How to Move a Fridge

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You can move a fridge with a dolly and some extra sets of hands. (Photo: @smgu3 via Twenty20)
Regardless of where you live, you need access to a refrigerator to keep your food from spoiling. And when you move house, you may need to transport your refrigerator from one location to another. Here’s what you need to know to move your fridge safely.

How to Prepare Your Fridge for Moving

Before moving a fridge you need to prepare it properly, as detailed below:
Step 1: Empty the fridge. Start by emptying the fridge of any food and drinks. If the items are perishable, throw them away.
Step 2: Remove the shelves. Once you remove all of the items from the fridge, remove the shelving and any drawers.
Soak the shelves and drawers in hot, soapy water. Make sure to remove any stuck-on food from the shelving or drawers.
Step 3: Allow the fridge to defrost. Unplug the fridge and allow at least 24 hours for the fridge to defrost properly.
You might need to place towels around the bottom of the fridge in case any liquid leaks from it as part of the defrosting process.
Step 4: Wipe the fridge down. Once the fridge has defrosted, wipe it down.
You can use baking soda mixed with hot water to clean the fridge’s surfaces. This should help cut down on any smells that developed in the fridge while it was unplugged.
Step 5: Replace the shelves. After you have wiped the fridge down, put the shelves and drawers back into place.
In addition, you should wrap the power cord up and secure it to the backside of the fridge using tape.
Step 6: Close and secure the fridge door using rope or a bungee cord. If you won’t be moving immediately, leave the door slightly ajar to allow for air flow. Close and secure the doors on the day of your move.

How to Move Your Fridge

Now that the fridge is prepared, you’re ready to move it by taking the proper steps:
Step 1: Use a dolly. On the day of your move, pull the fridge away from the wall and slide a dolly underneath one side to move it.
A dolly is a great way to move a fridge as it keeps the appliance upright. Many furniture dollies also come with a strap that allows you to secure the fridge to the device.
Step 2: Navigate any stairs. If you need to take the fridge up or down some stairs, follow this technique:
  • Move the fridge up or down one step at a time.
  • While one person holds the handles of the dolly, turning and positioning the fridge, try to have at least two people in the front to help ease the fridge up or down each step.
  • Make sure to take your time when navigating steps with your fridge, and ensure that everyone involved knows what is going on as you move it.
Step 3: Load the fridge onto the vehicle. Many moving trucks have a ramp that makes this process easier. Position the dolly between the fridge and the bed of the truck when going up the ramp.
If you’re placing the fridge onto a truck without a ramp, position the fridge at the edge of the bed of the truck, with the dolly between the fridge and the truck. Have at least two helpers on the ground lift the fridge straight up, while you pull up on the handles of the dolly. When the fridge is high enough to clear the bed of the truck, slide it back until it is fully on the bed.
Step 4: Secure the fridge. Once the fridge is on the bed of the truck, move it against the back wall of the truck.
If needed, leave the dolly attached for added stability. Secure the fridge to the back of the truck using straps.
Step 5: Move the fridge to its new location. Once you arrive at your destination, carefully unload the fridge and move it into your new home.
Allow the fridge to sit for at least three hours so the oil and other fluids can move back into the compressor before plugging it in.
Keep in mind that it might take up to three days for the fridge to return to its normal cooling temperature.
A refrigerator is a major investment. Safely moving your fridge can mean the difference between keeping it for many more years to come and having to purchase a replacement.