Survival Natural Disaster Survival

3 Ways to Prep Your Fridge and Freezer for a Summer Power Outage

open fridge

Prepare your fridge for a power outage before it strikes. Tim MacWelch

It really is a luxury to have an appliance that makes things very cold (or freezes them) in the heat of summer. But it’s a luxury that many people have become far too reliant upon. What happens to the 100 pounds of meat and fish you stored in the freezer…after the power goes out…when it’s 100 degrees outside? It’s not pretty, I’ll tell you that much. I had a freezer break down in the mid-summer heat a few years ago. It was a freezer full of animal hides, feathers, brain-tanned buckskin in process, and the meat from two whitetail deer. The freezer was in an outbuilding, and I didn’t discover the mess until it had all liquefied and the stench was apparent from outside the building. I don’t want anybody to go through something like that, especially during a summer utility outage. So here are a few ideas about what to keep and what not to keep in your freezer, just in case your power goes out this season.

1. Set Up an Ice Cube Watchdog
Planning a summer vacation or some other exodus? That’s great. But what if your power is out for days while you’re gone, the food in your freezer spoils, then the power comes back and the freezer re-freezes it? Chances are good that eating this food would make you sick, perhaps very sick. But there’s a simple way to see if your freezer was off in your absence. Fill a cup with ice cubes and leave it in your freezer. As long as your ice cubes look like separate ice cubes, your freezer stayed below freezing. But if you open the freezer one day and find a cup of frozen water—your power was off long enough for everything to melt before it re-froze. If that’s the case, the food shouldn’t be considered safe for human consumption.

2. Keep It Full
We’ve all heard that a stuffed freezer is more efficient, but do we really want it stuffed with food that would be wasted in a lengthy power outage? I keep lots of ice in my freezer, a bit of ice cream or some other frozen treats, and not much else. In an outage, I can use the ice to keep the fridge food cold for an extra day and when the ice has melted—use it for drinking water. It’s great to have extra food, but you’ll be better off canning or drying your meat and other foods rather than taking the risk of losing them in the freezer.

3. Consider a Generator
If you already have a freezer full of meat, and aren’t interested in canning it all, then make plans to keep the freezer running with a generator. If you cannot afford to buy one, line up a loan from a friend or family member who has one. I’m usually opposed to generators. The noise, the dangerous fumes, the fire hazard, and the potentially limited fuel supply have turned me away from the standard gas powered generator, but it does still have its uses.

Is your freezer ready to a power outage? Let us know your plan by leaving us a comment below.