If you are planning on having a refrigerator or freezer moved it will likely be one of the last items you prepare prior to your move day. Changing temperatures, lack of airflow and transport movement can adversely affect your fridge or freezer 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 Give your refrigerator or freezer a heavy-duty cleaning before it is moved.  First, remove and dispose of all perishable items from the appliance’s interior compartments.  Once your refrigerator or freezer is empty, defrost the appliance and remove any ice and excess moisture. Be aware your overflow reservoir is inadequate to handle the amount of water created by the defrost cycle.  Locate the drain hose on the bottom of your unit and prepare a solution for channeling excess water from the drain pan and away from the unit. Wipe off the appliance’s exterior with a damp cloth and mild soap to remove cooking residue. Remove internal parts such as shelves and drawers and soak in warm water and dish washing detergent. Ice trays and ice storage bins should be washed in lukewarm water only. 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 secure all loose and moving parts.  Tape all drawers and compartments closed.  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/or freezer and wipe down all surfaces with a dry towel before finally closing the unit.

Step Three: Pre and Post Move Service It is recommended that you hire a professional appliance technician to disconnect and service your appliance before your move.  To prepare your refrigerator or freezer for servicing you should remove the front base cover and 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 internal 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 your 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. Installation of copper or vinyl 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 due to potential impurities resulting from initial opening of the water line.