How to move a fridge or freezer? Preparation and moving.

When you are moving home, moving your heavy appliances can be a difficult task.  However, by planning it carefully and by having some help from family or friends, moving your refrigerator can be achieved safely and relatively easily, ensuring that both your appliance are you are protected.  

How do I prepare my fridge or freezer for moving?

Preparing your fridge or freezer before the move is essential.  This can be done days in advance of the move or on the day itself as long as you leave adequate time on moving day.  Preparing it in advance is definitely preferable, especially if you have a fridge freezer combination, so bear this in mind when planning your move and how you will manage without your appliance for a couple of days.

1. Empty the fridge

Before you move your fridge, it’s essential that it is empty.  This is not just for weight purposes but also so that it is safer to move.  Make sure that there’s no food, ice cube trays, condiments or anything else that could move around during moving. You should also remove anything stuck to your fridge outside too, such as fridge magnets.  

If there’s anything inside that will perish either consume them, if possible or give them away.  If you’re moving far, it will be easier if you plan what you’re going to use and get rid of things you won’t.  

If you are only moving it in a short way, you should still take everything out but, obviously, you can keep your items in a cool box and replace them once you have moved.  

2. Remove all of the shelves and drawers

You should take out all of the components that could move from inside the fridge. This includes drawers, shelves, trays and dividers/organizers. You should wrap the glass shelves in a towel or bubble wrap to protect them and make sure each is labeled and stacked well.

You could decide to secure your shelves where they are with the addition of parcel tape but we recommend that you move them to ensure that they are kept safe.  

3. Unplug the Fridge

When you unplug your fridge, make sure that you coil up the cord securely.  It would be best to tape it together to ensure that it doesn’t come loose while you are moving. If your fridge makes its own ice, you need to remember to disconnect the source pipe too.

4. Defrost your Freezer if Needed

If your freezer has a build-up of ice and frost, you will need to make sure you defrost it before moving.  This is one of the reasons why we recommend preparing your freezer for the move couple days in advance. Normally, this can take between 6 and 8 hours. You could even do this step the night before you move, giving the refrigerator a wipe before you move it in the morning.

  • Don’t spend ages scrubbing the inside, but cleaning your fridge before you move is certainly a good place to start.  Once your freezer has defrosted, you should wipe down all the surfaces with a disinfectant product.

5. Secure the Doors

Once the above steps are complete, you should ensure that the doors of your appliance are secured.  You can do this using a bungee cord or strong rope. If there is more than one door, you should tie them together too.  Make sure you don’t tie them too tight as the last thing you want is to have damaged or misaligned doors!

  • If your move is a long one, you should keep the doors slightly ajar so that it reduces the risk of mildew or mold growing inside.  

6. Find Some Help!

A fridge is heavy and you need to keep it upright.  Before you move it, find some friends to help you!

Step By Step Guide to Moving your Fridge

As mentioned above, you’re going to need helpers. Once you have these, you’re ready to go!

1. Use a Dolly

A Moving Dolly is a great piece of equipment.  There are ones that are specifically designed to move fridges as they are strong enough to support the weight and are especially useful if you need to move your fridge downstairs.  

  • Any dolly that comes with straps will do.  But, you should make sure that its base is plenty big enough for the bottom of your fridge as well as ensuring that the straps will reach around it.    
  • If you don’t have access to a dolly, most truck rental or moving companies will rent one to you.  You should not attempt to move a fridge without one as it could be dangerous.

2. Move your fridge from the wall and fasten it to the dolly securely

The vast majority of fridges have ample space underneath, enabling you to slide your dolly underneath it.  You should then tie the fridge to it with the help of bungees or moving straps. Try to minimize tilting during this process.  This is so that no oil leaks into the tubes used for cooling inside the fridge.

  • Make sure that you don’t lay the fridge down at any point, no matter the direction.   As mentioned, you don’t want the oil from the compressor to run into cooling tubes. If this happens, you risk your fridge no longer working properly.
  • If it is impossible to keep it completely upright, you should try to keep it as upright as possible.

3. Gently Tilt the Fridge

When your fridge is fastened securely to a dolly, you can then slowly roll it to your moving truck.  You should move it in a direction that is opposite to the tilt to make it as secure as possible. Have one of your helpers assist you on the opposite side, letting you know of any obstacles in your path.  

  • Moving a fridge downstairs is tricky but manageable if you have help.  When your fridge is secured on the dolly, move it a step at a time with your friendly helper being in front guiding it down onto the next step.  In fact, if you have two helpers to hand this would be even better as having two people in front will help take the weight. Make sure you take it steady and communicate at all times at a volume that all of you can hear.

4. Loading your fridge into the Moving Truck

When loading your fridge into a truck (whether it’s a pick-up truck or a moving vehicle), you should back it up slowly, bringing the dolly to the edge of the truck’s bed.  Moving trucks usually have a ramp so you will be able to back it up easily. If there isn’t one, make sure you take even more care.

  • Lifting a fridge straight into a truck will mean that one of you will need to be inside the truck and the other two on the ground behind.  Make sure your life is coordinated. If possible, a fourth helper wouldn’t go amiss to stand behind you in the truck to make sure your fridge doesn’t topple onto you.
  • Make sure your fridge is secured into the truck.  You could even leave it attached to the dolly. If you need the dolly for other things or need to take it back to the hire company, then you should try to brace your fridge with furniture or moving supplies, strapping it with bungees.

5. Moving the Fridge to its New Home

Once you have arrived at your destination, you should set the fridge down and move it carefully into its new space in the same way that you moved it back at your old place.  It should also remain sitting and not in use for a minimum of three hours before you plug it in, allowing time for the fluid and oil to settle back into the compressor. Be mindful that it can take around three days for it to get back to your ideal temperature to make it useable.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How long do you have to turn your fridge off before you move it?

Ideally, you should turn off your fridge and empty it a couple of days before you move it.  This is so that you have ample time to clean it and defrost and freezer compartments thoroughly.  If necessary, you could leave this until the night before your move but it may mean a delay on the day as you will no doubt be busy doing other things on moving day!

Can you lay a fridge down to move it?

Fridges really should not be laid down at all. If so, the oils and coolant do not leak into parts that they shouldn’t.  You can tilt fridges but you should make sure that the angle is as little as possible.

Why can't you lay a refrigerator down?

Fridges and freezers should never be laid down flat because fluid from the cooling chambers can leak into parts where it shouldn’t belong your fridge will no longer work properly.

Can you transport a fridge or a freezer on its back?

You should avoid laying fridges and freezers down on their backs due to the possibility that the coolant and oil in the fridge’s cooling mechanism will leak into other parts of the fridge making it unusable.  You should always try to transport a fridge or freezer as upright as possible.

What if I do not have straps?

If you don’t have straps to secure your fridge and cannot source any, you could use any kind of rope or cord that you have access too.  Bungee cords work well (you may have some on the back of your bicycle if you carry things on there). Even a child’s skipping rope could work as a last resort.  If possible, ask amongst your neighbors to see if you can borrow any strapping materials rather than purchase them. You could always ask your removal company or truck rental company as often they supply straps free of charge or at a small cost.

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