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Can You Move A Refrigerator On It’s Side? (How To Properly Move One)

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Having been in the moving industry for over 15 years, I know that one of the most common questions asked is about moving refrigerators. Refrigerators can be tricky to move, especially if you don’t have a large truck or the right equipment. One of the most common questions I get asked is: Can you move a refrigerator on its side? My simple answer:

No, you should not move or store a refrigerator on its side. When a refrigerator is laid on its side, the oil in the compressor will flow from the compressor tube into the coolant lines. This doesn’t automatically mean that it will break, but it can be risky depending on the type of refrigerator you have.

If you already moved your refrigerator on its side… If you happened to have moved it on its side, it must sit in an upright position for the same amount of time it was on its side (max 24 hours). This will allow any oil that may have flowed into the coolant lines to have enough time to return to the compressor and clear the coolant lines.

How To Move A Refrigerator Properly It is best to keep the refrigerator in as much of an upright position as possible. Also, it is best to always have one other person help with loading and unloading the refrigerator. Here are some recommended items you’ll need to to ensure safe transport:

Items Needed

  • Moving Truck or Pickup Truck
  • Appliance Dolly w/Strap
  • Furniture Blankets or Linens
  • Tape or Large Rubberband
Preparing Your Refrigerator For Transport

If you are moving a refrigerator and not hiring a moving company, use these steps to safely and successfully move your refrigerator.

  • Turn off and disconnect the refrigerator a few hours before moving to allow the refrigerator/freezer time to defrost.
  • Completely clean and remove all food from the refrigerator. Fridges that are left dirty and warm will begin to smell if left unclean overnight.
  • Secure or remove shelves inside. Take out any glass shelves and wrap them with furniture blankets, towels, or linens separately. After wrapped, you may place them back inside the refrigerator during transit.
  • Carefully pull out the refrigerator from its location making sure not to scratch the floors. Secure the doors shut with tape.
  • If you have a really nice expensive refrigerator then wrap and secure the entire piece with furniture blankets and secure with tape or a large movers rubber band.
  • Attach the appliance dolly to one of the sides with a strap by lifting one end up and sliding the dolly in from underneath. Secure the straps.
  • When loading it on the moving truck, go backwards up the ramp with you in front and the refrigerator following. Another person may be needed to help push and guide it up the ramp.
Moving A Refrigerator Using A Pickup Truck or Moving Truck With No Ramp

If you are not hiring a moving company or renting a moving truck then the next best option is using a pickup truck. Here are some tricks and tips to move your refrigerator in a pickup truck.

  • Attach the refrigerator to the appliance dolly the same way as mentioned above.
  • Prepare your pickup truck so there is space for the refrigerator to stand vertically all the way up front against the cab of the truck.
  • For easy lifting, back the pickup truck to the edge of the driveway with the wheels in the gutter so the tailgate is as close to the ground as possible.
  • Open the tailgate and drape a towel or blanket over the lip.
  • Back the refrigerator up against the tailgate so the two vertical bars on the appliance dolly are pressing against the padded lip of the tailgate.
  • Have one person be in the truck lifting up on the appliance dolly’s middle handles as one person pushes up from the ground underneath.
  • If you don’t need the appliance dolly to move anything else that you can just keep it attached to the dolly.
  • Back the refrigerator all the way up against the front cab. Place a flat box or piece of cardboard for a protector for the truck cab. Strap it securely in place.
Storing A Refrigerator

If you are storing a refrigerator always make sure you store it in an upright position. Also, be sure to prop each of the doors open using a ball of tape to wedge in there so it doesn’t accumulate odors. You may also want to put a box of baking soda inside to soak up any odors.

Related Questions

How Long After Moving A Refrigerator Can I Turn It On? – You may plug in your refrigerator immediately if the refrigerator was moved in an upright position. If your refrigerator has been placed on its side during transit (which it should never), you’re supposed to wait the same amount of time it has been laying on its side. If it’s been on its side for 30 minutes during transit, wait 30 minutes once it’s back upright. If it’s been on its side for more than a day, you should wait 24 hours.


Do Movers Move Appliances? Which Ones & How To Prepare Them – Yes, movers do move appliances such as washing machines, dryers, and refrigerators. However, some movers will not disconnect and reconnect them because they don’t want to take on the liability. Always ask your mover beforehand because each of them operates a bit differently.

This article was originally published by Timothy P. Callahan,

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