How to Move a Refrigerator to a Different Room

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Moving a fridge and freezer from one room to another poses several challenges, but none are insurmountable.
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Moving a fridge and freezer from one room to another poses several challenges, but none are insurmountable. First and foremost, a standard kitchen refrigerator/freezer weighs about 300 pounds when empty. Second, it's awkward to handle and wrangle a refrigerator, even if it's on the lighter side. But most importantly, a refrigerator has to stay as upright as possible when being moved in order to prevent oil from flowing into the coolant tubes.

Therefore, moving your house's fridge/freezer to another area requires some planning and preparation to keep the fridge working properly and to keep everyone safe during its transit. Follow these tips and advice for moving a refrigerator in your home.

Prepare the New Space

Before you go any further with moving your fridge, make sure you have a space cleared out for it and that you have a clutter-free route to travel as well. Put the fridge in a place that has enough space for the door to open and has an available outlet to plug it in.

If you're permanently moving the fridge rather than simply getting it out of the way for a kitchen renovation, keep in mind that you won't be able to use any built-in ice machines or water dispensers unless the fridge is connected to a water supply. This might influence where you choose to place the fridge.

Empty the Fridge

Now that you know exactly where you'll put the fridge and you have a clean, safe route to get there, it's time to take everything out of the fridge. That includes all food, drawers and shelves. You don't need anything rolling around, breaking or spilling inside the fridge while you move it. It's actually a great opportunity to discard any old foods from your fridge and freezer.

Because you're only moving the fridge to another area in the home, and it shouldn't be out of commission for too long, you can safely set food items out on the counter. If you're concerned about anything defrosting or spoiling before you can get it back into the fridge, place it in a cooler with some ice.

Set all racks, drawers and shelves aside. You can choose to wipe them down if they need a little cleaning or you can do it after the fridge has been moved.

Prepare the Fridge for Transport

Next, you'll want to secure the fridge's doors so that they don't swing open as you move it. They can inadvertently cause damage to anything they bang into, including your walls or fingers. Simply tie a rope around the entirety of the fridge to secure its door and then repeat with the freezer section.

With another person's help, slide the fridge forward until you can access the plug and the water supply (if applicable). Turn off the water supply to the fridge before disconnecting it. Look for the spigot handle closest to the fridge along the water pipe leading to the fridge and turn it clockwise to shut the valve. Test the water dispense feature on the fridge to confirm that the water supply is off and then disconnect the water supply.

Finally, unplug the fridge. Secure both the water supply hose and the electric plug to the fridge (or to the rope surrounding the fridge) with a zip tie or another piece of rope. While you're at it, vacuum the back of the fridge if needed so you don't move a bunch of dust throughout your home while moving your fridge/freezer from one room to another.

Moving Fridge/Freezer Advice: Furniture Dolly

There are two ways you can move your fridge from one room to another: place it on a furniture dolly (also known as a hand truck) or slide it across the floor. Both are much easier and safer if you have at least one other person helping you. Placing the refrigerator on a furniture dolly is definitely the way to go if you need to navigate steps along the way. Place the bottom of the furniture dolly under the refrigerator, as close to the middle as possible and use a large bungee cord to secure the fridge to the furniture dolly to prevent it from slipping off.

Gently tilt the dolly back to lift the fridge. It will be heavy, so take your time and have someone help you guide the fridge as you move it. Take care not to tilt the fridge more than necessary in order to avoid contaminating the coolant tubes with oil. Even when the fridge is upright again, the oil can linger in these tubes, and your refrigerator won't cool down like it's supposed to.

Take stairs one at a time and have at least one person behind and in front of the fridge to keep it balanced. If you're going up stairs, face backward and pull the fridge up one step at a time. If you're going down stairs, position the fridge in front of you and roll it down one step at a time, letting it rest on each step while you move your feet into position for the next push. Of course, if you have any sort of back problem, you should definitely recruit help for this task and assume the role of the supervisor.

Sliding Fridge Across the Floor

If you don't want to hassle with a furniture dolly and you don't have very far to go with the fridge, you can always slide it across the floor. The catch, of course, is that you don't want to scratch up the floor as you go, so you'll need to choose a method to protect your floor.

If you have them, you can simply place padded furniture movers under each corner of the fridge. A cheaper option is to use pieces of cardboard. Use a flat pry bar to lift each corner of the fridge as you maneuver the protective material into place. This method works nicely as long as the furniture movers or cardboard stays in place, but if they slip or you have to pass over carpet, choose the plywood method.

The plywood method requires two thin pieces of plywood that are large enough for the entire fridge to slide on top of. You start by laying one piece of plywood in front of the refrigerator and sliding it onto the wood (with a friend's help since refrigerators are heavy). Then you place the second piece of plywood in front of the refrigerator and slide it onto that one. Move your original piece of plywood in front of the fridge, slide it on, and repeat this leapfrog process until you've successfully brought your refrigerator to its new destination. Then slide it off the final piece of plywood and onto the floor.

Set Up the Refrigerator Again

Before you officially park the refrigerator flush against the wall, don't forget to attach the water supply (if applicable) and to plug in the refrigerator. Since it hasn't been unplugged for long, it should get back to its proper temperature very quickly. Untie the doors and re-assemble the shelves and drawers in the fridge and freezer. Finally, replace the food and give yourself a pat on the back.

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Cathy Habas enjoys distilling even the most complicated home improvement tasks into bite-sized pieces. She believes in empowering homeowners one article at a time.

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