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MEmama

Power outage and chest freezer

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How long will a small chest freezer stay cold without power? It’s completely full and has a sizable bag of ice sandwiched in the middle. 

It’s in the basement, so reasonably cool air temperature. 

I’m hoping to not have to start the generator if I don’t have to. 

Edited by MEmama
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During the DC derecho ours stayed frozen for 3 days, almost 4. Good luck - the winds are insane up in NE (we're in Boston)!

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I had stuff that was fine (still frozen all the way through) after 13 or 14 hours.  That freezer was in a 3 season porch. 

A chest freezer that we had in a colder basement went 24-36 hours and everything was fine.

So, depends on what's in it, and where it is.

 

Stay safe and warm (you be warm, not the freezer!)

Edited by Zoo Keeper
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You get a good few days from a chest freezer.  According to this, 48 hrs. 

https://wtop.com/health-fitness/2018/03/food-last-fridge-freezer-no-power/
https://www.foodsafety.gov/blog/poweroutage.html
 

Also, once the power comes back, if the temp in the freezer isn't above 40*F (fridge temp) the food is likely still okay. You can check the temp of any meat (once things are back) and either refreeze or cook & refreeze. We just had to do this recently -- we had an upright in our garage (outside temps in the 90s) and the power went out & came back on, only the freezer wasn't actually working. Two days later we realized it and most of the meat was still safe to cook; we cooked everything and refroze it. With a chest freezer, you've got even longer. 

Hope that helps! 

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Yeah, you should be good for a bit.  Hopefully power comes back quickly!

50 minutes ago, YaelAldrich said:

During the DC derecho ours stayed frozen for 3 days, almost 4. Good luck - the winds are insane up in NE (we're in Boston)!


It's wicked crazy here on the cape.  Power is out right across the road from us because a huge tree took out a line.  I'm refusing to go out today unless it's an absolute emergency.

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Wow—thank you! Glad to hear the freezer will stay cold for so long!

Hope everyone is safe. It’s not too bad where we are, but yeah, trees down everywhere and lots of power outages. Our power company posted that we should get ours back on at midnight, January 1, 2068. Hmmmm. Might need to fire up the generator after all! 😂

Edited by MEmama
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I have recent experience with this and can say with confidence that it's fine for two full days, because that's how long the power was out.

I took a Tupperware bowl and filled it with ice cubes, covered it, and put it in the freezer close to the top where I thought it would be warmest if the power was out.  I looked at the ice after the power came back on, and the cubes were still fully jagged--no thawing even on the edges.  So I know that the temp stayed below freezing.  If I had it to do over I would leave an oven thermometer in it that I could check when the power came back on to see what the peak temp was.  I think that would be particularly helpful if the outage was longer.  Of course, I didn't open the freezer during the entire time, and also it was in the basement which is a cool ambient.  The freezer on the fridge up in the great room thawed out completely in the same time period--all the ice cube trays were full of slushy water so I figure it got up to around 34-35 degrees.  But I had proactively moved all the important stuff into the chest freezer before the outage so I didn't lose anything from that.

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We noticed only some slight thawing of the veggies on the top most layer after a day.  It wasn’t opened though, which makes a huge difference.

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This is one of the reasons I went with a chest freezer over an upright. When we had a power outage this summer, I actually took a bunch of stuff out of the regular fridge/freezer and stuck it in there and then left it closed with a bag of ice. Nothing even got ice crystals in the day we had no power. The stuff in the upstairs regular freezer was totally borderline, despite the addition of a giant bag of ice.

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We cover our freezer with lots of blankets for more insulation when the power is out for an extended time. Of course you need to take them off the minute the power comes back on. 

We have has no problems for 24 hours  after that the ice cream gets to soft serve. 

Longest we had power out was 10 days. There had been a bushfire up the road that had burnt down several km of powerlines. Our neighbour kindly lent us his generator fir 6 hours every day. It was only a small one so we only used it for the freezer. It kept both the neighbour and our freezer frozen. 

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26 minutes ago, Melissa in Australia said:

We cover our freezer with lots of blankets for more insulation when the power is out for an extended time. Of course you need to take them off the minute the power comes back on. 

We have has no problems for 24 hours  after that the ice cream gets to soft serve. 

Longest we had power out was 10 days. There had been a bushfire up the road that had burnt down several km of powerlines. Our neighbour kindly lent us his generator fir 6 hours every day. It was only a small one so we only used it for the freezer. It kept both the neighbour and our freezer frozen. 

We had a 10 day outage a couple years ago. It was also in October, so cold enough here that we put all our cold and frozen items plus a bag of ice in an insulated camping cooler in the 3 season porch. Finding ice in the shops was tough after a few days but at least we ate well. Lol. But we didn’t have the stocked freezer we do now.

During that outage we (finally!!) bought a portable generator. Mostly we need it to run the pellet stove in winter so the pipes (and us) don’t freeze, but once we used it in summer to keep the fridge running. I also bought a battery powered shower head so we can take hot showers after we use up the hot water in the tank (about 3 days for the three of us). I feel like with every storm I get a little more prepared. 

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We had a 2 week outage, in the winter.
We brought in ice every 24 hrs, & kept it going for at least a week.
Yes to all of the tips you've been given--you just do it all.

And eat all you can out of it (in order of spoilage/value)!

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If you think it's going to go, you do want to cook everything you can. But otherwise, you want to leave it closed and not open it unless it's to add ice or something like that. The less you open it, the longer it'll last.

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42 minutes ago, Farrar said:

If you think it's going to go, you do want to cook everything you can. But otherwise, you want to leave it closed and not open it unless it's to add ice or something like that. The less you open it, the longer it'll last.

At least we don’t keep much meat—I think we have some shrimp and maybe a package of turkey slices, so those are easy to consume right away. But otherwise it’s garden veggies, packaged veggies, and packaged convenience food that might defrost but I don’t think would actually spoil for awhile (and would refreeze again just fine, stuff Iike Trader Joes fried rice and so on).

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When meat isn't involved, I really wouldn't worry too much. Assuming it doesn't really thaw, the worst thing you're looking at is quality loss, not food safety.

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