Will I damage my refrigerator if I transport it on its side?

Written by nick davis
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Will I damage my refrigerator if I transport it on its side?
Yes, it is possible to move your refrigerator on its side. (Modern kitchen and dining table image by MAXFX from Fotolia.com)

Refrigerators contain not only chemicals that aid in cooling the appliance, but oil in the compressor to keep the component lubricated. The compressor keeps the interior compartment of the appliance cold by sending the freon through the device's refrigerant lines. When moving a refrigerator from one location to another, you must be careful when transporting the appliance on its side.


You will not damage your refrigerator by transporting it on its side, but you need do need to protect the appliance's refrigerant lines. Make sure the lines do not bump into anything including the ground, door frames, furniture and other surfaces. The lines carry freon from the compressor, are on the back of the refrigerator, and may or may be visible.

Main Suction Line

The refrigerator's main suction line is the largest tube running from the appliance's compressor. Look for this line and do not tilt the refrigerator too much. You don't want this line to be totally horizontal---the oil in the compressor will run into the main suction line as well as other lines and cause damage to the appliance. Oil also can escape the compressor and spill onto your home's floor or other surface. Keep the main suction line as high as possible by placing the refrigerator at a slight angle, and move the appliance as soon as possible to its new location.

Standing Time

Let the refrigerator stand upright for an hour before plugging it in to an electrical socket so any oils in the lines can return to the compressor and settle. Failure to let your refrigerator stand will result in the appliance not cooling properly.


Solicit help when moving the refrigerator and wrap a old blanket or cardboard box around the appliance to catch any oil that may leak from it. After you move the refrigerator and let it stand upright for an hour, keep it closed at least an hour so the appliance can cool before placing items inside. Also, tape your refrigerator's interior shelves to the appliance's walls and tape doors closed so the shelves won't move during the transporting process.

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