Can you lay down a refrigerator?

There comes a time in all our lives when we have to move a refrigerator. We've heard vague warnings that somehow or other you should only move a refrigerator vertically. Faced with moving your beloved frigidaire either horizontally or leaving it behind, what's the truth? Can you lay down a refrigerator to move it?

Short Answer

It depends on the type of refrigerator. Most modern refrigerators can handle being transported on their sides, but manufacturers uniformly recommend that you transport them vertically. Some models cannot be turned over at all--ever.

Slightly Longer Answer

At the same time, most manufacturers allow you to move a refrigerator horizontally without voiding the warranty, provided you take certain precautions. Some models of refrigerator, however, can never be laid on their side for any reason. Consult your owner's manual, the appliance's external labelling or the manufacturer's website for such warnings. It's particularly important that you follow the manufacturer's recommendations when moving an appliance, because if you have trouble down the road with it, the appliance maker could balk about honouring the warranty.

Transport Precautions

Lay the refrigerator or freezer down on its side, and not its back. Coils, which are often found in the back, can be damaged if the box is laid on its back. Always hand-truck a refrigerator from the side as well, for the same reasons.

Experienced movers recommend that you stuff the inside of the refrigerator box with blankets, fluffy stuffed animals and other padding to protect the interior from breakage or damage from loose shelves and trays that are jostled in transit.

The refrigerator should sit on a pad, to protect the bottom from scratches and to cushion the ride.

Wrap the entire box in moving blankets and tie it down securely to keep it from sliding around in the back of your truck or trailer.

Set-up Precautions

General Electric recommends that you not plug in the refrigerator immediately upon set-up in its new location. GE says to wait until the unit sits for an amount of time that is equal to the amount of time it was on its side. If the fridge remains on its side for longer than a day, leave the unit unplugged in its upright position for at least 24 hours before plugging it in.


If the refrigerator makes unusual noises for more than a second or two after being plugged in, unplug it immediately and call a repairman to come look at the unit. Shutting off the refrigerator quickly can save you serious repair costs that would result from a damaged compressor.

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About the Author

Tom King published his first paid story in 1976. His book, "Going for the Green: An Insider's Guide to Raising Money With Charity Golf," was published in 2008. He received gold awards for screenwriting at the 1994 Worldfest Charleston and 1995 Worldfest Houston International Film Festivals. King holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Southwestern Adventist College.