Moving a refrigerator is no easy feat, but we’re here to help (well, we’ll help you plan – you’ll have to find friends to help move). Here is how to safely move your refrigerator while keeping your appliance safe from damage.
- Clean It Out. Before moving, clean out the refrigerator completely. All food, trays, moveable accessories (such as shelves and dividers) must be removed. Discard perishable food unless you are quickly moving into a new refrigerator. See the USDA’s food safety guidelines to provide guidance on when to discard perishable food products. Thoroughly clean the inside on your refrigerator and remove all crumbs and residue.
- Tape Adjustable Non-Removable Shelving. If your fridge has adjustable, but not removable shelving installed use painter’s tape or masking tape to secure the shelving before moving.
- Clean & Gather Removable Accessories. Clean all of the items you remove from refrigerator thoroughly and allow to dry. Once dry, securely tape them to the inside of the refrigerator so they won’t move around. Another option is to box all accessories together and clearly label the box as refrigerator accessories to avoid confusion later in the moving process.
- Unplug the Refrigerator. Coil the power cord and secure with a zip-tie. You can secure the cord to the back of the refrigerator with tape after it’s been coiled. The same should also be done with a water line, once disconnected and drained.
- Defrost. While frost-free refrigerators or freezers may not require this step, older models may require defrosting before moving. This can often take 8 hours or more, so proper time should be allotted for cleaning and defrosting prior to your move. Clean the freezer once it has been defrosted to remove any crumbs and residue.
- Secure the Doors. Using bungee cords, ratchet straps, rope, or another strong fastener, secure the doors of the refrigerator closed. If your fridge has French-Style double doors be sure to tie the handles together, too. If you are placing your fridge in storage, remove the straps once the fridge is in the storage unit and leave the doors slightly open to allow air flow and prevent mold or mildew. If you have a stainless-steel refrigerator, moving blankets should be used to wrap around the steel to prevent scratches.
- Gather Your Team. If you’re not hiring a team of movers, you’re going to need a team of friends. A dolly is your best bet for moving large appliances that need to be kept upright, such as refrigerators and large freezer units. Don’t forget to securely fasten the refrigerator to the dolly using heavy-duty ratchet straps or another strong fastener.
- Move Safely. When tilting the dolly, do so very slowly and gently. Never make abrupt movements and maintain constant, clear communication with your moving team. One person should be on the lookout for obstacles and to provide direction to anyone else involved in the move. If stairs are involved, two people should be in front of the fridge (on the downside of the stairs) with one guiding the dolly on the upper stairs. Move slowly!
- Place Your Fridge in its New Home (or Storage).
- Place cardboard or a moving blanket under your fridge while positioning it into its new place. This will help keep your flooring from getting scratched when sliding the fridge into place.
- Once you have properly moved your fridge to its new home, let it sit for 3 hours or more before connecting power and water lines. The fridge won’t return to proper temperature for about 3 days, so use this as an excuse to try out some restaurants in the area.
- If your fridge is moving to a storage unit, be sure to store it in an upright position with the doors slightly open to allow for proper air flow. Placing activated charcoal or baking soda inside will absorb any odors in your fridge. Be sure your fridge is extremely clean before placing in a storage unit to avoid attracting unwanted pests.
Never move the refrigerator on its side. There are delicate components in the refrigerator that contain oils and coolant. Disrupting the proper position of the refrigerator can affect its function when you try to turn it back on and cool it down.