How to Install a Needle or Saddle Valve in a Water Pipe

needle valve - saddle valve
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When you have to tap into an existing water line you use a special shutoff valve called a saddle valve or a needle valve. This type of valve is designed to tap an existing pipe along the length of its run to access its water supply and connect much differently than a standard water shutoff valve. Saddle valves are often used to supply water to a humidifier or refrigerator ice maker.

The valve works by clamping a needle valve with a metal piercing tip to an existing copper pipe by use of a saddle bracket.

Once attached, the valve tip is inserted into the water pipe to tap its water. The valves are designed to work with brass, copper and steel tubing. The saddle or needle valve is designed for water piping systems only with pressure of up to 125 PSI.

To install the saddle valve proceed as follows:

  1. Shut off the main water supply or local water supply to the water pipe being tapped.
  2. Insert rubber washer on underside of top saddle clamp.
  3. Place one bolt through the from top and bottom clamps a couple of turns.
  4. Place the top clamp on the nearest cold water supply pipe, then rotate the bottom clamp under the water supply line and evenly tighten both bolts on the saddle clamps.
  5. Galvanized iron pipe only: Drill a 5/32" hole in the pipe into which you will insert the needle valve.
  6. Galvanized iron pipe only: Place the clamp assembly so that the washer (see step #2) is located directly over the hole.
  7. Galvanized iron pipe only: Evenly tighten the saddle clamp bolts.
  1. Install the compression nut and plastic compression sleeve onto tubing. When using polyethylene tubing, use the brass insert to reinforce the tube wall.
  2. Make sure the tubing is placed completely into the valve and tighten the compression nut. Tighten the nut by hand until it begins to bite. Using a crescent wrench, tighten the nut about 1/2 more turn.
  1. Next, turn the valve handle clockwise slowly as far as possible. This will fully open the needle valve and allow the piercing tip to tap into the copper or brass water supply line.
  2. For galvanized iron pipe, ensure the needle valve enters the 5/32" drilled hole in the iron pipe. If fitment is not correct, loosen clamp, recheck the alignment and re-tighten. Repeat until correct fit is achieved..
  3. Turn valve to 'OFF' position.
  4. Turn on water supply and check for leaks.
  5. To start the flow of water with the saddle valve, turn handle on the saddle valve fully counter-clockwise.