Step-by-Step Tips for moving a fridge freezer when relocating

April 04 2024

Fridge freezers are a must-have for every household that needs a reliable food storage space. They are also an indispensable part of the equipment of restaurants and stores of various sorts. Arranging transport for a bulky appliance such as a refrigerator can be a pretty complex endeavor. It doesn’t matter whether you want just a single refrigerator moved from point A to point B, or it is a part of a large house moving project, it requires ample time and a lot of effort. The process comes with quite a substantial risk of injuries if not done properly, so it is just one more thing to be aware of. Fortunately, there are ways to prepare and carry out moving a refrigerator or a freezer in a relatively safe, hassle-free manner. There are just a few things that you need to know in advance to spare yourself from the headaches of accidents happening, like why refrigerators should be transported upright.

Securing both the refrigerator and freezer doors with strong adhesive tape can prevent them from swinging open during the move, adding an extra layer of safety and convenience.

Is it safe to move a fridge freezer?

Safety is a legitimate concern when moving a fridge freezer. The size, dimensions, and weight of this type of appliance make it potentially dangerous to move, especially on your own. For that reason, you should have at least two people tackling the task. If you approach the job with the due care and don’t rush it, you can rest assured that moving your refrigerator and freezer – even if it involves obstacles such as a flight of stairs and challenges like loading it on a transport van – can be done with a reasonable degree of safety. Taking the time to prepare for the job and having enough time to spare on every step is the number one safety tip that you need to follow.

Remove everything from the inside the fridge freezer

The first thing to do before you can make sure you can lay a refrigerator of any size on the van, or even move it from one room of your home to another, is to make sure it is completely empty. Freezers are generally used to store food, so empty them of all the stuff that is currently inside them.

Do not forget to remove ice cube trays and any accumulated ice to prevent water leakage. 

Remove the shelves, including those of the doors if the specific model of your refrigerator has it. Because a fridge freezer can store quite a bit of items, it might be a good idea to start preparing for the move a few weeks in advance by taking out and cooking the food it currently holds. This is especially true if you do not have any other space to put it in for the time being. Another option would be to give away the food to friends, family, neighbors, or even a nearby charity.

Can you move a fridge freezer or refrigerator without defrosting?

Another question you should ask yourself is whether or not you can move the refrigerator-freezer without defrosting it. That will save you a lot of time and effort, as well as additional work. This could be done under two conditions:

In case you are moving the fridge freezer at a short distance. No matter how good the insulation is, if your new home is several hours away you will not be able to transport the refrigerator without it defrosting and making a mess on the van, potentially damaging other boxes that you have along.

If you can safely secure the cord and the doors for the hours that you will be moving the refrigerator, bring it up and down the flights of stairs and do the other work that you need to take care of to install it at your new home or place of business. In the perfect scenario, you should be able to do that while maintaining the freezer in an upright position at all times.

Unplug and defrost the refrigerator

In most cases, you will need to defrost the fridge-freezer before you load it on the truck and drive it to the new location. It is highly advisable to do it even if it is a relatively short trip because that will make the freezer lighter – and every pound counts when it comes to lifting bulky appliances. Ensure to keep the fridge upright during this process to prevent any leakage of compressor oil, which is crucial for the proper functioning of the cooling tubes. Make sure to leave the refrigerator and freezer in an upright position while defrosting.

Moving home is a time-consuming and expensive endeavor and it is only natural that you feel tempted to save as much time as possible, but that should not come at the expense of your personal health and safety.

So unplug the cord and wait enough time for the refrigerator to defrost. Depending on the type and size of the fridge or freezer, it may take anything from a couple of hours to overnight. After a sufficient number of hours have passed, make sure to wipe any water spills on the floors and dry up the insides of the appliance. A clean fridge slightly tilted can help direct water towards the drainage point, making cleanup easier. Give it a good clean before you load it on the truck so that you don’t have to worry about cleaning it once you get to your new home and be able to plug it back at the moment you unload it from the truck. Pay special attention to having no moisture getting into the compressor to avoid any damage when you start the refrigerator back up.

Cleaning Tips for Your Fridge or Freezer

woman cleaning a fridge with gloves

When your refrigerator is emptied of all perishable items and properly defrosted, it is the perfect time to clean it properly. It is worth it to use the following pro-tips:

  • Use a clean cloth and specialized cleaning products for such appliances
  • Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda on the insides of the fridge or freezer that will absorb all unpleasant smells in just a couple of hours.
  • Combine cleaning the fridge with cleaning your other furniture to take care of the bulk of your end-of-tenancy cleaning at once.

Use a moving dolly and the right equipment for transporting appliances

Professional movers have a variety of moving tools that help them transport heavy items such as freezers and appliances. These include a moving dolly, bungee cords, tape to shut the doors and secure the shelves on the inside, and even bubble wrap to secure the compressor. Utilizing moving straps can greatly increase the safety and efficiency of the task, ensuring you and your helpers can manage the fridge or freezer safely and keep the door shut throughout the process. Talking about the compressor of your refrigerator, it is common knowledge that due to the liquids it contains and to avoid damage, it is best to transport the fridge freezer in an upright position at all times.

a man moving a fridge on a trolley

There is a probability that you won’t be able to do that at all times. For example, you might have to lay the fridge on the floor to make sure it goes through a tight door it won’t go through upright. Using a measuring tape to assess doorways and the fridge can prevent such predicaments, ensuring a smoother transition through tight spaces. This will not automatically break your refrigerator, but just remember not to plug it in immediately after you unload it from the truck at your new place. However, if you want to make sure that the transportation goes smoothly and you have secured the freezer the best you possibly can get yourself the necessary equipment that will help you with the heavy lifting. Always make sure the moving truck is equipped with the right facilities to support the fridge upright, securing it firmly to minimize movement during transit. It is not necessary to buy everything – the dolly, the bungee cord, the moving blankets. You can just hire them from your removal company. They will also be able to help you with more tips and even explain to you in detail why you should transport the freezer upright, for instance.

If you can’t leave the freezer or refrigerator stand upright

Carefully place the appliance on the ground and secure the power cord and doors. Make sure the shelves and other removable parts are either removed or taped securely on the inside the fridge. Carefully move the fridge from room to room and down the stairs, until you reach the van. If you have rented the right type of moving truck, you should be able to load it in an upright position. Secure the freezer with moving belts and blankets and arrange the other furniture and boxes around it. If possible, unload it first from the van and place it at its new position in the kitchen or storage room, but don’t plug it in immediately.

When can I Turn my Refrigerator Back on After Moving?

Ideally, you should take enough time – usually at least six hours, before plugging in the fridge or freezer when you haven’t transported it in an upright position. If you do that, you will avoid damaging the compressor and having to pay a lump sum of money for repairs or getting a new appliance.

Fortunately, there should be enough additional tasks related to your house moving project that you can concern yourself with that you will not notice when these hours have passed. Once you make sure that your fridge or freezer is up and running again, you can start slowly but certainly fill it up with food again.