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Moving in Cold Weather? Protect These 5 Belongings

March 1, 2017 | Moving Guides & Tips

Wintertime moves come with a host of unique challenges. Along with all the tasks and stresses of relocating your family, you must also deal with unpredictable and potentially hazardous weather.

Our previous blog Moving in Bad Weather: How to Stay Safe in the Rain and Snow provided guidelines to help you stay dry during a move.

In this blog, we discuss the threat that extremely low temperatures can pose to specific belongings. Also, we cover how you can protect your possessions while you’re between homes. Pay attention to these five items that are particularly vulnerable to cold weather.

Which Items Need Shelter From the Cold?

Low temperatures, especially those below freezing that persist for long periods of time, can cause serious damage to your most fragile possessions. Some of the most common items at risk during cold weather moves include the following.

1. Appliances

If you decide to bring your large appliances with you, you’ll need to prepare each unit in advance. Appliances that handle water, such as your washing machine and refrigerator, must be drained and cleaned.

While draining provides some protection, many appliances hold water inside their components. If these appliances are exposed to low temperatures for too long, the residual water may freeze and expand, causing damage.

2. Electronic Devices

Electronic components can develop condensation as the temperature decreases. This condensation can cause water damage or even short circuiting. Always package electronics in completely sealed boxes.

Additionally, electronics usually need a full day to acclimate back to room temperature before being plugged in. Once you unpack your electronics, let them warm back up for at least 24 hours.

3. Musical Instruments

The low humidity that often accompanies cold weather can be extremely damaging musical instruments. The most vulnerable instruments are woodwinds and string instruments. Exposure to the cold and to low humidity can dry out the wood of these instruments, causing cracks or warped sections.

Remember, even a high quality hard case does not provide enough protection for your wooden instruments if the temperatures dip particularly low or the ambient humidity is not between 40% and 55%.  Find out more about how we move specialty items.

See Also: Tips to Safely Move Any Kind of Musical Instrument

4. Sealed Glass Containers

If you’ve ever left a sealed bottle in a freezer for too long, you understand the danger of combining cold temperatures and glass containers. Some liquids expand when they freeze, which can shatter the container.

Do not leave your wine collection, keepsake glassware, or other sealed glass containers in places where they must withstand cold temperatures. These items may even need to be transported in the cab of a moving truck or in your personal vehicle to protect them.

5. Wooden Furnishings

Like your wooden instruments, your bed frame, dresser, and other wooden furnishings can become damaged when left out in the cold. Prepare your wooden furniture by waxing it one to two weeks before you move.

Wrap each piece of furniture in industrial plastic wrap or with a moving blanket before taking it outside. Do not pack or store wooden furnishings next to each other. These pieces may press against each other, creating pockets of cold air and moisture, and cause further damage.

To decide if your other possessions need special protection from the cold, think about what might happen if you left the item outside overnight in dry but very cold conditions. If the item would sustain significant damage in this scenario, add it to your list of items to watch out for during your upcoming winter move.

How Can You Protect Your Belongings?

To ensure that your possession arrive at your new home intact, whatever the weather, take precautions and remain aware of the items’ temperature during transportation. Start by:

  • Making your loading time as short as possible so your belongings move from your warm home into the protection of a truck quickly. You can expedite this process with the help of professional movers.
  • Prepare your vulnerable items in advance. For example, drain your washing machine completely well before it needs to go into the truck as recommended in section one.
  • Reserving a climate controlled storage unit if you won’t be able to move into your new house right away.
  • Scheduling your move so your belongings are only in a moving vehicle for the duration of the drive. Plan to unload as soon as you arrive at your new property.
  • Using insulated packing materials, such as packing blankets, to prepare vulnerable items.

Use these suggestions to eliminate your cold weather worries as you move.

For recommendations based on the weather in your current hometown or final destination, work with a moving company with experience in the area. This professional help can be particularly important when moving to or from the coldest regions of the United States, including the Midwest and Northeast.

Consult with Bekins Van Lines, Inc.’s expert team today to begin planning your cold weather move to best protect your belongings.

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