Power outages can happen at the most inopportune times, leaving your home without electricity for hours or even days.
Keeping your food fresh is one of the biggest concerns during a power outage. Without electricity, your refrigerator will stop working, causing your perishable food items to spoil quickly.
You’ll need a backup plan to reduce food waste and avoid the inconvenience of finding alternative food sources until your provider restores electricity. Fortunately, there are many ways to keep your fridge cold, even without power.
We’ve compiled the best tips for keeping your fridge cold during an outage, so you can avoid throwing all your food in the trash and your money down the drain.
Have Ice Readily Available
Having some extra ice on hand is a crucial part of any emergency preparedness plan. If a natural disaster or heavy storms are in the forecast and you know an outage is likely, prepare a backup supply of ice. You can store it in your freezer or fill up some water bottles and containers and freeze them.
Ice prevents spoilage and keeps any food or beverage cold. However, remember that water expands when frozen, so don’t overfill any bottles or containers.
Move Frozen Food to the Bottom and Group Them
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration advises moving your frozen food and grouping it at the bottom of the fridge. Heat rises, and cold air sinks. Keeping frozen food and perishable items together at the bottom of the freezer will help it remain cold longer.
Keep Fridge Doors Closed
One of the best things you can do to keep your food fresh for as long as possible is to keep the doors closed. While a closed fridge stays cold for only four hours, a closed freezer can last up to 48 hours if fully packed.
During the initial hours of a blackout, consume shelf-stable foods to avoid opening your fridge doors.
Insulate Your Fridge’s Exterior
Insulation helps retain the cold temperature in your fridge, which preserves the food for longer.
Collect any sleeping bags, blankets, towels, bubble wrap, or other insulating materials to cover the sides of your fridge. Tightly wrap these materials around your refrigerator and unplug the power supply to avoid accidents.
Adding insulating materials builds a barrier to block off heat from coming into the fridge so that it can maintain a low temperature. While it’s not a long-term solution, it can keep your food cold for at least a few extra hours.
Use Dry Ice
Dry ice is another potential solution for your perishable food. A 50-pound block of dry ice can keep an 18 cubic-foot full freezer cold for about two days.
However, dry ice has risks. It’s essentially frozen carbon dioxide. As it melts, CO2 gas can accumulate in small, unventilated spaces, like walk-in freezers or basements. If enough CO2 builds up in the air, it can lead to suffocation and even death.
It’s crucial to use dry ice in well-ventilated spaces only. For example, keeping windows open where the dry ice is stored can help prevent carbon dioxide accumulation.
Also, dry ice is -109° F (-78C)! Handling dry ice without proper protection will lead to severe frostbite instantaneously — similar to a bad burn. Always wear insulated gloves explicitly designed to handle dry ice, and never let it touch your skin directly.
Use a Portable Power Station
While the makeshift strategies above can help in an unexpected blackout, they are ultimately short-term solutions. They won’t keep your perishable items safe for more than a day or two.
A reliable backup power source is the best solution for extended electricity outages and energy security.
A portable power station (PPS) keeps your fridge running when the electrical grid is offline. It ensures that your food and perishable items stay cold without resorting to dry ice or other ad-hoc cooling methods.
When purchasing a PPS that can run your fridge and freezer, look for high-powered units with a large output and storage capacity, and fast recharge times. For example, the EcoFlow DELTA 2 is a robust unit with 1800W of AC output, allowing you to power your refrigerator for 7 to 14 hours on a single charge.
It can power 90% of your home appliances, including your microwave, coffee maker, lights, electric grill, and Wi-Fi router. When the battery runs low, you can quickly recharge your PPS in less than an hour between blackouts.
Additionally, all EcoFlow portable power stations offer solar charging capabilities when you add solar panels. When grid power is down for extended periods, gathering clean, renewable solar energy can keep your fridge running indefinitely.
In extended power outages, your fridge won’t be the only thing you’ll need to worry about having enough electricity for. You’ll need to power your personal devices for communications, lights for visibility, and AC and heater units to keep your family comfortable.
The EcoFlow DELTA Pro provides a solution with 3600Wh storage capacity and 3600W-7200W of AC output. For reference, it’ll keep a 120W fridge powered for 24 hours. With expandable capacity, you can power more devices and appliances, restoring normalcy even amidst an extended blackout.
Upgrade to a Portable Solar Generator
Solar generators are much better than traditional gas generators since they don’t emit harmful chemicals and fumes, making them safer for your home. They’re also a renewable energy source that doesn’t require refueling, perfect for extended outages.
The easiest way to set up a solar generator is to convert a portable power station like the DELTA 2 or DELTA Pro into one by adding solar panels.
Connecting the solar panels to the EcoFlow DELTA 2 or DELTA Pro’s input port allows the solar energy collected from the panels to recharge the portable power station to full. As a result, you get a multifunctional system that can harness renewable energy and store it for later use. The right system can keep your fridge cold for as long as you need.
Invest in a Whole House Backup Power Solution
Keeping your fridge cold is one thing, but having enough electricity to power your entire home for extended periods is another. A Whole Home Backup Power Solution is the best solution for powering your home during a lengthy power outage.
Whole home solutions are customizable to fit your energy storage needs ranging from 3.6kWh to 25kWh, depending on how many solar batteries you use to expand your system. It’s enough to power your entire house, including appliances, HVAC systems, lights, and electronics.
If you incorporate a Smart Home Panel, it can automatically switch power sources from the grid to your home backup system so fast that you’ll barely notice a difference. It ensures a seamless and virtually uninterrupted power supply.
In addition, it’s a plug-and-play solution that’s easy to install and integrate with your existing wiring.
With a whole home backup power solution, you don’t have to let outages disrupt your routine. Powering your home’s essential systems through your existing wiring is the best way of ensuring you’re not left in the dark.
Frequently Asked Questions
Generally, a fridge and freezer can stay cold for four hours without power if the doors remain closed. A fully-packed freezer may last up to 48 hours, while a half-full freezer lasts about 24 hours. However, if the refrigerator has poor insulation, it can quickly lose temperature.
Many perishable food items last only up to four hours in an unpowered fridge. After four hours, it’s best to throw out perishable foods such as milk, eggs, fruits and vegetables, meat, and fish. Never taste food to determine whether it’s safe or not.
Whether the result of a grid failure or natural disaster, inevitable power outages mean you’ll need a plan to keep your fridge cold without power.
A backup power source can ensure you have enough power to keep your fridge going for hours — or even days — without on-grid electricity.
EcoFlow’s Whole Home Backup Power Solution can give you peace of mind. Your food will stay fresh, and all your essential electrical needs will be covered, even during extended outages.