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How to move heavy appliances

Relocating large appliances can be a time-consuming task, especially without the right tools and supplies. Whether you’re moving, purchased a new appliance or are remodeling your space, rely on the guide below to walk you through best practices for moving refrigerators, washers and dryers.

Preparing for your move

Prepping for your move before the big day arrives will help the process run more smoothly. When it comes to moving large appliances, keep in mind that disconnecting and reconnecting gas lines can be complicated and pose safety risks. Consider hiring a professional appliance technician to help, since professional movers may not be willing to take on the liability. When in doubt, always refer to your appliance’s user manual for preparation and moving instructions.

Refer to the checklists below to help you gather the right supplies, recruit the best help and make sure your space is optimized for the task at hand.

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Tools

  • Appliance dolly or hand truck: dollies are lifted off the ground, have four wheels and come in a variety of shapes and sizes, while hand trucks have two wheels, can slide under appliances and then be tilted backwards to balance the appliance. Hands trucks are best for moves involving stairs, but dollies are easier to maneuver and less likely to result in a tipped or damaged appliance.  

  • Forearm forklift: these straps can be secured underneath an appliance and around the forearms of at least two movers, allowing you to stabilize and move items up to a certain weight.

Supplies

  • Moving blankets: protect your appliance, and walls, from scratches and dings by wrapping it in a moving blanket before loading.

  • Gliders/ sliding pads: once an appliance is tilted back, slider pads can be adhered to the feet of the unit that allow it to glide smoothly without damaging the floor. 

  • Stretch tape: keep washer, dryer and refrigerator doors securely closed during transport with stretch tape.

  • Protective sheets or cardboard boxes: protect your floors with disassembled cardboard boxes or protective sheets that line the path to your moving truck or appliance’s new location.

Moving Day Tips

  • Clean floors: help prevent damage to your floors by sweeping up any crumbs or debris that might get caught or dragged beneath appliance feet. 

  • Recruit help: whether you choose a moving company, family or friends, be sure to enlist an extra set of hands or two to keep your move as safe and seamless as possible.

  • Measure tight spaces: get proper measurements for any tight corners or door frames you might encounter on your path to determine the best way to navigate your appliance through the space.

Moving appliances by yourself

To best prevent injury or damage to your appliance and home, plan to have at least one other person assist in the process. Relocating a large appliance typically involves lifting it onto a dolly or tilting and holding the unit backwards to secure a hand truck underneath. You may also encounter tight corners or stairs during your move that require an extra set of hands or eyes.

Black French door built-in Whirlpool® Refrigerator in kitchen

How to move a refrigerator

The process of relocating any large appliance is usually made up of four basic stages: cleaning, disconnection, “packaging” and transportation. Follow the steps below to properly prepare and move your refrigerator.

  • Step 1: Remove food and clean

Store food you plan to keep in a cooler for the move, then give your fridge a thorough clean to keep stuck-on foods from causing unpleasant odors while the fridge is unplugged. 

  • Step 2: Remove shelving

Take out any removable shelves and bins, then wrap and pack them separately to avoid damage during transport. 

  • Step 3: Disconnect and defrost

Gently slide the refrigerator forward to unplug the unit and disconnect any water lines. Follow the instructions for disconnection from your refrigerator’s manual closely, and use a towel to soak up as much water as you can to avoid leaking from the unit during the move. Then secure the power cord to the unit with tape.

Weight panel warning that cautions against moving heavy objects without assistance
  • Step 4: Slide out and cover

Tilt the fridge backwards slightly to apply furniture sliders underneath the feet, or gently rock the fridge side-to-side to “walk” it forward.

Use stretch tape to secure the refrigerator and freezer doors closed, then cover the fridge with a moving blanket and wrap it with tape or rope. This helps to prevent damage to the unit and the walls on its way out.

 

Warning panel that cautions against moving heavy appliances without assistance
  • Step 5: Load

With two or more people, tilt the fridge slightly to the side and slide a hand truck underneath (do not tilt the fridge forward onto a dolly or hand truck to prevent damage).

  • Step 6: Secure and transport

Use straps to secure the refrigerator tightly to the hand truck, then tip the hand truck back to no more than a 45-degree angle. Be sure to enlist help when moving around corners, through doorways, and up or down stairs.

  • Step 7: Lay down the unit and wait

If the unit has to be laid down (not upright) for an extended period of time, wait 24 hours before restarting to allow the system to reset.

Not sure you want your refrigerator moving with you? Browse Whirlpool Refrigerators to find the perfect fit for your new home.

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How to move a washer and dryer

With the right tools and a little bit of know-how, moving your washer and dryer can be a relatively simple task. If you have a gas dryer, be sure to contract a professional appliance technician to disconnect and reconnect gas lines. Follow the steps below to prepare your washer and dryer for your move.

  • Step 1: Clean 

With items removed from the drums, run a standard wash cycle using washing machine cleaner or chlorine bleach and clear the dryer of all lint with a vacuum. Leave the washer door open for 24 hours after the wash cycle to allow it to dry completely. Select Whirlpool® Washing Machines have a Clean Washer cycle that you can run while using affresh® cleaner or bleach.

  • Step 2: Disconnect

Shut the power off to your washer and dryer using your home’s breaker, then unplug both units and tape the plugs to the back of the units. Disconnect the water supply to your washer with the valves located behind the unit and remove the cold and hot water hoses, draining them thoroughly into a bucket. Next, disconnect the dryer’s venting, and be sure to contact a professional if disconnecting lines to a gas dryer.

  • Step 3: Secure washer drum

Your washer drum uses a suspension system that helps it do its job, but the jostling of moving can take a heavy toll. Eliminate as much vibration as possible by securing the drums with either shipping or transit bolts or foam from the original packaging (depending on the model). You can also secure additional pieces of foam board or cardboard around the drum for extra support. 

  • Step 5: Secure doors and cover

With power cords and hoses disconnected and secured, you’re ready to wrap around the washer and dryer doors with stretch tape and cover each unit with moving blankets.

  • Step 6: Load and secure

Using two or more people and moving one unit at a time, tilt your washer or dryer back slightly to place a dolly or hand truck beneath it. Gently slide the unit onto the platform and secure it tightly with a strap. Be sure to enlist help when moving around corners, through doorways, and up or down stairs.

If you’re on the lookout for a brand new washer and dryer pair to accompany your new space, browse the Whirlpool Washer and Dryer Pairs below to find the right fit.

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Should you leave large appliances behind?

The pros and cons of moving your appliances are unique to your situation. Your move may be simpler, cheaper and less timely if you choose to leave your appliances behind. If you’ve recently purchased new appliances or are particularly fond of their features, however, you may prefer they follow you to your new home. A few specifics to consider when making the decision could include:

  • Age of appliances

Newer appliances may be worth holding onto, while older ones are more fragile and might be prone to damage from the stress of the move. 

  • New home layout

Take the time to measure your appliances and make sure they’re well suited to the measurements of your new space. If not, it’s time to invest in a new unit. 

  • Home selling terms

If you’re selling your home, make sure you’re familiar with whether or not leaving your large appliances behind is part of your home’s purchase contract. 

  • Cost of move 

Appliances like refrigerators, washers and dryers are bulky and heavy, so they’re sure to add to your moving costs. If you’re not particularly attached to your appliances, moving a significant distance or planning to ship your items, they may be worth leaving behind. 

If you’ve decided to start fresh with brand new appliances for your new space, use the Whirlpool Appliance Finder to narrow down your search and learn more about appliance delivery and installation options

 

Learn more about choosing the right appliances for your home

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