Moving a refrigerator is not easy. Refrigerators are tall, bulky, and heavy. Because of its height, the idea of laying down a refrigerator on its back comes to our mind when we need to move it. But the question is, can you lay a refrigerator down? What happens when you lay a fridge down? From a user’s perspective, this is not a problem. In fact, laying down a fridge makes transportation easy. However, for a refrigerator, this is a very critical issue.
Refrigerators are one of the most used appliances in our home. It is also the heaviest. That’s why we need to take special care when moving it from one place to another. Refrigerators may seem robust, but they are actually delicate. We need to find out what the manufacturers say about laying a refrigerator down.
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Why Can’t You Lay a Refrigerator Down?
Almost all the manufacturers do not recommend laying a fridge down. They strictly suggest that refrigerators should always be transported in an upright position. When you lay down a refrigerator, the oil in the compressor flows out and gets into the cooling lines. The oil in the compressor is meant to stay in the compressor. If the oil drains the cooling lines, the fridge will stop cooling and the compressor will malfunction. There is also the risk of damaging the crucial internal parts such as the compressor, the condenser, and the evaporator. Therefore, try not to lay a refrigerator down.
Can You Lay a Refrigerator on its Side?
You can but it’s not recommended. Try your best to keep it in an upright position. If you absolutely can’t avoid laying your fridge down for a shortage of space when moving, lay it on its front or side. Even though most of the manufacturers don’t recommend laying a fridge down on its side, sometimes we don’t have any other option. As mentioned above, the main problem is with the compressor oil. At any cost, we don’t want to mess up with the compressor and the oil inside.
However, there is a way to minimize oil leakage. Lay the fridge down on the side opposite from where the compressor lines run out of the compressor. For example, if the compressor line exits the compressor on the right side, lay the refrigerator on its left side. Oil may still flow out of the compressor, but placing it that way might save it from draining the cooling lines.
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Plugging in after Laying a Refrigerator on its Side
If you’ve already moved a refrigerator on its side — or if it was delivered to your home on its side — it’s important not to plug it in right away. Plugging it too soon can damage the compressor. The best practice is to leave the refrigerator upright and unplugged for the same amount of time that it was lying on its side. If it was on its side for two hours, leave it upright and unplugged for two hours. If it was on its side for more than a day, then give it a full 24 hours before plugging it in. As a result, the oils, gases, and coolants will flow back into their correct positions. If the compressor is very noisy when you start it back up, it may have been damaged in transit, or you could just have a faulty compressor.
Can You Lay a Refrigerator on its Back?
NEVER lay a refrigerator on its back. Most of the vital parts of a fridge — compressor, condenser, and evaporator — are on the back of a refrigerator. That’s why the back part of a fridge is the most delicate. If you lay a refrigerator down on its back, all the weight of the fridge goes to the vital internal parts of the fridge, even if they are not exposed. Consequently, those parts will be damaged. There are also compressor oil concerns when you lay it on its back. So, avoid laying it fully flat at any cost. At least, keep it at an angle when you have no other option. Gravity will help to keep the oil from flowing out of the compressor.
Can You Transport a Refrigerator Laying Down?
We discourage you to transport a refrigerator laying down due to the compressor oil concerns and the risk of damaging the internal parts. All the manufacturers strongly recommend transporting a refrigerator in an upright position. Fridges are not designed to be laid down. Standing upright is their default position. They are not well equipped to stand the consequences of laying a fridge down. If you have a better option than laying a refrigerator down for transport, do it. Refrigerators are one of the most expensive appliances. You shouldn’t take the risk of laying a fridge down. If must lay a refrigerator down for transport, lay it on its front or side. But never on its back. I’ve mentioned the reasons above. Use a protective blanket to save the fridge from jerks and vibrations during transport.
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Tips for Moving a Refrigerator
- Switch off and disconnect your refrigerator the night before moving.
- Secure the cable to avoid tripping or damaging the unit in transit.
- Empty the fridge so that your fridge will be lighter — making it easier and safer to move.
- Defrost the freezer and wipe away all the leftover water.
- Perform a deep clean to avoid the growth of bacteria and mold in hot temperatures.
- Take the shelves out and secure loose items, such as the grille, storage pans, ice trays, ice storage buckets, etc.
- Put some activated charcoal or a box of baking soda inside to absorb odors if your refrigerator will be closed for a day or more.
- Fasten the fridge and freezer doors by using moving straps or bungee cords.
- Wrap the fridge in a blanket to avoid dings and dents to the outer surface and damage to the working parts at the back.
- After reaching your destination, let the fridge settle for at least 24 hours to prevent any damage during reinstallation.
So, can you lay a refrigerator down? Try your best not to lay the refrigerator down. If you can’t help it, lay the fridge down on its side — never on its back. After moving a refrigerator on its side, don’t plug it in right away. Leave the fridge standing upright and unplugged for the same amount of time it stayed on its side during transit. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for more information and guidelines.