How To Look At A House
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Where do I shut off the refrigerator water line?
Friday, December 31, 2021
Because water and ice service has become a standard feature for most refrigerators, newer homes have a water line connection and shut-off valve inset in the wall behind the refrigerator. But the water line has to be retrofitted at older homes, and it's usually connected to the nearest exposed cold water pipe, and next to a shut-off valve for another plumbing fixture. This could be under the kitchen sink, at the top of the water heater, under a bathroom sink, or sometimein the crawl space or basement under a home.
It isn’t always possible to follow the water line back to the shut-off valve, so you may have to look at all the nearby possible connection points to find it. A sure sign that you found the right one would be that the shut-off is connected to a 1/4” water line—much thinner than the other water supply pipes. Also, the refrigerator line is often flexible plastic.
Although the plumbing code does not require the shut-off valve to be at the connection point behind the refrigerator, it does specify that it must be clearly marked if at another location. This would make it easier for you to find, but marking the refrigerator water shut-off valve usually doesn’t happen.
Also see our articles Does a refrigerator water supply line require a shutoff valve behind it? and Is a refrigerator required to have its own dedicated circuit? and Are a range and refrigerator required kitchen appliances for a house to pass FHA inspection? and Does a home inspector check the refrigerator? and How does a home inspector inspect a refrigerator ice maker?
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Field Guide for Home Inspectors, a quick reference for finding the age of 154 brands of HVAC systems, water heaters, and electrical panels, plus 210 code standards for site-built and manufactured homes, and the life expectancy rating of 195 home components. Available at amazon.com for $19.95.
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