Refrigerators are not meant to be transported lying down.
The oil in the compressor can leak out and damage the unit if it is transported in this position.
Additionally, the Freon gas will settle on one side of the fridge if it is laying down, which can cause long-term damage to your appliance.
For these reasons, you should always transport your fridge in an upright position.
Since a refrigerator is an essential appliance and costly, it needs proper handling during transportation. In the event of a move or purchase, you will need to transport your refrigerator.
It’s vital to exercise utmost care while transporting it to prevent damage.
You wouldn’t want to spend extra cash buying or repairing your refrigerator because of an avoidable mistake.
Can You Lay A Fridge Down To Transport It?
While you may be able to get away with it occasionally, you should never intentionally lay your fridge down on its side.
This can cause all sorts of problems, from damaging the seals to throwing off the calibration.
If you must transport your fridge lying down, be sure to do so very carefully. Place it on a flat surface and secure it with straps or rope to keep it from moving around.
Many manufacturers recommend transporting a refrigerator upright, but this is impossible in some instances when there’s limited space.
Fortunately, the damage from transporting it while lying down is short-term.
To haul a refrigerator while it’s laying down, you need to know the possible outcomes and precautions to take to avoid damage.
Getting Your Refrigerator Ready for Transportation
When moving a fridge from one location to the other, most people aren’t aware that they need to prepare it ahead of time.
Some fridges have built-in appliances and don’t require much preparation.
However, before getting your refrigerator ready for transportation, assemble the right moving tools to make the process less hectic. You will need them in various moving steps.
These tools include:
- A dolly with straps
- A screwdriver
- Two or three people
Disconnect From the Plug
Most moving companies do not disconnect appliances for you for liability reasons.
You need to unplug the refrigerator, roll the power cord, and tie the cord with tape to make it remain in its place during transportation.
If the fridge contains an ice maker or a water filler, disconnect them as per the manufacturer’s manual.
Empty the Refrigerator
You should remove all contents inside and on the outer body of the fridge. These include foodstuffs, drinks, magnetic stickers, shelves, and trays.
Ensure you wrap shelves and trays in a towel or bubble wrap to avoid breakage while transporting. Leaving food items and detachable parts inside the fridge will cause more damage.
- It will add extra weight to the fridge.
- The food will spoil in transit.
- Bottles and cans will break and damage the interior of the refrigerator.
- The shelves will move while in transport, break and damage the fridge.
Allow Your Fridge to Defrost
You should leave your refrigerator to defrost if it’s been working for a long time. It takes six to eight hours, so you should leave it overnight to defrost.
If the transportation is during summer, defrost it early enough and ensure it’s dry.
If not, the summer heat will defrost it in transit, making water flow to the electrical components, which will cause damage when you power it on.
You can lay towels inside the surfaces to soak up any leaking water when defrosting.
Wipe the Fridge Clean
Once emptied and defrosted, use a disinfectant to clean the surfaces and interior of the refrigerator.
Defrosting prevents water from being trapped inside, thus damaging the delicate components.
To prevent odors from building up inside during transportation, consider pitting inside some moisture-absorbent substances like activated charcoal.
Seal and Lock
You can either remove the doors according to the manual or secure them tightly to avoid damage from transportation.
If you opt to remove the doors, keep the screws safe because you’ll need them later.
To secure the doors, use a rope or a bungee cord. If it’s a double-door refrigerator, make sure you tie together both door handles.
Don’t tight the knot too much when binding because the doors may pull out of place.
Avoid tape to secure the doors because they leave some sticky residue on the surface. To protect the exterior from dings and scratches, wrap using moving brackets or cushioning materials.
Moving the Fridge
Use a dolly to move the fridge from its position to where the truck is for ease and to avoid hitting walls. A dolly keeps the appliance in place and prevents it from toppling over.
Be sure to tighten the refrigerator on the dolly by using the dolly straps.
Most fridges have some space underneath, enabling you to slide the straps. You should then fasten the refrigerator with the straps while minimizing tilting.
Minimal tilting helps prevent oil from leaking into the tubes, causing damage.
Most moving trucks have ramps that help in loading and unloading. With the help of movers, you can roll a fridge up the car quickly.
If the vehicle has no ramp, it will require more effort to get the appliance on top.
While others help lift the fridge, another person can hold it from up the truck and pull the handles, and another guides them.
During transit, drive slowly and carefully. To keep your fridge safe in transit, avoid:
- Sudden braking and acceleration.
- Sharp bends or turns.
- Using routes with traffic jams
Once the refrigerator gets to the new location, remove it from the truck using a plank.
Tilt to its upright position, place it on a dolly and secure it with straps. You can then move it inside the house.
If there are stairs, go up the steps slowly, one at a time.
One person should be on top to tug the dolly up while another stays below, pushes the fridge, and maintains control.
Tips for Transporting a Refrigerator Lying Down
To transport a refrigerator laying down on its side:
- It should be less than two inches the height of the transport truck.
- Its weight should not exceed 500 pounds.
- Ensure the hinges are on the opposite side the fridge is laying on.
- If it’s lying down on its front side, consider hand placement when picking it up. This helps to prevent any accident in case the doors open during transportation.
What about laying it on its back?
The back of a refrigerator contains all the essential components. If it’s laying on its back, it will pull all the weight on its mechanical parts, making them break when moving.
Can You Transport All Refrigerator Types Lying Down?
You can transport all refrigerators lying down except the monogram refrigerators.
A monogram refrigerator provides innovative options such as climate control drawers and convertible freezer doors.
Their design and structure can’t handle the weight of lying down during transportation.
However, if you must transport it lying down:
- Avoid applying on the rear and front sides.
- Wrap using cushioning materials
- Avoid bumpy roads
For the other types of refrigerators:
- Compact fridge– unplug and empty it the previous day before transportation.
- Side-by-side fridge– lay it on the side to ensure the door doesn’t fly open.
- Top freezer type fridge– ensure the hinges are facing the opposite side the fridge is laying on so that the door remains firm in transit.
What Happens When You Transport a Refrigerator Lying Down?
Transporting a refrigerator while it’s lying down can cause damage to the compressor and other components. This is one of the significant causes of refrigerator failure.
In case of such damages, the refrigerator will require a replacement.
These are the possible consequences that may result from transporting a refrigerator lying down:
1. The compressor is situated on the lower back and contains oil.
The oil can come out of the compressor and run up the cooling lines when transporting a refrigerator lying down.
There’s a metallic cover that you should unfasten. It contains an engine and a tiny motor with a device that compresses the fridge, making it functional.
Ensure you apply oil on the motor before transportation to prevent it from becoming excessively hot.
2. The compressor is held in place by brackets that keep it upright.
When laid down, the compressor may come out of its mounts, breaking the release pipe inside the blower.
Alternatively, the internal parts of the compressor may dislodge.
How to Prevent Damage to a Refrigerator After Transporting it While Laying Down
After transporting your refrigerator lying down, allow it to stand upright for a duration amounting to the transportation time.
If it was lying down for two hours, let it stand upright for two hours. By allowing it to stand upright, the oil can flow back into the compressor.
You shouldn’t plug your refrigerator in immediately after transportation; give it the same amount of time.
After powering it on, you’ll know whether your fridge is damaged if you hear loud bangs or shuddering sounds coming out of the compressor.
When the fridge is upright, leave some space between it and the wall. It needs some cool air to replace the warm air inside.
The compressor will produce unnecessary noise if there’s no space behind the fridge and the wall.
The noise could also result from placing the refrigerator on an uneven surface.
Moving a refrigerator while lying down can be tiring, risky, and time-consuming. It’s clear that it’s not a do-it-yourself process; you’ll need extra hands.
Hiring a professional team is the easiest and safest way to transport a refrigerator in this position.
The weight and size of refrigerators can be intimidating, and you can’t risk causing avoidable damage because of mishandles.
You can transport a refrigerator lying down without causing irreversible damage with proper preparation, handling, and positioning.