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Hey, you're in the appliance zone--YOUR HANDYMAN ZONE!

Refrigerator Category

Improvement Project:

How to change the refrigerator door in reverse.

Tools / Materials (See Below for Applicability):

  • Screwdriver

  • Putty knife

  • Nut driver (handheld or battery-operated, such as the battery-operated Bosch Litheon Pocket Driver)

  • Socket driver / socket wrench

  • Helper



When you first get your refrigerator, if you have not already done so, you'll want to figure out from which side of the refrigerator the refrigerator door should swing open in consideration of your kitchen's physical configurations.  In all likelihood, to best incorporate the new physical appearance of your refrigerator in your kitchen, you may have to actually reverse the factory-preset location of the refrigerator door to the other side of the refrigerator.  This is a common occurrence, and virtually all refrigerator manufacturers have made it a part of their refrigerator design to allow consumers, such as yourself, to easily do such a reversal of the door location of their refrigerator.

Caution: When dealing with any device that requires electrical power, make sure you take precautions before you work on it, including disconnecting the power.

Changing the refrigerator door in reverse can be done in a few steps, and here's how:

  1. First and foremost, prepare the refrigerator for the door-reversal procedure:  Disconnect the power to the refrigerator (by unplugging its plug), remove any food that currently occupies the door shelving, and remove the grille of the refrigerator found at the front bottom of the refrigerator; refer to the refrigerator manufacturer's instructions as may be applicable.

  2. Starting with the top refrigerator door's top door hinges (i.e., freezer door hinges), you'll remove them by unscrewing the screws that secure such hinges with either a socket driver, socket wrench or nut driver, opening the door a bit and ultimately lifting it up and off the refrigerator cabinet, itself, in the process, being careful not to damage the shims or washers of the door hardware.  Once off, put this door gently to the side.

Important:  When removing the top door, as shown above, and the bottom door, as shown below, make sure you provide adequate support in holding the doors (not just by the door handles, but also by gripping their sides) in their installed position until the doors are each ready to be removed from the refrigerator cabinet; damage and even injury may result in the event the loosening of the door hardware is done without proper support so as to relieve pressure off the hardware that is in the midst of being removed.

  1. Next, with the bottom refrigerator door's middle door hinge, you'll also remove it by unscrewing the screws that secure it with either a socket driver, socket wrench or nut driver, as may be applicable, uplifting the handle of this bottom door and the rest of the door as it becomes loose and removable from the refrigerator cabinet, itself, upon the removal of the hinge pin.  Once removed, put this door gently to the side.

  2. Upon removing the refrigerator doors, make the necessary hardware switches:  Remove all applicable camouflaging caps (also known as "hole plugs") found on the side of the refrigerator that will become the new location of the door hinges and corresponding hardware, using a putty knife or a screwdriver to pop such caps off; hidden underneath these caps are the pre-drilled holes specially made for this door-reversal process, holes of which will be used to secure the hinges and other door hardware on this opposite side of the refrigerator, itself, and their respective doors.

Then, with the caps removed off the refrigerator, with either a socket driver, socket

 wrench or nut driver, unscrew and remove the remaining door and related hardware left on the original, factory-chosen side and reinstall all of such on the side of the refrigerator that is the intended refrigerator side relocation for the attachment of the refrigerator doors and related hardware, using the corresponding holes of this refrigerator side that have been uncovered through the previous removal of the camouflaging caps; also, with a screwdriver, remove the handles of the refrigerator doors and, upon the removal of the caps found on the opposite sides of the doors, themselves, reinstall such handles on the new opposite sides of these doors, too. 

Important:  Reuse the caps to cover up the holes that appear on the sides of the refrigerator and its doors that were originally chosen by the manufacturer as the sides to which the doors and hardware were to be installed.  See the refrigerator manufacturer's instructions for more applicable information about these caps and other aspects of this door-reversal process.

  1. Now, reinstall the refrigerator doors onto their corresponding hinges of this new side of the refrigerator (i.e., not the original, factory-chosen side), starting with the bottom refrigerator door and then the top refrigerator door, using either a socket driver, socket wrench or nut driver to fasten the required hardware, but do not tighten the screws of such hardware until you do the following:  Make sure the doors are aligned correctly on the refrigerator so that the freezer door bottom lines up evenly with the refrigerator door top. Then, with the aforesaid applicable tool, completely fasten the screws of the hinges so that they are secured both to their respective doors and the refrigerator, itself, snug-tight.

If, however, you find that the doors are unaligned, you can follow the following specific steps to try to remedy such an unalignment:

i.  With either a socket driver, socket wrench or nut driver, loosen the hinge screws of the offending door; and

ii. Then, have a helper hold the door as squarely in place as possible as you retighten the previously loosened screws.

  1. Reinstall the base grille at the front bottom of the refrigerator; refer to the manufacturer's instructions as may be necessary.

  2. Finally, put back any food in the door shelving of the refrigerator, and reconnect the power to the refrigerator (by plugging its plug).

That's how to change the refrigerator door in reverse.

Ed the Handyman


Your Handyman Zone Team


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