One of the staple things needed for survival is food. When a power outage occurs and a freezer goes out, humans instinctively start to panic. After all, what are you supposed to do if the food all goes bad during the power outage? The proper storage of food is integral in ensuring food lasts and is safe to eat.
As long as a freezer is kept closed, it can maintain its internal temperature for 48 hours after the initial power outage. If the outage lasts longer than two full days before power is restored, you can expect the freezer to return to the right temperature in about four hours.
In this article, we’ll cover the amount of time food will last in the freezer and refrigerator in more detail.
How Long Will Food Last in a Powerless Freezer?
To ensure food lasts for the longest possible time, it’s vital that you keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed. You shouldn’t open the doors to check on stored food until power has been restored. As long as you follow this guideline, a freezer can maintain optimal temperatures for up to two days as long as it’s half full. A full freezer will usually last around 24 hours at the right temperature.
How to Keep Food Cool During a Power Outage
The best way to keep food cool during a power outage is to use dry ice or blocks of regular ice. Regardless of the type of ice you choose, it should be stored in the refrigerator of your unit. For an 18 cubic foot freezer, you’ll need 50 pounds of dry ice. This amount is just right for two days of food storage during a power outage. If the power outage lasts any longer, you’ll need to have more ice on hand to replace as needed.
What to Do When Food Thaws Out
It’s important to check each individual package of food once power returns. If you notice food has completely thawed, you may need to discard it depending on what the food is. If you still notice ice crystals on the package or it’s less than 40 degrees Fahrenheit, you can safely refreeze it for later use. Thawed-out food that is still safe to consume needs to be cooked and eaten as soon as possible due to the temperature fluctuations.
Refrigerators in a Power Outage
As long as a refrigerator stays closed during the power outage, you may still be able to salvage the food once the power is turned back on. A closed refrigerator can safely store food without power for up to four hours. However, using dry or block ice in the refrigerator can help maintain the freshness and safety of the foods inside.
Once the power has returned, a refrigerator can usually return to optimal temperature within two hours.
Power outages can be stressful but making sure you’re prepared can mean the difference between a fully stocked cold storage and having to throw away most of your food supply. As long as you keep the appliance shut the entire time and can measure the temperature of individual items, you’ll be on the right track to keeping most of your goods once power returns.
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Jamie is the Founder of My Home Dwelling. He is a homeowner and enjoys sharing his homeowner tips with others. He has real estate experience working as a new home construction Realtor. Jamie has worked on numerous residential construction sites helping with interior and exterior renovations. He loves refinishing furniture, DIY home projects, and sharing his knowledge online.