How Long Should You Wait To Turn On A Fridge After Moving It?

Whether your fridge is shifted for a longer distance or shorter, it is necessary to wait for some time before turning it on. Are you wondering how long to wait after recently moving your fridge? That’s what this article shares. 

Generally, the waiting time to turn on the fridge after moving can be anywhere between 2 hours to 24 hours. It depends on several factors, like fridge type and orientation, how it is carried, what the manufacturer suggests, and the fridge’s temperature, condition, and age. 

This guide covers detailed information about how long to wait before turning it on after moving and what factors determine the waiting time. If you are someone who wants information about these things, this article will help you out. 

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Why do you need to wait to turn on the fridge after moving?

When you move a fridge from one place to another, it will need some time to settle.  

The refrigerator’s compressor contains oils that help lubricate various inner components of the fridge. 

The oil protects all the working components inside the fridge so that they do not break down and stay functional for prolonged periods. 

The pressure to preserve the continuous cooling and freezing temperatures can stress the fridge’s working parts. 

So the oil keeps these parts operational. 

When you move the fridge from one place to another, it faces a lot of jerking and jolting. 

As a result, it can destabilize the oil inside the compressor. 

So let the oils stabilize and give the fridge time to settle down before turning it on. 

How long should you wait to turn on a refrigerator after moving? – Factors affecting the waiting time

Usually, it is essential to let the fridge rest for at least 3 to 6 hours before you turn it on. 

Sometimes, experts suggest 24 hours of wait for safety.

The fridge needs time to settle and stabilize the compressor oils and other fluids. 

There is no exact waiting time to turn on the fridge after moving. 

It can depend on various factors like the distance of the move, the fridge type and orientation, how you carry it, the fridge’s condition and age, and so on. 

Based on these factors, the waiting time to turn on the fridge after moving will be anywhere between 2 hours and 24 hours.

Let’s see how these factors determine the waiting time.

The method of carrying

The process of carrying the fridge is a significant factor. 

How you carry the fridge can affect the stabilization of the oils and fluids in the compressor. 

The more you tilt the fridge, the more the oils and fluids will shake and get disturbed. 

When this happens, give the fridge enough time to settle. 

Usually, if you have moved the fridge by carrying it upright, you can wait for 2-3 hours or 4-6 hours if you have slightly bent it sideways.

But if you are moving it by carrying it sideways, you have to wait for at least 24 hours before starting it. 

Manufacturer’s recommendation 

When I bought a new fridge, the manufacturer told me to wait at least 24 hours before turning it on. 

It will allow the fridge’s oils and fluids inside the compressor enough time to settle down and avoid all damage. 

It will be enough for the evaporator to defrost and reduce the damage risk during or after the movement.

Distance of the move

The shorter the moving distance, the less time you need to wait to turn on the fridge after moving. 

When your fridge covers more distance, it will jolt and move too much. 

As a result, the oils and fluids inside the compressor get disturbed and destabilized. 

So, give your fridge enough time to settle down. 

Wait between 2 and 6 hours for shorter distances, depending on how you carry it. 

For too long distances, at the most, 24 hours will be enough. 

Fridge type and orientation

The fridge type and orientation can also affect the waiting distances. 

If your fridge is the standard fridge with compressors, you should wait for at least 2 to 3 hours before starting the fridge. 

If your fridge is an absorption fridge, it will take time because it works slightly differently than the standard fridges. 

They use a heat source to provide energy for the cooling process. 

So, these fridges will need at least 24 hours to settle down after moving. 

The fridge orientation affects the waiting time to a small extent. 

For example, if you use a side-by-side fridge, you have to wait for 4 to 6 hours. 

If the fridge has a top or bottom mount orientation, you may have to wait a bit less, around 3 to 4 hours. 

Age of the fridge 

Older fridges need more time to settle down than new fridges. 

The old fridges wear out and contain damaged or multiple times repaired parts inside. 

These parts do not work as the new ones operate. 

The cooling processes work much slower than the new fridges. 

The coolant of the old fridges needs more time to settle down than the older fridges. 

Based on how you carry them and how much distance, you need to give the older fridges at least 24 hours to settle down after the movement. 

As for the new fridges, based on how you carry them, give them anywhere between 2 hours to 6 hours. 


Here, the temperature is not of the fridge but the environmental temperature when you are moving the unit. 

For example, suppose the fridge is transported from the shop to your house and exposed to high temperatures outside during the move. 

In that case, the coolant will expand and, thus, take longer to settle down. 

You must wait for 3 to 6 hours if the distance is short or 24 hours if the unit has traveled longer. 

Condition of the fridge 

The condition of the fridge should also be considered when you wait to turn the fridge on after moving. 

If your fridge is in good condition, it will take less time to settle down, around 2-3 hours. 

But if the fridge is in bad condition, for example, it got hurt or damaged while moving, contains worn-out components or a compressor, you must wait longer. 

Sometimes, you must wait 24 hours or call a professional to fix the damages.

What happens if you turn on the fridge too soon after moving?

Waiting some time to turn on the fridge after moving is essential.

It will allow the compressor’s components, oils, and fluids to settle down. 

If you do not wait, the compressor will become damaged and overwork to keep the temperature down. 

You won’t be able to spot anything immediately. 

  • Not giving the refrigerator enough time to settle down leads to the following issues:
  • Your refrigerator will have extra noise. 
  • It will take longer for the coolant to cool down. 
  • There won’t be enough cooling inside. 
  • The compressor unit will compress the oil instead of the refrigerant gas. 
  • The unit will malfunction and break down faster.

As a result, you will have to call a professional to fix the cooling lines and compressor, which can be pretty expensive.

Once, my cousin made this mistake. The manufacturer advised her to wait for hours, but she was so excited that she started using it immediately. 

But within a few months, her unit’s compressor started malfunctioning, and the unit was also making loud, weird noises. 

Unfortunately, she has to pay a hefty amount for the fixation. 

Things to do before turning a fridge after moving 

After moving a fridge, besides waiting, you must do a few things to turn it on safely.

Here are some steps that I follow before turning it on after moving:

Clean the refrigerator 

Clean the fridge both indoors and outdoors. 

Use lukewarm soapy water and scrub the fridge inside and outside to remove all stains. 

Dirt can attract and collect bacteria and damage your food. 

Follow this regularly for the fridge. 

Clean the coils

Since the refrigerator is resting and not plugged in, make some effort and time to clean the coils at the back. 

It is the place where it is difficult to reach while cleaning daily. 

So, dust can quickly build up and attract bacteria and fungi.

Use a clean and dry rag and clean them all. You can also use a vacuum cleaner, but you must be careful. 

If unsure, avoid the cleaner and use the rag for cleaning. 

Choose the right temperature

Based on the kind of items you decide to keep inside the fridge, you have the right temperature for it. 

Check the manufacturer’s guide to find the right fridge temperature. There is plenty of guidance about this.

Things to avoid while moving the fridge

While you move the fridge, avoid doing the following things:

  • While transporting the refrigerator, try to avoid carrying it sideways. Always keep it upright. It will reduce the waiting time to start the fridge after moving. Additionally, it will keep the oils and fluids inside the compressor stable. 
  • If you are shifting the fridge to the storage room, avoid keeping the door closed. Instead, keep the door ajar for 1 inch with a ball, tape, or cardboard. It will stop the unit from smelling.
  • Do not keep your refrigerator inside the storage if it is unclean. 

How to safely move the refrigerator?

Moving the refrigerator from one place to another is a hectic job. 

Besides, you must be careful while moving the refrigerator to keep the unit and its components safe. 

Here are steps to move the refrigerator:

Step 1: Clean the unit and defrost it

Empty your food items from the cooler. 

The week when you think of moving the fridge, eat up all the remaining food and cook all the items you have brought from the market. 

After you have emptied the unit, use baking soda and water to clean the surfaces. 

With a hair dryer, defrost the remaining ice from the freezer and dry the water. Make sure not to use the dryer harshly or with high heat. 

Before packaging, switch off the fridge and use a moisture absorbent to keep the smell from building up inside the unit during the transfer. 

Step 2: Disconnect the fridge 

Roll the refrigerator cord up and tape it at the back of the fridge after unplugging.

Follow the manufacturer’s guide for help. 

Remove the fridge’s door or use a bungee cord or rope to keep them closed. 

Use zip-lock bags to keep the screws and the inner components of the fridge intact inside. 

Use moving blankets or cushions to keep the fridge from scratches. 

Remove the drawers and all glass shelves from the unit before transporting. Carry them separately. 

Step 3: Measure the fridge and doorways to make a moving plan

Decide how to relocate the unit based on the refrigerator’s size and dimensions. 

Measure the height, width, and depth of the refrigerator and the entryway and hallway of your house to ensure how to pass the fridge through it.

Step 4: Remove obstacles from your house doors

Remove every obstacle near the house doors to allow the fridge to exit safely.

Clear the way out as much as possible by removing the furniture and giving the fridge enough space. 

Step 5: Slide out of the fridge safely with a dolly

Sometimes, 4-5 movers carry the fridge out of the house. 

But that could harm the fridge because the fridge could get hit by some furniture and be damaged physically.

Using a dolly to move the fridge is one of the best and safest ways to remove it without damage. 

If you move the fridge from one room to another on the same floor, you do not need a dolly. 

Helpers lifting the fridge carefully from one room to another will be enough. 

Make sure to hold the fridge upright. Carrying sideways means you have to wait longer before turning on the unit. 

You need the dolly if you move the fridge to another floor or another destination. 

Safely lift the fridge forward and place the furniture sliders under the back. 

Stand in front of the fridge, hold the sides, and take it forward slowly by pushing it in one direction. 

To put the fridge over the moving dolly, slide the dolly under the fridge’s side by lifting it slightly. 

Keep the dolly away from the unit’s sides and front. Tighten the fridge to the dolly straps.

Step 6: Tilt the fridge back and move it

After tilting the fridge back to the dolly, ensure that its top and bottom are at a proper level. 

Do not tip the fridge more than 45 degrees backward. 

If you ever need to lower the fridge, do it carefully with the help of someone.

Step 7: Be careful while taking it downsteps

While moving the fridge, you should always take help. 

To move the fridge downstairs, one helper should lower and lift the unit to move it down the stairs. 

You pull it back by maintaining a 45-degree tilt. 

Continue drawing the dolly towards you to maintain control. 

One helper must be at the bottom to ensure the fridge is tipped back and doesn’t protrude in front of the dolly. 

Step 8: Guide the fridge to the truck

If you are taking the fridge to another destination, you need to take the fridge safely to the truck. 

Use a board, platform, or plank to help the unit to the moving truck. 

Step 9: Secure the refrigerator 

Since there will be lots of jerking and jolting, secure the refrigerator to help it endure these jerkings. 

Use additional straps along the unit’s top and side and fasten the refrigerator to the vehicle. 

Avoid placing the fridge sideways.

Step 10: Wait for some time before turning it on

Once the fridge has reached its destination, take it inside safely.

Wait for some hours before you plug in and start the fridge. 

Based on the manufacturer, you may have to wait between 2 and 24 hours. 

When to call a professional to move the refrigerator?

You can move your refrigerator from one place to another with some helpers, significantly if you change its location in the same house. 

But, for a different destination, you need a professional.

It is not always worth dealing with the fridge movement yourself. 

You need a professional if your fridge needs to shift to a different destination or if it is connected to a water life or built into the cabinets. 

The money you spend behind the professional is far less than the expensive repairs or a new fridge if you damage it during the move. 

When you purchase a new refrigerator, ensure it gets delivered and set up by professionals. 

A professional did my refrigerator setup. 

A professional is more important if your house is smaller and the fridge needs to be dismantled to enter your house. 

An expert will know how to deliver the fridge properly, make all the connections and setups, and dismantle and set up the unit again. 

He will take less time than you to complete it without any mistakes.

Final thoughts 

Moving a fridge from one place to another will be safe only when done correctly. There is no exact time to wait to turn on the refrigerator after moving as several factors determine the timing, for example, the method of carrying, manufacturer manual, type and orientation of the fridge, age, and condition of the fridge, and the temperature. 

Generally, the waiting time should be between 2 hours and 24 hours. Sometimes, it can rise to 72 hours, based on how long it travels and how it is carried. As a rule of thumb, a refrigerator should be turned 2-3 hours after moving if carried upright, but if carried sideways, you must wait 4-6 hours or more. 

Follow the steps I have shared to move the fridge out of the house safely. Take time to prepare your fridge for moving by cleaning, defrosting, and measuring the unit’s and your house’s doors to ensure safety move-out. If needed, call a professional for the whole moving-out process of the unit. 

How long should you wait to turn on a fridge after moving it?

After moving, wait at least 2 to 3 hours to put food into the fridge. Ensure the fridge and the freezer are working well by checking the airflow.

Can I move the refrigerator by laying down?

Laying down means you are either carrying it sideways or frontways. In this case, you must wait longer to turn on the fridge after moving. However, laying it backside is not recommended as it can badly damage your fridge. Upright is the best option.

Reference: Refrigerator Wikipedia

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Jeniffer Smith

Hi, I am Jeniffer Smith, a housemaker and blogger, and I grew up in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. I have been researching and fixing appliances and other things around the home and kitchen from a young age to help my single mother. Every time something went wrong, I couldn't rest until I fixed it. And ever since, I have enjoyed fixing things around my home, and I am always ready to help my friends and family with advice and hands-on help. Since we were always looking for affordable ways of fixing things, we rarely hired experts and tried to fix most things ourselves. That interest brought me to write for this blog, as I realized my knowledge could help many people trying to fix things around their homes on their own without spending hundreds of dollars.

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