Can you Transport a Freezer or Fridge on its Side or Back | Why you Should Avoid it

Perhaps you have added an extension or shed to your existing house and want to relocate your freezer to the shed through a narrow door.

Or, you need to transport the freezer home and only your SUV is available.

You risk damage to a freezer during and after transportation if the manufacturer’s recommendations for handling and setup following transportation are not followed.

You’ve probably heard that a freezer can be damaged if laid on its side or back instead of upright and are wondering if this is true and what can be done to prevent the damage.

Yes, manufacturers generally recommend that a freezer is transported upright as much as is possible.

So, in this article, I explain why you should transport it upright, the dangers faced if you lay it on the side or back and what remedies are available to you in the event that the freezer has been on its side for any length of time.

Should You Transport a Freezer on its Side or Back?

Yes, you can transport a freezer while it is laying on its side or back – make sure it is on the side where the compressor is located if you must.

If you do this though, allow enough time for the compressor oil and refrigerant that may have been displaced while it is on the side or back to flow back to the compressor before switching it on.

Manufacturers usually indicate on the packaging where the compressor is located or if it is an existing freezer, you can check the back of the freezer where the compressor is located.

It is secured by a metal grill, at the bottom of the freezer and is black in color.

In general, manufacturers recommend that the freezer be transported upright.

If you transport the freezer on the side or back and you switch it on immediately without allowing enough time for both the refrigerant and oil to flow back to the compressor, the freezer can fail.

Damage to the Freezer Transported on Side or Back | What Happens

If you transport the freezer on the side and immediately switch it on, you run the risk of damaging the freezer’s compressor.

This is because placing the freezer on the side displaces and drains the compressor of the oil needed for lubrication. Should you switch it on before the oil has flowed back to the compressor, it will run without lubrication which damages it.

How Long Can a Freezer Lay on its Side or Back?

In general, try to limit the time the freezer stays on its side or back – if you cannot store it upright.

Some manufacturers recommend that the settling time for a freezer that has been on its side before being plugged in should at least be as long as the time it was on its side for a maximum period of 24 hours.

This allows for the compressor oil and refrigerant to flow back to the compressor.

Other manufacturers recommend a longer period of up to 48 hours, so it is best to check the freezer owner manual for guidance.

What to Do when a Freezer has been Laying on its Side or Back

If the freezer has been on its side, manufacturers recommend that it is positioned upright for some time which varies by manufacturer.

Some manufacturers recommend for 2 hours while others say 4 hours.

In general, 24 hours is considered enough time for the freezer to stay upright before switching on its power.

Always check your freezer owner manual for the recommended time for the freezer to stay upright after transportation before switching it on.

Lastly, when positioning upright, take care that the freezer door does not swing open and cause injury to someone or damage to property

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Should Fridge Freezers Be Transported on their Side or Back?

Manufacturers recommend that Fridge freezers be transported while upright.

In the event that they have to be transported laying on their side, it is recommended that they stand still for a period of up to 24 hours to all for the oil to flow back to the compressor before they are switched on.

Check the owner’s manual for your particular fridge freezer for the recommended period that the fridge freezer should standstill before being plugged into the mains.

Should Upright Freezers Be Transported on the Side or Back?

Upright freezers need to be transported upright as much as possible.

This way on arrival at the destination and setting up, they can be plugged into the mains and begin working right away.

If they are transported on the side or back for whatever reason, many manufacturers recommend that they be positioned upright for a period usually ranging from 4 – 24 hours to allow the compressor oil to flow back before they are plugged into the mains.

Failure to do so can result in damage to the freezer’s compressor.

Can a Chest Freezer Be Transported on its Side or Back?

Yes, a chest freezer can be transported on their side or back if there is not enough space to transport it upright.

Should you transport it on the side or back, allow for about 24 hours (check the owner manual) for the chest freezer to stand still (unplugged) from the mains to allow for the oil to flow back to the compressor.

This prevents damage that can happen when the chest freezer is switched on prematurely.

Final Word

If you must transport the freezer whether chest freezer, fridge freezer, or upright freezer on the side or back for whatever reason, position it such that the compressor is closest to the ground.

Before switching on the freezer, keep it upright for 24 hours to allow the oil to flow back to the compressor and prevent damage.

Note that this time can vary by manufacturer so always consult the freezer manual for the recommended settling time.

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