How to Install Your Ice Maker on the Refrigerator

We all like that cold drink filled with ice. The easiest way to have it is to have an automatic ice maker working inside the freezer on your refrigerator. Unfortunately, there are many ice makers sitting idle while their owners wish that they could just reach in and get ice whenever they need it. Now, you will not have to wait any longer. Hooking that ice maker up is easy as pie. In just a few simple steps, you will have a stream of water flowing into your ice maker to start making that first batch of ice. Having installed about 30 or 40 of these devices for myself and others over the years, I have a good bank of experience in this area to draw on.

If your refrigerator came without an ice maker, you will need to go buy one first. Make sure that you get one that is made to fit inside the brand and model of refrigerator that you own. Usually, there is a plug in an upper corner of the freezer section that can be punched out to make an opening for you to attach the unit. Look for a couple of removable plugs that might be where the screws go into the side of the freezer. After carefully reading the installation instructions for the unit, slide the portion that receives the water inlet through the rear opening from inside the freezer. Attach any screws to secure the unit to your box. Now, close the freezer and go to the back to begin the water installation procedure.

On a first time install where the ice maker was not installed at the factory, you will need to run the plastic tubing that should have come with the ice maker down the back of the refrigerator and attach it at the bottom. There should be a hook up at the bottom of your refrigerator to attach this tube to. If not, just secure it the lower part of the refrigerator and keep moving. If your ice maker is pre-installed, you can skip the above steps and go to the next paragraph.

If your refrigerator abuts your cabinets, you will need to run the line from beneath the sink. If it is free-standing on another wall, you will have to track down the best line to attach your tubing. The main thing is that you want to hide as much of the tubing as possible. This will make a much cleaner looking job and keep you kitchen or whatever room you have the rifrigerator looking neat and tidy. The tools you should need for this job are a drill with a bit a little larger than the tubing, a wrench that will fit the connectors on the tubing, and a knife to cut the tubing to the correct length. If you have it available, you will want to use a wood bit to drill the holes for the tubing to fit through unless the material is not wood or a wood product.

Start the next part of the job at the cold water feed that you will be tapping into for you supply source for the tubing to run to the ice maker. If you have an ice maker hook up kit, it should have all of the items that you need furnished for you. You can get one of these kits at any home supply or hardware store. They are relatively inexpensive and can save trips back to the store for additional parts. Make sure that the kit has enough length of tubing to reach from your water line to the back of the refrigerator. Almost all of them come with 25 feet. This is normally sufficient.

Take the line tap from the kit. This looks like a small funny shaped faucet with steel pin for the handle. The lower part is a saddle to be clamped over your water line. Make sure that the blade is not protruding through the small opening inside the saddle. Unscrew the valve handle until this is the case. Your supply line will usually be either copper or plastic. The blade in the valve has plenty of power to pierce either of these. If you have some odd type pipe that is more like hardened steel or something, you may need to drill a small hole the size of the hole in the saddle through one side of the supply line instead of letting the valve do the job. This rarely is true, but you need to pay attention to what material you pipe is made from. If you have to drill the hole, then let the blade protrude from the saddle somewhat and use it as a guide to position the saddle over the opening.

If you did not have to pre-drill the tap into the water supply line, then just clamp the saddle onto the water pipe nice and tight. Turn the valve as if you are turning off the water. This will push the blade against the pipe and cut a hole into it. Turn the valve slowly and do not force it. You may have to back it up and tighten it a few times to get all of the way through the pipe. Usually, you can just keep turning it slowly until it is all of the way down. The pipe is now pierced.

Leave the valve turned off. Attach the tubing to the outlet on the valve. Drill any holes through the walls of the cabinets or the flooring to allow passage of the tubing to the refrigerator. Pass the tubing through the hole(s). Check the length. I recommend that you leave about three feet of tubing extra and cut the remaining portion off. Attach the tubing to the inlet on the refrigerator. Push the excess tubing either through the floor or back into the cabinet to hide it as you push the refrigerator back into position. Go and open the water valve. You should hear water begin to flow. Open the freezer door and push down the handle that turns the ice maker on. If you do not hear water running, gently loosen the nut on the refrigerator water inlet. This will let the air bleed from the tubing. When water begins to seep out, tighten the nut.

If no water comes to the fitting, then tighten that nut and go loosen the one at the valve. Water should stream out quickly. If not, try turning the valve off and on a time or two to clear any debris that might be clogging the opening that you just cut into the supply line. This should fix it. If it does not fix the problem, you may have to turn the water off to the supply line and remove the valve to make sure that the water line was pierced. If it was not, drill a hole and replace the saddle valve onto the line. This should fix the problem.

Allow about 6 to 24 hours for the ice maker to bleed itself and begin to make ice. If problems persist, call the manufacturer for troubleshooting advice. I have never had an ice maker fail to work on the first try.

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