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Protect Your Electronics During Your Winter Move

December 13, 2018 | Moving Specialty Items, Packing Guides & Tips

Pay special attention to your electronic devices when you relocate in freezing or wet conditions. The cold temperatures, condensation, and moisture of winter environments are harsh to electronic devices and appliances. Learn what you should know about the effects of cold weather on device components and how to protect your electronics during your move.

Effects of Temperature Fluctuations on Electronics

Electronic devices are sensitive and operate best within specific temperature ranges. When you expose items such as smartphones and laptops to out-of-range temperatures, your electronic devices are more likely to fail.

Electronic components can shatter or become stiff in freezing temperatures. You may notice your touch screen has a delayed response to your finger movements. Ghosting and smudging happen when you move your fingers along the screen.

Hard drives are at risk of freezing. Frozen smartphones can’t read SIM cards or perform processing operations without great difficulty. Error messages are displayed more frequently.

When electronic devices with batteries get really cold, the batteries drain rapidly. Both laptop and smartphone batteries are damaged by exposure to frigid temperatures for long periods. Your smartphone battery will die when continuously kept below freezing.

Effects of Condensation on Electronics

If you bring a freezing cold laptop into a warm home, condensation is likely to form on the internal components of your device. Condensation forms when the dew point of moist air is higher than the surface it meets.

Warm, vapor-laden air enters the vents in your freezing laptop when you set the device on the kitchen table or a spot near the fireplace. The humid air makes contact with the cold metal inside your laptop and creates tiny beads of condensation on internal component surfaces.

Condensation can cause the following issues in your laptops and other electronic devices:

  • Corrosion
  • Rust
  • Short circuits
  • Component breakdown

Condensation can form when you leave a device in a cold car and then hop in the vehicle and blast the heat. Condensation can also form in a non-heated storage space, including a garage, attic, or basement.

Effects of Moisture on Electronics

Moisture from any source affects internal components of electronic devices. Electronic parts that are exposed to precipitation, spilled drinks, or a soak in a puddle will suffer the same destructive results seen from exposure to condensation.

If you don’t seal your electronics-filled packing boxes against moisture, snow and rain can wet the cardboard and seep into your gaming system or router. In the chaos of a move, an unprotected keyboard or monitor may be splashed with a stream of coffee or cleaning fluids.

Tips to Protect Your Electronic Devices When Moving

Check with your instruction booklets or the device manufacturer to learn the optimum safe temperatures for all of your devices. Some phones and tablets operate best at temperatures above 32 degrees Fahrenheit, while other devices operate at temperatures as low as minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit.

Back up all data before packing your electronics devices for a winter move. Separate electronic devices from the rest of your packed goods while you load boxes and move furnishings.

Set aside and protect the following devices during your winter relocation:

  • Electric kitchen appliances
  • Digital and electric clocks
  • Routers and antennas
  • Printers and scanners
  • Keyboards and peripherals
  • PC components
  • Gaming systems and controllers

If it plugs into a wall socket, keep the item from freezing if at all possible. Wrap electronic items in padded foam before placing them in their packing containers. Instead of using cardboard boxes for devices, pack electronics in single layers in waterproof, covered plastic totes or tubs. Use more foam padding on top of devices to secure them in the totes, then firmly put on the covers.

Purchase waterproof plastic totes that have lockable covers to secure valuable devices. Store the totes in a heated room while you pack the rest of the home for your move. Don’t let the room get too hot, and don’t store the packed totes over heating ducts or close to space heaters.

If you have a large number of electronic devices, you have to decide which to transport in the moving van and which to relocate in your personal vehicle. If you use your personal vehicle, ensure that your vehicle is heated before you place the totes inside. Don’t make long stops where the temperature is below freezing unless you can carry the totes into your hotel room or other space.

When carrying individual laptops and devices with you during your move in winter, use insulated, padded bags for devices. Completely zip and snap the bags closed to seal out moisture. Don’t let the bags sit in freezing or wet temperatures for long periods.

In a moving van full of furnishings, your totes of electronics should stay well-insulated during a short winter move. If you can’t move your electronics into your new home right away in winter, ask your moving agent to reserve a climate-controlled storage unit in your new city for your totes and bins of devices.

To learn more about moving your household in winter months, contact Bekins today. Our moving specialists reserve storage spaces across the nation for your sensitive electronics and all of the other home furnishings you want to protect during your winter move.

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