Can You Lay a Freezer Down to Move It?

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When it comes to moving, you should follow the same procedure with refrigerators and upright freezers, and the procedure should never involve laying the unit in its side. Sometimes you can't avoid doing that; for example, it may be necessary to get the unit through a doorway. In that case, you should wait several hours after righting the machine -- preferably overnight -- before you plug it in.

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The Problem

Both refrigerators and freezers have coils containing a refrigerant that continuously changes it state from liquid to gas when the unit is on. Setting the unit on its side displaces the refrigerant, and some of the liquid can seep into the evaporative coils, where only gas should be present.

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When you right the machine, the liquid drains out, but because the aperture is very small, this can take a long time. It's best to wait the maximum recommended time -- eight hours, or overnight -- before plugging in the unit. It's even better, though, if the liquid doesn't get in there in the first place.

How to Move a Freezer

You should never try to move a freezer by yourself. You need at least one other person, and you should also have a dolly.

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Step 1

Unplug the refrigerator at least two hours before you move it to give it time to defrost. If the coils are heavily frosted, unplug the unit several hours or even a day before moving it. Remove everything from inside, including any trays or racks.

Step 2

Close the doors and tape them shut with duct tape. If it's going to take longer than 24 hours to move the freezer, consider placing a charcoal filter inside to absorb odors. Tape it to the inside of the compartment. Tape the plug to the back of the unit to keep it out of the way.

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Step 3

Tilt the freezer to one side or the other and slip a dolly underneath. Slide the dolly in as far as it will go, then let the freezer down. Secure the freezer to the dolly with bungee cords.

Warning

Do not insert the dolly from the front or back of the freezer. Doing so could result in damage to the freezer.

Step 4

Tilt the unit toward the dolly side as little as possible when transporting it. If you have to lay the freezer on its side to get it through a door or down a flight of stairs, minimize the amount of time that it's on its side.

Tip

In most cases you shouldn't have to lay the freezer flat. You can get it through doorways by tilting it just enough to clear the top jamb, and it's usually easier to walk it down stairs than it is to carry it.

Step 5

Set the freezer upright when you get it to its new location. If you had to lay it on its side, wait until morning to plug it in.

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