How to move your minus 80 freezer to a new job

There are lots of issues with moving across the country to a new university. Take the time to work through all of them, from saying good bye to your home and friends to making sure you have the people to be successful at the new place. I began blogging to figure all this out, with Goodbye Houston.

But the one thing I get asked about the most is how to move your precious, irreplaceable frozen samples. The best way to do this is to have two copies of everything, find the best system, and move everything twice. If you have as many samples as we do, mailing them on dry ice is not going to work. Instead Wash U recommended a company that would move the samples for us. They simply put the freezers on a truck, plug them in, and drive them across the country. The safe guards they have include an empty cold freezer in case one of ours fails, and probes in all the freezers so if they start to warm up, they will know. We took the risk and just moved everything in one truck and it worked out.

I’m not in the business of endorsing particular companies for anything. I have not done any kind of comprehensive survey or even non-comprehensive survey as to who does this kind of moving. We simply used the company that others here at Wash U used. It is called Pacific Scientific Transport. They moved our freezers in June of 2011 and everything worked fine. Specifically, they moved two large  minus 80 freezers, two minus 20 freezers, 2 plus four glass-fronted refrigerators (we call them beer coolers), and two empty Percival incubators. All four freezers were plugged in. They took a whole truck, not too huge of one. According to the contract they also had two back up generators and liquid nitrogen on board. The price was about $13,000 if we could be flexible on the date, slightly, maybe by a week or two if I remember. I think it was about $5,000 more if we were not flexible. If you know of other companies, please let people know in the comments.

Moving stuff is important, but by far the most important is giving the move the time it takes to get your own psyche around it and that of your family and group. The scientifically most important part is to bring along the team of people that are responsible for the great work. Without them, a move would be impossible. You also need to help them be happy about it. A small part of that was paying for their own personal moves with a truck that went around to all their houses from the same company that did our personal move and that of the other lab stuff. This moving company is not so specialized, and is more local, so does not need to be named here.

Moving can be really envigorating, as in our case. Or it can be a disaster. Good luck!


About Joan E. Strassmann

Evolutionary biologist, studies social behavior in insects & microbes, interested in education, travel, birds, tropics, nature, food; biology professor at Washington University in St. Louis
This entry was posted in Moving a research group and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to How to move your minus 80 freezer to a new job

  1. Pingback: Friday links: how to do great research, what would Ben Bolker do, and more | Dynamic Ecology

  2. Pingback: How to Move Your -80 Freezers to a New Job | PBMMI

  3. BioStorage Technologies provides the same type of service.

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