Adventures of a Modern Day, Middle-Aged Hero, on the Glory Road(to family security)


I will hunt them down...

So there I was, minding my own business, when my daughter comes into living room, and tells me 'Dad...there is a lot of water on the floor in laundry room...and it looks like it is spraying down from the ceiling'.

Well...that gets a reaction.  There was a lot of water on the floor in the laundry room(and seeping into the family room carpet)...but the good news is that it was coming out the plastic tubing running to the ice machine, and not from some other more horrifying source.

That is where the good news stopped.

I followed the tubing back to it's source...and yay!  there was a valve! 

However...when I shut the valve, the water didn't stop.  First off...the little needle valve was tough to turn...I actually put a crescent wrench on it to turn it...and when I reached the torque point where I started to worry that I was going to snap the valve body...I stopped torqueing, and started looking upstream for another valve to shut.

There wasn't one...other than the main shut-off valve coming into the house. 

Some idiot(I'm assuming it was the previous owner), installed a self-lapping saddle valve on a portion of piping that there was no other way to isolate.

I didn't know it was a 'self-lapping saddle valve' until I got to the hardware store with my pictures to find a solution to the problem.  The short-term solution was closing the house shut-off valve...which I did when I found out the needle valve didn't stop the flow.  Long term...well, I was hoping I could replace the valve, but...when I got to the store and saw how a saddle valve worked, that didn't seem like a good plan. Instead, I went with plan 'B'...disconnect the fitting where the tubing goes in, and cap that off. 

Mission successful.  I restored water to the house, and the kids got to brush their teeth before bed time. 

It still looks like there is no long term solution...I will just have to check the cap I installed every so often to make sure it doesn't start leaking.

What a stupid design. 

Even Wikipedia tells you to stay far, far away from saddle valves.


  1. I'm glad you got it sorted out. With 8 inches of rain in 24 hours a week ago, we're still working on the basement. A 60 year old storm sewer system (shared) in the village, is NOT keeping up with it. Going to be some cement work and a bad ass pump going in.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. Grrrrr...too hair trigger on deleting comments...where is the 'are you sure you want to delete '2nd chance' button?

    Oh well...thank you pointing out the issue with Guffaw...I probably need to so a bit of all around updating on my link list.

  4. Since you are able to get to the main shut off,
    one of these is a under 5 minute install, if you are able to get a tubing cutter on the copper tube.
    Once installed a replacement saddle valve is a piece of cake.

  5. There's a hole in the pipe now. The best thing you can do to it is to lose the saddle valve, and cut the pipe at the hole, and solder in a tee and a ball valve to feed whatever the saddle valve was feeding. The assembly Jon links to is a perfect solution.

    Failing that, you can take off the saddle valve, sand the pipe shiny, and wrap a foot of new, shiny copper wire around the pipe centered on the hole, and sweat in some fresh silver solder. A solid, permanent repair.