Moving heavy items by yourself is physically demanding work. But moving a large, heavy appliance like a refrigerator can be dangerous if you don't have the right tools or knowledge. A typical fridge weighs at least 300 pounds - and any misstep can cause damage to you, your house, and your expensive appliance.
As with all difficult-to-manage items, there are specialty movers available who can transport your refrigerator with ease – even for short local moves. We typically recommend hiring movers for large appliances or fragile items.
But if you're prepared to do it yourself, this refrigerator moving guide will walk you through the process and give you all the information to safely complete this task.
1. Get Help
You cannot pick up a fridge alone. Get some help. Exceptionally strong professional movers can move a refrigerator solo with a moving strap, but fridges are otherwise very difficult to move solo.
Get at least two strong friends (preferably three) to help with this task. Ask well ahead of your move date and make sure they’re able to help.
If you have stairs or tight turns, where the fridge needs to be picked up, more help might be necessary. You can always hire help through Movers.com if you need extra manpower.
2. Get Supplies
Make sure you have the following items to clean, move, and protect your refrigerator. Many moving supplies can be purchased or rented at hardware stores.
- Paper towels/sponge
- All-purpose cleaner
- Furniture dolly or refrigerator hand truck
- Moving blankets
- Spare moving boxes
- Coolers and ice
- Ratchet straps or moving straps
- Tape measure
3. Rent a Truck
If you already have a pickup truck or large van, then skip this step. You can rent a pickup truck from Home Depot or Lowe’s at a reasonable price for a 90-minute rental. Pickup trucks can be tricky to load unless you have a lot of help or a study ramp.
Otherwise, look for a moving truck with a ramp or a rental trailer for this job. If you are moving your whole house already, make sure that you have enough room in the truck for a fridge.
Look at our moving truck rentals guide for more information.
4. Prepare the Refrigerator
Don’t move a full refrigerator – you’ll regret it. Transfer frozen goods and perishables into coolers with ice. Ideally, you will have eaten much of your perishable food items and frozen foods in the weeks leading up to your move.
If you’re moving in cold weather, you’ll have more flexibility with outdoor refrigeration. Otherwise, work quickly and make sure your food doesn’t spoil. Don’t forget to throw away any extra ice if you aren’t using it in your coolers.
Clean the fridge when it’s empty. It’ll be one less thing to take care of when you get to your new place. Use a sponge or paper towel to wipe down the inside and outside with a cleaning spray or bleach water.
If your freezer has ice built up, be sure to let it defrost for at least a day. There will be a lot of water leaking out.
5. Take Measurements
Measure your fridge and the hallways, stairwells, doorways, and halls. Chances are good that if the fridge got into the house or apartment, it can be moved out.
However, sometimes you will need to find an alternate exit through a far-away double door or sliding patio door. You may also need to take a door off its hinges to get a fridge through a tight doorway.
So, by knowing the exact measurements of your refrigerator and pathways, you can feel good about your moving plan and work more efficiently.
6. Secure the Refrigerator
While some people simply close and secure the fridge doors, many people choose to remove and pack glass fridge shelves. If you choose to remove glass shelves and plastic hardware, be sure that you pack the items together and label the boxes.
To secure single or double fridge doors, use plastic wrap and tape wrapped around the entire fridge to keep doors closed. Many people will use rope or ratchet straps (combined with packing materials like cardboard to protect delicate surfaces and corners). If you’re keeping vegetable drawers inside the fridge, you can use packing tape to secure them in place.
7. Move the Refrigerator
Most fridges have casters on the bottom for tight maneuvers. Tilt the fridge back and roll it into position. The way you will tilt the fridge onto the dolly depends on the door orientation and moving path dimensions.
Usually, the narrowest side should face the dolly’s rear.
Secure the refrigerator to the dolly using moving straps or ratchet straps. Place your foot behind the dolly’s wheel to secure the load when tilting the dolly back. Have your helpers steady the load from the front and back. Be sure to transport the fridge in a relatively upright position.
When going downstairs, have your helpers support the bottom as you slide the wheels down each step. Never direct a hand truck downstairs without assistance.
If you have a loading ramp:
- Direct the dolly onto the truck (either pushing or pulling)
- remove the dolly and cover the fridge with moving blankets
- secure the fridge to the truck walls with straps
If no straps are included, be sure that the fridge is surrounded by heavy items.
If you’re using a pickup truck:
- place the fridge close to the cab
- secure it in place with ratchet straps to the tie-down points.
8. Set up Your Refrigerator
When you arrive at your new place, remove moving blankets and tie-downs. Take measurements of your new halls and doorways. Come up with a game plan for moving your fridge using the lessons learned from your first fridge move.
9. Plug in your refrigerator
Give it some time to reach a good temperature before setting your food inside. When the inside feels cold enough, put the shelves back in and re-stock your fridge.
If you would rather leave the heavy lifting to the professionals, Movers.com can help. We have a large network of reputable moving companies and labor-only local movers. Get a quote for a specialty or full-service home move now.