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How to Move a Refrigerator on Vinyl

Vinyl flooring, also called resilient flooring, valiantly withstands heavy foot traffic and weight from large appliances. The flooring is easily scratched or torn, however, from moving objects with sharp metal edges or from weighty casters that catch on the flooring. To safely move a refrigerator across a vinyl floor -- to clean behind the appliance or to relocate it to another area of the room -- use a large piece of scrap cardboard or a scrap section of carpet. If you're moving a refrigerator across the vinyl flooring into another room or building, use a dolly and straps to secure the appliance and protect the floor.

Moving the Refrigerator a Short Distance

Moving appliances is the number one cause of vinyl flooring damage.

Step 1

Empty the refrigerator. This reduces the weight and prevents any glass containers or shelves from shifting and breaking within the refrigerator. Place perishable items in a cooler or second refrigerator, if possible. Consider cleaning the refrigerator with a solution of soap and dish detergent while the appliance is empty.

Step 2

Unplug the refrigerator. Wrap a bungee cord or rope around each of the doors and tie the ends together. This secures the doors to prevent them from swinging open.

Step 3

Lift one side of the refrigerator approximately 1 to 2 inches, high enough to slip a large piece of cardboard or carpet beneath the base of the refrigerator. Turn the carpeting upside down so the fabric contacts the vinyl flooring and the backing supports the underside of the refrigerator. Ensure that the refrigerator casters or sharp corners fully rest on the cardboard or carpeting.

Step 4

Lift the other side of the refrigerator and slip a second piece of cardboard or carpeting under the appliance. Allow the weight of the refrigerator to rest on the cardboard or carpeting.

Step 5

Slowly yank the cardboard or carpeting pieces across the vinyl flooring while a helper steadies and pushes the appliance from the back. Occasionally check that the cardboard or carpeting doesn't slip from its position below the refrigerator. Glide the refrigerator into its new place.

Step 6

Remove the cardboard or carpeting sections by tipping the appliance slightly, in the same manner that you inserted the materials.

Step 7

Plug in the refrigerator. Return the shelves and food.

Moving the Refrigerator a Long Distance

Step 1

Empty the refrigerator. This reduces the weight and prevents any glass containers or shelves from shifting and breaking within the refrigerator. Place perishable items in a cooler or second refrigerator, if possible. Consider cleaning the refrigerator with a solution of soap and dish detergent while the appliance is empty.

Step 2

Unplug the refrigerator. Wrap a bungee cord or rope around each of the doors and tie the ends together. This secures the doors to prevent them from swinging open.

Step 3

Place a section of cardboard or upside-down carpeting beside the refrigerator to create a mat to protect the vinyl flooring from the dolly wheels. Place the dolly on top of the mat.

Step 4

Grasp the dolly's handles and slide the platform under the refrigerator. Push the dolly close to the side of the refrigerator. Be careful that you don't strike the casters underneath the appliance.

Step 5

Strap the refrigerator to the dolly with two bungee cords or ropes. Tighten the cords or rope to leave no slack, and to press the dolly close to the side of the refrigerator.

Step 6

Tilt the refrigerator back onto the dolly at a 45-degree angle or less. While a helper steadies the refrigerator's position by holding the center of the appliance, shove the wheels of the dolly toward the refrigerator with your foot and pull the handles of the dolly toward you to tip the upper portion of the refrigerator toward your body. This lever-like movement will tilt the appliance's weight onto you and the dolly but will provide you full control of the refrigerator's position and movement. Your helper should hold the center of the appliance steady and help support the weight of the appliance as you tilt the dolly back.

Step 7

Wheel the dolly out of the room to the new location. Remove the refrigerator from the dolly in the same manner that you placed it.

Things You Will Need

  • Cooler or second refrigerator
  • Thick cardboard sections or pieces of carpeting
  • Bungee cords or rope
  • Dolly

Tips

  • A refrigerator can weigh several hundred pounds. Find a helper to assist you.
  • Check the dolly wheels to make sure they're smooth and without burrs that can scar the vinyl flooring. The wheels should be clean with no oozing grease.
  • If your refrigerator is very heavy and the vinyl floor is very thin, lay a large painter's canvas across the floor where you'll wheel the refrigerator. This will further protect the vinyl flooring from compression and marking.

Warnings

  • Never fully tip a refrigerator on its side or back to move it. The fluids in the compressor may infiltrate the cooling coils, damaging or ruining the refrigerator motor.
  • Avoid placing the cords or ropes over the door handles when securing the refrigerator. The handles may become damaged or broken from the strain of the movement.

About the Author

Rebecca Mecomber, a former radio broadcaster, has been a professional blogger and writer since 2006. Her articles and interviews have appeared in "The Wall Street Journal," Salon.com and several other publications, covering topics such as Federal Trade Commission policy and media regulations, blogging, home improvement and New York travel.

Photo Credits

  • Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images