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Thread: Best way to connect two 1/4" copper tubings

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Upstate NY
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    Best way to connect two 1/4" copper tubings

    I just got a new refrigerator. The water line is 20' of 1/4" copper tubing; 10' is in the basement and 10' behind the fridge. It comes in on the left, made a few clockwise loops and attached to the water inlet on the right. The new refrigerator has the inlet on the left so the installer beat the heck out it to get it to come around. It is probably fine, but a few years ago I had a flooded kitchen from a broken ice maker; I don't want to go through that because of a broken water line, so I figure it is time to replace it.

    The 10' in the basement hasn't been bent since it was installed, so I figure that is fine and happen to have 10' of unused tubing I bought at a garage sale years ago. I was going to cut the existing tubing off at about the floor (probably just below, so I see the joint) and connecting it to the new tubing. The question is how.

    1) Flare to flare fittings. I have never done a flare fitting, but have the tool and it looks easy enough. Fittings would be $5.
    2) Sharkbite. Never used that either, but it would be an awful lot easier than a flare to flare. Also $5.
    3) Compression to compression fitting. I have done plenty of these, but am told that flare is much better, so I guess I should scratch this one out.
    4) Sweat union. I have done lots of these, but never 1/4" or soft tubing. Any big differences from 1/2" hard copper? $1
    5) Sweat 90. Since the tube and the water inlet are both on the left, the copper will have to be bent to accommodate that. I thought of moving the tube to the right side, but that would be complicated and put some wear on it. But a sweat 90 will allow a simple counterclockwise bend to the tubing, but it would require putting the joint behind the fridge rather than in the basement; but a sweat joint can't leak so it doesn't matter. (does it?) $2

    I hate choices. Any of these would work; having to decide among 5 drives me crazy; so any advice would be appreciated.
    My wife would just assume the installer knew what he was doing and forget about it. If it leaks later on; well that happens.

    Oh, #6; toss all the copper and get 20' of new copper $20, #7 or 20' of braided steel. $30.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
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    Missouri
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    For as little as 1/4 copper costs run a whole new line. The fewer joints rule applies here. You will already have the joint at the fridge. Leave enough of a loop too make it easy to move the fridge in and out with no strain on the tubing. If the tube is exposed in the basement it's worth it to me to put an accessible shut off valve in the basement, I did that. Gives a quick way to shut it off if it happens to leak or you need to move the fridge.
    Jim
    PS I also advise not using one of those clamp on shut offs in the basement. Just another potential leak.
    Last edited by James Pallas; 05-09-2019 at 4:06 PM. Reason: add PS

  3. #3
    No reason not to use compression to compression fittings. If installed and tightened correctly you should have not leaks. The worst thing you can do is over tighten them. Don't use any lubricant, pipe sealant or tape. Remember: Insert the tubing through the nut through the ferrule and all the way into the fitting. Then finger tighten the nut and no more than one full turn after it is finger tight. Use open end wrenches not pliers or pipe wrenches.
    Lee Schierer
    USNA- '71
    Captain USN(Ret)

    My advice, comments and suggestions are free, but it costs money to run the site. If you found something of value here please give a little something back by becoming a contributor! Please Contribute

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    My order of priorities:

    1) Run a new full length pipe with no joint
    2) If (and only if) you can cut the pipe keeping it perfectly round, and can find the correct union, sweat a joint
    3) If the joint is both out where you can see it and someplace where it won't get moved around, use a compression union.

  5. #5
    I've never had a problem with any of your choices, flare, compression, Sharkbite, they all work fine.
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
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    Okotoks AB
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    Just don't use plastic tubing. Ugh. The stuff is literally a disaster waiting to happen.

  7. #7
    Flare is better if you are running 400 psi to the fridge but otherwise compression will be fine

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Modesto, CA, USA
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    Cut it a little above the floor and transition to braided stainless hose above. install a blowout preventer valve either at the start of the run or above the floor.
    Bill D.

  9. #9
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    Unless it is impossible to get to, run new copper all the way. Got chewed out by a HVAC guy (complex radiant heat boiler with 6 loops and a water heater run off the boiler) for using a piercing tap to run water to the humidifier. He yanked it out and used a copper press fit tee and valve. All copper, no solder. The fittings are crimped similar to PEX, but with o-rings in the fittings.
    NOW you tell me...

  10. #10
    Nothing wrong with compression to compression. 90's are available....

    Also, nothing wrong with plastic, unless a rat decides to chew on it.


  11. #11
    For me, it would be either compression, or soldier. For soldiering, find some LACO brand flux. It's self cleaning when the heat is applied. Be sure and wipe excess off with a damp rag after soldiering.

  12. #12
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Dufour View Post
    Cut it a little above the floor and transition to braided stainless hose above. install a blowout preventer valve either at the start of the run or above the floor.
    Bill D.
    I googled "blowout preventer valve" and found it is used in oil wells. What is it with water lines?

    I have 8' of braided steel I bought at a garage sale 10 years ago. Assuming it does not fail immediately (and that is why it was for sale) is it likely to be okay, or should I toss it and buy new?

  13. #13
    Join Date
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    The braided line make so much good sense behind a refrigerator or DW - any appliance that might require being pulled in and out of its opening for service. A coil of copper behind the appliance, though standard once upon a time, is - to my way of thinking - such a substandard solution now that braided lines are readily available in different dia. and lengths. Copper below - braided above - a cheap money fix considering the problem safely solved. I don't know about the need for a blow out preventer. I defer to others on that point.

    Sam
    "... for when we become in heart completely poor, we at once are the treasurers & disbursers of enormous riches."
    WQJudge

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Wade Lippman View Post
    I googled "blowout preventer valve" and found it is used in oil wells.
    Good idea if you have an oil well in the basement.


  15. #15
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wade Lippman View Post
    I googled "blowout preventer valve" and found it is used in oil wells. What is it with water lines?

    I have 8' of braided steel I bought at a garage sale 10 years ago. Assuming it does not fail immediately (and that is why it was for sale) is it likely to be okay, or should I toss it and buy new?
    Not sure of the actual name. When the DPo installed copper water line they drilled from above clear through the center of a joist. I got rid of that and ran pex up along the side of a joist. the valve at the wall is a special one that shuts off water if the flow rate is too high. I used a similar adapter for my gas stove.
    Bil lD.

    burst protect or flood master are some brands
    N

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