Saddle valves fit around existing water pipes and are clamped into place. These types of valves are usually installed for ice makers and humidifiers, or other appliances that use a 1/4-inch diameter water supply pipeline. Though they are usually used on copper lines, CPVC water lines can have saddles attached if a pre-drilled hole is created first into the water pipe before the valve is fitted in place.
Saddle Valve Parts
The saddle valve consists of the valve body with a packing nut and handle attached to one end. On the other end of the body is a piercing lance (spike) that, when the valve handle is turned clockwise, enters into the water supply pipe. Underneath the piercing lance fits a sealing washer that rests between the pipe and valve which stops leaks. On the other side of the water supply pipe, a saddle-clamp bracket rests and is tightened to the valve with two bolts, with the pipe sandwiched in between.
How Saddle Valves Work
Saddle valves are convenient as they simply attach to previously-installed water pipes without the line being cut or any couplings/fittings installed. Once installed, the flow of water from the valve to the appliance is controlled by turning the valve handle counterclockwise to lift the piercing lance out of the hole in the water pipe and allow water to flow through the valve, or clockwise to push the lance into the hole to stop the water flow.
Preparing Before Valve Installation
Once the water to the CPVC supply pipe has been turned off and a nearby faucet opened to drain the pipe, a 5/32-inch diameter hole is drilled into the side of the pipe at the point where the saddle valve will connect to the line. The valve's handle is then turned so that the piercing lance sticks out 3/16-inch past the sealing washer. The valve and its sealing washer is then positioned against the pipe with the piercing lance resting in the previously drilled hole.
Saddle Valve Installation Process
The saddle clamp bracket is placed against the other side of the pipe and then attached and tightened to the valve with a bolt on each side of the pipe. The water supply is then turned on and the valve's handle quickly turned on and off to make sure water is passing through the valve. At this point the valve's sealing washer can also be checked for leaks before the 1/4-inch diameter tubing is run from the appliance and connected to the saddle valve.
Steve Sloane started working as a freelance writer in 2007. He has written articles for various websites, using more than a decade of DIY experience to cover mostly construction-related topics. He also writes movie reviews for Inland SoCal. Sloane holds a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing and film theory from the University of California, Riverside.