Should A Refrigerator Be Level?

When installing a new fridge, you may have been told that the refrigerator should be level. Other people tell you that it needs to be tilted. So which is it? Should a refrigerator be level? We've checked with appliance experts for the correct answer.

A refrigerator should always be level. However, the proper level for a fridge is aligned, left to right. Front to back, there needs to be a slight raise or incline, with the fridge higher in the front.

In this article, we'll cover the correct guidelines for leveling a fridge and why. We'll explain what happens when your fridge isn't level. We'll go over how to level a refrigerator, both a refrigerator with wheels and without. Finally, we'll explain why your fridge might be wobbling and what to do about it.

A gray refrigerator at a small modern kitchen, Should A Refrigerator Be Level?

Should A Refrigerator Be Level?

There are two directions to consider when leveling your refrigerator. Going from left to right, a fridge should always be level. However, from front to back, you want a slight slant.

It should be a fairly minor incline. Most fridge manufacturers recommend raising the front about half an inch higher than the back.

Specific directions vary between manufacturer and models. However, the front is always higher than the back, with a typical difference of .25-.5 inches. Check your manufacturer's instructions for the details about your fridge.

A level bar bubble showing mid center

Why Is It Important To Level A Refrigerator?

Refrigerators work by cycling coolant through pipes in the fridge. The fridge pulls warm air out, replacing it with coolant-chilled air. This is how your food stays cold.

If your fridge isn't level left-to-right, the coolant has a harder time getting through the pipes. It may pool in certain areas where gravity is working against it. This can make your fridge work harder than it needs to.

As a result, this may increase energy bills or wear out the appliance prematurely. It can also prevent the fridge from draining correctly. The freezer may not defrost, and the ice maker might not function as intended.

Ice build up in the freezer

Similarly, the fridge should have a slight incline in the front. The gravity working on the doors helps to create a tight seal. The tilt helps the doors stay closed, even if you forget to shut them all the way.

But too much of an upward tilt can have the same negative effect on coolant. Be sure to level the fridge properly, following the manufacturer's instructions.

How Do You Level A Refrigerator With Wheels?

Ultimately, you'll follow the same basic guidelines to level a refrigerator with wheels. Make sure that it's level, left to right, and raised slightly in the front.

If your refrigerator has wheels, they're typically fixed in the back and adjustable in the front. Adjust the front wheels until you have everything optimally aligned.

Two refrigerator units on a white background

To do this, prepare by laying down a piece of cardboard to protect the flooring in front of the fridge. You'll also need a prybar and flathead screwdriver.

Remove the kick panel under the fridge, and set it aside. You can usually squeeze and slide it out. It varies by model, however, so consult your manual if you need help removing it.

Use a pry bar to lift the front of the fridge, taking the weight off the wheels. This makes them easier to adjust.

Then all you have to do is adjust the screw that moves the wheel higher or lower until you get the right height. In most cases, turning the screw counterclockwise lowers the fridge. Turning clockwise raises the height instead.

This helpful video shows you the process:

How To Level A Refrigerator Without Wheels?

For a fridge without wheels, there are generally two height-adjustable legs in the front instead. These can be raised or lowered in the same fashion as a fridge with wheels.

Most of the steps are the same. First, remove the grill or kick panel at the bottom of the fridge front.

The legs are then raised or lowered until you get the desired height. Sometimes, this requires a wrench. Turn clockwise to raise the height and counterclockwise to lower it.

In other cases, rotate the legs themselves to adjust the height. You may need a helper to lean the fridge back first. Taking the weight off the legs allows you to make the necessary changes.

Can I Put My Refrigerator On A Stand?

While you can adjust the front elevation of your fridge slightly, you don't want too dramatic of a slope. So what to do if your fridge is too low, but raising the front anymore would go beyond the recommended half-inch difference?

You can raise the entire fridge by putting it on a stand. This brings the fridge to your desired height and still lets you follow the manufacturer's instructions for leveling.

There are stands available that are manufactured for just this purpose. They're often called pedestals. You may also find them as the more general "appliance pedestals," which can be used for washing machines, fridges, and more.

Click here to see this fridge pedestal on Amazon.

You can also make your own. Be sure that whatever you use can support the weight of the fridge. Work carefully so that the base is level. Otherwise, you'll have more problems making the fridge level when you're done.

Why Is My Fridge Wobbling?

If your fridge is wobbling, then that's a sign that the surface underneath the fridge is uneven. A refrigerator is off-balance if it rocks, wobbles, or tilts with a little bit of pushing.

How Do I Stop My Fridge From Wobbling?

The easiest way to stop a fridge from wobbling is to use shims. It's best to work with a helper to level the surface that the fridge sits on.

Three small stacks of wood shims on a white background

First, put a level on top of the fridge. Use your hands to rock, push, and adjust the fridge until it is level. Hold it there, in the level position.

Now have your helper look underneath the fridge. At least one of the fridge legs should be off the floor. This uneven surface is what's causing the wobble.

Use shims to level the floor. Slide the shims, one at a time, under the necessary leg. You can consider the problem fixed when the fridge sits level without unwanted rocking or wobbling.

You can use these plastic shims to get your fridge and other appliances level. They're adjustable and easy to trim to size. Plus, they're a bit more attractive and discrete.

Click here to see the Wobble Wedge on Amazon.

In Conclusion

A gray refrigerator at a small modern kitchen

Improper leveling can cause many problems in a fridge. Coolant may pool, making your fridge work extra hard to keep up. This can cause parts to wear out prematurely, frost to build up, or items like the icemaker may not function properly.

The correct way to level a fridge is to keep it perfectly even, from left to right. There needs to be a slight incline from front to back, with the front about half an inch higher. Too high causes the same problems with coolant and related issues. Too low means the doors may not have a tight seal, as the slight lift allows gravity assist.

You can use a level to find the correct placement. Adjust the front legs or wheels as needed. If your floor is uneven, you can use shims to smooth out the surface. Always check your manufacturer's instructions for specifics, as details can vary between models.

If you enjoyed this article, try reading these next:

How Long Before You Can Use A New Refrigerator?

What Happens If You Overfill A Fridge?

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