How to store washing machine in winter
September 10, 2010 12:18 AM   Subscribe

Moving house: our new appartment comes with its own refrigerator and washing machine. We can store our own fridge and washing machine in a shed in my mothers yard. How can I best protect the machines against moist conditions and subzero (Celcius) temperatures in winter?
posted by charles kaapjes to Home & Garden (7 answers total)
Drain them and wrap them in tarps and duct tape. They should be empty and clean, and be very sure not to store the fridge with the door closed or it'll stink, and it also must always be kept upright. They'll probaby be okay for a couple of years in a shed without noticeable damage, I'd think, but then you'd probably want to get the fridge serviced before using it again.
posted by goblinbox at 12:30 AM on September 10, 2010

Why wouldn't you sell them? Seems like a lot less trouble, and whenever you move, you have an excuse to buy yourselves nice new appliances (that is, unless the next place comes with appliances, too).
posted by segatakai at 1:08 AM on September 10, 2010

Best answer: Your fridge doesn't need any winterization unless it has an ice maker/ water dispenser. If it does have those things then the water lines need to be drained. This can be tricky depending on the exact configuration of your model. Fridges should be stored with either the doors removed or doors secured such that there is absolutely zero chance of a kid gaining access to the interior.

Obviously your washer will need to be drained. This can be quite easy (new Inglis' you just need to lower the hose to the ground) or quite involved (some front loaders need to be taken apart to drain the sumps of the pumps). Pretty well impossible to say with out knowing specific make and model number. Best bet would be to have a technician come out and drain the water for you.

In both cases I'd wrap the units in a couple layers of packing saran. If I had it handy I'd cover the fronts and tops with cardboard before I put the saran on.
posted by Mitheral at 2:55 AM on September 10, 2010

I'd worry about rust due to condensation as temps fluctuate. If wrapping them in some sort of Saran / shrink-wrap material, I'd be inclined to enclose some sort of chemical desiccant in each package.
posted by jon1270 at 4:08 AM on September 10, 2010

Best answer: I think Mitheral has good advice.

In addition, if you can pop over there fairly frequently, I would consider using a desiccant system either in the shed itself or within the packaging of each appliance, preferably the former, or both. However, you need to be able to come by and change the material and drain the accumulated fluid fairly frequently. "Dri-Z-Air" is a popular brand you'll find at most hardware stores.

Also, if you're going to shrink-wrap the appliances, they will definitely need to be dry inside or it will be worse than no protection. Your enemies are going to be moisture and pests. If the shed is accessible by rodents don't be too surprised if they decide your appliances are neat homes.

(If this is relatively short term, say a year or less, I'd store them, but longer term I'd sell now while they have some value and buy another set when the time comes. Appliances, and mechanical things in general, do not take well to long storage. We have a washer/dryer my wife insisted on storing instead of selling and they're basically nothing more than landfill fodder five years later. Grr.)
posted by maxwelton at 4:19 AM on September 10, 2010

Best answer: DISCLAIMER: I work for a major appliance manufacturer.

I used to work at our DIY Repair line, and we got this question a lot. Here's what we told people:


If your washer is stored in an area where freezing can occur or it will be moved in freezing temperatures, follow the winterizing instructions below to prevent damage to the washer:

1) Turn off water supply faucets.
2) Disconnect the hoses from the water supply and drain out the water from the hoses.
3) Remove washer drain hose from drain. Lay hose on the floor and allow water to drain into a shallow pan or on the ground.
4) On non-unitized/stacked product, carefully raise the front of the washer 4" to 6" to allow any remaining water in the pump to drain out of the drain hose.
5) When it's time to use the washer again, simply connect the hoses at the faucets and turn the faucets back on, plug the washer back in to wall receptacle.

Note: After sitting in a cold environment all winter it is best to let the washer "thaw" for 24 hours at room temperature to loosen up the transmission oil.


To prevent formation of food odor, mold, and mildew, place an open box of baking soda in the refrigerator and leave the doors open.

If a dispenser model refrigerator needs to be stored for more than three months, the water tank should be drained. This process involves opening up the compressor area, disconnecting the water line from below the freezer door and siphoning the water. [Major appliance manufacturer] recommends that a service technician complete this procedure.
posted by magstheaxe at 6:04 AM on September 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for the advice!
Selling is not really an option as we don't know how long we'll live in the (bit too small) appartment and may need the washing machine again in few months. I'm a bit worried about the washing machine, a Miele W3831 because of all the electronics. I will look into desiccants (live in Europe, Dri-z-air probably isn't on the market here, but there'll be something similar).
posted by charles kaapjes at 6:10 AM on September 10, 2010

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