Why You Shouldn’t Tilt Your Refrigerator

Fred's Appliance
August 14, 2014


Most people rarely move their refrigerator. Once it’s set up inside the kitchen, it remains here until the family chooses to relocate to a new home. But when you do get ready to move your refrigerator, you should use caution to ensure it remains upright the entire time. Failing to keep your refrigerator upright may cause serious damage to your unit.


Avoid The Temptation of Tilting Your Refrigerator


Your natural instinct when moving a refrigerator will likely be to tilt it on its side. This will allow you to carry one end while a friend or family member carries the other end. Regardless of how “natural” it feels, though, you must avoid the temptation of tilting your refrigerator, because even small shifts may damage it.


Tilting May Shift Fluids


So, how can tilting can damage to a refrigerator? Modern-day refrigerators contain a number of different chemicals, including oil, refrigerant, lubricants, and more. When tilted, these fluids may shift and move around to areas where they shouldn’t be. For instance, the oil inside the compressor may drain and travel into the refrigerant lines. Since oil is not compressible, the compressor would lock up when the unit is plugged back in.


The good news is that you can usually prevent damage such as this caused by tilting by standing your refrigerator upright for a minimum of 24 hours after you’ve tilted it. So if you or a group of movers accidentally tilts your refrigerator, let it stand for a day or so before plugging it back in. This will allow the oil to settle back into its original location.


Tilting May Disrupt Shelves


Another potential problem caused by tilting a refrigerator is shelves sliding around. Depending on the particular model, some units are designed with shelves that sit into place thanks to gravity. When the refrigerator is tilted, however, these shelves may become dislodged, knocking and bouncing around inside the unit. Of course, this is a minor problem when compared to the possibility of oil seeping into the refrigerant lines.


When you need to a move a refrigerator, try using a hand cart. It’s faster, easier, and it will allow you to keep your unit upright the entire time. Most moving companies offer hand cart rentals for as little as $10 bucks, making it a smart investment. And if your refrigerant is accidentally tilted during the move, remember to let it sit for 24 hours before plugging it into the wall.

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