How to Move a Built-In Refrigerator

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Make sure that you secure the doors of a built in refrigerator when moving it.
Image Credit: Andreas von Einsiedel/Corbis Documentary/GettyImages

When your built-in refrigerator needs to be replaced, it can feel like an overwhelming task. The surrounding custom cabinetry or other accommodations that make the appliance so desirable can also create a headache when pulling the refrigerator from its nook.

Moving a built-in refrigerator takes some exploring of the appliance's situation within the cabinetry as well as the proper tools and careful methods.

Built-In Fridge Breakdown

They're considered high-end and can increase the value of your home. Considering that it's custom, each built-in appliance has its own unique set of issues. They're made to look flush with the rest of the kitchen cabinets and often blend in seamlessly with the design.

If you're replacing a built-in refrigerator with counter-depth cabinets, do some thorough research of the custom cabinet. Find out how and where it's attached. Look under shelving and cabinets that are connected to the built-in fridge compartment. This can ensure that you don't tug out surrounding connected cabinets by accident.

If the installer is still available, reach out to them and ask if they have the plans from when the built-in appliance was placed in the cabinetry. This can make it much easier in knowing what needs to be removed, where hinges and electrical parts are located and if there are any precautions to take in order to remove the appliance without damaging it or the surrounding cabinetry.

Precautions for Moving a Fridge

There are some precautions to keep in mind to save you and the hulking appliance from suffering any damage. Refrigerators are also difficult to move because they tend to be top-heavy. This job is best completed by two able and healthy people.

Bob Vila recommends that all shelving and drawers be removed to make the job of moving the appliance easier. If the refrigerator is too awkward to move, remove the doors as well. This can have the added benefit of reducing the heft of the appliance as well as taking some of that weight from the top.

When ready to move, carefully tilt the refrigerator onto an appliance dolly. Always keep the fridge at less than 90 degrees to keep fluids in the inner workings of the appliance from leaking into areas that can damage the machines or finishes.

Built-in Refrigerator Removal

Before you begin to take out the fridge, Home Depot suggests that you put down a floor protector and thin cardboard or planks to allow the appliance to slide out without damaging the floor. Turn off the water supply at the valve and disconnect the water lines.

Remove the brackets that hold the surrounding frame of the built-in fridge in place. The fridge should now be free of its custom casings. If it still resists sliding out from its nook, look along the lower and middle cabinet areas for brackets and restricting bands, shims or screws.

Once the refrigerator is free from its housing, unplug it. Wrap the cord and clean the coils to make the move easy and lessen the amount of dirt that the refrigerator will track through your home on its way out. To prevent scratches and dings, wrap the refrigerator in bubble wrap or moving blankets.

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Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing for a variety of clients, including The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal Home section and other national publications. As a professional writer she has researched, interviewed sources and written about home improvement, interior design and related business trends. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her full bio and clips can be viewed at www.vegaswriter.com.

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