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How to Move a Refrigerator or Freezer


If it’s coming with you, a refrigerator or freezer will likely be one of the last items you unload ahead of your move day.

Changing temperatures, lack of airflow and high-speed movement can adversely affect your fridge during the move. Proper cleaning and preparation will help ensure it is ready to use when it arrives at your destination.

Step One: Unload and Clean

You’ll want to give your refrigerator or freezer a heavy-duty cleaning before packing it away.

First, you’ll want to remove and dispose of all perishable items from the appliance’s interior compartments. Ask your United agent whether you have options for shipping some of your food and beverages.

Once your refrigerator or freezer are empty, defrost the appliance and remove any ice and excess moisture. Be aware your overflow reservoir may be inadequate to handle the amount of water created by the defrost cycle, so be sure to locate the drain hose on the bottom of your unit and identify a solution for channeling excess water away from the unit.

Wipe off the appliance’s exterior with a damp cloth and mild soap to remove food residue. Remove internal parts such as shelves and drawers to soak in warm water and detergent. Ice trays and ice storage bins should be washed in lukewarm water only.

Finally, you’ll want to leave the door open for at least 24 hours to allow all moisture to evaporate.

Step Two: Secure Appliance Hardware

To ensure everything stays in place during transit, you’ll want to secure all loose and moving parts. Glass shelves should be removed, cleaned and carefully packed in a separate carton for secure moving.

Place an odor and mildew absorber like baking soda in your refrigerator and freezer. Tape all drawers and compartments shut, and wipe down all surfaces with a dry towel before finally closing the unit.

Step Three: Service the Appliance

It is recommended that you hire a professional appliance technician to disconnect and service your appliance before your move. You may authorize your United agent to pre-arrange for appliance servicing before your move date. This service will be provided through a trusted third-party vendor which will be added to the Bill of Lading as an additional cost.

To prepare your refrigerator or freezer for servicing, you should remove the base covering and vacuum dust away from the condenser or compressor. Also empty excess water from the evaporator pan and make sure the unit is dry before replacing the cover.

Turn off the water and disconnect the water line if you have a cold water dispenser or automatic ice maker. You should also empty the water reservoir.

If your refrigerator is an older model, you may need to have the motor or compressor bolted down. The majority of refrigerators today are sealed units that do not require this service.

At destination, do not operate the refrigerator for at least 24 hours after delivery. This allows the oil time to settle, preventing possible damage to the compressor.

Ice makers and water dispensers must be connected to a water line. Installation service or parts can be obtained from an authorized dealer. Copper tubing, a shut-off valve and fittings may be required. Once your ice maker is in service, dispose of the first few batches of ice because of possible impurities from opening a water line.

Please Take Notice

Appliances require special consideration as you prepare for your move. Many large units have high-voltage connections or gas supplies that require the attention of an appliance technician. Your United agent cannot help you disconnect, service or reinstall appliances that fall into this category.

You may authorize your United agent to pre-arrange for appliance servicing before your move date. This service will be provided through a trusted, third-party service which will be added to the Bill of Lading as an additional cost.

Your United Mover Cannot:

  • Disconnect appliances (ice maker, washer, dryer, etc.) or reconnect them in the new residence.
  • Disconnect utilities.
  • Repair appliances.
  • Remove or install window air conditioners or television and radio antennas.
  • Perform wiring, plumbing, electrical or carpentry services.

Ask your United agent about third-party appliance servicing. There are more than 20 different washer moving kits available from various appliance manufacturers.

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