How to Move a Refrigerator in Different Situations [Detailed Guide]

Looking for how to move a refrigerator? You will be surprised to find there are easy ways to do it in different situations.

How to Move a Refrigerator in Different Situations

How to Move a Big Refrigerator

There are two reasons for moving a refrigerator, heavy or not. One is to clean it around and under it, and two is to transport it to another location. For cleaning, empty the refrigerator and store the foods in a well-insulated cooler. You will need to keep the foods cold for the duration of the cleaning process.

Next, turn the thermostat off and disconnect the refrigerator from electric power. Then, turn off the water supply valve that supplies water to the ice maker if it applies to your unit. Protect the floor from scratches, especially if it is a wood floor, by taping cardboard or stiff paper along the path of moving the appliance.

Now, raise the refrigerator’s legs the highest they can go. Slowly slide the unit onto the cardboard and away from the wall. While doing this, ensure every connected cable and line is out of the moving path. Otherwise, they may get damaged. Then, move the refrigerator from that spot until it is fully clear of it, and you can commence cleaning.

Moving to Another Location

If you want to move a big or heavy refrigerator to another location, you will need a bigger and stronger dolly than the average one. You may need someone to help you because of its size and weight. It is also important to empty the refrigerator to make it lighter, and that is because you will have a hard time moving a refrigerator with all its contents.

Roll the refrigerator on its wheels or legs, bend it a little to the back, and go slowly. The front legs or wheels should lift off the floor as you do this so that you can quickly move it. Together with your helper, place the wheels or legs on furniture movers. You can hold the front while your helper tilts the back to put a mover under the two back legs. Then, reverse the position to do the same for the front legs.

Once the floor is flat, you can move the refrigerator around until you get to the appliance dolly. That means you have to keep the dolly in a place where you can easily reach it. If you would rather, you can eliminate using furniture movers if you can get the dolly close to the refrigerator’s location.

Move the refrigerator and push the dolly behind it. Next, slide it beneath the appliance until it balances on the dolly. Most appliance dollys have straps to secure the appliances they ferry. So, secure the refrigerator with the available straps. They help keep the doors from opening and the refrigerator from moving on the dolly.

Tilt the dolly backward towards you as you hold it behind the refrigerator. The appliance will tilt backward and rest its weight on the dolly’s wheels. It is easy to roll the dolly with the refrigerator that way, as long as you move forward. Your helper can clear the path in front of you and guide the dolly as you move.

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Preparing to Move the Refrigerator

If you are moving the refrigerator by yourself, there are things to do to prepare. While moving a large and heavy refrigerator alone is not advisable, you cannot help it sometimes. So, apart from the appliance dolly and furniture movers, get a tape measure, cleaning supplies, and an insulated cooler to store food.

Using the tape measure, measure the doorways and other openings through which you will move the refrigerator. Then, come back to the appliance and measure it. Ensure you get the breadth, width, and height. That way, you will know if the refrigerator can pass through them. If the appliance is bigger, it is time to think of ways to reduce the size. Consider uninstalling the refrigerator doors and titling the appliance to different angles to help it get through.

When you empty the refrigerator, you can store perishable food items in a cooler. Put packs of ice in it to preserve the foods. The duration of the movement and the size of the food will determine how much ice you will need. Afterward, allow the refrigerator to sit for a while if there is frost in it. At this point, you must have disconnected it from electric power. You may want to open the doors to speed up the defrost process.

You can opt to clean the refrigerator, boht the interior and exterior parts. Mix water and baking soda, and using a sponge, scrub the refrigerator. Afterward, dry the refrigerator with paper towels or a clean, dry towel.

Note: These steps apply to all heavy refrigerators, including industrial and commercial refrigerators.

How to Move a Large Fridge by Yourself

You must empty the fridge before moving it, following the steps detailed above. It reduces the appliance’s weight, making the process easier for you. Also, consider cleaning the appliance before moving to avoid having to when you arrive at your destination.

Afterward, get an appliance dolly and balance it on a flat floor. Next, slightly tilt the fridge to one side and slide the appliance dolly beneath it. Ensure it is balanced on the dolly before moving to the next step. Wrap the dolly’s cargo straps around the fridge when it is secure. They secure the doors to the fridge’s body and the fridge to the dolly.

It is crucial to keep the appliance upright. Do not move or transport a fridge on its side. Otherwise, oil from the compressor may leak into the cooling system and cause irreparable damages. Now, tilt the dolly at an angle of 45 degrees to move the fridge. Wheel it to the intended destination or moving van. Secure it with straps if you are using a truck or car to transport it.

Note: You may not be able to move a large fridge down flights of stairs yourself so, you will need someone to help you in such a situation.

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How to Move a Refrigerator through a Narrow Door

Set the refrigerator on an appliance dolly, roll it towards the door, and turn it so that the side with the hinge faces the door. When you are about four feet away from the door, open the refrigerator’s door so that it lines up sideways with the appliance.

Move the dolly through the narrow door, twisting and turning it as you go. Close the refrigerator door when you have passed through the door. If the refrigerator is a side-by-side model, open one door first, roll the dolly partway through the door, and open the other door.

Best Way to Move a Refrigerator Down Stairs

You will need someone to help you move the refrigerator downstairs. Put the refrigerator on a dolly and have your helper hold it in front while you hold it at the back or vice versa. Move the dolly to bend at an angle of 45 degrees towards the back. Then, the person holding it at the back must balance it on the dolly’s wheels.

Next, begin to move slowly down the stairs, taking it one step at a time. You must move carefully if you are behind the dolly so that you do not push the weight of the dolly onto the person in front of it. Pull or push the dolly as you go down without lifting it. Keep the pace until you reach the foot of the stairs.

Can I Move a Refrigerator Laying Down?

It is not ideal to move a refrigerator by laying it down, whether on its side or back. The best position to keep a refrigerator when moving it is upright, at most, resting at an angle. Laying it down may cause refrigerant to flow into areas it should not go, and it can cause damages.

However, keeping a refrigerator upright while moving is not always possible. Sometimes, you will have no other choice than to lay it down. If you find yourself in such a situation, ensure you adequately pad the surface on which it will lay before putting it down. Then, use straps to secure it so that it does not move while in transit.

It is crucial to lay the side with the hinge facing up when transporting it. That way, the door will not snap open while in transit and damage the refrigerator. Another option is to wrap straps around the doors to keep them shut. You can also lay it on its back if it is flat and has no significant component attached to it. But this position may cause irreparable damages because the refrigerator’s weight can destroy internal components without even getting them exposed.

One way to reduce oil from the compressor leaking into the cooling system is to lay the refrigerator on a side that makes the compressor tube face up instead of down. For example, you should place the refrigerator on its right side if the compressor tube runs out the left side. That will also mean securing the doors with straps if the position will mean the hinge side will face down.

Can I Move a Refrigerator in the Rain?

You can move a refrigerator in the rain if it is not raining heavily. A slight drizzle will not damage the refrigerator but ensure you thoroughly dry the appliance when you get to your destination. Doing that will eliminate the chances of rust and electric shock.

However, moving a refrigerator when it is heavily raining may not be ideal. Consider wrapping the refrigerator in the box it originally came in, making sure to use extra padding. You can also use plastic wraps and moving blankets to give the refrigerator an extra layer of protection.

How to Move a Refrigerator into a House

Once you arrive at your destination after moving a refrigerator, find someone to help you unload it. Then, use the dolly to move the refrigerator into the building and, with the helper, move it upstairs. If you do not need to move up any stairs, all the better.

Place the refrigerator next to the corner of the house where you want it before unloading it from the dolly. Next, unwrap the straps around it and do the same to the moving blankets if you used any. Then, slowly rock the appliance backward to get it securely into the position you want it. 

Do not forget to arrange the shelves and rack that may have gone out of position during transportation. Leave the refrigerator standing unplugged for an hour so that it can settle. Afterward, plug it into a dedicated wall outlet or extension.

How to Move a Refrigerator Out of a Tight Space

Refrigerators have wheels or rollers that enable you to move them conveniently without lifting them. So, use a pry bar to lift the front part of the refrigerator and slide furniture movers under it. Then, you can easily slide it out of place with the movers. 

A rolling pin or sliding marbles also works if you do not have movers. Otherwise, remove the bottom kickplate and try pulling it free from the space by pulling it toward you with something sturdy hooked under it. Once it is free from confinement, it can roll out independently. You can also try throwing a sturdy rope around it, making a loose knot, and pulling the refrigerator out.

It is not ideal to have a refrigerator fitted into a tight space due to ventilation. A refrigerator needs to have a few inches of space to encourage proper ventilation around the coils and compressor. Otherwise, they will overheat and cause cooling problems.

How to Move Refrigerator on Vinyl Floor

To move a refrigerator across a vinyl floor without destroying the floor, place quarter-inch sheets of plywood or some similar material on it. Ensure you place it through the path the refrigerator will take to the exit. The sheets should be broad and sturdy enough not to crack and bear the wheels on all sides.

Next, empty the refrigerator of all foods. If it has a freezer compartment, which it likely does, do the same. Store the frozen food in a cooler with packs of ice. Disconnect the appliance from electric power and clean it inside and out if you want. Then, close the doors and lock them or secure them with straps to keep them from opening during movement.

Now, move the refrigerator away from the surrounding walls and push it slightly to the side. From there, slide an appliance dolly under it and secure it to the dolly with moving straps. Roll the dolly down the path made with plywood until you are out of the room. Finally, remove the plywood to reveal unscathed vinyl flooring.

Note: You can move a refrigerator over laminate flooring using the same method.

How to Move a Refrigerator Upstairs with a Dolly

While the refrigerator is on the dolly, get someone to help you. When you find someone, one of you should hold the top part of the dolly while the other holds the bottom part. Next, tilt it to an angle of 45 degrees to bend the dolly. Then, move slowly up the stairs, taking it one step after another. Ensure none of you pushes the weight onto the other, and the person in front of the dolly should guide the movement.

How to Move a Refrigerator without a Dolly

It is not easy to move a refrigerator without a dolly, especially if it is heavy, but it is not impossible. You will need to find a partner to help you, and you will need to set up a ramp, get furniture gliders, and protect the floor, as this article explains in detail. The same steps apply if you want to move a refrigerator without a dolly, except you will not need to use stairs.

How Long Should a Fridge Be Off Before Moving?

A fridge should be off for about 24 hours before moving it. This time is not set in stone, but it helps the fridge defrost if there is ice. The more important aspect is to allow the fridge to stand unplugged for about four hours after getting to your destination.


If you are moving to a new location, it is crucial to know how to move a refrigerator. While the appliance can be quite sturdy, it needs proper care and attention if you want to prolong its life. Therefore, follow our guide to transport a refrigerator safely from one place to another or even move it for cleaning purposes.

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