Moving and storing appliances can be a challenging undertaking, even for professionals. Navigating stairs and maintaining control of bulky items during the moving process requires careful timing and a generous helping of physical strength. Here are some guidelines for transporting appliances safely and some expert tips to make your entire moving process easier:
Protect your floors from damage
The experts at Popular Mechanics suggest using a half-sheet of inch-thick hardboard to protect flooring from scratches and rips when moving large, heavy appliances. This can prevent the feet of the appliances from digging into vinyl and hardwood surfaces and leaving marks on your floor.
Popular Mechanics also recommends that homeowners “keep in mind that a dirty floor is a damaged floor. Dirt and grit under the foot of an appliance can increase the friction enough to rip vinyl pretty easily.” Sweeping and going over the floor with a damp mop can help prevent these minor tears and scratches and make moving even the largest appliances safer for your floors.
Make it a team effort
The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) recommends that all heavy objects, including appliances, be moved by two or more people to prevent injury. By ensuring that you have enough help to manage these bulky items, you can significantly reduce your chances of getting hurt when moving.
The NFIB goes on to suggest that you should “always use a dolly when moving heavy objects up stairs or long distances.” In all cases, you should bend from the knees and avoid twisting your spine when lifting refrigerators, stoves, washers and dryers; the pressure caused by lifting these heavy objects can cause serious damage to your back in a very short amount of time.
Prepare in advance for added protection
Taking a few steps to prepare appliances ahead of the move can provide added protection and prevent damage to these valuable items. Follow these strategies when moving each type of appliance to your new home or into storage:
• Refrigerators should be unplugged at least three days before the planned move. Icemakers and water supplies should be drained and allowed to air dry; freezers must be thoroughly defrosted and dried. All cords and accessories should be secured either inside the refrigerator or taped down safely on the outside. Placing a spacer to keep the door ajar and then taping around it can provide ventilation and prevent mildew from building up inside the refrigerator during storage and moving.
GE, a major manufacturer of top-end refrigerators, recommends transporting these big-ticket items upright in the moving truck, and notes that “the exterior of your refrigerator should be protected with a blanket covering.” If the refrigerator must be transported horizontally, GE recommends placing it on the side opposite the hinges to minimize risk to the appliance.
• Stoves should be cleaned thoroughly prior to moving; this will prevent grease spots and stains from rubbing off on other items in the moving truck. All knobs should be securely taped down. Electric stoves can be disconnected by homeowners, but gas-powered stoves must be disconnected by a plumbing professional to reduce the risk of gas leaks or fire.
• Washing machines should be cleaned and dried at least one day before the move; leave the top or front open to ensure that the inside has ample time to dry. Hoses and connectors can be wrapped in towels and transported inside the washing chamber; tape the door closed to ensure that these items stay securely in place. Any cords or hoses that cannot be disconnected should be taped down for safety during the move.
• Dryers should be cleaned and the lint traps emptied before the move. All cords and hoses should be taped to the side of the dryer; crushable hoses can be padded with bubble wrap or other padding material to prevent damage en route to your new location.
Once these items have been properly prepared, it’s time to pack them up for the big move.
Pack it up
When possible, pack your appliances in their original boxes. This not only offers added protection for delicate enamel finishes, knobs and wiring, but can also make the task of identifying these items much more convenient once you reach your destination.
Martha Stewart also recommends using color codes for items expected to go on the moving truck: “Assign a color to each room, and mark boxes and furniture (be mindful of delicate surfaces) with coordinating stickers to ensure the movers will know at a glance where everything should go.”
Self-storage facilities can provide valuable short- and long-term storage solutions for appliances and other household items. By packing and preparing these items carefully, you can ensure that they arrive safely at your new home to provide you with many years of continued service.