My Home Inspector Blog: Refrigerator with an Ice Maker? Does it have a ‘water shut off valve’? Do you know where it is?

Refrigerator with an Ice Maker? Does it have a ‘water shut off valve’? Do you know where it is?

Dan Edward Phillips of Eureka, CA wrote an important article I wanted to pass on regarding ice maker water lines. Many of them I see during home inspections are poorly installed. Thanks for the great article, Dan!

Does your refrigerator have an Ice Maker?  Does it have a ‘water shut off valve'?  Do you know where it is?

Newer homes generally have a dedicated water line (usually ½ inch diameter) to the refrigerator and the ‘shut off valve' is located at the point the refrigerator water line is connected.  These systems usually do not present a problem.

However, in older homes that were not built without a dedicated water line to the refrigerator, the water line was probably added when the owner purchased a refrigerator with an ice maker.

If your home is in the later category; this type of water line installation has the potential for problems.  Does your ice maker water line disappear in a hole in the kitchen floor?  Do you know where it is connected to a water supply line?  Do you know where the ‘shut off valve' is?

It could be under your kitchen sink.  It also could be under your home if you have a raised foundation.

If your ‘ice maker' stops working, it could be the result of a water leak in the water line feeding it.  If the line is under your home, you could have a major problem.

Take the time now and determine where it is connected to a water supply line and if it has a ‘shut off valve'.  In many cases the connection is a ‘clamp' type fitting and they are prone to leaks. 

If you cannot locate the connection to the water supply line you may want to have a plumber inspect the water line and add an accessible shut off valve.  If it needs a replacement line or you want to upgrade and reroute the line, have it done.

It will be good insurance to prevent the area under your home from becoming a lake!  It has happened.


             Steve Stenros, MCI         Biz card photo

             Master CREIA Inspector #0115

             ICC Residential Combination Inspector #5251439

             Certified Infrared Thermographer #7791

                                       FHA/HUD Inspector- #V975

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Comment balloon 5 commentsSteve Stenros • June 28 2011 11:12AM


Steve:  I wish someone would invent a water line that did not have to be behind the refrigerator....I guess maybe someone already has...but I've only had the ones that are behind the fridge in a little box on the wall that is very hard to get at, so the filter gets changed rarely.

Posted by Sidney Kutchuk - Realty Works Temecula Kutchuk - Realty Works Temecula, Realty Works Temecula (Realty Works Temecula) over 9 years ago

Jane, our reverse osmosis system under the sink also filters the icemaker line. A water purification tech should be able to switch yours pretty easily. I wouldn't drink our tap water for anything!

Posted by Steve Stenros, CREIA MCI, ICC, ACI Home Inspector,San Diego (Poway,La Jolla,Del Mar,Mira Mesa,Carlsbad,Escondido,Temecula) over 9 years ago

Good Evening Steve, Thank You for re-blogging the post. I am delightd!

Posted by Dan Edward Phillips, Realtor and Broker/Owner (Dan Edward Phillips) over 9 years ago


I had a client that refrigerator H2O line was leaking and the cost to repair and the mold issue was not pretty. What are your thoughts on dogging doors?

Posted by Lorraine or Loretta Kratz, Certified Negotiation Consultants (Crescent Moon Realty, Inc. & Land N Sea Auctions.) about 9 years ago

Doggy doors in a garage fire door?- No good!

Doggy doors in an exterior wall?- Depends on the installation.

Posted by Steve Stenros, CREIA MCI, ICC, ACI Home Inspector,San Diego (Poway,La Jolla,Del Mar,Mira Mesa,Carlsbad,Escondido,Temecula) about 9 years ago