Help! Broken Tee in wall for fridge water line...

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by BDP, Aug 10, 2009.

  1. BDP

    BDP New Member

    Messages:
    63
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    I could really use some speedy help here if at all possible, as I had to turn the water main off to my house due to a boo-boo I just made.

    In making an attempt to remove the line behind the wall that feeds to my fridge and icemaker, while wrenching off the water line from the tee, the entire tee valve fell off and water went everywhere (quite comical, like in the movies).

    Anyway I have no idea how this little valve attached to the pipe now and need to know what part(s) I need to ask for at my local supply store.

    Here's a photo of the value that came off...the small hole in the bottom is what went down into the hole you see in the 2nd photo...

    [​IMG]

    And here's what it looks like in the wall where it came off. I need to know what I need for the hole in the top to join it to the valve below securely. Sorry for the blur but it was tough to get a good shot in there but hopefully that is enough. The value piece does fit back in there and stay but it's far from snug or tight (no threads to tighten) so I assume if I turn the water back on the pressure will pop it right off of there.

    [​IMG]

    Any speedy help on what I need to re-secure this valve to the main house line would be most appreciated...So I can at least turn my house water back on. By the way I really hope this wasn't and doesn't need to be welded on there or something. And if it was maybe there's something I can temporarily pop into that hole so I can turn my water back on until I can get a pro out?

    Thanks! As always really appreciate the help.
  2. FloridaOrange

    FloridaOrange Plumbing Designer

    Messages:
    1,317
    Location:
    SW Florida
    I'm not a plumber, those guys would help out better than I can for repair but...........
    My house a shut off under the kitchen sink for the fridge line, could it be possible that you do as well?
  3. BDP

    BDP New Member

    Messages:
    63
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    I wish it did - The fridge was close to the main supply line so my line doesn't even come from the sink, it was a direct tap into one of the water lines coming up into the kitchen. Hence the little shutoff valve it had (the one I broke off, haha). Pretty sure the water hits this spot before it even reaches the sink and stuff. :(
  4. BDP

    BDP New Member

    Messages:
    63
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
  5. Basement_Lurker

    Basement_Lurker One who lurks

    Messages:
    668
    Location:
    Victoria, BC
    You have a saddle valve there, which works by piercing the copper line. It is a horrible DIY way of making a connection to the water supply. That valve was asking to break when it had to be worked on next, but your "wrenching" on it, without a secondary stabilizer wrench, sealed the deal!

    Bite the bullet and hire a plumber to install a proper icemaker box.

    [​IMG]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 18, 2010
  6. BDP

    BDP New Member

    Messages:
    63
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Thanks for the information. My home builder took every shortcut he could when he built this place. So that's another in a long line. That is definitely what it is.

    Let me ask you this - I did just take off the bracket that was around the pipe, the saddle valve is now separate though as you can see in my first photo - It doesn't look like the valve was soldered or anything on there -- can I at least push it back on there or is the damage now done? I'd love to at least be able to turn the water back on temporarily - Or even if I can pick up a new valve until the pro can come out. Though I think it looks like the piercing part was joined to the part that's still stuck in the line there, so likely I snapped it and damage is done and not reversible?
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2009
  7. shacko

    shacko Master Plumber-Gas Fitter

    Messages:
    561
    Location:
    Rosedale, Md
    Ice Maker Hook-Up

    Hate to give you bad news, but there is no way to repair that valve; they are junk to start with, if there is enough room for a plumber to get into there it shouldn't be too hard to repair. :(
  8. BDP

    BDP New Member

    Messages:
    63
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    No worries, I'll take bad news because you're just being honest which I appreciate. ;)

    Is there anything that can cover that up temporarily that I could at least buy so I could turn the water back on? Something that would block that little piercing piece that's sticking out of the pipe there now?
  9. Basement_Lurker

    Basement_Lurker One who lurks

    Messages:
    668
    Location:
    Victoria, BC
    I can't tell without being there how much damage you did to it.

    My guess is that you bent the saddle valve while trying to wrench off the icemaker line. Which means that you either warped the saddle valve, and/or warped the hole that the saddle valve pieced into your copper line. So unfortunately I can't say whether or not a replacement saddle valve would work. I'm sure they are cheap enough that if you want to try, you can buy one and see if it seals things up once set in place, but no matter what, you should have a plumber repair that puncture and set in a new icemaker rough-in properly so you don't risk a major flood!
  10. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,308
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    You actually have an easy and not too expensive repair to make. Really cheap if you can sweat a copper joint or two yourself, more costly if you have to have a plumber. What you or the plumber do is to cut the water line when the saddle valve pierced it. Then solder in a tee. From there you use a ball valve followed by combination of short copper pipe and adapters to get to the size pipe going to the fridge. This will give you a professional connection and the valve will never fail.
  11. BDP

    BDP New Member

    Messages:
    63
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Sanjeev - No worries, you are a good guy and I appreciate your time. I will tell the plumber who is coming over that I'd prefer a better repair then.

    Here's a photo of what I have now, I took the bracket off the pipe but there's still the piece of black foam and the little needle that pierced the pipe that's still stuck in it, in the pipe itself. I can only assume I'd need to remove that as well if I got another saddle valve, but the odds of piercing at the exact same place again I assume are nil even if I attempted it.

    [​IMG]

    Really I could just use a way to block the little piercing coming out of the pipe at the black foam now...at least then I could get a shower tonight and use the toilets.
  12. BDP

    BDP New Member

    Messages:
    63
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Gary thanks, I'll probably have to stick with the pro as it's in a tight spot behind the wall and I've not done any copper pipe soldering (nor have the equipment to do so). Any idea what a repair like you're stating would cost, ballpark? To totally cut out the pipe? It's in a pretty tough spot, my builder only cut around a 6 inch by 10 inch access hole behind the stove.
  13. iminaquagmire

    iminaquagmire DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    207
    If you can make it to a home depot, you can get a small pipe cutter (close quarters cutter might work best there) and a sharkbite slip coupling. Just cut the pipe right around where it was pierced and put the slip coupling in. It will at least get the water back on and save you an emergency plumber call. Then you can either fix it yourself at your convenience or get a plumber in there later.
  14. MACPLUMB 777

    MACPLUMB 777 TROJAN WORLDWIDE SALES RP

    Messages:
    679
    Location:
    Houston, Texas, United States
    Broken tee for ice maker

    As noted above you are screwed for as far as this part go's !

    The way i would fix with out a torch or setting the house on fire is
    first you cut a bigger hole in the wall
    you get a 5/8" compression tee a 4" or 6" piece of 1/2" copper pipe and 1-1/2" x 1/4"
    compression angle stop cut out section of copper at the existing hole
    install the comp. Tee install the 1/2" copper nipple into the tee and install
    the angle stop on the 1/2" copper nipple there is your refrig icemaker with a proper shut off valve and you turn the water back on
    oh i forgot about not calling a plumber for 150.00 dollars ? ? ?

    When you go to hardware store to buy parts get some liquid type pipe dope
    to put on the compression threads to help them go together smoother ! !

    And that is why i am a MASTER PLUMBER he! He!
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2009
  15. nhmaster

    nhmaster Master Plumber

    Messages:
    3,189
    Location:
    S. Maine
    Why not just hack a sharkbite tee in there ;)
  16. BDP

    BDP New Member

    Messages:
    63
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Sharkbite eh? Looked them up, that could work! Do I need to be pretty precise with the cuts I make, in other words how close do I have to be for the piece to fit in between? So the sharkbites don't need solder? Does Home Depot/Lowes sell 'em?
  17. Basement_Lurker

    Basement_Lurker One who lurks

    Messages:
    668
    Location:
    Victoria, BC
    No offense BDP, when I originally read your post, I estimated this repair to be out of your skill level (even with using solderless connections). But these guys are giving you advice that is most likely going to get you into trouble.

    Those two tubing runs are obviously too close for a mini tubing cutter to get into (I doubt even the ridgid 103 would clear that), and sawing the tubing is going to be difficult in such close quarters, and when you do start to get the tubing apart, you have to be gentle enough that you don't break connections further along in the wall, and thereby create an even bigger problem.

    As I said before, I advise you get a plumber in there to make the proper connectons and install a proper icemaker outlet box like this one:

    http://www.oatey.com/Channel/Shared/ProductGroupDetail/58/Ice_Maker_Outlet_Boxes.html

    It's your house, so you can attempt whatever you like, but I strongly suggest that the only repair work you attempt is to get a saddle type repair clamp from BIGBOXORANGE and do a temporary patch until you can get someone there to fix this properly the first time.

    Good luck.
  18. BDP

    BDP New Member

    Messages:
    63
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Thanks, I appreciate your candor. I had called a plumber this afternoon and they're planning to come out tomorrow (unless I decided I could fix it otherwise) but I'm planning to keep the appointment -- It's worth the peace of mind for me to know there won't be any new leaks behind the wall.

    Though I still dunno if I will ever trust the fridge line, this is the 3rd time that plastic tubing has sprung a pinhole leak. I think it's due to my water pressure (water company turned pressure WAY up around 6 months ago causing problems for everyone, toilets starting to leak, etc)...So I may take advantage of the plumber visiting to get a quote on installing a pressure control valbe as well.

    I bought a piece of copper tubing to go from the wall outlet to the fridge, but my fridge is so complicated it then for some reason splits the line out, 2 to the water filter and 1 to the icemaker, and those are all also plastic line and I don't think I can get at them without taking the inside of the fridge apart. Such a pain. But at least the main line from the wall to the main connection on the fridge will finally be copper after this.
  19. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,453
    Location:
    Connecticut
    I would have the plumber sweat in a tee and the icemaker supply box is a sweet deal! Use a braided stainless steel supply line to the fridge and your problems will be over.

    As for the water pressure if it is over 80 PSI. You should install a pressure reducing valve and a thermal expansion tank on your water heater.

    [​IMG]
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 19, 2009
  20. BDP

    BDP New Member

    Messages:
    63
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Thanks - I grabbed the braided line and it's nice but too thick to run without cutting out my baseboard and my floor and a lot of extra work, the copper tubing as it's the same size will fit where the plastic was I do believe -- However I am debating if I want to ask them to also replace all the line going from the fridge up into the icemaker and water filter as that's also plastic. I don't trust plastic line anymore.

    I'll make sure I let them know ahead of time I'd like them to sweat in a tee and a good valve or supply box so they have the parts -- But I hope to have it done tomorrow since it sucks not having water right now :(

    I'll have them test the pressure. I noticed ever since they cranked our pressure in our community, my pipes have gotten tons louder, the shower is so loud when turned on full blast you can barely hear the radio I have in there anymore, and the toilets started springing leaks. I don't NEED that much pressure!
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