House & Home

Moving? Prepare Large Appliances to Arrive in Top Shape

Posted August 15, 2015 5:35 a.m. EDT

The secret to a successful move is proper planning. Because your large electrical appliances are both valuable and somewhat delicate, it's extra important to prepare them correctly. You may need to get started 24-48 before your moving day, so make sure you familiarize yourself with the drill well in advance. TIP: To minimize damage, always tape the electrical cord to any appliance before packing and hire a licensed electrician to help with disconnection, and eventual reconnection at your brand new address.


Do not ever -- repeat: EVER -- try to move a refrigerator without first emptying its contents. I've seen a lot of online posters asking, "Wouldn't it be simpler just to haul the fridge with all the stuff inside? We'll be really careful." If even one bottle of ketchup or jar of pickles overturns en route, the results will be a sticky, stinky mess, not something you want to deal with when you've just completed an exhausting move.

Remove all food items, ice trays, and shelves. Then disconnect the refrigerator 48 hours before your scheduled move. (Use a picnic cooler loaded with ice for perishables you'll need in those last two days.) Make sure that the fridge is ice-free as well as clean inside and out. Mix 1/2 cup each of vinegar and warm water for a nontoxic cleaning solution that also gets rid of odors. Allow the appliance to dry completely -- leaving the door ajar will help.

Wrap the shelves, crisper drawers, and other accessories separately. Secure the refrigerator and freezer compartment doors in place with cord or rope.

Once the fridge is in place in your new home, allow time for oil and fluid to flow back into the compressor. Three hours is usually sufficient.


Turn off the power at your electrical panel and shut off the main gas supply, if applicable. After that, disconnect the stove from the electric outlet or gas line. Remove all detachable parts, including the burners, burner pans, grates, control knobs, broiler trays, and oven racks, to be packed separately. Close the oven door lock, if you have this feature.

Wrap the stove with appliance pads. For an easily-scratched stainless steel finish, apply a steel protectant first.

Washing Machine

Turn off the valves controlling the water supply and unplug the washing machine from its power source. Have a bucket at the ready before detaching the hoses from the washer, so that you can easily catch any water drainage. Then disconnect them from the wall.

Take the drain hose out of the drain and remove the other end from the washing machine, allowing any remaining water to flow into your handy bucket.

Wrap up the power cord and hoses and pack them in a moving box. Let the washing machine dry with the door open for at least 24 hours. Next, secure the washer drum as directed by the manufacturer. Tape the door closed.

Window Air Conditioner

Find a buddy to help you tackle the challenging task of removing a heavy, awkwardly shaped air conditioning unit from the window. Wait until there's been no rain for a few days. (Rainwater can collect in your window air conditioner and make it much more cumbersome to move, although some models are equipped with a drain plug on the back.) Now you can turn off the power and disconnect the A/C from the outlet.

Make sure that there is no one on the street below your window before unscrewing your window A/C and prepare a padded area of the floor, protected with an old blanket or towel, ready. Once you take the unit out of its spot, you won't have time to waste figuring out where to put it down.

Once the coils have cooled down, pack the unit in its original carton or other appliance box. Pad with newspapers or rags. Do not use any packing material small enough to get inside the A/C, such as polystyrene peanuts.

You may have to wait several hours before plugging the appliance in at your destination. Follow the manufacturer's instructions.

Laura Firszt writes for

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