A refrigerator is one of the most important kitchen appliances you can own. But, when you want to move it, you need to ensure you don't break it or damage your walls, doors, floors, stairs, and more. Wondering how to move a fridge? Read on to learn the best steps below.
How to Prepare the Fridge for Moving
Since 1913, homeowners have relied on refrigerators for food safety; to keep their food cold and thus slow the growth of organisms deemed bad for health. If you have your fridge but need to move it from one room to another or one house to another, you need to understand how it works, so you don't damage it.
As the Second Law of Dynamics states, heat can flow spontaneously from hot temperatures to cold temperatures and not vice versa. However, a fridge seemingly disobeys this law, allowing heat to flow from cold to hot temperatures. But, it has the best internal parts that input the needed work to cool the refrigerator environment.
It is very easy to damage your fridge's internal parts if you place it flat for long or you shake it too much. These cooling parts of a fridge include;
- The refrigerant that circulates throughout the fridge drawers to absorb heat from your foods
- A compressor that discharges the refrigerant at high pressure so it can circulate throughout the fridge
- The condenser is a thin coil that cools down the refrigerant with atmospheric air
- The capillary tube releases the refrigerant.
A fridge works by turning the refrigerant from liquid to gas in repeated evaporation processes. When the refrigerant circulates the fridge and freezer compartments, it is always liquid. Then, it goes back to the compressor under low pressure, where it is discharged into the condenser under high pressure for cooling.
The fact that the refrigerant constantly changes from gas to liquid is one of the reasons you need to move the fridge gently. If the fridge is mishandled, there are instances where the refrigerant can move from the compressor to the condenser, and you'd need to be careful when turning it to prevent frying the compressor.
But, the internal parts are not the only parts you need to consider before moving your fridge. You will want to avoid scratching the refrigerator doors, moving the fridge before it is defrosted, or not having the right gear to move it. Here are the preparation steps before moving your fridge.
Step 1. Empty it. You cannot move a refrigerator with food items inside as many things could go wrong, such as breaking the storage boxes. Remove all food inside the fridge and place it in an easy-to-reach place. If you have highly perishable foods, you can store them in a portable cooler.
Step 2. Disconnect the fridge from your water line or wiring. If you have a newer fridge with an ice maker, the fridge may be connected to your water line. You need to ensure it is fully disconnected, so you don't leave damage to the house. If you can't disconnect the fridge, it is best to get a professional plumber to do the work.
Even when you are getting professional movers to move your fridge, they most likely won't do the plumbing work. Therefore, it is better for you to get a plumber before the moving day.
Step 3. Defrost the fridge. This step is vital when you do not want the fridge to leak water onto the moving truck. So, after you've cleared all food items and disconnected the fridge from the water line and power, clean the interior shelves with a mixture of water and baking soda.
Then, use a hairdryer to melt ice on the ice cube trays and freezer. If you're still left with a lot of water inside the fridge, throw in a moisture-absorbent product like activated charcoal to prevent odors.
When you've cleaned the fridge, leave it off for a few hours before you start packing it for moving. If you also want to move a refrigerator safely, you can opt to remove the glass shelves and drawers, so they don't break. But, you can miss this step if you are not moving the fridge very far.
How to Move a Fridge
Now that you have your fridge ready for moving, let us see what you need for moving it safely.
- An appliance dolly with reliable straps
- Moving blankets
- Measuring tape
- Screwdriver or drill
- Helping hands
- Rope or bungee cords
When you have all your supplies ready, gather your strength as here are the steps showing how to move a fridge from one location to another.
Step 1. Measure the fridge and doorways
Your type of fridge will determine how easily you can move it through your doors. It is not uncommon to find a fridge larger than your doorways. So, with the measuring tape, measure how wide your fridge is, and compare the measurements with your doorway.
If the fridge is wider than your doorway, you can consider removing the refrigerator doors, and it should fit through. Alternatively, you can also remove your home doors from their hinges if you do not want to void your refrigerator warranty.
However, if the fridge is too wide, you may need to remove its doors and your home doors.
Apart from the width, you will also want to understand the height you are dealing with. If your fridge is tall, you will need to have the right height measurements and compare them to the doorway. So, with the fridge in an upright position, use your measuring tape to get its height. Then, take the door measurements and understand how the fridge can pass through.
When taking both width and height measurements, you need to account for the dolly underneath the fridge when you start moving it. Understand how wide the dolly is and how tall the fridge will be once you set it on the dolly. Finally, also pay attention to how well the dolly wheels move.
If you do not need to remove your house's doors, understand a few factors that could make moving the fridge tough. How wide do the doors open? Will the door handles prevent you from moving your fridge?
You need the fridge, door, and moving dolly features to craft out a good fridge-moving plan. Then, when you have the perfect plan, here are the next steps to get your fridge moving.
Step 2. Protect your fridge and house
In this step, you want to avoid leaving damaging dents, scratches or marks on your fridge or walls. It is especially vital to avoid damaging the walls of a rental house as you might have a bill coming your way after moving out. However, if you leave one or two scratches, you can get a paint sprayer and paint the marks fast.
Besides the house, it is vital to ensure your fridge does not get dented. The last thing you want to stare at is a dented fridge in your kitchen space daily.
- Understand how to remove the fridge doors if necessary. If you need to remove the doors, follow the user manual to do it right, and make sure you keep all the screws and pieces together. If you can't remove the doors yourself, you can reach out to a professional in your area or wait for professional movers to do the work.
- Once you have secured the doors, wrap the fridge's power cord around it, and secure it perfectly at the back of the fridge.
- Wrap enough moving blankets around the fridge to prevent it from getting scratches as you move it through doorways. In addition, you can also add various forms of cushioning to prevent dents to the fridge exterior and your floors and walls. If you do not have the cushion, you can place rubber mats on the floors to prevent damage.
- Remove other obstacles like doors, door handles, furniture, stair railings, and more where necessary.
Step 3. Place the fridge gently onto an appliance dolly in an upright position
Before this step, take a good look at the fridge's legs. It will be easy to roll it onto a moving dolly if it has wheels. But, if it does not have wheels, you will need to roll the dolly underneath the fridge.
You will need a pair of extra hands for this step because not only is the fridge heavy, but you will also need to keep it in an upright position while also holding the appliance dolly's handles. When placing the fridge on the dolly, ensure you slant the fridge slightly forward, then have your partner slide the dolly from one side of the refrigerator.
Once the dolly is well placed, set the fridge straight to distribute the weight evenly. Next, you can use the dolly straps to secure the best fit so you can start wheeling the fridge away.
Step 4. Move the refrigerator to your pickup truck or moving truck
When you have sat the fridge on the dolly, you can now wheel it outside to the waiting vehicle. Be careful when wheeling it to ensure it does not slide off the dolly. In addition;
- When you move a refrigerator, you need to avoid tilting it back more than 45 degrees as this could affect the refrigerant and consequently damage the compressor. Therefore, avoid lowering your dolly's handles too far as you wheel the fridge.
- If you need to move the fridge down the stairs, you will need someone to help you as the moving needs to be steady. Violently shaking the fridge as you move it, as would happen if you move it down a staircase alone, could end up damaging vital interior parts such as the compressor and condenser.
- When going down the stairs, you will need to pull the dolly towards you rather than push it down the stairs. But, while doing so, ensure the fridge sits upright on the dolly, not tilting back more than 45 degrees.
When outside, have someone help you to set the fridge straight as you stop wheeling. You need to set it down slowly before mounting it on the truck bed.
When it is finally time to move it into the truck, you need to use a plank and wheel it into the truck. But, if you do not have a plank, you can get two people to help you lift it into the truck. But, again, it is best to avoid tilting the fridge so much, and you also need to place it down slowly.
When in the truck, you will place the fridge upright and in a place where you can secure it further to avoid a lot of tilting when on the move. Avoid laying the fridge on its back or side to avoid damaging the interior parts.
Step 5. Secure the fridge in the moving truck
This step is especially vital if your fridge has wheels. If you do not secure it to the walls of your moving truck, it won't be unusual for it to roll all over as the truck moves. You need to secure it with a rope or bungee cords to avoid this.
- Do not remove the fridge from the dolly.
- Wrap a rope or bungee cord around the fridge.
- Find a secure fixture on the truck to fasten the rope so the fridge won't slide as the truck moves.
Step 6. Move a refrigerator to its new house
Now that your fridge is secure on the pickup truck, you can drive it off to its new location without worry. You will want to observe the same caution when moving it to its room when you get there.
- Wheel it off the truck slowly. You can use a plank or have some mates help you lift it off.
- Measure the doors of the new house and compare the measurements with the ones you took of the fridge earlier.
- Wheel the fridge gently into the room, ensuring you don't tilt it too far back.
- Remove the dolly.
- Wait a couple of hours or days before you plug the fridge into a wall socket. This step is also crucial if you moved your fridge in a lying position. It needs to sit upright for double the time it was laying on its side for the entire move before you can use it again.
- When you finally power the fridge, wait for a day (or according to your manufacturer's recommendations) before you can start storing food. It is also ideal to keep the fridge doors open for a while after plugging it into a socket to remove any unwanted odors. If the smell is too much, you can clean the fridge with a mixture of water and baking soda.