Installing an Ice Machine? Don’t Forget Your Ice Maker Water Line.

Reading Time: 4 minutes Learn About Ice Machines, Troubleshooting

Ice Maker Water Line

Among the many installation requirements like space, drainage, and electricity, ice machines also require specific amounts of water to function. Your ice maker water line is responsible for delivering that water to your ice machine because without water, there’s no ice. There is no universal water line that works for all ice machines. Models require different sized water lines based on their water needs.

In this article, we’ll show you why a water line is so vital to your ice machines and how to choose the right one for your model.

Why is An Ice Maker Water Line Important?

The job of a water line is to deliver enough water to your ice machine so it can make a full batch of ice cubes. Merely installing an ice machine on any water line likely won’t do. You’ll need to make sure the water line in your business can provide the full amount of water your model needs.

Water lines come in different sizes and flow rates. These factors are dependent on the model ice machine you plan on installing in your business.

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What Happens if I Get the Wrong Sized Water Line?

Ice machines require a certain amount of water to make a full batch of ice. If the ice maker water line you choose doesn’t provide the proper amount of water to the unit: a number of problems can occur, including:

  • Smaller ice cubes
  • No Ice
  • Damage to evaporator plates

Note that many of these problems can also happen if the ice machine is leaking or if the ice machine water line is freezing up.

What Factors Do I Need to Consider?

When choosing an ice maker water line, there are a few factors you need to consider, they include:

  • Water Flow
  • Space
  • Shut-off Valve
  • Size


This is the most crucial water line requirement in ice machines. While there might be some leeway with space, size, and whether to include a shut-off valve, the water flow needs of your ice machine must be adhered to. Any less the designated amount, and you’ll run into any or all of the issues we mentioned above.

Water flow is measured by Gallons per Minute (GPM). For example, a water line that delivers 5 GPM will run 5 gallons of water to an appliance every minute. Generally, the size of the ice machine will determine the flow rate.

A large ice machine will often require more GPM than a small commercial ice maker.


Generally, you want to make sure the water line is within 6 feet of the ice machine. This distance makes it easy for someone to cut water to the ice machine if they have to. Which leads us to…

Shut-Off Valve

If you need to cut water to the machine, you’re going to need a shut-off valve. You may even want to include an additional shut-off valve between the water line and the ice machine, just in case the first one fails.


The size of the water line denotes the outside diameter of the line. Check your ice machine manual to find the proper size water line your model needs to function.

If you don’t have the right sized water line, a plumber can install one for you.

Want Full Ice Cubes? Don’t Forget About Your Water Line.

Installing an ice machine is not as easy as plugging in a microwave. Each model has different electrical, space, drainage, and water needs. If you don’t install your ice maker properly, you’ll be looking at less ice, or even worse, damage that will require an expensive repair.

Make sure your ice maker is installed correctly to keep it running in top condition. A proper installation will also save you money in repair and service costs. For more information, follow our checklist on properly installing an ice maker.

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