How to Adjust Refrigerator Wheels

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It is important to adjust your refrigerator wheels to make sure that it is level.
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Refrigerator wheels, also called appliance casters, make easier work of moving this heavy appliance so you clean behind or underneath it. Some appliance-moving wheels are adjustable, which you can use to level your fridge. Depending on your refrigerator model, you may see nonadjustable refrigerator rollers, adjustable/leveling refrigerator rollers or leveling legs.

Leveling Goal for Refrigerator Rollers

When using refrigerator rollers to level a refrigerator, it doesn't mean that you're trying to adjust the fridge to be perfectly level — or at least not level from front to back. From side to side, it does need to be completely level. But the front of the refrigerator should be slightly higher than the back; typically a 1/4 to a 1/2 inch higher.

Importance of Adjustable Refrigerator Wheels

Properly leveling with refrigerator wheels allows the doors to close automatically without slamming shut. If a fridge leans to one side or the front, it can cause the coolant to pool in the pipes, which makes the pump work harder and decreases the efficiency of the refrigerator. An improperly tilted refrigerator can also cause the ice maker to malfunction and the freezer's defrost cycle not to drain as it should.

Adjusting Refrigerator Wheels

Before you can adjust refrigerator wheels, you'll have to remove the grille or kickplate at the bottom front to access the wheels. Depending on the model of your fridge, the grille may be held in place by screws or quick-release clips or it may snap off with a firm tug toward you. Check the user manual for the proper steps for removing the grille. For safety, interrupt the power to your refrigerator before removing the grille by unplugging the appliance or turning off the circuit breaker that provides electricity to it.

If your refrigerator has height-adjustable wheels, find the adjustment screw that's typically located at or near the top of each wheel. Most wheels can be adjusted by simply turning the screw clockwise to raise the front of the refrigerator or by turning it counterclockwise to lower it. Consult the user manual for the recommended adjustment method for your refrigerator model.

You may find it easier to turn the adjustment screws if someone else helps you by gently pushing back on the top of the refrigerator to take the weight off the legs. It will also save you from standing up and crouching back down again if a helper checks a level placed on top of the refrigerator to make sure the fridge is still level from side to side after you adjust the back-to-front tilt.

Achieving a Proper Tilt

Ideally, refrigerator doors should gently close by themselves without slamming shut when they're opened to a 45-degree angle. When the doors are opened to a 90-degree angle, they should stay open. Measure the distance from the floor to the bottom front of your fridge and from the floor to the bottom back of your fridge to make sure that the front is a 1/4 to a 1/2 inch higher than the back.

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Victoria Lee Blackstone is a horticulturist and a professional writer who has authored research-based scientific/technical papers, horticultural articles, and magazine and newspaper columns. Her writing expertise covers diverse industries, including horticulture, home maintenance and DIY projects, banking, finance, law and tax. Blackstone has written more than 2,000 published works for newspapers, magazines, online publications and individual clients.

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