Six months ago we bought a new fridge. We chose to purchase a model without an ice and water dispenser for a few reasons
1. Our fridge cavity was limited in space and depth.
2. We didn’t have a water supply available to where the fridge was located.
One of the most common questions I would get as a plumber was how much it would cost to run a water line to the fridge so the owner could use their ice and water dispenser. I didn’t want to be rude, but my answer was how long is a piece of string? Or more specifically, how far away is your fridge from your kitchen sink? There are so many variables quoting on jobs that haven’t been inspected in person.
But maybe you have found yourself googling the same question on plumbing in a fridge. Rather than tell you a cost, how about some checks as your existing kitchen layout may not work for a fridge that requires a water point in the first place. For new build kitchens, often the plumbing can be arranged during rough in to provide a water point. For existing kitchens, here are some points to consider.
Space and Location of Fridge
The first thing you need to check is the dimensions of the space cavity for your fridge. This will limit your options somewhat if your kitchen was built more than ten years ago.
French door fridges have been around for a while, but not all kitchens allow for them. A French door fridge requires room for their design. Our house is only 14 years old, yet the space allowance for a fridge is quite small. We realised we weren’t going to be able to fit a French door style fridge, without compromising on fridge capacity. Instead, we upgraded to a larger model, but modernised to a finger print resistant, stainless steel top mount fridge. (We purchased the Westinghouse Top Mount Fridge in Stainless Steel from Harvey Norman)
If you’re keen to install a fridge with an ice and water dispenser, check if your plumber can run a water line to the location of the fridge. (Water line can be run through the roof and dropped down the wall, underneath the floor or concealed inside cabinetry) If it’s a difficult run where other appliances are in the way or there are other obstacles, you may be better off purchasing a simple fridge design like we did, and installing an under sink filtered tap water unit.
If a water line can be run to the fridge, you need to consider this next tip.
Space for stop tap, valve and filter
When plumbing in a fridge, there must be an allowance for a mini stop top, water filter and pressure limiting valve. Sometimes these can be installed at the back of the wall cavity behind the fridge or on the inner wall cavity.
Depending on the size of your fridge and the minimum clearance required around the appliance (some require a 50mm gap), you will need to determine with your plumber if the plumbing installation will suit your fridge requirements.
An alternate and better solution is to install the plumbing in a cupboard next to the fridge. Use a hole saw to create a hole in the side of the cupboard and feed the water line to the fridge as needed. This also ensures you have access to turn off the stop tap if there is a rupture or leak, and ease when changing the water filter.
Fridges with no plumbing required
You can purchase a fridge with an ice and water dispenser that doesn’t require plumbing. This can be another solution for your filtered water needs. However, the cons with this design is the tank has to be manually filled. There have also been comments where the first cup of water is not cold and can have a fridge taste/smell to it. It’s not a common complaint, but one to still consider. Maybe test before you decide on this model.
Power Surge Protector
When you purchase a new fridge, it’s a good idea to also buy a power surge protector. This ensures if there is ever a sudden loss or surge in power, your fridge won’t be damaged. I purchased the Monster Power Surge protection, which has the outlet located on the bottom so that when it’s plugged into the power socket, the Fridge power plug doesn’t stick the fridge out.
If you require help plumbing in your fridge, organize a call out from your local plumber first to check if the installation is possible. This call out can save the inconvenience of returning a fridge you can’t install or having a fridge taunt you with water dispensing and ice making facilities you can’t use.