Summer storms can bring power outages. When power is out over a period of several hours or even days, food can spoil in the refrigerator and freezer.
Plan ahead for a possible power outage.
- Keep your freezer as full as possible. A full freezer will hold the food at a colder temperature even if the power is out for a short amount of time — at least 24 hours.
- DO NOT OPEN the refrigerator or freezer door during a power outage. Keeping the door closed will keep the cold air in and the hot air out.
- Keep a thermometer in both your refrigerator and your freezer. Your refrigerator should stay below 40 degrees F and your freezer below 0 degrees F.
- Place 2 or 3 ice cubes in a plastic bag and place in your freezer. If the freezer temperature goes above 32 degrees F the ice cubes will melt. Even if the power comes back on you will know if your food was thawed by the shape of the ice cubes in the bag.
If the power is out for more than 24 hours you may need to have alternative plans for storing your food safely. You may need to find freezer storage with family or friends or even consider renting a commercial locker if possible.
As a general rule, foods which have completely thawed should not be refrozen. See: ohioline.osu.edu/home/freezer.html
Author: Linnette Goard, Field Specialist, Food Safety, Selection and Management, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, firstname.lastname@example.org
Reviewed by: Treva Williams, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension