Do Fridges with Water Dispensers Need Plumbing?


With many different types of refrigerators flooding the market, it has become quite the situation when it comes to figuring out the advantages and disadvantages of these models, specifically with plumbing in mind.

A refrigerator is an essential item. It takes up quite a bit of space and also needs to be tended to carefully. If you neglect its plumbing and ventilation, you might just end up with a puddle on the kitchen floor.

So, if you are looking for a refrigerator with a water dispenser, here’s what you need to know in terms of plumbing so that you can stock up on the right plumbing tools too.

How These Fridges Work

The water dispenser is usually an external item and is mounted in the fridge door. Some of them also have an ice maker which is placed similarly. The dispenser usually taps into the supply pipe for cold water which must be located near the refrigerator.

When it comes to this pipework, you might want to place the pipes under the flooring. But if your water source is located elsewhere in the kitchen, you will need to connect the cold water pipe to the fitting that is behind the refrigerator with a plastic or copper tube.

This pipe fixture needs to have a valve to shut off supply as and when required. It is called a shut-off valve and its purpose is to stop the water supply when it is time for the refrigerator to be serviced or maybe repaired.

Now, the refrigerators that come with water dispensers have interesting inner plumbing. They are built such that the water is collected from the source and into a water filter. This filter removes particles and basic contaminants from the water before it is sent into the water dispenser.

Interestingly enough, this feature has actually been around since the 1980s and it started with simplified versions of ice makers. Then companies moved on to turning doors into dispensers of both ice and water. In the beginning, the water was neither filtered nor chilled. But today, we have some excellent options on both fronts.

About the Kind of Plumbing

Strictly speaking, your refrigerator’s freezer which contains the water dispenser does not need external plumbing. But there are two types of appliances to choose from and this depends on the layout of your kitchen.

A lot of people think that the water dispenser mounted in the door requires a plumbing job to connect it to the water supply. While that is true and the more popular option, it is not the only model in the market.

What else is there to consider?

For one, you can have a water tank that refills from time to time and connect it to a dispenser placed inside the freezer. That’s one option.

This way, you don’t need to worry about plumbing if and when that’s an issue. This also gives you the option of placing the refrigerator anywhere without worrying about the plumbing.

Advantages of This System

If you are dealing with a refrigerator that has an ice and water dispenser, there are three major advantages.

First of all, this is extremely convenient whether you want to get a glass of ice water or ice in the form of cubes. It is a great option to have especially if you have guests. And let’s not forget that easy access means you might just end up consuming more water which is great.

Some dispensers are designed such that you can fill tall containers like pitchers and water bottles too. The ice dispenser is automatic on many new models which means you no longer need to fill the ice trays manually.

You can also make sparkling water easily with some models by adding carbon dioxide to the water. You can also use it for hot water which makes preparing instant meals easier.

The second big benefit is that the water filter is inside the refrigerator which makes the water healthier than what comes out of the faucet of your sink. Often you will also find that it tastes better. The filters in these refrigerators also do a sweep of the basic contaminants like mercury and lead which once again makes this a healthier choice.

And finally, this is a great item to have in the kitchen if you are selling your house with the appliances. These advanced appliances add to the property’s value.

Disadvantages of This System

But as you would expect, these refrigerators also have a few disadvantages.

Firstly, you will notice that the dispensing of the water is quite slow.

Secondly, They are a tad bit more expensive than a regular fridge and that is not a benefit if you already have good hot or sparkling water dispensers in place.

They also consume more electricity which adds to the maintenance.

Speaking of which, the water filters must be replaced on a yearly basis and that means more money. Otherwise, the ice and water don’t taste as good as you were hoping they would.

And if the water from your supply comes tasting bad, the basic level of improvement this system can provide will be unimpressive.

Additionally, you will need a professional plumber to get the works in place in case you want to connect the fridge to a water supply that is near the fridge but not conveniently close. This is true even for experienced DIY-ers.

And finally, there is the matter of the storage space that the water tank takes up. With refrigerators that have a water and ice dispenser on the outside, the storage space inside the fridge is a bit less. This is because of the thick door that needs its own mechanisms to give you the benefit right in front of your eyes.

Parting Thoughts

These new models are very attractive and it is easy to make an argument in their favor. For the most part, that argument holds up too. But if you are looking at them because of your plumbing issues, you might want to think again.

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