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How to Move Major Appliances

2014 March 07
Written by Rachel Levy Sarfin

Moving appliances such as stoves, refrigerators, washers and dryers can be a hassle when relocating. Unlike other items in your home, they can be damaged severely if they are not moved properly. Here are ten tips to make moving major appliances easier. Follow this advice, and you’ll find relocating will be a simpler experience.

1. Things to Do Before Moving Appliances

moving a fridge correctly

Photo credit: sporks5000

The first step to moving your appliances is to prepare them. This preparation is often something you must undertake on your own. The moving company is typically only responsible for safely transporting the appliances, although this might vary according to company. In addition, your moving company will not disconnect or reconnect appliances, disconnect or reconnect utilities, repair appliances, perform wiring, plumbing, electrical or carpentry services, or remove and install window air conditioners or any type of antenna. If you need to disconnect the appliance from any utilities, contact the utility company so that a trained professional can do it safely.

Below is a list of major appliances and tips on how to prepare them for moving.

2. Prepare Your Fridge and Freezer

1. Defrost the refrigerator and freezer at least 24 hours before the move. That means taking out everything and unplugging the appliance.

2. If your fridge has an automatic ice maker or water dispenser, disconnect the water line according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. Check that the water line is completely drained. Ifyou feel uncomfortable disconnecting the water line, you can call in a plumber.

3. After the freezer has defrosted, clean all the surfaces and dry them thoroughly to prevent mildew.

4. Take out all of the racks, shelves, crispers and storage bins before moving. If you would prefer to leave them inside the refrigerator, use masking tape to secure them to the sides of the fridge so they won’t break in transit.

5. Tape the electrical cord to the back of the refrigerator.

3. Get Your Stove and Oven Ready

moving a stove oven

Photo credit: bluekdesign

1. Several days before the move, run the oven’s self-cleaning cycle. After the self-cleaning cycle has ended, clean the inside of the oven with a damp cloth to remove any remaining dirt.

2. Remove the electric burner elements, if your stove has them, and clean them in a mild soap and water solution. Wipe down the top of the stove with a wet soapy cloth. Dry the stove top (and burners) carefully. If you have burners, tape them to the stove so they will not be damaged during the move. If you have a gas stove, you should clean and remove the surface grates.

3. Empty the bottom storage drawer completely.

4. Take the broiler pan and oven racks out. You can also secure them with tape to the inside of the oven so they won’t move around and crack the oven door.

5. Unplug the oven from its power source. If you have a gas oven, you have to turn off the gas supply before disconnecting the gas line. Consult a professional if you feel uncomfortable doing this yourself.

6. Tape down all knobs or remove them, and then secure the oven door with tape. To keep the electrical cord safe during the move, tape it to the back of the unit.

4. Deal with Your Dishwasher

1. Open the dishwasher door after its last use for at least 24 hours to let it dry. Mildew could grow if the door is left closed.

2. Empty all of the dishes and tape the racks to the sides of the unit with masking tape.

3. Turn off the water supply at the shut-off valve. It’s usually located under the kitchen sink. Disconnect the drain and water-supply lines. If the thought of doing this yourself is daunting, hire a plumber. Towels are handy to clean up any water that might leak from the lines. Make sure that the lines have drained completely.

4. Unplug the dishwasher if its power supply is through a wall. If the appliance is hardwired, you’ll need to disconnect the power lines, which are usually located under the dishwasher. An electrician can do if you feel uncomfortable about doing it yourself.

5. Unscrew the mounting brackets to loosen the dishwasher from the countertop.

6. Make sure the hoses are dry before wrapping them in towels and packing them inside the dishwasher.

7. Close the door and tape the cord to the back of the unit.

5.  Clear Your Washing Machine for Moving

moving your washing machine the right way

Photo credit: ATB910

1. Empty the washing machine and be sure to dry out the drum (the spinning part of the machine) completely.

2. Secure the drum according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Most manufacturers recommend bolting the tub into place so it won’t move in transit. If you can’t find your owner’s manual, you can likely find a copy of it online.

3. Unplug the washing machine.

4. Turn off the water supply. Remove the machine’s water supply hoses from the hot and cold water faucets. A bucket will be useful to catch water as the hoses drain.

5. Remove the main drain hose. Empty it into the bucket. Once the hoses are empty, wrap them in towels and store them inside the washer.

6. Close the lid. Keep it shut with masking tape, then use the tape to secure the cord to the back of the unit.

6. Get Your Dryer Ready

1. After emptying the dryer, clean out the lint filter.

2. Unplug the dryer. If you’ve got a dryer that runs on gas, you’ll need to shut off the gas and disconnect the gas supply line. A professional can do this for you.

3. Slide the dryer away from the wall so you can access the vent.

4. Disconnect and take apart the vent. Clean it out and ensure there’s no more dust, lint or dirt.

5. Tape the dryer door shut. Secure the cord to the back of the unit.

7. Find a Reputable Plumber or Electrician

Are you concerned about finding a handyperson you can trust? Here are some tips on finding a reputable tradesman.

1. Talk to your friends and family members. They might be able to recommend a plumber or electrician whom they find trustworthy.

2. Be careful of scams. If a plumber or electrician calls you out of the blue, they might be trying to pull a fast one. Also, reputable tradesmen guarantee the price of the job upfront, and will not accept payment until they finish the job.

3. Ask for a written agreement that specifies exactly what the plumber or electrician will be doing, how much it costs, and when you will pay them.

8. Mind the Floor

You might be so focused on getting your major appliance out of the room it’s in that you lose sight of keeping the floor intact. Vinyl flooring is prone to tearing, especially when it’s dirty. When dirt or grit gets underneath the foot of an appliance, it can cause the vinyl to rip quite easily. If the major appliance in question is in a room with vinyl flooring, such as a kitchen or laundry room, the first step should be to mop the floor to remove the dirt.

After the floors have dried, lift up the appliance on its front two feet and slide a hard board and a scrap of carpeting underneath it. Then, shift the appliance forward as gently as possible so that the board and carpeting can slide underneath the rest of it. The combination of board and carpet scrap will allow the appliance to slide without damaging your floor. The movers will then lift the appliance onto a dolly or cart.

9. Move Obstacles Out of the Way

It might sound like common sense, but if you’re under a lot of stress and focused on the many preparations a move requires, you might forget that there are boxes or other things in your way when you’re preparing your appliances. Make sure to clear a path for yourself and for the movers when you’re getting things ready.

10. Set a Timeline for Preparing your Appliances

As mentioned earlier, your appliances must be prepared ahead of the move. Some take days to get ready. It makes sense to get your appliances ready to go 24 hours in advance. Write down on your calendar what needs to be done and when. It will save you stress and headaches during what can sometimes seem like a crazy process.

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