How To Move A Refrigerator (In 8 simple steps)

Did you know that moving your fridge on its side or back could cause cooling problems or make the fridge break down completely? The average weight of a refrigerator is approximately 300 pounds.

So, when you place it on its back, the weight of the fridge damages the internal parts, and when you put it horizontally, the oil from the compressor begins to flow to the coolant lines and clogs them.

This problem may not be rectified by placing the fridge back in the horizontal position. That is why some manufactures like Liebherr and GE warn users not to move their refrigerators to their side under any circumstances.

So how can you safely move your fridge from one destination to the next without causing any damage to it? Its recommended that you hire a professional to handle this type of task for you.

However, if getting skilled labor is not within your budget, you will learn, with this step-by-step guide, how to move a refrigerator like a professional.

How To Move A Refrigerator
How To Move A Refrigerator

What Materials Do I Need to Move My Refrigerator?

The first thing you need to do before moving your refrigerator is found out whether the fridge can be moved. If the instruction manual requests users not to move the refrigerator, seek professional assistance before you do it.

If the fridge can be moved, you need to gather the following materials before the day of relocation;

  • moving dolly with straps
  • tape measure
  • moving blankets
  • furniture sliders
  • packing tapes
  • floor protection mats
  • drill or screwdriver
  • bubble wrap or packing paper
  • a strong rope, cargo strap, or ratchet straps
  • a cooler for leftover food
  • cleaning supplies like paper towels, sponge, water, and all-purpose surface cleaner

If you don’t have a moving dolly, you could rent one. You will also need to hire a pickup, moving truck, or a cargo van if your vehicle can’t accommodate your fridge.

Moving this monstrosity safely by yourself could be impossible. So besides the above materials, you need to get an extra pair of hands. You could get a few friends to help you but if non-of them are unavailable, hire professional labor-only movers to help you.

Things to Do Before the Move

Measure the Refrigerator and Doorways

Before you begin moving the refrigerator is advisable to map out a path through which the fridge will pass, noting the corners, curbs, and other obstacles. How successful you are in safely moving the refrigerator will depend on how wide or narrow your doorways are.

Begin by measuring the refrigerator, the doorways, and the paths to ensure that it will fit on the marked-out way. Remove any barrier that could obstruct the fridge as you move it. Make sure you can move the dolly and the refrigerator through the doorways and stairwells.

When measuring, begin with the width, height, and depth of the fridge. Then measure the door openings. If they are smaller than the refrigerator, consider taking the door down to create a slight leeway.

Alternately you can opt to use another exit. If both of these options do not help, consider removing the doors of the refrigerator.

Empty the Refrigerator

Before you unplug the refrigerator, you need to take all the food inside the fridge. This will reduce its weight and prevent any damage to removable drawers, shelves, ice cube trays, the ice maker and dispenser, dividers, and storage containers when the fridge is in motion. It will also make it easy to clean the refrigerator before you move it.

Disconnect the water filter if it is attached to the back of the fridge, and pack it separately. Try to clear as much food in the fridge as possible before the relocation day. Store the remaining food and beverage in a cooler for safe chilling.

Clean the inside of the refrigerator with an all-purpose surface cleaning spray or any other cleaning agent at your disposal and dry it with paper towels. Then you can wrap the drawers and shelves with bubble wrap or wrapping paper to prevent them from getting damaged while on transit.

Defrost the unit

Use a hairdryer to melt the remaining ice in the freezer and then clean up the water thoroughly. To save time, you can begin melting this ice in the freezer compartment in advance. Defrosting and absorbing all the moisture before moving the fridge will prevent water from accidentally leaking during relocation.

You can also put absorbents like activated charcoal in the refrigerator to prevent odors from building up during the move.

Disconnect the Refrigerator

Once you have defrosted the unit, turn the fridge off and disconnect it from the power source. Protect the cord by rolling it up and taping it to the back of the refrigerator.

If the refrigerator can fit through the doorways, use a cable to secure the doors in place. If it can, use the instruction manual to bring the door’s fridge apart. Keep all screws in a zip lock bag to keep them safe.

Protect the Floor

Use floor mats or furniture slider pads to protect your floor while moving the fridge. If your refrigerator has wheels, ask your friends to help you lift it a bit to fit the carpet or slider pads.

If it doesn’t, raise the fridge a little on the side and slip the protection material beneath the refrigerator.

What to do During the Move

Place the Refrigerator on the Appliance Dolly

It would be best if you used an appliance dolly when moving the fridge. The doll comes with rub rails that are padded with rubber which protects the appliance from dings. Tilt the refrigerator slightly and slide the dolly under it. This will enable the fridge to rest on the rub rails and reduce the cooling system’s risk.

Use automatic tighteners to wrap the fridge over its entire length and secure the doors with straps or ropes. Avoid using Bungee cords because they are flimsy. Then cover the fridge using moving blankets.

Ensure that the refrigerator is balanced. Then tilt the strapped fridge slightly or to a maximum of 45 degrees from the ground. A tilt greater than this angle or laying the fridge horizontal could cause irreparable damage to the refrigerator. If possible, keep the fridge up as you wheel it out.

To move the refrigerator down the stairs or curbs, you should pull back on the dolly’s handle, stabilizing it from the top while your assistant pushes the bottom of the fridge from below. Then bump the fridge gently down the steps.

Loading the Fridge into the Pickup Truck

If the rental truck has a ramp, gently and slowly push the dolly up the ramp with your assistance’s friend. If it does not, use a plank to walk the refrigerator up to the truck. One person should maneuver the dolly while the other supports the fridge from below.

Once you have pulled the fridge up the truck, it is recommended that you prevent it from getting damaged by covering it with blankets or placing it against other belonging or furniture if you are moving. This will prevent the fridge from tipping.

You can also use ratcheted straps to secure the fridge at the back of the truck by placing one strap from one side to the other side-to-side and across the top of the refrigerator. Use the same procedure to unload the fridge and move it to the new destination.

Set the Fridge Up

Once you move the fridge to its new destination, remove the moving blankets and untie the straps. Rock the refrigerator gently from side to side to fit it in the correct position. Be sure to leave adequate space for air circulation.

Place the drawers back inside and set the temperature to the recommended level. It is highly recommended that you Let the fridge cool for 72 hours before you start filling it in.

Plugin the Refrigerator

Once you have set the fridge in place, plug it in on the nearest electric outlet. It may take a while before the refrigerator is adequately chilled. Its recommended that you keep the fridge in an upright position for a few hours before plugging it in.

Avoid storing any foodstuff until the fridge cools completely. It would be best if you also kept the door open for a while to prevent the transfer of odors.

Tips on how to move a refrigerator safely:

  1. Clear everything inside the fridge to make it lighter
  2. Maintain an upright posture during the move.
  3. Do not tilt the fridge for greater than 45 degrees
  4. Ensure that the weight of the refrigerator on the dolly is balanced

FAQs

Can You Lay A Fridge Down On Its Back If You Pay Attention To The Compressor?

It is not a good idea to lay the fridge back on its back under any circumstance, especially when moving it. The shelves and the drawers of a refrigerator are made of glass and designed to slide out easily. Hence they could easily break, crack or shatter as the fridge is in motion, especially when moving down the stairs.
Moreover, laying the fridge on the back could easily mess with the compressor.

How To Turn On A Fridge That’s Been Lying On Its Side

If your fridge was moved on its side, it is important not to plug it in right away because it could damage the compressor. Leave the refrigerator standing upright for double the amount of time it laid on the side before plugging it back in.