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You can save money by moving a fridge yourself. But is it feasible? Yes, if you take the time to learn how to move a refrigerator the correct way.

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How to move a refrigerator

No magical formula will make moving a fridge any less painstaking. Not only are refrigerators cumbersome and bulky, but they’re also costly as well. However, you can make the job much easier by knowing how to move a refrigerator properly.

Depending on your situation, sometimes it might be best to leave this job to the professionals. But if that’s not an option, we’ve got you covered. To make sure this expensive household appliance doesn’t get damaged, have a little patience while planning and use all the right tools. This guide will help you move a fridge from A to B, regardless of how far it has to travel.

You’ll need:

  • Appliance dolly with straps
  • Measuring tape
  • Screw driver or drill
  • Moving blankets
  • Tape or rope
  • Minimum of two people

Follow These Steps to Move a Fridge Safely

1. Clean out and defrost the unit.

The first step to moving a refrigerator is prepping it thoroughly. Make sure you empty all the contents and either discard or store them in a cooler. You’ll need enough ice to keep your food properly chilled for the duration of the move as well as the period it takes the fridge to cool down once it is moved.

Plan ahead by eating all your perishables in the weeks leading up to the move. Meal prepping during this period will make you less likely to grocery shop last minute.

After the food has been removed, clean all surfaces thoroughly using a mixture of baking soda and water. Melt any remaining ice in the freezer using a hair dryer and clean up the water. Melting these surfaces in advance will prevent accidental water leaks during the move.

Finally, turn your fridge off at least a few hours before moving.

Optional tip: Adding a moisture absorbent substance like activated charcoal inside the refrigerator will help prevent odors from building up during the move.

Read Also: How to Store Food in the Fridge

2. Disconnect fridge according to the user manual.

If you have an ice maker and water filter in your fridge, be sure to disconnect these well in advance using the owner’s manual. Most moving companies will not disconnect the fridge for you.

After the refrigerator is unplugged and completely disconnected, protect it by rolling up the cord and taping it to the back of the fridge. Either remove the refrigerator doors per the owner’s manual instructions or secure them closed using bungee cords or rope. Keep all screws and pieces together in a zip lock bag.

Wrap the exterior of the fridge in moving blankets or some other cushioning to prevent dings and scratches.

For extra protection: Remove refrigerator drawers and glass shelves for safe transport. If you’re not going far, you can tape drawers in place instead.

3. Measure fridge and doorways then create a moving plan.

How you move your fridge will be largely dependent on how wide it is and how narrow your doorways are. In some cases, you’ll need to remove both the doors in your home and the doors on your fridge so that it can fit through.

Take a measuring tape and note pad, then jot down the height, width and depth of your fridge. Then measure the height and width of your doorways and hallways. Create a plan for how you will fit the refrigerator through each doorway. The last thing you want is to have the fridge on the dolly trying to push it through a door, only then realizing that it won’t fit.

4. Remove obstacles like doors as necessary.

Based on the moving plan you created, now is the time to remove anything that is going to get in the way. Remove doors from hinges or taking off stair railings. Get any lingering furniture out of the way, so you have a clear shot out of the house and onto the moving truck.

Read Also: How to Protect Your Furniture When Moving

5. Slide fridge out and strap onto the dolly.

Most fridges are on wheels, so sliding it forward shouldn’t be too difficult. To be safe, lift the fridge forward slightly and place furniture sliders underneath the back of the refrigerator. Then position yourself at the front of the fridge, grab both sides and push it side to side while guiding it forward. Sometimes you can also pull it forward in a straight shot. Just be sure to keep your knees bent and back as straight as possible.

Next, it’s time to load the fridge onto the appliance dolly. Have one person lift the fridge slightly while the other slides the moving dolly underneath the side of the refrigerator. Do not push the dolly onto the front or back of the fridge. Use the dolly straps to tighten the fridge into place.

6. Tilt fridge back and move with care (slowly).

Slowly tilt the fridge back, making sure that both the top and bottom of the fridge are evenly positioned on the dolly. Remember, a fridge should not be tipped back more than 45 degrees. Walk the dolly with care to your first step. If you have to set the fridge back down at any time, do so slowly and with someone on the other side who can help you guide it down.

Read Also: How to Move Large Items With Ease

7. Take extra precaution going down steps.

While one person guides the fridge with the dolly, another should be below it, helping guide the dolly down the steps one at a time. Instead of pushing down the stairs, pull the dolly back toward you while keeping the fridge tilted at a 45-degree angle. Keep full control of the dolly at all times by continuing to pull it toward you. The person at the bottom should make sure the fridge always stay positioned toward the back of the dolly and doesn’t jut forward.

8. Guide fridge into moving truck.

Using a plank, guide the fridge into the moving truck or pickup truck. A plank or platform is much easier to navigate than trying to lift the fridge on the truck yourself.

9. Secure the refrigerator for the move.

Avoid laying the refrigerator on its side if possible. Secure the fridge to the truck using additional straps along the top and sides of the fridge. It’s easiest to keep the fridge on the dolly at this point instead of needing to re-secure it once it gets to its final destination.

10. Wait before plugging in and adding food.

Once you get your fridge to its new location, wait a couple of hours before plugging it back in. If for some reason you had to move the fridge while on its side, make sure to keep it upright for twice as long as it was on its side before you plug it back in. Once you plug it back in, wait the manufacturer’s recommended amount of time before you add food, which ranges between 24-72 hours.

Don’t forget:

  • If you’re not plugging your fridge back in right away, keep the doors open to prevent odor build up.
  • Always store a refrigerator in the upright position.
  • Make sure the weight on the dolly is balanced before moving any large appliances.
  • If you need to go up a flight of stairs, consider positioning an additional person at the bottom. They can help lift the fridge up the stairs as you pull the dolly up a step at a time.

More Moving Resources:

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About the Author

Lauren Thomann

Lauren Thomann is a contributing writer covering home, moving and storage topics for the Life Storage blog.

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