Don't panic: how long refrigerators and freezers really keep cold without power

Yulia PoteriankoLife
Frozen water bottles can help keep you cold longer

One of the main questions that Ukrainians have during long power outages is how long food will last in the refrigerator without electricity. It doesn't matter if we're talking about individual products or ready-to-eat meals.

The American Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has provided an explanation. Its website has detailed instructions on what to do with food and the refrigerator in the event of a power outage.

According to the CDC, food should be stored in the refrigerator at a temperature of 4.5 degrees Celsius or below. The temperature in the freezer should be a maximum of -17 degrees Celsius. Under these initial conditions, a cooler can maintain an acceptable temperature for up to 4 hours, a half-empty freezer for up to 24 hours, and a full freezer for up to 48 hours.

To extend this time slightly, keep bags or bottles of frozen water, dry ice, or regular ice in blocks. These can be placed in the refrigerator if the power goes out for more than 4 hours. To keep it cold for as long as possible, try not to open the appliance door at all.

The CDC also recommends that you do not taste food that has been in the refrigerator for too long, only smell and look. Experts recommend throwing away any suspicious food. If you have a food thermometer, check the contents of the refrigerator with it and get rid of anything that is perishable and has a temperature above 5 degrees.

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