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When to Turn Off Fridge Before Moving – a Must Read

Packing your kitchen for a move can be a relatively easy activity, that is of course until you get to the fridge. Moving a fridge is a lot simpler if you know what you’re doing, and the removal experts at Bill Removalists Sydney have detailed a process that will make you an expert.

Always empty your fridge before transporting as unsecured items inside may break. If you want an easy way to remove this task from your to-do list, ensuring your fridge is moved safely, call the team at Bill for your fridge removal on 0425 351 578 today.

If you are ready to handle the task yourself, read on for all the tips like when to turn off a fridge before moving.

How long to wait before moving the fridge

When it comes to moving a fridge, how long to wait after turning it off is the biggest question. When transporting a fridge, you need to turn the unit off and give the evaporator enough time to defrost. Turning your fridge off the night before is ideal and one of the best tips, so the oils and fluids have enough time to stop moving through the compressor.

If you have an automatic ice maker as a feature on your refrigerator, disconnect the water hose and remove the ice to avoid leaks and spills in transit.

when turn off fridge before moving
Never move a fridge with the door open and make sure it has thawed out completely to prevent leaks.

How to prepare for moving a fridge

Other than emptying the food,there are some preparation steps that have to happen first, followed by the actual moving of your fridge. Follow these tips to prepare your refrigerator for a move.

Step #1: Defrost and clean the unit

If you follow the tips above and leave your appliance off overnight, it should be defrosted, but you can begin the cleaning process as soon as you’ve turned your fridge off. Start by removing all the food. The fridge will warm up straight away and cause an unpleasant odour if you don’t give the shelves a good clean.

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Enjoy a fresh fridge in your new home by giving it a thorough clean before leaving the old one.

Tip #2: Remove interior glass shelves and wrap them separately

The removable sections of the fridge need to be taken out before moving the unit. This is often shelving and various compartments on the appliance door. These shelves will be much easier to clean if you take them out of the fridge, so don’t forget to leave them to dry; then bubble wrap each of the shelves separately, ready for transport.

The goal is to make sure there is nothing in your refrigerator that isn’t tied down. As a rule of thumb, if you could pick up and shake your fridge, anything that would likely fall out needs to be moved separately.

Tip #3: Move the fridge without scratching the floor

Moving the fridge without scratching the floor is vital. Most units have wheels, allowing you to gently roll the fridge along the floor. If your model doesn’t have wheels, a little caution will need to be exercised.

Never shuffle your fridge across the ground as it has many sharp surfaces underneath it that will damage the floor. Gently rock the fridge backward instead, sliding a sheet or piece of cardboard underneath. Then, rock the fridge back the other way to feed the sheet under the opposite section creating a protective mat for your floor as you move.

Tip #4: Wrap your refrigerator and cover it with blankets

Quality packing materials can be the difference between damaged property during a move and a successful shift. Protect your fridge from dents, bumps, and scratches by encasing it in two layers of protective wrapping.

Professional packing wrap is great to form the first layer, then cover the fridge in moving blankets and secure them with packing tape. Make sure the tape does not come in contact with the surface of the fridge. If you do not have access to these materials, a quality removalist will often be able to supply them for you.

Tip #5: Use a trolley to relocate your fridge to the moving truck

After covering the surface of your fridge, slide a moving trolley underneath and secure it with straps to prevent damage. This will often require two people as one person must rock the trolley back while the other pushes the fridge to gain leverage.

Always go back and pull the trolley, with the second person providing support, preventing the fridge from toppling. Always secure the fridge once it has been loaded into your moving vehicle.

Tip #6: Move your fridge carefully and slowly

Ensure your fridge is moved slowly, and always keep it upright to avoid damage to the internal mechanisms. The same applies to your driving style when the refrigerator is in the moving truck. For example, speeding around roundabouts or over humps creates the risk of knocking your fridge over.

We recommend waiting at least two hours, ideally  three, after placing your fridge into its new standing upright position before turning it on to let the internal mechanisms and fluids settle and putting your food in it. During this time, it’s important to leave the door shut.


Have some more questions about making sure your fridge is safely moved to a new home? Read our frequently asked questions below or check out our helpful moving checklist.

How long should a fridge be off before moving?

It would be best if you left your fridge overnight after turning it off before moving it, and preferably with no food in it. This allows time for the oils and gas to settle, while also thawing the freezer section, making it ready for the move.

Can you move a refrigerator right after you unplug it?

It is not recommended that you move a fridge directly after turning it off. The ice in the freezer will leak during your move or storage and the mechanisms of the fridge require time to settle.

Can you damage a fridge by moving it?

If you are rushed on moving day and do not adhere to the correct process, you can damage a fridge while moving it. Always use the right packing materials and process, keeping the unit upright during the transportation. Tape or seal the fridge door shut so you minimise the risk of damage from moving with the door open. If possible, ensure you have two people to complete the task or professional help.

What happens if you plug fridges in too soon?

If you do not allow the internal system and fluids of the fridges to settle after being transported, you can cause irreplaceable damage. The last thing you want is to replace a damaged fridge door after moving it! Always stand by at least three hours before plugging fridges back in after a move.

Meet The Author - Bill Chen

Before 2008, Bill was working with a local removalist company in Sydney and was witness for a number of deformities and wrongs in the working of the company. Observing the atmosphere, a thought came to Bill’s mind that he could do much better if he were the owner of the company, by offering a fully transparent service to the clients with a friendly and trustworthy staff and no hidden fee structure; and thus, in 2008, AAA Bill Removalists Sydney was formed with just one truck and only Bill as staff. Even if Bill Chen began the company as just one man, the company grew fast. The operation expanded beyond the Sydney suburbs and to the surrounding cities: Wollongong, Wagga Wagga, Albury, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, Coffs Harbour, Canberra, Newcastle, Melbourne, Brisbane, and other.

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