Home Improvement: Getting a Large Refrigerator Through Small Doors

One of the drawbacks of older homes is smaller door openings. In a new construction home you will likely have a door that’s 34″ wide, but in a home like our 1974 Modern we have interior doors that are closer to 32″. And those 2″ really matter when you are moving large appliances.

It’s finally time to have the tile installed. (More on that later) In order to do it right, we moved the stove and refrigerator out of the kitchen. Stove ended up in the laundry room. But the fridge needed to be moved to the entryway. With the handles off, our fridge is 33″ deep. That means it won’t fit through the 32″ doors in our home.

No problem, just remove the doors. And the hinges. We got it moved. If you find yourself in a similar situation, here’s how to do it. (On most side by side style refrigerators.)

First, turn off the water, unhook and drain the water line to the ice maker. If you are ready to do the move, go ahead an empty the fridge out. Make sure to remove the ice in the freezer. If you work efficiently, you should be able to put it all back and save the food from spoiling. Remove the bottom cover on the front of the unit. It should just snap off.

So, for most of these, the door sits down into the bottom hinge, and the top hinge drops into a hole on the top of the door. The door with the water line has more steps, but one door will be easy to remove. Break out the socket set and screw drivers. Take off the covers on the hinges. Take out the screws holding the top hinge on. The door should stay closed, but be careful in case it shifts. Remove the hinge, open the door a couple of inches and lift it free of the bottom hinge. Then remove the bottom hinge. Keep your screws with the proper hinges.

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IMG_5040Now, the door with water access. When you remove this hinge cover on top, you will likely see a ground wire and a bundle of wires coming from the main part of the fridge into the door. Unplug the wires and remove the screw holding the ground. Remove the top hinge, and carefully pull the harness and ground wire through the hinge. When removed, it should look like the images to the left.

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Stop, don’t lift that door yet. The water is still attached. On my fridge, it was coming in through the bottom hinge.

IMG_4997The plastic tubing for my unit was attached using a coupler pictured to the right. It’s designed to hold together even when it’s pulled apart. To get them apart, you need to push in on a small ring and slide the tubing out.

Then as you lift up the door, the tubing should feed out of the bottom hinge. Next, remove that hinge like you did on the other side.

At this point, both doors are off and you are ready to move the appliance through the narrow opening. Be careful, there is still not much room. We used a two wheel dolly. If youdon’t have straps, you should have a 2nd person to help. Do not tip the fridge over on its side.

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To reassemble, just reverse the process. We didn’t hook the water line back up or replace the top hinge covers because we will be moving it back in just a couple of days. The fridge is plugged in and cooling in the entryway while the tile goes in. I’ll be taking the doors off one more time to get it back in place.

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