What to Do When Your Fridge Water Line Fails
A refrigerator runs 24 hours a day to keep its contents chilled and fresh. When the fridge features a water dispenser or an ice maker, it requires a water line. This water line has the potential to fail. Here’s what to do when your fridge water line leaks or breaks.
The fridge water line is connected to the home’s water supply. The refrigerator water line is capable of delivering filtered water through the fridge’s water dispenser or into the ice maker. The fridge water line is unnecessary in fridges that do not feature a water dispenser or ice maker.
The right plumbing material used in the fridge water line is instrumental in preventing leaks and ensuring that the water flows optimally. Homeowners may choose from three tubing options: copper tubing, PVC or plastic tubing, and braided stainless steel tubing.
Copper tubing is affordable, but it can kink and cause the water flow to become blocked. PVC or plastic tubing is inexpensive but, being weak, can cut easily. Braided stainless steel tubing is slightly pricier but will not kink or cut as easily as the above two options.
Look for signs of leaks
In the event the fridge water line leaks, a homeowner will see visual cues. A small amount of water may accumulate around the base of the fridge. If the leak has been present for a lengthy period of time, the baseboards will show evidence of water damage.
Signs of water damage include water line stains, mold growth, mildew, cracked paint and swelling along the baseboards. The caulking material around the baseboards might show damage, such as splits in the caulking material or holes. The wall space behind the fridge may also show water damage.
Once a leak is confirmed, it is important to address it right away to prevent further water damage. (unaddressed water damage can be disastrous and expensive to fix). The first step is to locate the water line, which is connected to the back of the refrigerator.
Turn off the water supply
Turn off the valve that supplies water from the home’s water supply to the refrigerator. This valve may be found under the kitchen sink or behind the fridge. If the valve is behind the fridge, take precautions when pulling the fridge away from the wall (a ruptured pipe spews water).
Unplug the fridge
Unplug the fridge from the electrical socket. Water and electricity do not mix, so be sure to avoid standing in any water puddles near the fridge. Ensure a safe environment by keeping the appliance unplugged during the entire duration of work.
Remove the failed water line
The water intake valve is secured to the supply line via a compression nut. Loosen the nut by turning it counter clockwise with an adjustable wrench. Once the nut is loosened, remove it. The fridge water supply line is now disconnected from the valve.
Inspect the plastic supply line for any breaks or tears. Handling the fridge water line can help locate pinhole leaks. The water line must be replaced with one of equal proportions (dimensions and length), but not necessarily the same type of material.
Buy a replacement water line
Measure the failed refrigerator water line to determine the correct length needed for the new one. Purchase a new fridge water line from a local hardware store or online. Homeowners should remember they have three tubing material options: plastic, stainless steel and copper.
Install the new water line
Installing the new fridge water line is straightforward. Simply thread one end of the new water line through the shut-off valve located under the sink or behind the fridge. Attach the other end of the new water line to the intake valve located behind the refrigerator.
The connections on either end of the new water line should be tight. Homeowners who have opted for a stainless-steel water line will find it features a rubber gasket to prevent leaks. Copper or plastic lines require a compression sleeve or ring in order to secure the compression nut.
Once the new water line has been connected, examine the shutoff and intake valves to ensure neither of the connections have been loosened during the process. The final step is to switch on the water supply line. Watch for signs of leaks in the new supply line.
If any water droplets form, tighten up the nuts. Re-examine the shut-off and intake valves. Be sure to avoid standing in water puddles that may have formed during the water line replacement task. If the floor is completely dry, it is safe to plug in the refrigerator.
Contact a Professional
It is important to install the new fridge water line correctly. An improperly installed water line can cause water leaks, and, consequently, water damage. When you are faced with water damage, consult a professional for immediate water damage cleanup.
Water damage leads to a host of structural issues. Wood rots, mold grows, stains emerge and warping ensues. The resulting structural damage compromises the integrity of the property. These are reasons that a homeowner is advised to seek professional water damage restoration as soon as possible.
Water damage technicians arrive onsite promptly after your call. They assess the extent of water damage and begin the cleanup. Experienced specialists utilize advanced equipment to extract all excess moisture from the property and dry it with equally powerful dehumidifiers.
If a mold infestation has developed, these technicians conduct effective mold remediation services. Homeowners should be aware that mold colonies can latch onto damp materials within 24 hours and multiply rapidly. Calling a professional as soon as possible is recommended to avoid mold growth.