How to Move a Refrigerator


We’ve all heard the joke “Is your refrigerator running? Well, you’d better go catch it!” But when you’re planning your next big move, you may wish your fridge could run up the ramp and into the back of the U-Haul truck to save you a lot of work. Unless you are a fine art collector, a refrigerator may be the most expensive thing you ever bring into your house. And just as you wouldn’t slide a Cezanne landscape between your couch and box spring and hope for the best, your fridge should be moved with extra special care. Take these tips into consideration on how to move your refrigerator:

Before Your Move

There are a few more steps to moving your fridge than you may think.  Be sure nothing breaks with these tips:

  • Empty the Fridge
    Take out all the food, drinks, snacks, boxes of baking soda, and anything else that’s been shoved into the back of the bottom shelf and forgotten. Depending on how far you are moving, either pack perishables in a cooler or toss them out. While you’re at it, take all the magnets off the outside of the refrigerator.
  • Remove Accessories
    You can tape shelves, drawers, and other items inside the fridge into place to secure them, but often they will be safer if they’re removed and packed separately with bubble wrap.
  • Unplug the Refrigerator
    If the freezer has some frost built up, pull the plug at least four hours before your move and wipe everything out to prevent water leaking onto other things in the back of the truck. Wrap up the cord and secure it to the back of the fridge with tape. While you’re at it, remember to disconnect the water if your fridge has an automatic ice maker.
  • Secure the Doors
    Sealing the doors closed can cause mildew or mold to grow inside the fridge during longer moves. Place a folded towel or piece of cardboard between the doors and the body of the refrigerator to keep them from closing completely, and use rope or elastic straps to keep the doors from flying open. A tape can also be used but runs the risk of damaging the finish on some appliances.

During Your Move

Slow and steady wins the race!  Be very careful when moving your fridge, and don’t rush.  It will be in your new home soon enough:

  • Use the Buddy System
    Whether using an appliance dolly or moving straps, get at least one partner to help you negotiate doorways, stairs, and the truck’s ramp. Also, if you go the dolly route, make certain to use an appliance dolly with straps and a base large enough to bear the weight of the fridge rather than a standard moving dolly.
  • Keep the Fridge Upright
    Slide the refrigerator away from the wall and secure it to the dolly or slide the moving straps underneath while tipping it as little as possible. Putting a fridge on its back or side can cause oil from the compressor to spill into the cooling tubes. That can prevent the refrigerator from working when you plug it back in.
  • Communicate
    Take your time and work with your partners to get the fridge out of the house and into the truck. Move slowly and deliberately, checking with each other every step of the way. Repeat the same method when you get to your destination.
  • Load Safely
    Make sure your fridge is near the front of the truck. If you’re using a trailer, always be sure to keep heavy appliances ahead of the wheels to avoid dangerous whipping while you drive
  • Let it Sit
    Once you get the refrigerator into your new kitchen, don’t be in a rush to get it up and running. Allow the fridge to sit unplugged for at least three hours to give any oil and coolant time to settle back into place. Turning it on immediately can permanently damage your fridge. And when you do finally plug in the refrigerator, bear in mind that it takes time to cool off again. Usually, you can expect it to be two or three days before the appliance will be sufficiently cooled to maintain a steady temperature.

Do you have any more tips to share from your experiences moving a refrigerator or other large appliances? Share them in the comments below!