With winter quickly approaching, it is important that you are prepared for the possibility of a power outage. Because winter storms can cause damage to power lines, it is not uncommon for homes to lose power during one of these storms. Because food is expensive, especially a full refrigerator and freezer’s worth, a power outage can end up costing you a lot of money when it comes time to replace all the food that you had. At Rose Brothers & Sons Electric of Walton, Kentucky, we want to give you a few tips on keeping your food fresh during a power outage to help you save money and time once your electricity returns.
Ahead of Time
Before your electricity goes out, there are a few things you should have prepared to ensure that you can keep your food fresh during a power outage. First, make sure you have coolers on hand. Many people keep coolers in their home, but if you don’t have one, you should invest in a few. Coolers last for years and having them on hand will always be a convenience. Second, ensure that you have proper working thermometers in your appliances. This will be necessary when you need to monitor the temperature of your refrigerator after a power outage. Third, know where you can buy dry ice. Many ice cream parlors, ice companies, and other large stores like Walmart and Safeway carry dry ice. Dry ice has a very short shelf-life and therefore you cannot just keep it on hand in your home. Fourth, consider investing in a standby generator for emergencies.
When Power is Lost
If a winter or bad rain storm hits and you do lose power, the first thing you should do to ensure the freshness of your food is keep your refrigerator and freezer shut for as long as possible. Opening and closing your refrigerator and freezer will only allow the cool air to escape and decrease the amount of time that you can keep your perishable items in the appliance. If kept shut, a refrigerator can keep a stable temperature for about 4 hours. Half-freezers will keep things cold for about 24 hours and a full freezer will keep things cold for about 48 hours. Second, go to one of the stores that you know sells dry ice and buy dry ice for coolers and for the refrigerator. Place this dry ice in your refrigerator and freezer to keep the temperature low for a longer amount of time. Third, place all frozen meat on a tray because as the meat thaws it will leak. Lastly, if the power is not returned within a few hours, you need to be monitoring the temperature in your refrigerator and then move things to a cooler when the temperature gets too low. Anything perishable, like meats and dairy products, kept above 40 °F for more than two hours will need to be discarded. To avoid this, move your refrigerated food to a cooler lined with dry ice and ice and use your thermometer to keep an eye on the temperature.
After Power is Restored
After the power in your home is restored, it is important that you check your food to ensure that it is still good. Look for ice crystals to ensure that frozen food is still good, and throw away any foods that have gained a strange odor or color. Anything that feels warm to the touch needs to be disposed of. For a more detailed chart on when to discard and keep food, click here.
If you have questions about generators, electrical damages to your home that may have caused a power outage, or need other electrical advice to prepare your home for power outages, contact Rose Brothers & Sons Electric today. Serving all of Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati, our team of experienced professionals can help you with a wide range of electrical needs.