plumbing saddle valveA customer sent me an email about a plumbing question. He said he was under his kitchen sink and saw a water line with some type of a clamp holding to a pipe. He didn’t know what it was.

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This sounds like a saddle valve and they tap into a water line to supply water to a particular device, such as an icemaker or a reverse osmosis system. You might also find a clamp around a pipe holding a drain line from a reverse osmosis system. When the r/o  drains, it drains into the drain pipe from the sink and the clamp holds it in place.

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The saddle valve is held in place by a clamp that bolts around the pipe. The pipe is pierced by a needle that twists into the pipe and starts the flow of water. From the valve you can attach a hose or other supply line to the threaded fitting and run the water to wherever you need it. These valves are under pressure and so be very detailed when you install it.  The saddle that holds the drain line for a reverse osmosis is not under pressure and so is somewhat more forgiving, but you have to check the valve as the reverse osmosis is draining to verify the installation is tight.

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