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Moving a Refrigerator

December 21st, 2016 - 11:31 AM

How to move a refrigerator

The refrigerator is one of the heaviest things in your home, and it’s often fairly expensive. When it’s time to move, you may have some concerns about getting it in the moving equipment and having it work when you plug it back in. To make the refrigerator moving process as easy as possible, you’ll want to use an appliance dolly and have at least one other person available to help.    

how to move a fridge

Step-by-step instructions for moving a refrigerator

Moving a fridge is a fairly easy process, but it’s important to do it correctly so that you can avoid potentially damaging the appliance. Here’s the best way to go about it:

Step 1: Empty it out

Before you can load your refrigerator in the moving equipment, you’ll need to be sure it’s empty. Not only will this help reduce the weight inside, but it will also keep things from breaking or spoiling.

  • Perishable items should be used, discarded or given away
  • Shelves and drawers should be removed and packed separately (you can also secure them in place with tape if you feel they won’t shift during transit)

Step 2: Unplug it and defrost it

You’ll want to be sure the fridge is dry before moving it so that water doesn’t damage other belongings or the floors in your current home. Be sure to:

  • Unplug the power cord and disconnect the ice maker water line
  • Loosely coil the cords and tape them to the fridge to keep them secure
  • Defrost the freezer by either waiting for the ice to melt or using a heating method such as a hair dryer or hot water (no matter which method you choose, be sure to use towels to soak up the water)

Step 3: Clean it

Once the fridge is empty and defrosted, the next step is to clean it. This will help remove any odors and ensure your fridge is ready to go once you place it in your new home.  If you want to know the best way to do this, check out these fridge cleaning tips.  

Step 4: Secure and prepare it

Tighten straps or bungee cords around the fridge to keep the doors shut. Slightly lift the bottom edge of the refrigerator and slide the dolly under it. Use the straps on the appliance dolly to secure the fridge and keep it from shifting while you’re moving it.

Step 5: Load it in the moving equipment

Tilt the refrigerator dolly and carefully push it to the moving trailer and up the ramp. Secure the refrigerator inside while leaving it attached to the dolly — this will keep you from having to secure it again when you unload.

Pro tip: Avoid laying a refrigerator on its back or side. Doing so could cause the oil in the compressor to travel through the lines (which could potentially cause the refrigerator to improperly cool later). If you can’t transport the fridge upright, consult your owner’s manual for instruction. 

Tips for storing a refrigerator

If you’re planning to store your refrigerator after moving it, you’ll want to be sure it’s as clean as possible and completely dry. Otherwise, you may encounter some strong smells and mold when you put it in your new house. You’ll also want to:

  • Store the refrigerator upright
  • Remove the doors (or at least prop them open) — this will let air circulate inside
  • Cover the refrigerator with a sheet or blanket to help protect it from scratches and keep it clean
  • Consider putting an open box of baking soda inside to help control odor

Setting it up after moving it

Moving the refrigerator in a new place will work the same way as moving it out. Once you have it in the proper position, make sure you let it sit for at least one hour before plugging it in (the manufacturer’s guide should give you specific times for your model). Plugging it in too soon may result in damage if the oil isn’t in the compressor. Wait until the fridge is cool before putting food inside — most refrigerators will reach safe temperatures within 24 hours.  

Best practices  

Since refrigerators are often heavy and awkward to maneuver, it’s important to take a few precautions when moving them. Always be sure to:

  • Use the appliance dolly straps to secure the refrigerator before moving it
  • Have help lifting and guiding the refrigerator
  • Take your time when going up or down stairs (always make sure the dolly is balanced before lifting)
  • Use moving blankets or other padding to protect the refrigerator and your floors, walls and doorways from scratches

Have you moved a refrigerator? Do you know any helpful tips we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments below! And if you’re looking for an affordable way to move long distance, check out U-Pack® and get a quote to see how much your move will cost.