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How to Move a Refrigerator in 5 Easy Steps

Appliance Moving Made Easy

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How to Move a Refrigerator in 5 Easy Steps

Like any heavy piece of furniture, moving a refrigerator can be difficult, but if you have the right equipment, time and some extra help, then it can be done using these 5 easy steps.

Step 1: Measure, Measure, Measure

In order to move large appliances, make sure you measure both the object you're moving and the space you're moving it through. Use a measuring tape to capture the height, width and depth of the refrigerator. Next, measure the entry way or door space the fridge has to fit through to make sure you don't have to remove the door and it's hinges to ensure the appliance fits. It's also a good idea to take the measurements to your local truck rental or moving supplies place so they can give you a dolly that will be big enough.

Step 2: Gather Supplies

Before you start to move the refrigerator, I suggest gathering all the supplies you'll need. There's nothing worse than starting to move only to realize that you don't have enough rope or the dolly isn't big enough. 

  • Large moving dolly
  • Rope or strong cord and/or moving straps
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Plain paper or moving blankets
  • Packing tape
  • Scissors
  • Marker or labels
  • Time required: 12 hours

Step 3: Clear Out the Contents

  • Remove all contents, including freezer items. Give away perishables and pack up items that you're going to take with you. Remember, if you're moving a long distance, leave refrigerated items behind. Remove and pack magnets and any items that are on top of the fridge.
  • Unplug the refrigerator and let the freezer defrost. This will usually take at least 6-8 hours depending on the state of the freezer. It's best to defrost it overnight, which will allow you enough time in the morning to wipe out the inside.
  • Remove all shelves and other loose items. If you prefer, tape the fridge drawers closed (be careful that tape doesn't leave a mark) or remove them. Wrap the shelves with moving blankets, towels or plain paper to protect them during the move. Label the shelves appropriately.
  • Turn off the power source and wrap the cord, securing it so it doesn't get caught while moving.
  • Secure the doors. With a strong cord or rope, tie the doors closed by wrapping the cord around the fridge. If you have a double-door, tie the doors together tightly. Tape will work as well, but just remember that when you remove the tape, the paint surface might be disturbed.

Step 4: Moving the Refrigerator Out

  • Use the right equipment. I recommend that you use a dolly, one that can handle heavy equipment especially if you have to negotiate stairs or are loading the fridge into a moving truck using a ramp.
  • Position the fridge on the dolly. Slide the refrigerator away from the wall. Slide the dolly underneath. If you prefer, tie the fridge to the dolly using moving straps. Moving straps can be rented from moving companies or box supply stores; they can be easily adjusted and are a great tool for moving heavy items.
  • Helping hands. Once the refrigerator is in position, tip it back, with one person at the front and one at the back. A third person can help direct and jump in when someone needs help.
  • Moving it down a flight of stairs. It's best to move the refrigerator down the steps, bottom first. Take it slow, easing the dolly down one step at a time. If the person holding the dolly handles needs help holding the weight, have an extra person help.
  • Moving it onto the truck. Pull the refrigerator up the truck ramp, using extra help, if needed.

Step 5: Moving the Refrigerator In

  • Position it into its new space. Before you plug it in, let the refrigerator sit for at least 2-3 hours. This allows the fluids to flow back into the compressor. This is critical to its cooling mechanism.
  • Leave it plugged in. It'll take a while before the fridge is ready to use. Some require 3 days before they'll reach an optimum temperature. Check your manual for details.

Essential Moving Advice

  • Don't lay it on its side. Always keep the refrigerator standing upright as much as possible. This ensures that oil won't seep into the cooling tubes which can cause permanent damage.
  • Read the manual. Check moving instructions in your refrigerator's manual before you move. It'll highlight important safety tips and advice and warn you of potential problems.
  • Don't hesitate to call a professional. While it seems simple enough, refrigerators are heavy, awkward and moving them incorrectly can cause permanent damage. If you're unsure about moving it, call a professional mover. Or if you do move it on your own and find that it isn't working effectively in the new space, have a technician look at it.
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