Professional movers know that the process of moving a refrigerator can be more complicated than it seems. Not only can they leak, but they can collect mildew and mold, cause wall damage, and destroy your floors. Plus, moving a fridge can be that much more frustrating if you’re doing it on your own and without the help of experienced movers.

If you’re looking for refrigerator moving tips, you’ve come to the right place. We encourage you to follow the guidance of our experts to ensure you can move your refrigerator and other large appliances without negative side effects such as causing property damage.

What Tools Do I Need to Move a Refrigerator?

Before you get started, make sure that you compile the right refrigerator moving tools to make the process that much easier.

  • Appliance dolly with straps
  • Measuring tape
  • Screwdriver or drill
  • Rope or tape
  • At least two people

What Do I Have to Do to Prepare My Fridge for Moving?

Before you start the refrigerator cleaning process, make sure that you have properly prepared for all of the steps. Follow the below steps for a successful, safe refrigerator move.

Step #1: Empty Out the Fridge

To start, you’ll want to empty the refrigerator completely. Although it may seem obvious, this is an important initial step that you’ll want to start about a week before you clean your refrigerator. This way, you’ll have a chance to eat through the refrigerated food that you want to enjoy. Store all of your food items in a cooler or even share them with friends or family in the area. As soon as the food has been removed, take out the shelves and drawers.

How to move a fridge

Step #2: Disconnect the Wiring and the Water Lines

The next step to prepare for moving a refrigerator is to disconnect the water lines and wiring. If your fridge is on the newer side, it will be more technologically advanced. It may have in-door screens or an ice dispenser that needs to be disconnected. Always pay attention to the waterline. If it isn’t shut off properly, it can cause a lot of damage. Some situations even require a plumber to shut off the waterline.

Most moving companies will not disconnect the fridge due to the inherent risk that accompanies it. If you have an ice maker and water filter, you’ll want to disconnect them well in advance. Always refer to the owner’s manual on how to do so properly.

Step #3: Defrost the Fridge If Necessary

If necessary, you’ll also want to defrost the fridge before you move it. This is the case if you are moving your refrigerator into a storage unit or to a location where you will not be able to plug it in immediately. For short, local moves, whether or not you need to defrost the fridge depends on the weather.

If your refrigerator will be unplugged for no longer than 6-8 hours, it is considered a short move. This will not be an issue, particularly in the winter. However, during the summer, your fridge may begin to defrost during the move and leak water. In these situations, ensure that you have factored in this defrosting time into your timeline.

Step #4: Wash the Refrigerator’s Interior

The next step in how to move a fridge is to rigorously wash the interior of your refrigerator. This is an essential step to prevent any bacteria from growing during the move. The ideal mixture for washing the interior of your refrigerator is a combination of baking soda and water. Grab a new sponge and use this mixture to wipe down the interior walls and shelves.

As soon as all of the grime and bacteria have been removed, make sure to use a clean, dry cloth or paper towel to completely dry the interior of the refrigerator.

Refrigerator moving tips

Step #5: Measure the Fridge and the Doorways to Create a Moving Plan

Now that the refrigerator itself is clean and ready to be transported, make sure to measure it as well as your doorways. These measurements will determine whether or not you need to remove the doors in your home and the doors on your fridge so it fits through. Make sure you factor in each doorway through which the refrigerator will be moving.

Step #6: If Needed, Remove the Doors

After you’ve taken the measurements, you may need to remove the doors from your refrigerator. As modern fridges may be quite large, they may require their doors to be removed beforehand. The last thing you want is to begin moving your fridge only to realize it is too large to move intact. Keeping the doors on could also cause property damage.

Step #7: Protect the Floors, Walls, and the Fridge Itself

Another refrigerator moving tip is to protect the floors, walls, and the refrigerator itself. This is an especially important step if you are a renter. Make sure to put rubber mats onto the floor if you will be rolling the fridge. You should also use a dolly (if possible) rather than pushing the fridge directly onto the ground. To avoid causing damage to your walls, make sure to shrink-wrap the fridge. As an added layer of precaution, you can also hang some moving blankets to avoid bumping into any drywall.

Step #8: Slide the Fridge Out and Strap It Onto the Dolly

The last thing you’ll want to do is move the refrigerator without the help of mechanical assistance. Ideally, you’ll be able to access a dolly that does the heavy lifting for you. First, pad the metal portion of the dolly to ensure it doesn’t scratch the fridge. Next, slide the dolly underneath the fridge and use ratchet straps to secure it. From there, use your foot to brace the dolly, allowing you to tip the fridge forward. This allows you to hold onto the fridge itself rather than the dolly, significantly reducing the risk of injury. Keep your eyes on one side of the fridge and utilize the help of a second person for guidance.

Step #9: Carefully Move the Fridge

How to transport a refrigerator

Slowly tilt the fridge back and ensure that both the top and bottom of the fridge are positioned evenly on the dolly. Never tilt the fridge more than 45 degrees. Some scenarios may involve moving the fridge up or down a set of stairs. In these situations, it is nearly impossible to move the fridge safely without the guidance of another person helping with the process. Carefully walk the dolly to your first step and use the guidance of another individual for help. Remember, you can always set the fridge down if you need a break.

Use gravity to carefully slide the dolly to the edge of the first step while the other person helps gently guide it down. If you need to move the fridge up a flight of stairs, the process will be the same except the other person will help lift the fridge instead of lowering it. Remember, if needed, you can take advantage of moving services and hire appliance movers to help with the entire process. Hauling a refrigerator isn’t an easy task to tackle on your own!

Step #10: Secure the Fridge in the Truck

Once the fridge is outside, you’ll want to securely strap the fridge to the wall of the truth with rope or ratchet straps. Ensuring that the refrigerator will have limited mobility gives you peace of mind that it will not fall onto another expensive piece of furniture even on long-distance moving.

Step #11: Reassemble and Reconnect in the New Place

Before you move the refrigerator inside, triple-check the measurements to make sure it will fit in your new space. Transport the fridge using the dolly into your new space and slowly lower it to the ground without slamming it. You can then reconnect the waterline and wiring and plug it in to start using it once again.

Let Professional Fridge Movers Take on Your Moving Job

Moving a refrigerator can be time-consuming, stressful, and tiring. As you can tell by all of the steps, sometimes, the easiest way to move a refrigerator is to hire a professional team! Not only is moving a refrigerator heavy, but it is stressful and has the potential to cause additional property damage. This is where our experts at Alliance Moving & Storage come into play!

If you’re interested in learning more about our process, pricing, or services, we encourage you to reach out to us directly. As we handle nearly 30 moves every day, our experts know what it takes on how to transport a refrigerator.

Frequently Asked Questions About How to Move a Refrigerator

How long should a fridge be off before moving it?

Defrosting a refrigerator can take as little as a few hours depending on the size of the fridge. However, always aim to be proactive to minimize the risk of leaking onto the moving truck unexpectedly. Unplug your refrigerator at least 48 hours before you move it, open the doors, and fill it with old towels to soak up excess moisture.

Can you lay a fridge down to move it?

Many customers wonder if you can transport a refrigerator lying down. While this technically is a possibility, it isn’t ideal. As the compressor of the fridge contains fluids, leaning the fridge on its side for an extended time could cause leaking and other damage. If you need to lay it down to move it, make sure you don’t plug the fridge back in immediately. This could burn out the compressor.

Does the fridge need to settle before turning on again?

Consider how long to let your fridge sit after moving to avoid damage. It’s always a good idea to allow your newly moved refrigerator to sit upright for 2-4 hours before you plug it in again. This allows the compressor oil to settle into its rightful place. For refrigerator moves where it was turned on its side, wait a full 24 hours before plugging in the appliance again.

Can a refrigerator be transported on its side?

Ideally, fridge moving will only occur when the fridge is standing upright. Transporting a fridge on its side could cause a coolant breach that ruins the appliance altogether.