How long can a refrigerator lay on its back?

How long can a refrigerator lay on its back?


When moving or transporting a refrigerator, it is essential to handle it with care to prevent any damage. One common question that arises during this process is how long a refrigerator can lay on its back. In this article, we will explore this topic in-depth and provide insights into the factors that determine the safe duration for a refrigerator to be placed on its back.

The Impact of Laying a Refrigerator on its Back

Understanding the structure: To comprehend the impact of laying a refrigerator on its back, it is crucial to understand its internal structure. A refrigerator typically consists of various components, including a compressor, condenser, evaporator, and refrigerant lines. These components work together to ensure the proper functioning of the appliance.

Compressor oil circulation: The compressor in a refrigerator contains oil that helps lubricate its moving parts. When a refrigerator is laid on its back, there is a risk of the oil flowing into the refrigerant lines, potentially causing blockages or impairing the compressor’s performance.

Refrigerant flow: Refrigerant is responsible for absorbing heat from the refrigerator’s interior and releasing it outside. When a refrigerator is placed on its back, the refrigerant can flow into areas where it shouldn’t be, leading to potential issues with the cooling system.

Safe Duration for a Refrigerator to Lay on its Back

Manufacturer’s recommendations: The first point of reference when determining how long a refrigerator can lay on its back is the manufacturer’s guidelines. Manufacturers often provide specific instructions regarding the safe transportation and handling of their appliances. These guidelines may include recommendations on the maximum duration for which a refrigerator can be placed on its back.

Short-term transport: In general, if a refrigerator needs to be transported and laid on its back for a short duration, such as during a move, it is usually safe for a few hours. However, it is crucial to minimize the time the refrigerator spends in this position to reduce the risk of potential damage.

Long-term storage: If a refrigerator needs to be stored for an extended period, it is advisable to keep it upright. This is because long-term storage on its back can lead to more significant issues, such as compressor damage or refrigerant leaks.

Precautions to Take

Secure transportation: When transporting a refrigerator, ensure it is properly secured to prevent any movement or tipping. This will minimize the chances of it being laid on its back for an extended period.

Allowing time for oil to settle: If a refrigerator has been laid on its back, it is essential to allow it to rest in an upright position for a significant amount of time before plugging it in. This will allow the compressor oil to settle back into its proper place, reducing the risk of damage.


In conclusion, while it is generally safe for a refrigerator to be laid on its back for a short duration during transportation, it is crucial to minimize the time spent in this position. Following the manufacturer’s guidelines and taking necessary precautions will help prevent potential damage to the appliance’s internal components. It is always best to store and transport a refrigerator in an upright position whenever possible.