Tilting Refrigerator Damage

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When you need to move your refrigerator from its current location to a new home, you know that you need to turn it off, remove the food inside and clean it out. You might not know that you should also take care to keep it upright; tilting a refrigerator can lead to damage.

Physical Damage

  • When you tilt your refrigerator in order to move it, the condenser coils and compressor unit are at risk for damage. The condenser coils are on the back of your fridge; depending on the model, they might be at the top or the bottom of the unit. Tilting the refrigerator can lead to the weight of the refrigerator pressing down on the coils if you lean it against a wall or another piece of furniture. The compressor can shift out of place if the refrigerator is tilted, disrupting the entire cooling system.

Cooling System Damage

  • Your refrigerator uses coolant to maintain its cold inner temperature. As long as the refrigerant is distributed equally throughout the cooling system, everything runs well. If you tilt a refrigerator for long enough, the coolant can shift and pool in one single area. When you turn on your refrigerator, the coolant won’t be in areas where it is needed, which can damage the entire cooling system.

Solutions

  • When moving a refrigerator, avoid tilting it as much as possible. Wrap the back in padding and fasten the compressor in place with bolts or bungees so it cannot shift. If you do need to tilt the fridge, lean it to the front or to the side to avoid putting any weight on the condenser coils in the back. Once you have the refrigerator settled in its new location, let it stand upright for 24 hours before turning it back on. This ensures that the coolant redistributes evenly throughout the cooling system.

Considerations

  • Do not store a refrigerator for long periods of time tilted at an angle or on its side; this increases the risk of damage to the unit. When maneuvering a refrigerator to a new location, you might need to remove the handles or the doors in order to make it fit through narrow spaces like doorways or stairwells. Removing the doors could reduce how much you need to tilt it.

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References

  • Save Money Moving; Mark Kibbe
  • Real Estate Home Inspection: Mastering the Profession; Russell W. Burgess
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