May 11 2021

How To Safely Move & Store Your Refrigerator

Moving and storing your refrigerator can be a laborious and difficult task. Fridges are a big investment, so they are worth taking the proper precautions for storing so they can stand the test of time. Despite being reasonably cumbersome and bulky, the job of moving your refrigerator for storage can be made significantly easier with the right tips and advice.

It is recommended that depending on the weight and size of your fridge you consider leaving the moving of your fridge to the professionals. But we understand that sometimes that isn't an option, so we've detailed a guide on how to safely move and store your refrigerator.

How Should I Clean & Prepare My Fridge Before Storage?

 
inside of fridge

It is important to properly clean and prepare your fridge for storage to help prevent mould or other smells from forming. An unclean, mouldy fridge also runs the risk of attracting pests like ants and mice. This can mean that the fridge ends up in such a state that it can no longer be used after storage.

You need to give yourself plenty of time, about a week, before you plan on moving your fridge to begin the cleaning process. This will allow it enough time to properly dry and air out before being placed into storage.

Defrost Your Fridge

 
To defrost your fridge, follow the proceeding steps:

  1. Remove all the food, drinks, and miscellaneous items from your fridge and freezer
  2. Unplug your fridge
  3. Remove all the removable trays or shelving on the inside of your fridge
  4. Remove the tray at the back of your fridge that collects water (if your fridge has one)
  5. Remove as much excess ice from your freezer as you can. If you are having difficulty, you can place a container of hot water in the freezer to help melt the ice
  6. Place towels around the base of the fridge to absorb any water that may melt out of the freezer

Clean Your Fridge

 
Now that your fridge has been defrosted and unplugged, allow it one day to dry out before beginning a proper clean while it is standing upright:

  1. Clean any draws, shelving, and removable parts with warm soapy water and a microfibre cloth
  2. Clean the inside and outside walls of the fridge with warm soapy water and wipe dry with a dry cloth to prevent streaking
  3. Allow the fridge to dry
  4. Clean out the fridge again (including all removable parts) using water mixed with a couple tablespoons of baking soda
  5. Don't use any harsh chemicals like bleach or ammonia as they will damage your fridge
  6. Wipe everything down with a towel to remove any excess water and baking soda
  7. For the exterior, you can vacuum the back of the fridge to remove excess dirt and dust as well as around the base

Defrosted and cleaned, it is time to ensure that your fridge is appropriately and completely dried out. This is because removing all moisture is key to preventing mould growth.

To dry out your fridge most effectively, leave the fridge and freezer doors open, or alternatively remove them altogether. Place some powdered baking soda in the refrigerator and freezer and leave the doors open for at least a few days. This will help to prevent mildew, mould, and odour.

Once your fridge is completely defrosted, cleaned, and dried, you can keep all the removable storage compartments in their own labelled box wrapped in packing paper.

How To Move A Fridge Safely

 
With the right steps and a little patience, it doesn't have to be difficult to move your fridge from your home into a storage facility. After having followed the preceding steps to clean your fridge, make sure it is properly disconnected according to the user manual. You may need to disconnect your ice maker and water filter as well as simply unplugging your fridge. Protect the cord by rolling it up and taping it to the back of the fridge.

Then you need to either remove the refrigerator doors as instructed in the owner's manual or you can secure them closed using bungee cords or rope. Make sure if you are dismantling your fridge that you keep all of the screws and pieces together in a labelled zip lock bag.

Wrap the exterior of the fridge in moving blankets or another form of cushioning to prevent any damage or scratches.

Before you begin physically moving your fridge, make sure you have measured the dimensions of your fridge and mapped out a clear pathway free from any obstacles. It is recommended that you measure your doorways ahead of time to ensure the fridge will be able pass through without removing the doors themselves. Make sure you have a clear path to your mode of transport with no furniture or hinged doors in the way.

To physically move the fridge, you will need at least two people, and should follow these steps:

  1. Lift the fridge forward slightly and place furniture sliders underneath the back of the refrigerator
  2. Position yourself at the front of the fridge and grab both sides, pushing the fridge from side to side while guiding it forward
  3. Load the fridge onto the appliance dolly by having one person lift the fridge slightly while the other person slides the moving dolly underneath the side of the refrigerator (not the front or back), then use the dolly straps to tighten the fridge into place
  4. You can then carefully tilt the fridge back and slowly walk it to your destination
  5. If you need to set it down, do so slowly and with the second person on the other side to help guide it down
  6. Lift the fridge into the truck using a plank or platform
  7. Once the fridge is in the truck make sure it remains upright and is secured to the truck using additional straps along the top and sides of the fridge

How To Store A Refrigerator In Storage

 
If you are wondering how you store an unused refrigerator, then the following steps remain the same with less of a need for the in-depth initial clean.

To ensure your fridge continues to work the next time you need to use it, make sure you follow these three tips:

  • Store your fridge upright to avoid damage to the inside mechanisms
  • Remove the doors or leave the doors ajar to prevent odours, moisture, and mould build-up,ensure you place something in the door to stop them accidentally closing
  • Cover the exterior of the fridge in a moving blanket or sheet to prevent dust

Make sure you also keep your fridge accessories in a box nearby, or even inside the fridge itself if you are trying to save space.

Frequently Asked Questions

 
How long should a fridge be turned off before moving?
Your fridge needs to be turned off one day prior to beginning the proper cleaning and moving process.

What happens if you don't let a fridge settle?
What exactly happens will vary depending on the model of the fridge. A lot of the time, when a refrigerator is placed on its side or is tilted, compressor oil can run out of the compressor and up refrigerant lines. So if you don't let it settle before turning it on the compressor will try to pump without sufficient oil.

Can I move a refrigerator by myself?
It is recommended that you move a refrigerator with at least two people.

Do refrigerators go bad in storage?
Refrigerators do not go bad in storage so long as they are properly cleaned and defrosted in preparation of storage. Fridges can go bad if they are left to sustain damage from water and moisture when not appropriately prepared and stored.

How long can you store a fridge safely?
If properly cleaned, prepared, and monitored a fridge can fulfill its normal lifespan of between 10 and 18 years.

Do fridges need to be kept upright?
Fridges need to be kept upright to prevent the internal mechanisms and fluids from falling out of place. It can be necessary to tilt your fridge during transport, after which you should allow for at least three hours of it standing upright before you turn your fridge on to allow things to settle back into place.

Can you lay down a fridge for transport?
You should not lay a fridge down for transport, you should instead secure it in an upright position.

Where To Store Your Fridge

 
Fort Knox Storage is an easy, secure, and affordable place to store your refrigerator. For storage enquiries, contact us today or locate your closest facility.

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