The Bekins Blog

Protecting Your Move During the Winter

January 3, 2018 | Household Moves, Moving Guides & Tips

The moving process is often stressful, no matter what the weather has in store. However, if you currently live in an area of the country where winters bring snow, ice, and freezing temperatures, and plan to move during the winter — before the snow clears and temperatures rise — then you will face additional moving challenges.

However, when you follow these winter moving tips, you can keep your family and your belongings safe when moving in harsh winter weather.

Plan Your Move on a Moderate Day

If you have some wiggle room surrounding your exact moving date, then take a look at the local weather forecast and try to plan your move on a day that has more moderate weather in store.

Remember that when temperatures rise just a bit, it can not only make loading and unloading a moving truck outdoors more comfortable for your family but also much less hazardous for your family since ice on home walkways may melt naturally.

De-Ice Your Walkways and Driveway

According to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, the leading cause of nonfatal injuries in most age groups is unintentional falls. Many falls occur in the winter when slippery snow and ice cover the ground.

Even if you typically just shovel your driveway and walkways, shoveling alone can leave a slippery layer of snow on the surface of walkways and driveways, and it can be tough to remove all ice from these surfaces using manual tools.

Since your family will be walking on these surfaces while carrying heavy moving boxes, be sure to salt them thoroughly before your family or your professional movers begin to load the moving truck and wait until all ice has melted before anyone begins walking on the surfaces.

While traditional salt (sodium chloride) and potassium chloride deicers work well at temperatures around 16 degrees F, deicers containing magnesium chloride or calcium chloride work much more effectively at lower temperatures.

All deicers should melt thin layers of ice relatively quickly, while thicker layers may take more time to melt and may need to be removed with a shovel after the deicer loosens these thick layers up.

Beware of Health Conditions Worsened by Cold Weather

You likely know that when winter temperatures are especially cold, all of your family members need to take steps to avoid hypothermia and frostbite when spending ample time outdoors, such as on moving day.

However, if you have any family members or friends who suffer from certain chronic health problems, including asthma and heart disease, special precautions must be taken to protect their health when packing a moving truck on a cold winter day.

Those who suffer from cardiac disease should bundle up well and avoid lifting heavy boxes that require them to exert themselves too much. Cold weather exposure causes arteries to constrict, raising a person’s blood pressure and heart rate. Combined with strenuous activity, the exposure to cold weather can lead to a heart attack.

In addition, studies show that up to 82% of people who suffer from asthma experience breathing trouble when performing strenuous activities in cold weather. Hospital visits for asthma attacks also increase in the winter months.

If you have a friend or family member who suffers from asthma, it is best for them to limit their outdoor time if temperatures are below 10 degrees F. At temperatures above this, they should cover their mouth and nose with a scarf and have their rescue inhaler on hand in case the cold triggers an asthma attack.

Also, the elderly are more prone to hypothermia than younger adults, so be sure that any elderly helpers limit their time outdoors in cold temperatures.

Pack Belongings Well to Prevent Cold-Weather Damage

When packing your belongings for a cold-weather move, you have to be sure to take special care to protect them from the cold temperatures and temperature fluctuations they will endure in the back of the moving truck.

Temperature fluctuations can cause glass to break, so be sure to add additional packing material into boxes that contain glassware to insulate them from the cold.

Electronics are also sensitive to fluctuations in temperature. If you have the original boxes and packing materials your electronics came in, then it is best to place them back in their original boxes before moving day. These boxes were designed by the manufacturer to protect the electronics from damage during transport.

However, if you don’t have these original boxes then be sure to add plenty of packing material, such as crumpled packing paper and/or foam peanuts into the boxes you pack your electronics in to insulate them well against the cold. For more information on how to protect certain items from the cold, see our previous blog post, Moving in Cold Weather? Protect These 5 Belongings.

You can avoid all of these moving day hazards when you have Bekins Van Lines, Inc. help you with your move. Contact us for a moving quote today, and check out our other blog post for more advice on moving in the harsh weather.

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