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Refrigerator Water Line Leak: A Step-By-Step Fixing Guide

Refrigerator Water Line Leak: A Step-By-Step Fixing Guide

Have you ever had the frustrating experience of seeing your refrigerator leak constantly? Maintaining your apartment and/or house can be difficult enough as it is; stopping a leak is not only inconvenient but challenging for non-professionals.

If your refrigerator starts to leak, you can fix it with our step-by-step guide below. However, you might realize that this is a job for professionals, and you need leak detection services.

Step 1: Understand Why Refrigerators Leak

Refrigerator Water Leak

There are three key issues that could occur to cause your fridge to leak:

  • Shut-off valve problems
  • Difficulties with refrigerator connection
  • Copper water line leaks

If you were to consult a professional, these are the three areas they would examine first.

You know how refrigerators can produce ice and water? This ability comes from copper water lines. Sometimes, these water lines develop small holes, causing the fridge to leak.

This can occur because of friction with another line or simply long-time use. This can also occur due to issues with your shut-off valve or refrigerator connection.

However, with the following steps for repairing each of these key issues, you can make your refrigerator work correctly.

Step 2: Purchase the Correct Supplies

Whether you identify an issue with the pipes, the refrigerator and/or valve connection, make sure you buy the correct equipment to address the issues. Check out these devices to help you get started:

  • ¼ inch ferrules
  • ¼ inch copper tubing unions
  • An adjustable wrench
  • Adjustable pliers
  • Tubing cutter

No matter the issue, these tools are worthy investments. You can use many of them for your home improvement projects.

Step 3: Locate the Valve Connection

Now that you have the necessary materials, begin to address the problem by locating the valve that connects the appliance to the copper water line. Check behind the refrigerator, particularly for newer models. The valve looks like a copper pipe with a small lever or knob on top. You may notice that this connection is leaking.

As a useful tip, try placing newspaper underneath the pipe. This trick will help you identify if the leak is coming from the pipe itself or a loose connection between the fridge and the valve. Watch to see which area of the newspaper becomes wet.

Step 4: Try Tightening the Nut

You may be able to quickly stop the leak by tightening the nut that connects the copper line to the shut-off valve. To tighten the nut appropriately, use an adjustable wrench and turn clockwise. If the leak ceases when you tighten it, you have likely fixed the issue!

If the connection is still leaking after you tighten the nut, you may need to replace the ferrule.

Step 5: Replacing the Ferrule

A ferrule looks like a small metal band. It strengthens and secures the connection pipe and the fridge.

Turn the nut counterclockwise and slide it off and remove the copper line. You can then use a tubing cutter to cut the end off of the copper tube. You know you’re cutting enough when you see just past the ferrule at the end of the line.

You want to make sure that the edge of the cut you make is smooth. A handy trick is to use sandpaper to buffer any rough edges on the cut. You can then slide the new ferrule (generally sold at your average hardware store) onto the copper line’s end. Insert the tube in the shut-off valve to restore your connection.

Slide the nut that you previously removed back onto the union, or connection between the fridge and the copper line, and tighten until it feels secure.

Step 6: Check Your Copper Line

Refrigerator Copper Line

If you are still experiencing issues with leaking, check your copper line. Examine it thoroughly to see if you can locate any small holes causing leaks. If you see any leaks, use the tubing cutter to remove that copper line and replace it.

Follow the above steps to loosen the nut connecting the fridge to the line. You can purchase new copper tubing from your local hardware store. When you slide the tube into the union, tighten the nut to ensure that the connection does not leak. Be careful not to crimp the copper tubing when handling it.

If you still notice leaking, then the issue does not derive from the copper line. Turn off your valve connection and see if you need to replace the ferrule.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my fridge water line leaking?

This is often a sign the inlet valve is clogged. Debris and food can clog the valve and lead to a drip. The valve will need to be cleaned or replaced.

Can a refrigerator water line burst?

Yes, it can. It will spray aggressively all over your kitchen. Quickly shut off the water line that connects to your fridge. In worst-case scenarios, shut off water to your entire home.

How do you replace a refrigerator water line?

If you are very handy, you can follow the above step-by-step guideline. Otherwise, call All Dry USA, and we’ll take care of it. Get a quote now!


Working on a leaking fridge might seem like a chore. Trust us, you’re not alone. A lot of homeowners don’t have the time or patience to fix the leak, even if they learn the causes and purchase the equipment necessary. Sometimes, you do your best to address a leaky fridge and your efforts simply do not work. The leak persists no matter what you try.

If you have checked the copper line, shut-off valve and refrigerator connection, and still cannot identify the problem, we recommend calling our team of professionals at All Dry USA. We’re able to get behind your appliance and figure out what’s causing the leak. We also offer occasional inspections to prevent further issues.

Call us for established and knowledgeable professionals to help you repair your leaky fridge.

Ben Suiskind
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