Where to run reverse osmosis water to fridge

I just bought an RO filter for under the sink, and I’d like to run the water to the fridge as well. The problem is that the fridge is on the other side of the room. The water line is a 1/4" plastic, fairly flexible tube.

The simplest plan seems to be to run the line under the house and poke up through the floor. I’m in Santa Barbara, so I don’t have to worry about freezing.

The other plan is to fish it through the walls and up into the attic crawlspace.


Sure, run it under the house, if you can get access to do it.
If you run it though the attic, you will be feeding the ice maker with hot water!

A word of caution for this plan. RO water has no calcium, sulfate, or carbonate/bicarbonate, meaning there is nothing to buffer the water. Simple absorption of CO2 from the air lower the pH and make it acidic. If there is any lead pipes or lead-containing solder that comes in contact with the RO water, it may start leaching lead into your ice supply.

You might want to check the owner’s manual for your refrigerator to see if it comments on using RO water. You are probably OK but the guys in Flint figured they would probably be OK.

I have heard that critters like to nibble on that PEX to get to the water. Whether that’s true, or simply a nasty rumor started by the copper industry, I do not know. I haven’t had any problems with mine, but the mice have plenty more tasty things to eat and drink around the farm here. Like antifreeze.

I’d run it under the house for the reason beowulff mentioned.

Under the house.

The other HUGE benefit to running it under the house - if it bursts, it won’t destroy your kitchen!

The downside is that you may not know about it until days or possibly weeks after it happens.

He would notice: 1) Not having any RO water at the faucet. 2) The constant (if rather quiet) noise of the RO system trying to replenish the tank. Those air gaps can sometimes be noisy. And 3) No ice.

We run it through the back of the cabinetry to our fridge at the other end of the kitchen. Simpler. The original installer was considering running it the way you proposed until he actually saw our kitchen arrangement (only about a 10 foot run)

FWIW, we live near SLO, and no problems with rodents, freezing, &c

This is all true if it bursts (as you said). If it just springs a leak it could be undetected for quite a while. That’s what happened to me with a copper water line.

Thanks for all the advice. I think I’m going to go with my original plan and run it under the house. If the rodents get to it, then when I replace it, I’ll run the replacement plastic line through some metal pipe to protect it.

Sadly, due to the locations of the fridge and sink, there’s no running the line behind some cabinets. It’s either going outside of the walls/floor, or it’s going to be a big ugly exposed line for like 8 feet of wall (wife veto).

If something goes wrong, I’d much prefer to waste some water for a few weeks if I don’t notice a leak than deal with a leak in the walls/ceiling.

The fridge is only a few years old. I can’t imagine that there’s anything harmful in the water path that could leech into water in the fridge. And the rest of the run is all plastic tubing supplied by the RO manufacturer.

Check with an expert, to see if that meets legal code.

I know that is not allowed in electrical work. (For example, you aren’t allowed to run NM cable (“Romex”) inside EMT (‘conduit’).

Commonly said among contractors, but not true IMO. Unless that’s a local thing where you live. I’m assuming NEC '14 didn’t add such a restriction but that one I’m not as well versed in. Running NM inside of EMT is usually (but not always) a very silly thing to do, however, unless you have a very short distance that needs to be protected from physical damage to be legal. And in fact they make specific EMT fittings for that exact purpose… basically NM clamps with a round female opening to go on the EMT.

You are not allowed to strip the conductors out of the NM and use that instead of THHN though, simply because they are not going to be listed as such. If they did happen to be, I suppose that would be legal too.

If you have a cite I’d like to look it up in my code book.

If you’re at all worried about it, you can get 1/4 in. line with steel-braided sheathing, like so, not terribly expensively.

I, oddly enough, just did this project. I went with under the house. Kid votes water tastes better. Hubby says he can’t really tell the difference. There have been some concerns about local water conditions, so I wanted to add the filtration.

There you go, then. Kids say water line run under house tastes better. You can’t argue with that!

Unless you ask what they were comparing it to. No doubt the non-RO water from the street that came directly from the river or worse? I think the kids would have liked an attic-run line too.