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Project Guide

How to Move a Refrigerator

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Measure the Refrigerator and Make a Plan
A person measuring a refrigerator.

Before moving a refrigerator, consider the size of your refrigerator to make sure you’ll be able to remove it from the kitchen, out of the home and into the new house.


Tip: Schedule a helper to assist you with the move. The cumbersome size and heavy weight of the unit (between 200 and 400 pounds on average) make moving a refrigerator a two-person project. 

  • Measure the height, width and depth of the unit.
  • Measure the width and height of nearby doors and openings.
  • Consult our guide on how to measure a refrigerator for more detailed information.
  • Map out the path you’ll take, making note of stairs, sidewalk cracks and curbs along the route.
  • Make note of any exterior doors that may have to be removed in order to get the unit out of the house.
  • Arrange for moving truck rental ahead of time so you will be certain of having transport on the day you need it.
  • Take stock of all the moving supplies needed to pack and move the refrigerator and purchase them well ahead of moving day.
Empty and Unplug the Refrigerator
An empty refrigerator in a kitchen.

Make sure you leave several days before your move to empty and clean the refrigerator. It will be essential for the refrigerator to be dry, clean and at room temperature before the actual move.

  • Remove all contents from inside the refrigerator and freezer.
  • Use coolers for temporary storage of perishable items and use them up quickly. If this is not feasible, you may want to give the items away or discard them.
  • After the refrigerator is pulled away from the wall, unplug the power cord and roll it up so it doesn’t drag or get in the way while moving. Use packing tape from your moving supplies kit to secure the cord to the side of the refrigerator.
  • Disconnect the water supply line, if present.
  • Defrost the freezer compartment, if needed. Collect the water and ice and throw it away and clean up any water that makes it to the floor.
  • Thoroughly clean the inside of the refrigerator with cleaning supplies, then dry with a clean, soft cloth.
  • Open the unit’s doors and allow it to dry completely before moving, especially if moving long distances. 
  • If you detect any odors, leave an open box of baking soda on the shelves until moving day. Discard the baking soda when you begin the move.
Protect Your Floors
A person laying vinyl planks to protect floors while moving a refrigerator.

Knowing how to move a fridge without scratching the floor will help make your move go more smoothly. 

  • Use a floor protector to prevent damage to your floors when moving a refrigerator out from the wall.
  • Another option is to use felt furniture slider pads and spare laminate flooring panels.
  • Whichever you choose, tilt the refrigerator slightly away from you, just high enough to slide the protector under the front casters on the left and right side.
  • Once the floor protector is in place, gently slide the refrigerator away from the wall and toward the desired location.
Prepare the Refrigerator for Moving
A person assisting with moving a refrigerator strapped to a dolly.

When the refrigerator is away from walls, prepare the unit for moving.

  • Remove refrigerator doors, if necessary, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Be sure to safely store all mounting hardware to reattach the doors at the new location.
  • Secure or take out adjustable shelves and drawers that could become loose during the move. If the shelves are glass, remove them and pack them securely in a separate container.
  • Wrap the refrigerator with moving blankets to protect its finish while moving.
  • Place an appliance dolly at the center of one side of the unit.
  • Have a helper tilt the refrigerator slightly while you slip the dolly base underneath it.
  • Tighten the dolly straps around the refrigerator.
Plan for Transporting the Refrigerator
Two people loading a refrigerator onto a truck.

Some DIY movers ask, can you lay a refrigerator on its back? The answer is no. A refrigerator should never be transported on its back; the weight of the fridge can damage internal parts, and the internal fluids such as the oil inside the motor; or the refrigerant may shift and settle in undesirable places in the machine’s system.

A refrigerator should really only be transported in an upright position. If you are deciding how to transport a refrigerator in a pickup truck, trailer or moving truck, remember that it’s best to keep the refrigerator upright, and rent or borrow a vehicle that will allow for that positioning.

While it also isn’t advisable to transport a refrigerator on its side, this is an option if the move is over a short time or distance. The unit should rest on the side that is opposite from where the compressor lines are installed. For example, if the compressor lines are attached to the compressor on the left side of the refrigerator, then it can be transported laying on its right side.

If the refrigerator has been laid on its side, it should remain in an upright position for up to 24 hours before attempting to reconnect and run it. In general, once the refrigerator has been returned to the upright position after moving it, allow it to rest for approximately twice the length of time it was kept in the flat position. For example, if the unit was on its side for four hours, allow it to remain upright for eight hours in the new place before plugging it in and turning it on.

Move the Refrigerator
Two people moving a refrigerator.
  • With the helper’s assistance, tilt the refrigerator back and ensure that the unit is evenly balanced on the dolly.
  • When you need to set it down, do so gently and with your assistant helping to guide it.
  • Take stairs one at a time and keep the dolly at a 45-degree angle. The other person should be below the fridge to guide it and help ease it up or down each step.
  • Carefully guide the dolly and refrigerator to your moving truck.
  • Use a ramp to make loading the refrigerator easier.
  • Walk backward and pull the load up the ramp instead of attempting to push it up the incline. Have your helper guide and assist from the opposite side of the dolly.
  • Leave the unit strapped to the dolly, if it isn’t needed to move other appliances. This will make it easier to unload the refrigerator at the new location.
  • Secure the dolly and refrigerator with moving straps around its top and sides and fasten to the truck.

We have the tools to make your project easier. You can rent an appliance dolly or trailer from The Home Depot and we also have moving truck rental.