When you purchase a refrigerator with a built-in ice maker, it can save you a lot of hassle. It completely eliminates the need to keep ice trays in your freezer, which saves you space and stops accidental spills. However, before you can enjoy a seemingly endless supply of ice, there are things you need to prepare for before going out and buying your fridge. Here are four essential factors that need to be addressed before heading to the appliance store.

Plumbing Lines for Ice

Fridge plumbing pipe

One of the most important things to consider when purchasing a refrigerator that has a built-in ice maker is whether or not your kitchen has refrigerator access to your water line. Believe it or not, the water for that ice doesn’t come out of thin air, it has to have its own plumbing line. Some homes will already have a water line connection available in the kitchen for your refrigerator. If it doesn’t, you must run one yourself. This process isn’t as easy as it seems. A separate water supply kit will need to be purchased in order to tap into your nearby water line, and of course, you’re going to need to open up the wall or floor next to where your fridge will be going. You may want to contact a local plumber to help you connect your refrigerator to the water line to avoid accidental water damage. Special piping and connectors will need to be tailored to refrigerator use, and as some brands connect only to certain lines, be sure to discuss with the seller what your needs are so that you can relay that to a professional plumber. Otherwise, you may have a bit of a wait ahead of you even after you buy the fridge before you can use the icemaker.

Sanitizing the Ice Maker System

The ice maker in your refrigerator will need to be cleaned and sanitized periodically. The ice bin in your ice maker can become caked with old ice and residual minerals and bacteria, causing your ice to become cloudy and to taste funny. Thankfully, just like the ice trays that you used to make ice in, most models have removable components that can be put into the dishwasher. Otherwise, make sure to ask about the cleaning requirements when looking at different models to ensure that you’re not getting yourself into a new maintenance routine that is more hassle than you’re willing to go for.

The Curious Hands of Children

Children of all ages love to play with levers, handles, and knobs. If these items are within their reach, they’re going to be messed with by the curious hands of children. For homes that have little ones running around with curious hands, the refrigerator you purchase should have a locking mechanism on the ice maker to prevent accidents and wasteful usage. Some newer models with touchscreen options can be locked in the settings, so be sure to discuss that with the seller before buying so that you’re aware of how to turn the icemaker on and off, as well as to see what is available to catch the ice and water that comes from the system.

Size Of The Ice Maker

Not all ice makers are created equal. If you enjoy using large glasses for your drinks, you may find that the ice maker on your fridge isn’t large enough. When searching for a refrigerator with an ice maker, pay attention to how large the ice maker is to avoid any inconveniences with your favorite cup later. Some models have easier access to the opening than others, allowing for larger containers than others. If you’re planning to fill your water bottle or tall glasses straight from the ice dispenser, make sure to check that the opening is long enough for your needs.

Icemakers can be very convenient, but as with any new major appliance, it requires some planning. Plumbing, maintenance, and keeping little hands out of the ice are all major considerations that need planning for. Prepare your home properly and don’t invest in a new refrigerator until you’re sure that you and your home are ready, and make sure that you know what to look for in the right fit for your needs.