Moving a refrigeration appliance is no easy task! The question usually arises during a move. We have seen many questions rising in this fridge move.

However, very often, even removal professionals do not know the precautions to take to prevent your appliance from suffering sometimes irreversible damage.

In this article, we first explain how a refrigerator or other cold producing devices work. Then, we will explain the art and how to properly transport a refrigeration appliance. If you are looking at how to fit well your fridge into your home, we have got you covered here.

Why transporting a fridge can compromise its proper functioning?
The right way to move a refrigerator

A refrigerator: how does it work?

You may already know it: a refrigerator, contrary to appearances, does not really make cold. In fact, it rather withdraws the heat! Its principle is to absorb the calories contained inside (that of food and air), and to evacuate them outside. Hence the warmth that you perceive at the back of the appliance … Yes, but how does your sleight of hand, your brave refrigerator?

A story of fluid …

The device embeds a fluid that circulates in a circuit, called an evaporator. In this serpentine pipe, hidden in the wall of the fridge, this fluid catches the calories, which causes it to partially evaporate. The gas thus formed passes through a compressor, which… compresses it, raising its temperature.
Next, head to the condenser you will find at the back of the fridge. It is a long circuit of pipes in which the gas becomes liquid again, releasing its heat at the same time.
Continuation of the trip? Passage through the regulator. The diameter of the pipe increases, the pressure drops: the liquid cools suddenly. During its circuit, this refrigerant undergoes a real Scottish shower, going from + 40 ° C or even + 60 ° C to -20 ° C!

Locate the compressor

Where is the compressor located? Usually at the back of the refrigerator, at the bottom, under the condenser circuit. It often looks like a small black gas cylinder …

► What is the compressor used for?
This is where a lot of things happen. Inside, a piston, driven by a motor running at around 3,000 rpm, descends to open a suction valve, letting the gas loaded with calories from the fridge enter. Then it rises, pushing that gas through another valve, compressing it to send it to the condenser. And he starts again …
The piston, to function properly, needs to be oiled by an integrated system that constantly lubricates it.

► Identify the components of the compressor
There are three small tubes emerging from the compressor.

The first corresponds to the departure of gas under pressure (7.5 bars), it is smaller.
The second corresponds to the arrival of gas at low pressure (0.5 bars). Therefore, it has a larger section than the next one.
The third called the service tube or the charging tail. This is not attached to anything, it was used to fill the gas circuit during manufacturing.

Why can transporting a refrigerator compromise its proper functioning?
Many people are unaware of the precautions to be taken when transporting a refrigerating appliance: refrigerator, freezer, combined, American fridge, …
Also, it is sometimes a bad surprise when the device is reconnected and it is found that it no longer works correctly or not at all!

2 errors are widespread:

put the device in the wrong position,
reconnect it too soon after transport.
► The compressor in the line of sight
The compressor circuit of a refrigerator contains a fluid essential for the operation of the device.
The ideal is to carry the appliance in an upright position. However, if you have to lay the device down to move it, you should know that depending on its design, you will have to choose the side that will be in contact with the floor.

► What are the risks?
If you lay your refrigeration appliance on its wrong side, you risk causing a blockage in the cooling system.
In fact, if the device is placed horizontally in the wrong direction, the oil contained in the compressor risks running and entering the high pressure tube (see diagram above) then towards the condenser. .
If in addition, you reconnect your device too quickly, its motor (the compressor) will compress and push this oil into the circuit which will generate a plug. This phenomenon is sometimes called a “blocked circuit”.

The intervention of a refrigeration technician will then be mandatory to flush the circuit and this operation is expensive!

See also how to treat your refrigerator while going to holidays.

► A touch of patience
And here is the 2nd mistake frequently made when moving a refrigeration appliance

: reconnect it immediately after transport.
In fact, it is recommended to wait 24 to 48 hours so that the oil which may have moved has time to come down to the engine (compressor).
However, this is still risky because the oil, which is very greasy by nature, will adhere to the tube and will have difficulty coming down completely.

Before transporting, easily defrost your refrigerator with the help of this article: 4 simple techniques to defrost a refrigerator

Find accessories and cleaning products for your refrigerator, freezer <<
The right way to transport a fridge
The following advice is valid for any device with a compressor.

► Secure internal elements
First, block the shelves with tape or napkins or remove them to transport them separately.
Then apply a good adhesive to hold the doors in the closed position.

► Find the best transport position for your fridge
Preferably, carry your device in an upright position or, if you have to tilt it, be careful not to exceed an angle of 45 ° (to go through doors or place the device on a hand truck, for example).
This way, the oil will have less risk of migrating to the circuit.

On the other hand, if you have to completely lay down your fridge to put it in a car, for example, you have 2 options:

Option 1: Lay the device on the front
This position will prevent oil from escaping to the engine circuit. Be sure to protect the fridge door well so as not to damage it (beware of the domed fronts of some devices).

Option 2: Choose the best side of the fridge
For this, you have to take a closer look at how your device is designed. Locate the low pressure and high pressure pipes connected to the compressor. This will allow you to choose the best position. Stand at the back of your refrigeration appliance. You should see the compressor:

On some models, it is necessary to remove a metal cover to access the elements.
Your mission here is to locate the 2 tubes of the circuit (high and low pressure). First, identify the low pressure tube: it is easily distinguished because it has a larger diameter than that of the low pressure.

A golden rule
Lay the device on its right or left side depending on the location of the high pressure tube. Be sure to choose the side opposite the high pressure (thinnest tube).

To remember ✔️

The high pressure (thinnest) hose should always be furthest from the ground and the low pressure (thicker) hose closest.

In this model, the high-pressure pipe and service pipe are on the right of the compressor. The low-pressure one is on the left.
Therefore, the refrigerator will be lying on the side opposite the high-pressure tube.

Sometimes the 2 pipes are on the same side. In this case, you will have to position the 2 tubes opposite the ground …

On this model, the 2 high and low pressure tubes are on the right of the compressor.
No doubt about it: the refrigerator will be lying on the side opposite these 2 tubes.

This precaution helps to minimize the risks. Indeed, even if oil is flowing in the refrigerant circuit (high pressure side), the consequences will be less serious.
Since the oil will be sucked when the appliance is restarted and not pushed towards the circuit. The engine will collect the oil without creating a plug.

Good to know ☝️

Often there is little information on the conditions for transporting a new refrigeration appliance. Also, as a precaution, always leave the refrigerator standing for at least 24/48 hours before plugging it in. This will allow any oil that may have entered the system to slowly drain back to its place.

There you go, you know everything there is to know about transporting your refrigeration appliance.
And don’t forget to wait between 24 and 48 hours before putting your fridge back into service: 2 precautions are better than one!


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