How to Install a Self-Tapping Water Saddle Valve

Written by emily patterson
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How to Install a Self-Tapping Water Saddle Valve
Use a saddle valve to supply water for ice makers and other appliances. (ice cubes and cherries image by Monika Olszewska from Fotolia.com)

A saddle valve is a self-tapping valve used to access water from a main water line to feed a low-water supply line for appliances such as ice makers and installed humidifiers. This plumbing project does not require specialised tools and is very easy to do yourself. Saddle valves are self-tapping for copper water lines, but not for water lines made from other materials.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Saddle valve
  • Fine steel wool (for copper lines)
  • Damp rag (for plastic or stainless steel lines)
  • Marker (for lines other than copper)
  • Drill (for lines other than copper)
  • Drill bit (for lines other than copper)

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Select a cold water supply line as close to the appliance as possible.

  2. 2

    Turn off the water from the main water supply valve. If there are other valves leading to the area, close at least one of them.

  3. 3

    Open any faucets located on the selected supply line to relieve pressure in the pipe. Turn off the faucet when there is no longer any air or water escaping from the spigot.

  4. 4

    Clean the exterior of the supply line at the selected location. Wash plastic or stainless steel with water. Clean copper lines with fine steel wool.

  5. 5

    Turn the top handle on the saddle valve until the tip of the lancing pin, located in the centre below the valve, is positioned above the gasket.

  6. 6

    Unscrew the nuts holding the bottom plate on the saddle valve and remove the bottom plate.

  7. 7

    Align the curved section of the top of the saddle valve with the curve of the top of the supply line. If you're installing the saddle valve on a copper supply line, go to the next step. If you're installing the saddle valve on any type of pipe other than copper, position it so the lancing pin is toward the front of the supply line so you can drill a small hole. Mark the supply line directly below the lancing pin. Remove the saddle valve and drill a hole slightly smaller in diameter than the lancing pin. Reposition the saddle valve on the supply line and align the lancing pin with the hole drilled into the supply line.

  8. 8

    Place the bottom bracket over the bottom of the supply pipe, aligning the screws with the screw holes. Tighten the nuts onto the screws so the bracket is tightened securely over the pipe.

  9. 9

    Turn the top handle on the saddle valve clockwise until it will not turn anymore. There will be resistance when the lancing pin pushes through the pipe. If the pipe was predrilled, there will not be much resistance.

  10. 10

    Turn on the water supply from the main water supply valve and any other valves that were turned off.

  11. 11

    Check the saddle valve for leaks. Tighten the clamps if needed.

  12. 12

    Hold a small bucket under the supply valve and slowly turn the handle counter-clockwise to test the valve. The handle will need to be turned many times to open the valve. If there is no water when the valve is open, check that water to the supply line was turned back on. If so, the lancing pin may not have been turned deep enough into the pipe. Repeat the lancing process by turning the handle of the valve clockwise until it is all the way in the pipe, and then open the valve again by turning it counter-clockwise.

Tips and warnings

  • Place the saddle valve in an area that is easily accessible in the event that the valve must be replaced in the future.
  • Although the package may state that you do not need to turn off the water supply when installing a saddle valve, it is in your best interest to turn off the water supply to the area before installing it in case there is a problem with the valve.

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