Refrigerator Ice and Water Dispenser

Most people don't have any idea about how to hook up an ice maker on a refrigerator. I'm here to tell you that this is probably one of the simplest plumbing job you will ever have to do.

How to Hook Up Your Refrigerator Ice Maker - Quick Start

In this chapter we will cover how to hook up your ice maker to the cold water line beneath your sink. Make sure you hook up your ice maker to the COLD water line, you would be surprised about how many people do the opposite.

First, lets talk about the different type of tubing and valves you might use for this operation. The older method of installing a water line to your refrigerator is with a one quarter inch (1/4")  copper tubing.  Some people still prefer this method, but some of us have moved on. The problem with copper tubing is that it's a little difficult to work with, requires its own fittings and it does not bend readily like plastic , braided nylon or stainless steel lines that come with attached fittings. Let take a look at what these look like.

Copper Ice maker kit
Refrigerator Copper tubing Ice maker kit
plastic ice maker hook up kit
Plastic Ice Maker Hook Up Kit
flexible vinyl refrigerator water line
Flexible Vinyl Refrigerator Water Line
stainless steel ice maker water line
Stainless Steel Ice Maker Water Line

My personal preference is the braided stainless steel line. It comes with factory attached 1/4" fittings ready for most refrigerator hook up. It's the most reliable and quickest to install.  Let's begin by showing you this method since it's the fastest, and I know how anxious people are to get the ice maker going. 


First, you will need to locate your primary source of cold water or the cold water line that you want to hook your refrigerator up to.  From my experience, I can say, that most people hook their refrigerator, to the COLD water line, that goes to their kitchen sink faucet, under their kitchen  countertop.  If this is feasible, this would be a good place to start.  

Locating The Water Source

Under Counter Water Lines

Kitchen Faucet Supply Line

Here we see a very basic example of the HOT and COLD water lines under the kitchen counter.  If you have a problem trying to identify which one is the COLD  and which one is HOT, just turn the facets on, and wait 30 seconds, you should then be able to feel, which one is HOT and which one is COLD.  For a refrigerator ice maker, we will be using a COLD water line hook up.  

Remember that this is a very basic quick installation to get you started. A more detailed article will follow in the future. 

Selecting The Correct Fitting

Push Fitting for Refrigerator Water Line

Push Connector


This is an Ice Maker Push Fitting with a shut off valve.  It's good to have a shut off valve in case you ever have to disconnect the water line from your refrigerator for service, you will be able to shut off the water to your refrigerator only and not the entire house. 

This type of fitting is available at most retail home improvement stores like Lowes or Home Depot.  

Compression Ice Maker Connector With Shut Water Shut Off


Here we can see a 1/2" Brass Compression with a shut off valve designed to take a 1/4" plastic or copper tube.  This is a good alternative to the Push Fitting shown above, if you are not able to get a push fitting or if you prefer a compression type fitting.  This fitting comes with a 1/4" shut off valve, which is standard on most ice maker. 

This type of fitting is easy to install, just don't over tighten. 

Ice maker water supply line

Stainless Steel Refrigerator Ice Maker Water Line


My first choice for a refrigerator ice maker water line is a braided stainless steel line, which comes with attached 1/4" female fittings at both ends. There is nothing to do but to screw on the line, one end on the refrigerator and the other end on the water line shut off valve. 

Hooking Up The Water 

water line connection

Attaching To The Water Source


Here you can see how a push fitting (Sharkbite) has been added to the water line in order to provide a water source for a refrigerator ice maker 

Attaching Water Line To Refrigerator

Attaching The Water Line To The Refrigerator


The last thing to do is to hook the water line directly to the back of the refrigerator and then turn on the water at the shut off that you installed under the kitchen sink.  It can take up to a few hours for the ice maker to produce its first batch of ice, be patient. 

I would like to thank our friends at "The Family Handyman" for allowing us to use some of their images.