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Essential Tips for Moving Your Refrigerator

Every relocation requires a lot of planning and organization, especially if you are doing it on your own. And while there are a lot of things to consider when relocating to a new home, moving heavy and bulky appliances like refrigerators is one of the most complicated challenges you will be facing. Not only will you have to do some heavy lifting, but you’ll also need to be extra careful during transportation since these appliances are very sensitive and can be easily damaged. Of course, the best thing would be to call professionals to do the hard work for you. But, if that’s not an option, here are the essential tips for moving your refrigerator.

Necessary supplies for moving your refrigerator

Whether you’re moving loving locally or interstate, good preparation is essential for any type of appliances. To make it easier on yourself, gather all the necessary supplies for the refrigerator securing and moving process. Here are a few basic things you’ll need:

  • Tape measure,
  • Cleaning supplies,
  • Cargo straps,
  • Transport dolly,
  • Bubble wrap,
  • Quality duct tape,
  • Some fabric (an old blanket will do)

Measure the fridge, doors, and narrow transit spaces

Before you start preparing your refrigerator for the move, it’s essential to make the best plan for getting it from the kitchen to the moving truck. Some doors and entryways can be very narrow, while freezers come in many shapes and sizes. In some cases, you’ll need to be creative and very careful to get it through. Thus, the first step when following the essential tips for moving your refrigerator is to measure the appliance’s height, weight, and depth and every doorway on its way to the truck. If all is within the measurements, you probably won’t have any issues. But if the measurements almost match, you might need to tilt it a bit or remove the refrigerator doors to get it through. Using the appliance manual will help with the latter.

A woman writing down the measurements of her fridge

After you write down all the measurements, do the math to ensure that it’s safe and possible to get your appliance through the doorways.

Preparing the refrigerator for the move

It would be best if you started with taking all the food out of the appliance. The food can’t stay fresh for long when out of the fridge, so make sure to adequately store it or use the ingredients right away. Alternatively, plan to start eating all the perishable foods weeks before moving the refrigerator. After the fridge is empty, remove the glass shelves and plastic containers and thoroughly clean them. The same goes for the whole interior since you want to get rid of all bacteria and odors.

Only after the refrigerator completely defrosts, you’ll notice how odors become stronger. Therefore, if you unplug and clean your refrigerator the night before the move, make sure to leave the doors open to air it out. Odors and smudges can easily be removed with a simple mixture of water and baking soda, but opening it for a bit will help as well. After you’ve meticulously cleaned it, wipe it with a dry cloth. Only after it’s completely dry will it be safe to close it and move onto the next step in preparing the refrigerator for the move.

Wrap the bubble wrap around glass and plastic refrigerator elements and secure them for transport. Glass shelves need to be protected with the utmost care so they don’t break. Using cardboard around a thick layer of bubble wrap will act as cushioning if these sensitive elements are accidentally dropped.

Protect the fridge surfaces

After the refrigerator has been cleaned, it’s time to protect its surface. Wrap the exterior with blankets or bubble wrap and secure it with cords, straps, or tape. The fixtures mustn’t touch the metal surfaces. Most modern refrigerators are made from sheet metal outer casting that could be easily damaged or scratched. Even duct tape can leave a residue that’s very hard to clean. To avoid any additional work, you need to be precautious in advance.

When to turn it off

Some experts recommend turning the refrigerator off the night before the move because this will allow enough time for defrosting. That way, the oils, and fluids will have time to settle and stop moving through the compressor. Since some refrigerators have automatic ice makers, you might need to disconnect the water hose as well. It’s essential to remove all the water and ice from the fridge to prevent spills and leaks during transport. After the cord is out, secure it to the back of a fridge with duct tape. This step is essential since you don’t want to trip.

Protect the floors

Every refrigerator weighs a lot – around 300 pounds. Even though it’s imperative to avoid any possible damage, we mustn’t oversee the damage moving such a heavy object can cause to our floors. Some refrigerators have wheels, so pushing it over the floor surfaces shouldn’t be an issue. But since most of them don’t, you might need to rock the fridge slightly and put some blankets under to push it to another place. However, this method only works for short distances. For example, moving it a couple of feet away or to another side of the room.

A kitchen interior with a big refrigerator and hardwood kitchen floors

Make sure to follow the essential tips for moving your refrigerator to protect your hardwood kitchen floors.

A moving trolley is a life-saver

For moving the fridge further than a couple of yards, a moving trolley is imperative. But to get the refrigerator on the trolley, you will need someone’s help. Gently rock the appliance and slide the trolley underneath it. After you do that, fix it firmly, so it doesn’t accidentally slip on its way to the truck. Use moving straps or automatic tighteners to secure the refrigerator length-wise.

Push the trolley slowly for a couple of inches back and forward to check if it’s fixed properly. Only after you’re sure it is safe, add the last protective surface layer. A simple blanket should do the job. Of course, this layer won’t help soften the blow if the refrigerator falls off the trolley, but it will prevent any potential surface damage from bumping when getting it through doors and narrow spaces.

How to move a refrigerator downstairs

If you have a trolley, moving the refrigerator down the stairs shouldn’t be that hard. The key to successfully executing this task is to take it slow and be patient. Also, having someone to navigate you would help a lot. First, take a deep breath and tilt a dolly at a 45 degrees angle. Then, push it very slowly, one step at a time, with one person in front of you to support the bottom and sides. Moving it up the stairs to your new home shouldn’t be hard if you use the same approach.

Loading a refrigerator into a truck

We can all agree that unloading heavy objects is almost always easier than loading them. But when it comes to loading a refrigerator onto a pickup truck, a simple plank should help the trolley safely climb. Once it’s up, make sure to tightly secure it on the top and from side to side. Only when it’s firmly bound without the possibility of moving can you start the truck and move it to your new home.

Needles to say, your work doesn’t end here. Refrigerators are very delicate and expensive. So whoever is driving the moving truck needs to be careful to avoid any bumping along the way.

The unloading of the refrigerator from the truck shouldn’t be an issue if you use the same plank method. However, both loading and unloading require the engagement of at least two people, so make sure to have someone to help you out.

A big refrigerator in a small kitchen

Refrigerators come in many sizes. Make sure to read the manual before starting the moving process.

How long should you wait before turning it on?

When it comes to turning on the refrigerator after the move, the appropriate time can vary depending on many factors. Some experts might tell you to plug it in after half an hour, while others suggest waiting for 3 hours. The essential tips for moving your refrigerator can help you execute this project, but only after consulting the manual. Since there are various models of refrigerators, the answer to when to turn it on after moving will depend on the manufacturer. Still, whenever you turn it on, remember it needs time to reach its optimum temperature. So, before putting back the food, make sure it has had 24 hours to achieve the right temperature that will keep your food fresh.

Things to avoid when transferring your refrigerator 

The task ahead of you is not that easy, so make sure to follow four golden rules when moving a bulky and expensive appliance:

  • During the move, refrigerators need to stand upright. You should never place it on the side.
  • Read the manual.
  • Ask for professional help and advice.
  • Don’t play the hero. Even if you have a trolley to push it to the moving van, you will need all the help you can get.

Refrigerators are big and heavy, but they have a specific mechanism. And like any delicate equipment, they need extra care and special handling. However, if you follow the essential tips for moving your refrigerator, you can be sure the relocation process will be successful. It might be a bit more complicated than moving other items, but there is a solution for everything with proper guidance and a lot of patience.

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Load Bottom Rack

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Load Utensil Holder

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