually illegal in Australia to plumb your own fridge – the job must be done by a qualified professional.
Even a seemingly simple task can be prone to faults at multiple points if you’re inexperienced in plumbing procedures. A poorly installed fridge can lead to various plumbing issues that will wreak havoc in your kitchen. A DIY mistake can cost you more in repairs than hiring a qualified plumber to plumb your refrigerator in the first place.
Please note: This information is provided for advice purposes only. Regulations differ from state to state, so please consult your local authorities or an industry professional before proceeding with any work. See our Terms & Conditions here.