How to Remove a Residential Refrigerator from an RV

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With bigger RVs, RV owners have the added flexibility of being able to have room to put a residential refrigerator in their kitchen. The RV might even come with a household size fridge. Either way, it’s good to have more than enough space for foods and drinks for your adventures.

The day may come when that residential fridge has to get out of there. Whether it’s not working, you need a bigger fridge, or you are moving from RV to someplace else, you’ll need to find a way to get the fridge out.

Moving your fridge out of anywhere can be a task. Removing a residential size refrigerator could certainly use some planning. We’ll discuss how to prepare your fridge, your RV, and yourself in the best, safest way possible.

Getting your fridge ready to move

Like many other appliances and pieces of furniture in your RV, your fridge should literally be bolted down. Bolting a fridge or appliance down is to keep it from moving while traveling. Naturally, bolting pieces down means you’ll have to remove the bolts in order to move them again.

The fridge might be bolted on the back and on the bottom. Thankfully, savvy RV makers often give the RV owner access panels to the back of the fridge, which are in the RVs wall.

First, try to find the fridge’s manual. The manual might tell you ahead what size bolts you are dealing with. Knowing the bolt size will make things a little easier so you can avoid trying to turn bolts with the wrong size socket.

So, somewhat step by step

  1. Find another person to help you. You can definitely get the fridge freed by yourself, but trying to lift a fridge by yourself is not a great idea. A furniture cart helps, but could still use two people.
  2. Either find a socket wrench and sockets or use the manual to learn which socket size you need to remove bolts.
  3. Unplug the refrigerator from the wall. 
  4. Remove any storage containers inside, including drawers and shelves. These are added weight and could also get damaged while being moved around.
  5. It’s readily possible to start from the back of the fridge or the bottom. Opening the rear access panel will help you get the socket wrench back there. Removing all the bolts you find on the back of the fridge. There might be several. If you have your entire socket wrench set with you, you’ll want to test the socket sizes one by one to find the right fit.
  6. You’ll probably want to get on the floor to access bolts that are underneath. There are likely several bolts.
  7. While the fridge may not be loose and moveable, don’t move just yet.
  8. If your fridge doesn’t have a door lock, you might want to tape the fridge door shut. This prevents the fridge door from opening and hitting something, like a counter or a hand.

At this point, we might also suggest wearing protective gloves. Moving a fridge in what might be a small piece can result in getting your hands pinned between the fridge and something else, and gloves can prevent sweaty hands from losing grip.

If you have a furniture cart capable of holding a fridge, slowly shuffle or move the fridge onto the cart and strap it in.

How to physically move the fridge in your RV

Getting the fridge loose is relatively easy. Lifting it can be a challenge. After removing the storage containers inside and all the food, it should be lighter than it was before.

Fridges are unique appliances in that they have some amount of liquid already inside to help cool. They are also relatively sensitive and have moving parts.

Are you moving the fridge to throw it away? If so, you can move it in nearly anyway safe to you, including laying it down or tilting it. Why does this matter? Two things: You shouldn’t put the weight of the fridge on it’s own moving parts, which could damage them. Second, the fridge has coolant which should stay in place to avoid damage when it restarts.

If you are moving the fridge to sell it or continue using it elsewhere, your best bet is to tip is slightly or attempt to lift it vertically.

Your RV might have two options here for physically removing it. You can take the stairs in most cases, which will involve heavy lifting.

Some RVs also have a hatch on back that allows the entire rear end to open. The fridge can be shuffled out or removed with the cart easily this way, though it’s generally further. At least the hatch isn’t down stairs!

Our best suggestion for moving a fridge down a flight of stairs is to either use the cart or take one step at a time. If you are big and strong with great balance, you might be able to make quick work of this. Otherwise, take your time and save your energy. The hard part will be over soon.

Before moving, consider tying the power cord up in a way that keeps it from swaying or getting underneath the fridge, too.


Moving a full size fridge is readily possible. In the case of an RV, the only added steps are generally to remove bolts from the rear and the bottom. Find your socket wrench set and get to it! There are other factors involved, like how you actually move the fridge and whether or not you intend to keep it.

Again, we strongly suggest the use of gloves and a cart. Gloves will help protect your hands from getting slippery and in case your hand gets pinched – it will be relatively unharmed. 

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