You have better odds in Vegas-Don’t lay your refrigerator down!



If you like going to Las Vegas, you should know that the Craps table has ok odds. If you bet the minimum on the pass/don’t pass, then add an odds bet behind it, all you need to do is catch a ‘run’, and make a few bucks.

If you don’t care for Vegas (or gambling), you should never lay a refrigerator down in your vehicle or in a trailer when you need to transport it.

When my wife and I are riding along on the freeway, either one of us (I taught her well!) will point at, usually a pick up, and say “There goes another refrigerator gambler”, when we see a refrigerator laying on its side in the bed of the truck, or other vehicle.

You may have heard this advice in the past, and you may have wondered if it’s an urban legend or some such nonsense. Heck, some people probably say to themselves (truthfully) “I’ve moved refrigerators laying down before, and never had a problem”. How can this be, if you’re told to never do it? What gives?

Here is the end to the urban legend. This will explain why it’s not just a fable or “Old Wives’ Tale”. Refrigerators have a compressor that moves refrigerant gas through tubing to make the refrigerator cold. I must digress for a moment to clarify one thing. Refrigerators don’t actually make food cold. The way they work is to remove heat from the food, which lets the food become cold. Thanks for indulging my moment of clarity.

Anyway, the compressor, that usually sits at the bottom rear of the refrigerator, has this tubing connected to it. In the bottom of the compressor is oil, that keeps the compressor running smoothly and quietly (sorta quiet). When you lay the refrigerator down flat on its side, the oil can leave the compressor, and enter the refrigerant tubing.

This is where the gambling comes in, and why some people have done this successfully. On some compressors, the tubing comes out of one side of the compressor, so that if you happen to lay it down with the tubing facing upward, lucky you! no problem. You might also get lucky, even if you laid it down wrong if, after you stand the refrigerator up, you let it sit for a while before turning it on or plugging it in. This is because the oil might migrate or drain back to the compressor, where it belongs.

Okay, okay. Why does it matter whether the oil gets into the refrigerant tubing? They’re obviously connected. So what? What can happen is that if the oil remains in the tubing when you turn on the refrigerator, it will get sucked (the compressor has a sucking end and a blowing end), into the rest of the tubing. There is a section of that tubing that has a diameter about the size of a toothpick. If the oil gets into that section, it can cause a blockage that will result in poor cooling of your refrigerator. For most refrigerators, this is the kiss of death, since the repair is very involved (meaning expensive). It is more likely to happen on used refrigerators because over time, some sediment accumulates in the oil of the compressor, making it even more likely to cause an obstruction.

If you laid your refrigerator down, you can increase the odds in your favor by waiting at least several hours before you turn it on. It is OK to lean it at a very extreme angle; you just can’t lay it flat. Even if you didn’t lay it down, it is always a good idea to wait 15 minutes or so after it is in place before you turn it on, to allow any sloshed oil and/or sediment to settle back to the bottom of the compressor.

If you love gambling go to Vegas. If you don’t want to gamble with having to buy a new refrigerator, don’t lay it down flat, if you have to transport it.

Peace, Out

Rich Johnson