How to move Appliances Safely and Without Damage
Preparing to move Appliances
It is important to plan for moving major appliances like refrigerators, stoves, washers, and dryers. Moving heavy appliances can result in damage to the appliance, surroundings and injury.
A large heavy appliance can fall, scrape, scratch, tumble, and create mayhem if it is not done properly.
Your number one priority should be safety. How can this job be done safely? It is important to have the correct tools for the job, enough extra help, and a plan for making the move. Other important information is needed regarding the appliance being moved, distance of the move, and time in storage or transit where the appliance is not in use.
An appliance can weigh up to several hundred pounds. That falling on a person can have dire consequences. You will need help to move most refrigerators and washing machines.
If a refrigerator falls on you, you will sustain some injury.
- Is there a clear path for the appliance to move along?
- Do you have enough help?
- Do you have to go up or down stairs or steps?
- If you have to maneuver stairs or steps, is there an adequate landing on both the top and bottom of the steps?
- Do you know how to use an appliance dolly or hand truck?
- Do you have adequate tools: tape, straps, protective covers, stabilization materials?
- Do you have gloves, are you able bodied, do you have able bodied helpers? You and your helpers may need to lift a lot of weight.
- Do you have a plan to instruct and prepare your helpers for each person's role?
- Have you considered that the job might be too much for you and that you need professional moving assistance?
Protect you Surroundings
One of the most common causes of floor damage is moving appliances improperly leaving scuffs and scratches that are difficult or impossible to repair.
Prepare for the move by planning for floor surfaces that need to be crossed. Although floor surfaces are generally tough and can take some wear and tear, a sharp edged appliance can gouge out pieces of vinyl, plow a row through wood, and crack or split tile.
Protect floor surfaces with pieces of carpet, cardboard, moving pads, etc. This extra precaution will potentially save the mover time and money.
Have a spotter work with you to keep the appliance from running into walls and furniture.
Check the hand truck wheels, carefully inspect the wheels for small embedded gravel or debris that can potentially damage a floor.
Check the doorway for adequate clearance. Do not try to move a 30 inch appliance through a 28 inch door. Check the height as well.
Move furniture and other objects to clear an adequate path.
Plan difficult maneuvers, like turning at the end of a hall, or moving into a hall with little or no room to turn or follow with the appliance hand truck.
Protect carpet from dirt and oil with coverings such as moving paper, plastic covers, tarps, etc.
Above all else, do not be in a hurry. Take your time, make it a thoughtful, planned move.
Tools needed for Trouble Free Appliance Moves
Appliance Moving Tools:
- Hand Truck also called an appliance truck, appliance dolly, two wheeler, etc. They are available in various configurations and price ranges.
- Appliance trucks are specially designed to hold heavy loads at the proper angle for optimum balance and they generally have a built it stair glide that is helpful on stairs. There are basically three problems with these appliance trucks, they weigh a lot and so you might be lifting more weight than necessary, they are more difficult to maneuver, and they are expensive. If you choose to use this type of truck, a local tool rental company will have them. Other hand trucks are adequate for most jobs if you have a good quality hand truck and plenty of help.
- Moving straps. Moving straps can be used to connect the appliance to a hand truck (dolly) etc. Straps can also be used to hold the doors closed on a refrigerator.
- Shrink Wrap is great for securing loose parts, doors, drawers, etc. This stuff is available from rental moving companies. It is a little like plastic wrap but it is much wider, and has stretchy properties and when pulled tight is very secure.
- Moving systems that use straps for two person lifts can be substituted for an appliance truck. It is a neat invention that distributes the weight to the arms and shoulders of the lifters while keeping the center of gravity low and balanced between the two movers. The system uses straps strategically placed to lift load efficiently and safely. Movers use thse systems all the time.
- Tape of various types should be used to keep doors and lids from opening unexpectedly.
- Moving pads are used to protect the appliances being moved. These pads keep the appliances from being scratched and from scratching obstacles.
- Packing and immobilization materials. Some appliances have moving parts or loose parts that should be padded or stabilized before a move.
Protect yourself with the following protective clothing:
- If you have them, steel toed shoes. Steel toed shoes could protect you from accidental appliance drops onto your foot.
- Gloves will protect your hands from sharp appliance edges, accidental lids closing, pinched fingers in close quarters, etc. Gloves should be chosen for their gripping ability. Gloves come with gripping pads, dots, or bands and will help when the appliance may be wet.
- Back supporter or back belt will help protect your back from heavy lifting. All the appliance professional movers wear back support, you should, too.
- Wear long sleeves and long pants for extra protection. Use knee pads if you expect to be on your knees.
- Use other supports and braces if needed. If you have a weak ankle or wrist, wear a brace or wrap in elastic bandage.