How to Move a Refrigerator: the Best Way of Transportation

How to Move a Refrigerator: the Best Way of Transportation

Published: 23 Mar, 2022

Last Updated: 20 Jan, 2023

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Table of Contents


What Are the Main Challenges Involved in Transporting a Refrigerator?

Need advice on how to move a refrigerator?

It is no secret that moving house comes with its fair share of headaches. However, since it’s something that must be done (whatever your reasons are) the best thing you can do for yourself is to plan and prepare accordingly.

Now, one of the most stressful rooms to pack is the kitchen due to the nature of the items involved. Most are fragile, but more than that, large appliances like the range and refrigerator pose a different set of questions that need answering if said appliances are to arrive at the destination unscathed.

That’s what makes moving refrigerators a pain: they are heavy and fragile, and the slightest misstep can leave you counting your losses. That’s not what you want when you already have a moving bill to contend with.


What Equipment Is Needed to Move a Refrigerator?

If you want to know how to move a refrigerator properly, it would be prudent to start by acquainting yourself with the tools and materials you need to pull it off.

Let’s run them by you, shall we?

  • Appliance dolly with straps – a dolly is a must-have when moving refrigerators. It makes lugging the fridge a cinch. If you don’t want to buy one, you can rent a dolly from local or long-distance movers near you or a home goods store. The best dolly for moving refrigerators is one large enough to comfortably hold your fridge; ideally with straps (also large enough to go around the refrigerator);
  • Measuring tape – when moving a refrigerator, a tape measure comes in handy when you want to know the dimensions of your fridge in relation to the doorways it will be passing through;
  • Screwdriver or drill – you might need a screwdriver to remove the doors, although this is optional;
  • Moving blankets – for wrapping the fridge to prevent against scratches and dings;
  • Tape and bungee cord or rope – for securing the drawers and/or doors;
  • Plank – to help in lifting the refrigerator to the moving truck or pickup truck.

In addition to the above tools and supplies, you’ll also need some muscle to give you a hand when transporting a refrigerator.

  Moving a Refrigerator: Step by Step Instructions

Moving a Refrigerator: Step by Step Instructions

Now that you have an idea of the items required for refrigerator moving, the next thing you need to know is actually how to move a refrigerator.

Here are the steps involved:

  1. Clean and Defrost the Refrigerator

    Before any refrigerator move, the first thing you need to do is prep the fridge for the move. The distance you’ll be covering should help you in deciding whether to do a complete purge of the contents inside or to freeze some of the food items in the freezer. In an ideal world, though, you should clear out the food items in their entirety, barring any baby stuff (which should only be left chilled if you’re moving within the area code, not halfway across the country). After all, you’ve known all along that you’ll be moving out. Use a mixture of water and baking soda to clean every nook and cranny.

  2. Turn Off Your Refrigerator Properly

    Before the refrigerator move, switch off the fridge completely and unplug it from the socket. Disconnect the water filter and ice maker if you have them in your fridge, and consult your owner’s manual if need be. Even if you’re moving with a professional moving company, most leave you to do the disconnection yourself. Once that is done, roll up the cord and tape it to the back of the refrigerator.

  3. Disconnect the Doors or Secure Them With Rope

    To prevent them from swinging open, remove the refrigerator doors according to the user manual or use a rope or bungee cords to secure them shut. The shelves and drawers should be removed before refrigerator transportation, but if you’re moving within the vicinity, it’s okay to simply tape them in place. Gather all screws and pieces together in a zip lock bag.

  4. Measure the Refrigerator and Doorways

    The next step in how to move a refrigerator is to get the exact measurements of your fridge as well as the doorways. Use a measuring tape to get the height and width on both and note these figures down.

  5. Plan and Clear Your Route to the Vehicle

    Next, come up with a plan of how you’ll maneuver the refrigerator through each doorway and the hallways. Remove any obstacles along the way, even if that means removing doors from the hinges.

  6. Strap the Refrigerator Onto the Dolly

    Slide your refrigerator out carefully and load it onto the dolly. This is where the extra muscle comes in. Use the dolly straps to secure the fridge in place.

  7. Wheel the Refrigerator but Do Not Tilt More Than 45 Degrees

    When wheeling the fridge to the vehicle, naturally, you’ll be tilting it. But keep in mind that a refrigerator should not be tilted back more than 45 degrees. Tilting shifts the refrigerator fluids, including the refrigerant, oil, lubricants, and others, resulting in malfunction when these fluids end up in the wrong areas.

  8. Guide the Fridge Into the Moving Truck

    Instead of using brawn to lift the refrigerator into the waiting vehicle, use a plank to guide the fridge into the truck. Use additional straps to secure the fridge along the sides and top. When moving a fridge, it’s better to leave it on the dolly to avoid double work when you get to the destination. Just ensure you fasten up everything firmly.

  9. Give the Fridge Some Time Before Plugging It Back In

    In the last step on how to move a refrigerator, we recommend letting the fridge sit for a couple of hours before plugging it back in. After plugging in, wait for 24-72 hours as per manufacturer recommendations before loading up food items.

So, there you have it. With this guide on how to move a refrigerator, you should be able to successfully move a fridge from its current abode to the intended destination without any incidents.

While this should have been the lead in, worth pointing out is that the tips discussed here apply to moving stand-alone refrigerators as opposed to their built-in equivalents. Due to the technicalities involved, the latter carry an element of risk that warrants hiring professional movers who are well-versed with integrated refrigerators to handle them. That is, if you want to avoid any regrets.

  Frequently asked questions on how to move a refrigerator

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How to Move a Refrigerator up or Down the Stairs?

If you’re looking to move a fridge up or down the stairs, you need at least one helper; ideally two in the case of larger units.

When moving down the stairs, one person should be behind the dolly pulling the refrigerator towards them rather than pushing forward to avoid toppling the fridge. Two individuals should work from the front to ease the fridge down each step. Remember to keep the refrigerator tilted at a 45-degree angle. If you’re moving up, one person should be behind the dolly pushing as the second person pulls the dolly up.


How to Move a Refrigerator Without a Dolly?

Moving a fridge without a dolly requires more effort. You’ll need a helping hand (or two), furniture sliders, and a ramp for loading the refrigerator onto and out of the vehicle.

You can either walk the unit forward slowly by slowly, or lift it up and carry it while maintaining the 45-degree angle rule. Use the furniture sliders when moving across floors to avoid damaging them.

An alternative to moving a refrigerator without a dolly is to use shoulder dolly moving straps which you can purchase from your favorite retailer.


How to Move a Refrigerator With Straps?

Moving a fridge with shoulder-moving straps is easier than carrying the refrigerator without a dolly.

Most straps come with a set of instructions which will vary depending on the strap/brand, so make sure to refer to the accompanying guidelines which contain a step-by-step guide, some complete with a diagram.


How Long Should a Refrigerator Sit After Moving?

The waiting time will be much less if you transport the fridge upright (2 to 3 hours) as the compressor oil takes less time to settle. Otherwise, give it 6 hours.

However, unless you’re in a rush, we recommend waiting up to 24 hours before powering up your refrigerator, especially if it was a long-distance move.

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