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Thread: how long will frozen food last after power outage

  1. #1

    Default how long will frozen food last after power outage

    ok i stock up on food cause i go shoping 1 per month and i buy extra when stuff is on sale well needless to say my freezer is full.but im so scared power willl go out .if it does on a aveeerage temp day how long does food stay edible in there?
    LED's have gotten too bright in our stuff. Many nights I'm awakened by my modem lights blinking.had help with my sig thank you for your help.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: how long will frozen food last after power outage

    Leave the door shut and you're good for about 20+ hours.
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  3. #3

    Default Re: how long will frozen food last after power outage

    I have heard if you don't open a freezer at all during a power outage you can expect at LEAST a day without power with no problems to speak of. My guess is it depends on how much *stuff* is in there as to how long it can survive. The more packed the freezer is I would think the longer it would last due to more stuff to thaw out with the amount of heat that slowly leaches through the insulation. We have had power out for almost 2 days with no problems on an upright freezer that was packed full.

    3 days may be pushing it though unless you have a lot of meat in there as meat is denser than lot of other stuff and takes longest to thaw out. A lot depends on how good the insulation is in the freezer. I am talking about 20 year old freezers and the newer ones could possibly have better insulation to them.
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  4. #4

    Default Re: how long will frozen food last after power outage

    cool thats not to bad i keep it full and keep it low temps even bottem part of refridater is like 31 f almiost to cold but i like the saftey margin
    LED's have gotten too bright in our stuff. Many nights I'm awakened by my modem lights blinking.had help with my sig thank you for your help.

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    Flashaholic* zespectre's Avatar
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    Default Re: how long will frozen food last after power outage

    Another trick is to take a few (2-4 depending on the size of your freezer) plastic 1/2 gallon milk jugs and fill them 3/4 with water and freeze them in your freezer. If the power goes out they will help keep things cold for a LONG time.

    Generally speaking the more stuff you have frozen in the fridge, the longer it will take for everything to thaw (as long as you keep the door shut as much as possible.
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    Default Re: how long will frozen food last after power outage

    Raggie, if you get one of the indoor/outdoor digital thermometers, and feed the probe into the refrigerator, you'd be able to monitor the inside temperature without opening it. Then, you'd know if it climbed above freezing. The wireless type of indoor/outdoor thermometer would be more convenient, but it would probably be difficult to make it work. The freezer case would likely act as a grid that absorbs and blocks the signal the remote would put out. It may work, with a little placement testing, but I'd suspect a bit of difficulty.

    The main thing is, don't open the freezer door while the power is off.

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    Smile Re: how long will frozen food last after power outage

    Quote Originally Posted by Empath
    The wireless type of indoor/outdoor thermometer would be more convenient
    Brilliant!

    I just stuck one of my wireless sensors into the freezer of my Kenmore side-by-side and it works! (Mine's an Oregon Scientific thermo-hygro 433 MHz sensor. My receiver is in the same kitchen, about 8 feet from the fridge.)

    Thanks for the really cool idea!

    PS: I took it off the garden shed, and yes I did clean off the spiders, etc. Ick!
    Peter

  8. #8

    Default Re: how long will frozen food last after power outage

    I'm glad to hear it worked. I would have thought the metal encasing the freezer would act as a faraday shield, but it's apparently not as electromagneticly shielded as I assumed.

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    Lightbulb Re: how long will frozen food last after power outage

    Shoot, now I want one just to stick in the freezer, I assume it is battery operated? Where do you get one?
    Topper

  10. #10

    Default Re: how long will frozen food last after power outage

    hey raggie, you need to buy several large freezer packs. They look have rectangular shape , filled with blue freezing liquid. These things are made to keep food cold. If you have several large packages, they will keep food cold for 24hrs. In addition you need a thick insulating layer for the cooler. You should invest money in buying a cooler which has complete seal and lock too to prevent any small air loss.
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    Default Re: how long will frozen food last after power outage

    Quote Originally Posted by Topper
    Shoot, now I want one just to stick in the freezer, I assume it is battery operated? Where do you get one?
    Topper
    Mine's this Oregon Scientific receiver, though I don't know where online to get it for much less than that shocking price. Both the receiver head unit and sensor transmitter are battery operated. I bought mine at a local electronics supply store for less than $80 (1 receiver + 1 transmitter). I use the radio-time-sync'd clock and weather features of this thing (esp. when deciding how to dress the kiddies for the day). Other models with are available with fewer features and less cost.

    There are many models from Oregon Scientific, and also many other clones from other makers.

    The receiver works with up to 3 remote sensor transmitters, which is very convenient. I have one on a garden shed and another under the shade of the front porch roof.

    The one under the porch roof also informs me every winter how incredibly much heat I'm losing from my totally uninsulated 100-yr-old cement block Sears Roebuck kit house. In winter it registers rediculously warmer than the garden shed sensor.

    Maybe I'll get a 3rd sensor and keep it in the fridge or freezer.
    Last edited by binky; 09-15-2005 at 12:10 PM.
    Peter

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    Default Re: how long will frozen food last after power outage

    Picard hit the nail on the head! I have a lot of the refreezable gel packs in various sizes and I have them filling up empty spaces in the freezer. I use them in the cooler on my boat to keep the cokes cold during a day of fishing. I won't worry until the power has been out for more than 48 hours. I would be more worried about the refrigerators share of foodstuffs, several items don't store well in room temps.
    will work for peanuts

  13. #13

    Default Re: how long will frozen food last after power outage

    You can also take empty 2 liter bottles and fill them with water and freeze them along with the food. They will add extra cold "thermal mass" that will help keep the freezer cold longer. When they finally do melt, they also won't make a mess since they're contained in the plastic.

    Advantages the "blue ice" freezer packs all have as well, except if you buy soda pop, the bottles and water are free.

    One thing you can do with the pop bottles that you can't with the "blue ice": If you clean the 2 liter bottles carefully with a little hot water and bleach, and then add a drop of bleach to the fresh water you add for long term storage, you can use them as an extra stash of emergency drinking water. If power is out long enough for them to melt, you may well need the water.

    We allways make ice this way for the "food cooler" as opposed to the "drinks cooler" when we go camping, that way, as the ice melts, it dosen't make the food soggy...
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  14. #14

    Default Re: how long will frozen food last after power outage

    I'd say you're o.k. for more like 12 hours. I remember when we had the big northeast blackout a few years ago. Our power was out for 20 hours. The food in the freezer was somewhat warm, and we had to throw everything out.

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    Default Re: how long will frozen food last after power outage

    My La Crosse remote temperature sensor will work in the refrigerator.

    You can get the "atomic" clock with remote for $36:
    http://www.partshelf.com/lacroswtradc.html

    It seems you can get just the thermometer with remote for $15:
    http://www.partshelf.com/lacrostecws74.html

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    Default Re: how long will frozen food last after power outage

    Chest freezer holds cold better than upright, if door must be opened. Both should be set at 0 degrees F. Will last at least 24 hours. Good idea to check local availability of 'dry ice'...keeps for a long time in block form, covered with thick insulation, like blankets. Big advantage is it doesn't melt into liquid, but goes straight to carbon dioxide gas. I've also used it to quick-freeze stuff or make ice cubes [30 minutes].

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    *Flashaholic* James S's Avatar
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    Default Re: how long will frozen food last after power outage

    And though not specifically about how long it will last with the power out, if you dont have much in your freezer or fridge, you should put a few gallon bottles of water in it anyway. With a little thermal mass in there it cycles less often and uses less power than an empty fridge. We have an old fridge in the garage and I keep it full of water bottles when we dont have much else in there to keep the compressor from cycling too much.
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    Default Re: how long will frozen food last after power outage

    You can also pack it with Dry Ice. Just make sure you have enought ventilation avaliable so the Carbon Dioxide gas produced doesn't make you pass out (that would be deadly)

    I keep those "Blue Ice" packs in my freezer. Still, I think the maximum it would stay cool would be about a day and a half. Most of my power outtages have lasted anywhere from 10 seconds to an hour although the last outtage I had went 4 hours. We kept the fridge closed and it stayed pretty cold all that time.

    I have also tried the wireless thermometer trick (OREGON SCIENTIFIC) as well. It works in my side-by side until the batteries freeze up

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    *Flashaholic* James S's Avatar
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    Default Re: how long will frozen food last after power outage

    until the batteries freeze up
    May I recommend some lithium cells?
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  20. #20

    Default Re: how long will frozen food last after power outage

    The carbon dioxide from the dry ice isn't deadly, unless there's enough to displace the oxygen. It's carbon monoxide that's poison. Carbon dioxide isn't toxic.

    Lithium cells are the best cells to use in a freezer.
    Edit: it looks like James made the same suggestion while I was posting.

  21. #21

    Default Re: how long will frozen food last after power outage

    my freezer is pretty full i put a few tuper ware containers in there about 3 gallons a pieace then i fill them with grocieres cause if i dont they fall out when i opne door alos have a box with groceries in there to .i belive i have it as full as i can get cause i assume ya have to have airflow id guess its 85% full.biglots has a cheap thermonter with a wire on it for 5.99 but ill have to wait a bit to get it.lol now instead of happy fun when lights go out ill think dollor signs lol
    LED's have gotten too bright in our stuff. Many nights I'm awakened by my modem lights blinking.had help with my sig thank you for your help.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: how long will frozen food last after power outage

    Dry ice is the way to go... you can easily preserve food for a week (or more) with a 5 lb chunk of dry ice in the freezer. VERY handy in hurricane country. Publix grocery stores usually have dry ice in stock and most people never think about it, grabbing the regular ice (useless) instead.

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    Default Re: how long will frozen food last after power outage

    I think you guys are nuts. Has anyone seen a remote temperature sensor fail in a freezer, or is this just speculation?

    An outdoor thermometer wouldn't have much value around here if it failed to work at such temperatures. When the temperature falls below zero Fahrenheit is when it starts to get interesting.

    Alkalines have a lot less capacity at zero degrees but I'd think they should be easily able to power the temperature sensor. My remote sensor has run for over 2 years on the original AAA cells. It can't be drawing much power.

    An alkaline cell freezing in a freezer seems even more far-fetched. I'm sure the flashlights in my car have experienced lower temperatures than you would find in a freezer. If they've ever frozen, it didn't seem to do them any damage.

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    Default Re: how long will frozen food last after power outage

    Dry ice MUST be handled with gloves, to avoid 'burns'. Carbon dioxide gas is heavier than air, so wrap it thickly to preserve and place in TOP of freezer or cooler. Fun to play with, too...makes 'smoke' in water. Flush small pieces down the toilet and freak your kids...use in pumpkins for Halloween. Great effect with the right lighting. No danger from inhalation, except suffocation which would take an awful lot in a completely enclosed space...please don't stick your head in it, Raggie!

  25. #25

    Default Re: how long will frozen food last after power outage

    Quote Originally Posted by 2dim
    Dry ice MUST be handled with gloves, to avoid 'burns'. Carbon dioxide gas is heavier than air, so wrap it thickly to preserve and place in TOP of freezer or cooler. Fun to play with, too...makes 'smoke' in water. Flush small pieces down the toilet and freak your kids...use in pumpkins for Halloween. Great effect with the right lighting. No danger from inhalation, except suffocation which would take an awful lot in a completely enclosed space...please don't stick your head in it, Raggie!
    OT, but hey...

    When I worked at a grocery store in high school, we'd all jockey and try to shuffle our work duties to be back by the freezer whenever a pallet of ice cream was delivered so we could screw around with the big slabs of dry ice that were kept in the center of the load. There was the usual nonsense, "smoking toilets", and exploding soda bottles from the damaged goods pile thrown into the back dumpsters, filled with warm water, crushed dry ice, and screwed shut, etc.

    My invention was the best IMO. I made insulated "shoes" out of layered cardboard and plastic bags, put them in the freezer, laid a big chunk of dry ice against the "cold" side for an hour or so in preparation, so the ice would stop sublimating against the "shoes". And once the contraption was chilled enough that the dry ice could stick to the "shoes", you could jump on top of the block and skate around the floor of the store on your frictionless skateboard! As the bottom of the exposed dry ice sublimated against the warm floor, you rode along on a cushion of carbon dioxide.

    That is, until some of the 3rd shift stockers all decided to push me in a running start to see how far I could go in the longest asile of the store, and I glided right past the general manager.

    Fortunately, he thought it was just cool enough to not fire me on the spot.
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  26. #26

    Default Re: how long will frozen food last after power outage

    the thing about dry ice that i wondr is wont it melt in freezer?or make the food to frozen?could even mess up the freezer .unless ya mean buy it after power goes out.but even then there wont be none at store cause everyone will buy it firs
    LED's have gotten too bright in our stuff. Many nights I'm awakened by my modem lights blinking.had help with my sig thank you for your help.

  27. #27

    Default Re: how long will frozen food last after power outage

    Dry ice doesn't melt, Raggie. Instead of becoming a liquid, it goes through a process called sublimation. Carbon dioxide doesn't exist as a liquid, it's either solid or gas. It takes a lot of energy to change from solid to gas. It also can't stay solid at anything other than an extremely low temperature. Since it can't stay solid, it pulls the energy, in the form of heat, out of it's surroundings. That's why it feels so cold.

    It's not of any practical use in your freezer except to hold the temperature after the power goes off. You're right, it would be in heavy demand during an extended power outage, probably hard to find.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: how long will frozen food last after power outage

    With respect to alarms, I have three freezers and all have alarms that have internal sensors connected to the battery box/alarm unit outside the box; cheap insurance at $20 per.

    We had a 30 plus hour power outage two years ago and I promptly wrapped all the freezers in blankets and sleeping bags . I did not lose a single item.

    The trick of part filled water containers helps a lot; but then I guess all you campers and fishermen know that. Another thing I have employed to take up empty space is large blocks of styrofoam.

    Good luck and may the power flow.

    Karl

  29. #29
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    Default Re: how long will frozen food last after power outage

    If you have neighbors, it can be worth coordinating with them and only opening one freezer at a time, sharing the food. The other freezer you keep shut so it lasts longer, and then you share the food from that one too.

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