No Power? Here's How to Keep Your Food Cold - NBC 7 San Diego
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Consumer Investigative Unit

No Power? Here's How to Keep Your Food Cold

Taking steps now can prevent food loss when the power goes out

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    NEWSLETTERS

    No Power? Here's How to Keep Your Food Cold

    With some 800,000 PG&E customers bracing to lose power this week, many families might be worried about losing hundreds of dollars worth of groceries as their refrigerators and freezers go quiet. Consumer Investigator Chris Chmura has tips on how to keep your food from spoiling.

    (Published Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2019)

    With some 800,000 PG&E customers losing power this week, many families might be worried about losing hundreds of dollars worth of groceries as their refrigerators and freezers go quiet.

    The good news: if you take a few simple steps now, you might be able to keep that food cold, even without electricity.

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture makes several recommendations for saving frozen and refrigerated food:

    • Keep the doors closed. Every time you open your refrigerator during a blackout, precious cold air will escape — and it will be replaced by warmer room-temperature air.
    • A half-stocked freezer will keep food frozen for 24 hours.
    • A Fully-stocked freezer will keep food frozen for 48 hours. Need to fill some space? Just add water — in jugs or bottles. Keep in mind, ice expands as it freezes, so leave some extra space in the container.
    • Turn the thermostat controls down to the lowest temperature settings. This can help everything stay colder, longer.
    • Pack dry ice in your freezer. Many grocery stores sell this, and its temperature is more than 100° below freezing!
    Another note: you won't be able to get reimbursed for any food spoilage resulting from the planned power outages. PG&E told us: "We do not reimburse customers for losses, as power will be shut off for safety when gusty winds and dry conditions, combined with a heightened fire risk, threaten a portion of the electric system."
    Save this helpful guide from the USDA to your phone to stay on top of food safety during and after a blackout:
    Photo credit: USDA
    https://www.foodsafety.gov/food-safety-charts/food-safety-during-power-outage