A sudden power interruption can be quite a stress if you have food and refreshments stored in the refrigerator. The concern of spoilage is heightened, especially if you are not home to manage them and place them in a room with a lower temperature to preserve them. So with this being said—how long can food last in fridges without power? Is a backup generator for homes really a necessity?
If you have these concerns in mind, then you’d be glad to know that the blog I have prepared for today will attempt to provide you the answer you seek in helping you with what you can do whenever a power outage occurs, and you’ll know how you can preserve your food without the help of your fridge.
How Long Can Food Last in Fridge Without Power?
For the stored food, how long can a fridge go without power depends on many factors such as the food expiry, the ambient temperature, how often you open the fridge, etc.
According to FoodSafety.gov, the general rule of thumb for the safe use of food stored in the fridge without power is within about 4 hours. 4 hours later, the food may begin to spoil with the temperature gradually increasing to over 40°F, especially for those food stored for a very long time. Therefore, the period between the first minutes to 4 hours is crucial in preserving the items inside the refrigerator. And, it’s better to figure out what you’re going to do with them within the next 2 hours - consuming or disposing of them.
How to Keep Food Cold Without a Cooler?
If you don’t have an electric device to keep your foods cold, then the good news is that there are methods you can employ to maintain their temperature and preserve them for longer hours until the power outage is over. The following are the ways how to keep food cold without a cooler—
Insulate the Fridge
By using household items like towels, blankets, or even bubble wrap around the fridge, you can help to keep the temperature inside your refrigerator more consistent. This means that it won't have to work as hard to cool down the food and will be better able to maintain a cold temperature.
Create an Icebox
Another way to keep food cold without a cooler is by using an insulated bag or container. Insulated bags and containers are designed with thick walls that prevent heat from entering and leaving the interior, thus keeping food colder for longer periods of time. When selecting an insulated bag or container, make sure to choose one that is large enough to hold all of the food you plan to store.
Take Good Use of Ice Packs or Water Bottles
Another way to keep food cold without a cooler is by using ice packs or frozen water bottles. Place your food in an insulated bag or container and then add one or two ice packs or frozen water bottles. You can also fill your fridge with ice packs or frozen water bottles to keep the cold air inside last longer. This will help maintain the interior temperature for longer periods of time.
Use Dry Ice If You Have
If you have access to dry ice, this can be a great way to keep your food cold without using a cooler. Dry ice is incredibly cold and will help maintain the temperature inside your insulated bag or container for a longer period of time than regular ice. When using dry ice, make sure to wear gloves when handling it as it can cause skin burns. Also, ensure that there is enough ventilation in the area to prevent carbon dioxide buildup.
Solar Generator for Fridge
Generators can be expensive, but they are a good investment as well from a long-term perspective, especially if power outages are frequent in your area. Although a plug-in generator is much cheaper, a solar generator such as the Anker solar generator 757 is a better option because it allows you to recharge batteries or power stations under the sun and when power interruption unexpectedly occurs.
What to Do to Prepare for the Next Power Outage?
As I mentioned, it is highly essential to be prepared whenever there are good indications that a power interruption would be inevitable. The following are the best ways to prepare whenever you are expecting a blackout—
Have a Portable Power Station or Generator at Home
You can find lots of home power stations on the market today. From charging small digital devices to big home appliances like TV and fridge, various options are available. Anker 757 powerhouse is a great example which has a 10-year lifetime and 13 ports for all kinds of charging. Besides, the solar generator for fridges is also recommended as we said above which can even power up the entire house when used together with power stations. In this way, you can keep your refrigerator and freezer running without having to worry about the power going out.
Have a Backup Plan for Food Storage
If you don't have access to a generator or other emergency power sources, it's important to come up with a plan for how you will insulate the fridge or store food during the outage. Consider purchasing coolers with batteries, insulated bags, and dry ice if needed or preparing some ice bricks - these items can keep food cold for several days.
Transfer to Your Backup Storages
To lessen the hassle when the blackout actually happens, it is a good idea to transfer them as early as possible to alternative coolers or insulated thermal bags. It is also recommended to categorize them because there are foods that spoil faster than other food items.
You can save your food and liquid refreshment from spoilage during an unexpected power interruption. Four hours is the safe time when storing in the fridge. However, you need to find other help after that period such as using power stations or generators, ice bricks or dry insulated bags, etc. Anyway, making good preparation beforehand is always helpful for any power outage.
FAQ about How Long Can Food Last in Fridge Without Power
How Long Will Milk Last in Fridge Without Power?
Like any food item and beverage, the opened milk is also expected to be consumable within 4 hours. You have to bear in mind that milk is more prone to attract bacteria when exposed to air and humidity. Therefore, it’s like to spoil immediately after 4 hours or less.
How Long Will Ice Cream Last in Freezer Without Power?
If the door keeps closed, the ice cream usually can last about 4 hours in a household refrigerator, 48 hours in a full freezer, and about 24 hours in a half-full freezer. However, the ice cream is made of dairy ingredients, so it can be usually put back into the freezer even if 48 hours have already lasted.
How Long Will Meat Last in Freezer Without Power?
Similar to fruits and leafy vegetables, it depends on what kind of freezer you’re using and if your freezer is full or half-full. Anyway, if the doors keep closed, meat is still good for consumption within 4-48 hours since the power outage. After that, you may consider throwing it away.