As we enter the stormy fall and winter, we’re bound to have some power outages. So when the power goes out and your refrigerator isn't cooling, what should you do?
First, call the power company and find out how long the power will be out. If the power outage is less than 24 hours:
Keep the doors shut on both the refrigerator and freezer compartments to keep food cold or frozen. If you’re experiencing a refrigerator power outage for more than 2 hours, you might want to pack dairy and meats into coolers filled with ice, says the CDC.
If the power will be out for more than 24 hours:
Add 2 lbs of dry ice in the freezer for every cubic foot of freezer space, which will keep the food frozen for two to four days. Otherwise, you’re going to have to eat all that perishable food.
A full freezer stays cold longer than a partially filled one and a freezer full of meat stays cold longer than a freezer full of baked goods. A half-full freezer will keep food safe for 24 hours, and a full freezer will keep food safe for 48 hours, according to the CDC.
If food contains ice crystals, you can refreeze it, although the quality and flavor may be affected. Test meats to ensure the temperature hasn't risen to 40 degrees. Use your gut. If it looks like it’s in rough shape, toss it.