How to Move a Refrigerator

Two Parts:Preparing the Fridge to MoveMoving the Fridge

If you are in the process of moving to a new place, the moving of heavy appliances is one of the more challenging jobs. With a little planning and a little help, though, moving a refrigerator can be done safely and securely, protecting both you and your appliance.

Part 1
Preparing the Fridge to Move

  1. Image titled Move a Refrigerator Step 1
    Empty the refrigerator of all its contents. Before you try to move a fridge, it's best to take everything out. Make sure that both your refrigerator and freezer are free of food, condiments, ice cube trays, and anything else that might rattle around and shift weight. Remove items placed outside of your refrigerator as well, such as magnets.
    • If there are perishable items in the refrigerator, finish them or give them away. If you're in the middle of a big move, it's probably easier to just to toss the things you can't finish now.
    • If you want to move the fridge a short distance in the same room, to clean behind it or reorganize the kitchen, remove the items anyway, and place them on the counters. It'll make it safer to move and you won't risk tipping over the fridge. Use moving rollers, and place them under the feet of the fridge to do this. Slide it out enough to unplug it, then simply slide it where you want it to go.
  2. Image titled Move a Refrigerator Step 2
    Remove the shelves. Remove all removable components from the inside of the fridge, including shelves, trays, and other loose or movable items, organizers, and dividers. Wrap the shelves in towels for protection, then label and stack them carefully.
    • You may also opt to secure shelving in place with tape instead of removing, but it is recommended to remove them altogether and pack them separately. Depending on your fridge, though, this might be a fine option. If they're fairly secure, consider taping them into place and creating less mess with the move.
  3. Image titled Move a Refrigerator Step 3
    Unplug the refrigerator. Coil the power cord securely and tape it in a tight bundle to make sure that it stays in place while moving. If your refrigerator has an ice maker, disconnect this from the water source as well.
  4. Image titled Move a Refrigerator Step 4
    Defrost the freezer if necessary. If a considerable amount of frost has built up in the freezer, you'll need to defrost it before going forward with the move. This would normally take 6 to 8 hours to complete, so make sure you have ample time before the move. It is best to do this the night before the move so there would be enough time to defrost overnight, and you can wipe the inside of the refrigerator in the morning.
    • Don't waste a bunch of valuable moving time scrubbing the fridge, but this is also a good opportunity to give it a reasonably thorough cleaning, before you take it to your new place. While the freezer defrosts, wipe down the drawers and the interior surfaces with disinfectant.
  5. Image titled Move a Refrigerator Step 5
    Close and secure the doors. Fasten the refrigerator and freezer doors snugly shut using strong rope or bungee cord. If your refrigerator has a double-door, tie the door handles together as well. Be careful not to tie the refrigerator too tightly, or the doors may be pulled out of alignment. It is not recommended to use tape for securing the door, since it may either damage the finish of the refrigerator, or leave a residue.
    • If the move is scheduled to take longer than a day, it is recommended to keep the doors slightly open to allow for air flow, and prevent any mold or mildew from growing inside the refrigerator.[1]
  6. 6
    Find some helpers. Because a fridge needs to be held upright and operated using a dolly, it can be tempting to go it alone, but it's always safer to lift heavy objects and negotiate them through doors, around corners, down stairs, and into a truck with the aid of some assistants. Moving a refrigerator is a job for at least two.

Part 2
Moving the Fridge

  1. Image titled Move a Refrigerator Step 6
    Use a moving dolly. One of the best pieces of equipment to use would be a refrigerator dolly, which can handle the weight of the refrigerator, and provide ease during moving, especially if the refrigerator needs to be transported down stairs.
    • Any dolly with straps will do, but make sure that the base is big enough to seat the bottom of the fridge on securely and that straps are big enough to secure the refrigerator safely. It's very important that the base is big enough because you need to keep the fridge upright to avoid leaking coolant.
    • If you don't have a moving dolly, you need to rent one. While moving straps are available that could theoretically be used to strap a fridge to your back, buying moving straps would be more expensive and much more dangerous than borrowing a dolly. Don't attempt to move one without it.
  2. Image titled Move a Refrigerator Step 7
    Slide the refrigerator away from the wall and secure it to the dolly. With most fridges, you should be able to slide the dolly right under, lifting it gently if necessary. Tie the refrigerator to the dolly with the use of moving straps or bungees. Make sure that you minimize any tilting when lifting and positioning the refrigerator on the dolly. Maintain its upright position, to ensure that oil will not seep into the cooling tubes.
    • Never move the refrigerator on its side or back for any reason. The oil in the compressor may flow into the cooling tubes. When the refrigerator is returned to an upright position, the oil may not completely drain from the cooling tubes, and the refrigerator will not cool properly.
    • If it is unavoidable to lay the refrigerator on its side, make sure to do it at an upright angle if possible. Place a box or a big piece of furniture under the top of the fridge to help keep it relatively upright.
  3. Image titled Move a Refrigerator Step 8
    Tilt the fridge gently. When you've got the fridge hooked up to the dolly, roll it slowly to the truck that you're packing, moving forward. It's important to move in the direction opposite the tilt to maintain the most security. Have a helper assist on the other side, coaching you through obstacles and helping to secure the fridge.[2]
    • To move the refrigerator down a flight of stairs, move it down one step at a time, your assistant easing it down onto each successive step. It would be ideal to have two people in front of the dolly and another at the back, holding the handles and letting it down slowly. Communicate loudly and don't go to fast.
  4. Image titled Move a Refrigerator Step 9
    Load the fridge into the truck. Whether you're moving your fridge into a pick-up or a moving truck, back it up to the bed, placing the dolly between the lip of the truck bed and the fridge. Ideally, a moving truck will have a truck ramp that you'll be able to roll it up easily. If not, you'll have to use a bit more care.
    • To lift a fridge straight up into the bed of a truck, you need to get up into the bed and have at least two people down on the ground. Coordinate and lift simultaneously, pulling straight up with the handles of the dolly while the helpers on the ground lift from the base and push it back into the bed. It would ideal to have another helper with you, too, to make sure the fridge doesn't fall backward onto you.
    • Secure the fridge upright in the truck. If you can leave it hooked up to the dolly, that would add security and stability to the fridge, but if you can't, brace it with other furniture or moving supplies, or strap it into place using the bungees.
  5. Image titled Move a Refrigerator Step 10
    Move the fridge into the new space. Let the refrigerator down and move it into the new place just as you moved it out. Allow it to sit for at least 3 hours before plugging it in. This will allow for the oil and fluid to flow back into its compressor, and would prevent any damage to the appliance. It would take around 3 days for the refrigerator to return to its ideal cooling temperature and be useable.


  • Read the manual of your refrigerator before moving. It will provide you with additional instructions or safety tips you should take note of during the move.
  • If you are not very confident about moving your refrigerator yourself, it is always a good idea to enlist the aid of professional movers.


  • Never try moving a refrigerator by yourself, as the massive weight of the appliance could cause you serious injury if it falls on you. Make sure that you have ample assistance from at least two people strong enough to move the refrigerator around, especially if you need to move it up or down a flight of stairs.

Article Info

Categories: Refrigerators and Freezers