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How to Move a Refrigerator: Step-By-Step Guide

van full of moving boxes

Transporting your appliances when moving to a new home or apartment can be quite challenging. You want to be careful not to break them or damage them in any way. One crucial appliance is the refrigerator. So, how do you move it safely from Point A to Point B?

A refrigerator is quite a heavy appliance. Moving it can be a daunting task. You need to execute careful planning and get suitable equipment.

Since it can be expensive to hire people to do this task for you, why not learn how to do it yourself with some help? We’ll go step by step through how to move a refrigerator.

First of all, what items do you need?

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What You Need

You must have several items to facilitate the preparation and moving of the refrigerator.

  • Measuring tape
  • Rope or bungee cord
  • Appliance dolly with straps
  • A moving blanket
  • Loading ramps or a plank
  • A minimum of two people
measuring tape
Photo Credit By: josemdelaa_Pixabay

Preparation Before Moving

It’s best to prepare your fridge for moving a day before the actual moving day. Moving it in a hurry may cause damage to the walls and the floor of the house. You can also hurt yourself in the process, in addition to damaging the fridge itself.

Here are several things you need to do prior to the day of moving.

Ensure the Fridge Is Empty

If foods or beverages are left in your refrigerator, they can become stale or go bad while you’re moving them. The safest thing to do is empty out everything before you begin packing the appliance. Make sure that all shelves and compartments are empty. It’s crucial as it will make it easier for you to move it.

Remove the Shelves

Remove all shelves and trays from inside your refrigerator. This way, you will ensure that none of them gets damaged during transportation. Enclose the shelves using towels for protection. Ensure you label them. Then, stack them carefully.

Unplug the Fridge

Disconnect the power cord from the wall socket. Coil and fasten it into a tight bundle using a tape. This way, it stays in position when in transit.

close up plugging in a cord to the outlet
Photo Credit By: Clint Patterson, Unsplash

Defrost the Freezer If Needed

Defrost your freezer if there is still ice inside it¹. Usually, it takes around six to eight hours to complete the defrosting process. You can do this overnight before you move. As the freezer is defrosting, clean the refrigerator’s interior surfaces using a disinfectant.

Close It and Fasten the Fridge Doors

Close the fridge and freezer doors using a bungee cord or a strong rope. Fasten the handles together if it is a double-door fridge. However, don’t fasten the doors too tightly in such a way that it might cause a misalignment. Also, don’t use tape to secure the doors. It might tamper with the refrigerator’s finish.

You may also be moving far and take longer than one day. In this case, ensure the fridge door is slightly open to let in fresh air.

Measure the Refrigerator and the Doorways

Using a tape measure, measure the dimensions of your refrigerator. You should also measure the doorways and any stairwells or elevators you’ll use during the move. Then, plan how the fridge will fit through every door.

Find Someone to Help

Moving the fridge alone is arduous. There is no way you’re going to lift the fridge all by yourself, move it through the door and into the transporting vehicle. You are definitely going to need someone. Moving the refrigerator is easier if you have a helping hand.

So, now that you have prepared your refrigerator for the move, let’s get to the actual moving day!

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Step-By-Step Guide for Moving a Refrigerator

1. Get a Moving Dolly

For safety, you should use a moving dolly to move your refrigerator to the truck. The best dolly is one with handles and straps. With this, you can fasten the refrigerator on it, and it’s easier to maneuver. Also, ensure the base of the moving dolly can fit the base of the fridge. The straps should also be long enough to hold the fridge well. You can rent a moving dolly if you don’t own one.

well lit modern kitchen
Photo Credit By: AddiGibson, Pixabay

2. Slide the Fridge Away from the Wall and Fasten It to the Moving Dolly

If your refrigerator has wheels at the base, push it out from its current position. Ensure that there’s enough room between the wall and the fridge to enable you to slide it onto a moving dolly.

If your fridge doesn’t have wheels, make sure you have enough space on all sides to slide it out easily without damaging walls or other items nearby. Then, lift it gently and slide the dolly under it.

Put a blanket or towel between the rails of the dolly and the fridge to minimize scratching. Use the straps to fasten the refrigerator to the moving dolly. Always ensure you tie it to the dolly in an upright position.

3. Slant the Refrigerator Gently

Once you have fastened the fridge onto the dolly, it’s time to move it gradually through the exits. Tilt the fridge gently until it’s at an angle of about 30 degrees vertically.

Then, slide it forward onto its side so that it fits through the doors. It’s best if two people perform this part of the process. One person can lift while another tilts and slides for smoother motion throughout this step.

Another person can also direct you through obstacles. If you’re moving the refrigerator downstairs, move it one step at a time. One person can hold it down onto every successive step.

4. Load the Refrigerator Into the Moving Truck

You can use a plank to move the refrigerator into the truck. It is easier than lifting it. Then, back it up on the truck bed. Ensure the fridge sits upright on the moving truck. You can leave the refrigerator on the dolly when moving them together. It’ll be more stable and secure.

But if you rented it, unstrap it from the dolly and secure it with other furniture. Fasten it into position using ropes or a bungee cord to the truck.

5. Move the Refrigerator to the New Location

Now you are ready to move the fridge to the new house or apartment. When you have reached your new location, place blocks or other supports under each corner of the refrigerator. It prevents it from tipping over when you are moving it into place.

Once you get to the new apartment, let the fridge stay for about an hour before plugging it in¹. That’s if you transported the fridge upright. It allows the fridge’s oil to flow to the compressor, preventing any damage to the fridge.

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The 10 Tips & Tricks for Moving a Refrigerator

  • Don’t hurry when moving the fridge. Take your time to plan the move well.
  • Before moving the fridge, clean it thoroughly.
  • Use suitable equipment and processes when moving it.
  • Ask for help. Don’t move the refrigerator alone.
  • Measure the refrigerator’s dimensions and use them to find a suitable truck size.
  • Make sure the refrigerator fits through the doorway before beginning the move.
  • If you don’t have a ramp, use a plank or platform to move the fridge onto the truck.
  • Ensure the fridge doesn’t have moisture in it during the moving day.
  • Don’t allow the refrigerator to lie on its side in a truck bed.
  • When the refrigerator gets to its destination, leave the fridge door open to expel odors.

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1. Can you transport the refrigerator when lying on its side?

Transporting the refrigerator when lying on the side is not recommended. It leads to compressor issues later on. The refrigerator’s compressor contains oil, which is meant to stay in place due to gravitational force. If the fridge is lying on its side, the oil will flow into the appliance’s cooling lines and block them. If you have an older model, the damage can even be greater.

The best position to keep your refrigerator when moving is upright. If you have to place it on the side, you can reduce oil leakage by placing it in a way that the compressor tube faces up.

2. When can I turn back on the fridge?

If you move your refrigerator in an upright posture, you can connect and use it instantly, or maybe give it at least 30 minutes. When moved in an upright position, the compressor oil will not have clogged the cooling lines.

But if you transport it when lying on its side, give it the same time you have moved it laying on its side. That means if you move it on its side for one hour, wait for one hour before you plug it in. If you have transported it for a day on its side, give it 24 hours before plugging it in. This will give it enough time for the displaced compressor oil to get back into its rightful position.

3. Why does moving a refrigerator need special attention?

A refrigerator needs special attention because it’s a heavy, costly, and delicate machine. You cannot move it easily without proper equipment. You can end up causing severe damage to the appliance and hurting yourself if you’re not careful.

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Moving refrigerators can be quite a challenge. Nonetheless, if you’re moving it a long distance and have help, you can do the job without too much trouble. Start with proper preparations like emptying it, defrosting, and removing the loose compartments.

Keep the weight and size in mind and have someone nearby to assist if needed. If you do this, you shouldn’t run into any issues when moving your refrigerator in the future. This guide should serve as a reference guide for the next time you need to move a refrigerator.

Featured Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock


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