Can a Wine Fridge Be Transported On its Side?
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Can a Wine Fridge Be Transported On its Side?

David J Sharp
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In this article, we’re going to be discussing if a wine refrigerator can be transported on its side, or if it’s better to place the fridge in a standing position.

However, to fully understand the rationale behind the answer, let’s firstly discuss how exactly a wine fridge works!


An explanation of how wine refrigerators work

Refrigerators create a cooling effect within a compartment by continuously evaporating and condensing refrigerant gases. The compressor pumps the refrigerant gas into the coils of the refrigerator to accomplish this.

Lubricating and cooling oils are specially formulated to ensure that the compressor runs smoothly. As you lay your refrigerator on its side, the oil causes the fridge to malfunction.

Wine coolers work in the exact same way as a traditional fridge.

With that being said, let’s talk more about how to move such an appliance, and what to do if in fact your unit has been transported on its side.


How to move a wine refrigerator

Whether you are transporting your refrigerator standing up or on its side, follow these tips and save yourself some headaches.

For your refrigerator to defrost properly, it’s best to switch it off and unplug it the night before moving it. Even two hours will do if you have no choice. Make sure you find alternative refrigeration for your wine collection before moving your fridge. Red wine should be fine stored in a cool, dark environment, but white wine and rose will need refrigerating.

It’s also wise to use bubble wrap when transporting your bottle collection, especially if you own any vintage wines which are irreplaceable. Not to mention, it’s the worst situation if your wine collection were to smash during transit in a moving truck.

Drawers and shelves should be removed, and the doors should be taped shut. In addition to protecting the refrigerator’s shelves, it will also protect its interior, as well as doors, whose hinges or corners could be damaged if it opens during shipping.

Activated charcoal or baking soda can absorb odors if your refrigerator will be shut for more than a day.


The effects of laying a refrigerator on its side

If positioned sideways, oil can run into the cooling coils from the compressor. It can easily clog the coils because the oil is thick and viscous. Therefore, your refrigerator won’t cool due to the gas not flowing through them.

Having said that, it is generally okay to turn on a refrigerator while it’s on its side provided the appliance is then placed upright before being turned on. By doing this, the oils can flow back down to the compressor.

If you can in any way not avoid leaving your wine fridge 100% flat, it’s a step in the right direction. However, this can be difficult when placing it in a moving van.

Insufficient lubricating oil may damage and overheat the compressor.

In general, you should let the refrigerator sit upright (and unplugged) the same period of time it sat on its side. I.E. You should let it rest upright for 2 hours if it has been lying on its side for 2 hours.

A bracket holds the compressor upright in its upright position. Laying the compressor on its side may cause the brackets to give way or dislodge internal components. When the compressor starts making loud banging and shuddering sounds after it is turned on, you will know something is wrong.


How to handle a refrigerator after it’s been laid on its side

Before turning your refrigerator on after it has been lying on its side, follow these steps.

If you have moved your refrigerator on its side – or if it was delivered to your home on its side – you should not plug it in right away, or you might damage the compressor.

The compressor should be left upright and unplugged for at least four hours (at most 24 hours) to allow the oil to settle.

While it is empty, run it with the maximum temperature setting for at least two hours.

Completed! Now you can place your wine bottles in the refrigerator!


Still not working, seek help from a wine fridge repair specialist?

Most wine fridge repairs can be done by a wine fridge repair specialist with relative ease. But some people might not want to deal with the hassle of repairing their wine fridge. If you don’t want to repair your wine fridge yourself, an appliance repair company will be able to do the work for you.

Also, if you happen to be looking for a replacement wine fridge, regardless of the size, whether it’s a small or large wine cooler, take a look at one of our many buyers guide articles at LoveCraftWines.

David J Sharp is a wine equipment expert, having previously worked with some of the best wine cooler manufacturers within the USA. Today he works as a full-time wine cooler and wine cellar consultant for small and large clients alike. You can find out more about LoveCraftWines here.

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