Sunday, July 13, 2008

How To Change the Direction your Refrigerator Door Swings

Handyman here again and in this do it yourself walk through I am going to be showing you how to reverse the direction your refrigerator door swings. If you have a small kitchen like I do and the refrigerator door doesn't swing the direction you want it to its very easy to change, by no means do you have to be an expert handyman to do this as long as you have the right tools this should take about 30 minutes to an hour even for the beginner. If you have a drill with the right bits and you have done this a couple times it should take about five to ten minutes. But now why would you want to change the direction your refrigerator door swings? Take the picture below for example, this is my fridge in the kitchen and it has a left side swing.

The left side swing for this set up is good for me because I am constantly grabbing beers and the direction that it swings is perfect for me, I don't have to walk all the way into the kitchen I can easily open up the refrigerator door, grab my beer, and be on my way until 5 minutes later until I need another one.

But however this swing isn't good for when my girlfriend is in the kitchen trying to cook dinner, because shes constantly getting stuff out of the fridge and freezer and she has to walk around every time that she needs to get something out. So I decided to change the direction the refrigerator door swings to make it easier for her, I will suffer the extra 1 second it takes me to get a beer out, oh well.

This particular refrigerator is a new GE model, although you may need different bits for different brands every refrigerator is the same principle for changing the direction of the door swings. This GE refrigerator uses Phillips screws for the handles and No.20 star head bits for the 3 hinges.

First thing I do is grab my drill and put a Phillips head bit on, because I am going to remove the refrigerator handles first. You can also do this with a screwdriver but I know that its gonna save me time if I use a drill. On this GE refrigerator there is 1 screw on top of the freezer, and 2 below the freezer. 2 screws on top of the refrigerator handle, and 1 screw in the middle. I am going to disassemble the handles 1st because I wanna try and limit the amount of heat that is let inside why I'm doing the refrigerator door direction switch.

Once I have all of the screws loose I can easily just pull the refrigerator handle off.

Once you have the handles off you want to remove all of the screws that are on the side you want the hinges to be on or the same side that the handles were on. There should be a couple screws in the middle, a couple on top, and a couple at the bottom. Remember all we are doing here is taking the hinges from one side and placing them on the other side. Most modern refrigerators have screws on both sides for the very option of reversing the refrigerator swing.

Now we have open holes on the side we want the swing to be to screw the hinges into. Next step is to start unscrewing the hinge thats on top of the freezer. Once all of the screws are loose you should be able to lift the freezer door off of the middle hinge.

Set the freezer door to the side somewhere. After you have the freezer door off start unscrewing the screws that are holding the bottom hinge on. You might need a longer attachment in some cases so you can get a good torque on the screw.

Once you have the bottom hinge loose you can remove the refrigerator door then set it to the side for now. Please dont mind my ugly mug in this pic, another bad hair day.

Now you unscrew the screws that are mounting the middle hinge and once you have it loose simply move it over to the other side of the fridge and mount it. On this GE model it looks like you might have to flip the hinge rods but you don't, it doesn't matter, just mount it on the other side. Only mount one screw at first and dont screw it in all of the way, for the reason that we will have play with the middle hinge which we will need.

Secure the bottom hinge fully. Then set the refrigerator door on the bottom hinge and work the middle hinge into the hole, once its in you can continue to secure the middle hinge fully. Now back to the freezer door, on this GE model the bottom of the freezer door has an attachment that helps it stay on the middle hinge, just simply move it to the other side of the door.

Set the freezer door on the middle hinge then take the top hinge and attach it.

Now just simply re-attach the handles to the refrigerator and freezer doors !

Thats it ! I'm done, now whenever my girlfriend cooks she can easily access all the stuff she needs from the refrigerator and freezer !

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Anonymous said...

After reading the 'how to change the direction of the GE refrigerator door, I tried and I could do it!!!the explanation was so easy and I could easyli follow all the instruction.

dwepproductionz said...

glad I could help, thanks for the comment :)

Anonymous said...

Very helpful your guide.
But what can we do when we have a model, where the door is connected through a cable with the refrigerator?
I have a new INDESIT model (tan 5 fnf) and the door (of the freeze) has a little window for temperature adjustment and other functions and it is connected by a cable in the top side. So, I suppose that I don't have only to change the direction of the door, but also I have to reconnect the cable of the door to the other side (after I disconnect it first from the one side, of course).
Any idea? (the user manual recommends to call a technician...)


dwepproductionz said...

I am sorry my friend, but I have no knowledge of INDESIT models....I would need a detailed picture to be able to even think about where to start

Anonymous said...

Thanks any way (for the answer)!

Unknown said...

Can you give me an guesstimate of how much each of the doors might weigh? I do most of my own "handyman" jobs but being short is rarely an asset. I don't want to end up on the floor with a fridge door on top of me! Thanks, Handywoman

dwepproductionz said...

The fridge doors are not that heavy I am guessing between 5-15 lbs. Switching refrigerator doors though is easier done with two people.

Kat said...

Thanks for posting this!

It was super easy! Without a second person home to hold the fridge door, I just wedged some books underneath it so it wouldn't fall when removing the bottom hinge. Likewise, used the books to hold it up after the switch while putting in the screws. Yes, using a drill makes all the difference.

Great directions! :)

Kat said...

Thanks for posting this!

It was super easy & was able to do it by myself. I wedged some books under the fridge door to hold it up while working on the bottom hinge. And you're right - using a drill makes all the difference.

Great instructions!

Anonymous said...

now that i am done the only prob is the freezer and frig doors hit each other .. i believe i put everything in the rt place.. it was easy but now have a rub

Anonymous said...

A tip: before loosening screws, tape the doors shut with heavy duty tape. This will prevent them from falling off, in case you are doing this alone.

Anonymous said...

Our daughter and son-in-law have lived in a NYC apartment for 7 years with a refrigerator door that inconviently opened the wrong way. We found your sight and thank you thank you the door is now on the correct side and opens easily. Your directions were great. Especially the hint to use the star bit.

JannerB said...

A couple of things from my experience: 1. I had to buy the torx bit online. I didn't want to traipse all over town looking for one. So allow time to receive it. 2. If the bit is offered in different lengths, get one longer than the 1" bit that I got. It was nearly impossible to use the short bit on the center hinge. I had to unchuck the bit and turn it manually with needle nose pliers. What a pain! 3. Instead of using books to prop up the refridge door, I used one full and one partial ream of printer paper. It was perfect, because I removed just enough paper from the partial for a perfect height. I tipped the bottom of the door outward, and kicked the reams in as I positioned the door.

FYI, I am a very sedentary, overweight 58 year old woman, and I did the job in about an hour. So if I can do it...anyone can! Good luck!

Wendy said...

many thanks for posting - I just did it and it was super easy!