When you have large appliances you’ve invested in, you may be taking them with you on your next move. This is more likely with deep freezers as they can be an addition to a home that a family purchased out of need. However, moving large appliances can come with nuances you need to be aware of. They are not as simple as moving boxy furniture. This is because there are inner working parts inside the ‘box’ of the appliance that need to be handled carefully.
Step one: have a safe plan for the food you will be removing from the deep freezer
This is obvious, but keep in mind that when you remove food from a deep freezer, you’ll need an action plan of what you’re going to do with it. In our article on how to pack kitchen food, we gave some tips, and discussed eating as much of your food as possible before moving day.
You can’t move a freezer with food in it. And, freezer food doesn’t have shelf life, of course. So this is going to be a bit tricky. If you are doing a short distance move, you can likely get away with buying coolers, filling them with ice or ice packs, and driving them to your new home yourself. If you can get dry ice, that may last longer. But be careful when handling dry ice!
Movers won’t move food, so don’t expect them to take care of this process.
You also probably don’t want to defrost food in a freezer and then refreeze it, as that can result in freezer burn. Not only that, there are food safety considerations at play when you defrost meats or contaminated foods. You don’t want to end up with food poisoning as a result of leaving your foods out of frozen temperatures too long. Listeria can be found in frozen foods, so this is a real concern.
Some foods are expensive, and if you have a deep freezer full of hunted game meat, or any meat for that matter, you may not want to throw it away as a result of having to move. So this is something you’ll want to plan for in advance.
Step two: unplug, defrost and clean the deep freezer before moving day
Before you move a deep freezer, you’ll want to make sure it is thawed out. Unplug it to get ready for this process. Of course, it will have to remain unplugged when the movers arrive, or when you want to load it up on a moving truck.
How long does it take to defrost a freezer? The internet will give you different advice on this; 6 hours, 8 hours, 12 hours, 24 hours…. We recommend checking the manufacturer’s website, and if you can, read up on the model you bought. Many modern freezers are frost free, but still need to thaw. If you have a freezer with frost around its sides, you might need to do some chipping away at it to help the defrost process…and to prevent a water spill after a few hours!
It’s a good idea to clean out the deep freezer too. You won’t want melted ice causing surprise water spills during the move. You also don’t want to bring bacteria along the way, which will love the warmer climate once the freezer is defrosted and unplugged. So wipe it down thoroughly. You can give it another clean when you get to your new home. This is a good opportunity to take care of this ‘spring cleaning’ chore.
Step three: tie it up and pad it
When moving a deep freezer, you want to keep it safe from damage. Find a way to tie the door down so it doesn’t swing open during the move (especially if it’s on its side – see below). Also, cover with blankets or some badding to prevent scratches, or worse, dents and holes. You’ll want to pack it in a moving truck in a way that it won’t move around too much, avoiding bangs and knocks on the way to your new home.
Step four: when moving a freezer, keep it upright if you can
Keeping a freezer or fridge upright while moving it is usually always recommended. This is because there are liquids pertinent to the operation of the deep freezer that need to stay in place to keep it working.
GE’s website says if you can’t keep it upright, “lay it down on the compressor side of the unit.”
If you move the freezer on its side, make sure it stands upright for a period of time before you plug it in again. How long? Again, best to consult your manual, or call the manufacturer, as different advice exists on this online. One common rule of thumb is to leave it upright for the same amount of time it has been on its side. This is what the GE website says (link above). Others will say 24 hours.
To conclude: call professionals if you need help!
Damaging your deep freezer during a move can be an unnecessary financial loss: even if your deep freezer wasn’t that expensive. Still, why waste money? Professional movers are careful and know what they’re doing when moving a freezer. They also offer insurance to protect your items from damage on moving day.
If you need help moving a deep freezer, give us a call! We offer no-obligation, free in-home estimates for families moving house.