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How to Move Kitchen Appliances

Moving a Refrigerator

The first step in moving a refrigerator is to empty it. Try to use or give away all the perishables in your fridge and freezer prior to your move.

For a short distance move, pack any remaining items in coolers with ice on the morning of moving day. You can also travel with food, if necessary, on a long distance move. Pack items you can eat on the road in a small cooler or insulated bag with ice packs, and pack the rest in a larger cooler with bags of ice. You can re-fill the ice as needed on the road. Most items can last up to three days this way. Pack freezer items in a cooler filled with dry ice to keep them frozen.

Six to eight hours before your move, you should defrost your freezer.

Remove all shelves and trays and pack them in a separate box or bin. Remove items on the outside of the refrigerator, such as magnets. Do not pack magnets near electronics devices or hard drives, as magnets can erase the data from these devices.

Clean the refrigerator thoroughly, and then unplug it. Disconnect the ice maker from the water source. Wrap the cord and hose, secure them with zip ties, and tape them to the back of the refrigerator.

If you have a stainless steel refrigerator, wrap it in moving blankets, secured with tape or bungees cords, to prevent scratching. For other refrigerators, secure the doors shut with zip ties or bungee cords. Don't use tape on refrigerator doors, as it could leave a residue.

You'll need at least two people to move a refrigerator. Lift the refrigerator onto a hand cart and use straps to secure it. Gently guide the refrigerator by pushing the dolly toward your destination, with your helper guiding and supporting the fridge from the front. Tilt the refrigerator slightly back, but not so much that it's horizontal.

If you have to move the refrigerator down steps, it's best to have two people at the back of the handcart, pushing it one side at a time, and one at the front, guiding it.

If you can, leave the refrigerator strapped to the hand cart for the move, using wheel chucks beneath the hand truck. Secure the hand truck and refrigerator within the moving truck using ropes or bungees. If you have to remove the fridge from the hand truck, secure it upright in the moving van against a wall and other heavy furniture, and use bungee cords to ensure it won't tip over.

When you arrive at your destination, leave the refrigerator unplugged for at least three hours to permit oil and cooling fluids to return to the compressor, preventing damage to the unit. After this, plug the refrigerator in but realize it could take one to three days for the refrigerator to return to its proper temperature. Pack items with additional ice in the fridge, and replace the ice daily. Try to store only a small quantity of milk and other necessities for daily use until the fridge has returned to its normal temperature to help prevent items from becoming spoiled.

Moving a Microwave

First, clean the microwave. If you place a cup of lemon juice and water in the microwave and let it heat up for about a minute, the liquid starts to evaporate and helps loosen caked on food or grease. Then you can wipe the microwave down with a damp cloth. For tougher stains, create a paste of vinegar and baking soda. Put the paste on a soft sponge and scrub the stain.

Remove the glass carousel plate, if your microwave has one. Wash it, and wrap it in bubble wrap, tissue paper, or plain newspaper. Pack it vertically in a sturdy box with other dishes or kitchen items. Unplug the microwave and secure the cord with zip ties. Tape the cord to the back of the microwave.

You can either move a microwave with or without a box. If you have a moving box large enough, it's best to move your microwave in a box.

If you're moving the microwave in a box, make sure it is several inches larger than the microwave so you can add a layer of foam or bubble wrap on the bottom of the box. Add packing materials to the sides of the box and the top, so the microwave can't move. Tape the box closed, labeling it "This Side Up" and a list of the contents, so you'll know where to find your microwave after your move. Your microwave oven may be one of the first items you unpack so you can make a cup of tea, popcorn, or heat up take-out food.

If you don't have a box to accommodate your microwave, secure the door with a bungee cord or rope. Don't use tape, as this could leave a residue on the outside of the microwave. Wrap a few towels or a moving blanket around the microwave, and secure with packing tape. Tape cardboard to the front of the microwave on top of the blanket to protect the glass.

Pack the microwave where you are certain it won't fall or move during transport. It's okay to pack medium weight boxes on top of the microwave, but nothing too heavy.

Moving a Wine Cooler

Empty your wine cooler before moving it. If you are in the midst of moving stress, this might be easy to do by drinking the wine and sharing it with your friends and moving helpers.

Otherwise, pack the bottles in boxes with cardboard in between, just as they do at liquor stores. Add some extra padding by bubble wrapping the bottles or using packing peanuts in the box. Don't worry about keeping your wine temperature-controlled during the move, as long as it is out of direct sunlight. However, check with your movers to see if they are allowed to transport alcohol or if you'll have to move the wine in your car.

Unplug the wine cooler and secure the cord with twist-ties, taping it to the back of the unit.

If your wine cooler fits in a box, pack it that way, securing the cooler with packing foam on all sides. Otherwise, wrap bubble wrap around your wine cooler and tape it all the way around, using several pieces of packing tape about 6-inches apart. Add a piece of cardboard to the glass front to protect the glass from breaking.

Move your wine cooler using a hand truck. Moving a wine cooler is similar to moving your refrigerator — only easier. Secure the wine cooler to the hand truck using straps. Once on the moving van, place the wine cooler around larger, heavier items so it won't move during transport.

Moving an Ice Maker

Although many stand-alone ice makers are deemed "portable," they still require some special considerations when moving.

First, use any remaining water by making ice, or unplug the unit and drain the water. Let it dry out for a few hours. Use a large moving box, reinforced at the bottom, to move it. Pad the ice maker with foam on all sides. If there is extra room in the box, add more packing materials so the ice maker doesn't move. Mark the box "this side up," and label it so you know what's inside. Portable ice makers should not be transported upside or horizontally because of the oil and coolant fluid inside.

If you don't have a box large enough for your ice maker, wrap the power cord and secure it to the back of the unit with a zip tie. Wrap the entire ice maker in bubble wrap. Do not pack heavy items on top of your ice maker if it's packed this way. Place it on the truck somewhere it won't fall or move during transport.

Moving a Chest Freezer

The most challenging part of moving a chest freezer is emptying it. Do your best to use all the meats and frozen goods inside before your move. Consider throwing a big barbecue or going-away dinner with family and friends, or even donating some items to a local food pantry.

For any meats and other frozen products you want to keep, pack them in separate coolers (one for meat, poultry, and seafood and one for anything else) surrounded by dry ice. For a long trip, replenish the ice daily.

Empty the freezer a day before the move to give it a chance to defrost per manufacturer's instructions. This is also a good time to clean the freezer, which you can simply do by wiping it down while it's defrosting.

Help protect the corners of your freezer with cardboard or bubble wrap. Lock the freezer, if possible, and put the key on the ring with your car keys so you won't lose it. If you can't lock the freezer, secure the lid with bungee cords so it won't pop open while you're moving it.

To move a chest freezer, lift it carefully and place it on a moving dolly. Roll it to your moving truck with one person on either side, steadying the freezer. If you have to move the freezer up or down stairs, you'll want two people on each side, lifting at the corners. Gently "walk" the freezer down the steps, taking breaks as needed.

On the moving van, surround the freezer with equally heavy pieces of furniture, or secure it with ropes or bungees so it doesn't move. You can take advantage of the space inside the freezer to pack small boxes. Just remember to remove the boxes before moving the freezer out of the van. You can also stack items on top of the freezer. Be mindful to disperse weight evenly across the top of the freezer and don't place anything heavy enough to dent or warp the top of the freezer.