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Keeping the Freezer cold in a Power Outage

November 2nd, 2012

With all of the talk of electric outages, I’ve been thinking I should share what we do to help keep our freezers running more efficiently and help them keep food frozen longer during power outages. My mom has been doing this for many years and it’s something I’ve been doing as well. It’s so easy you’ll wonder why it’s not more common knowledge.

A half empty freezer like this one is not as efficient as a full one. It will also thaw out much faster when the power is out. Keeping your freezer running more efficiently and helping it stay colder longer is as simple as filling the empty spaces with containers of water to freeze as big blocks of ice. I use plastic milk jugs, my mom always used large square gallon freezing containers. I’ve been considering buying a few of these large plastic rectangular containers because they’d fit more efficiently in my freezer, but gallon jugs are FREE. A few years ago we received our dry month milk from the farm frozen for winter use, so my freezer was always full of milk instead of water. Each fall we also also purchase 8-10 reserve gallons of apple cider and freeze it as well. During these times we don’t need the jugs of water.

When we moved to Maine, I emptied all the containers and recycled them. I’m slowly building back up my stash of frozen ice with apple cider jugs. It’s a good thing Mr Chiots loves cider so it’s going rather quickly!

Essentially, this turns your freezer into a cooler when there’s no power. If you have enough of these in your freezer you could also move some to your fridge to keep the contents colder during a power outage. These containers of ice also come in handy for traveling. I always throw a few frozen half gallon jugs in my cooler. They keep things colder for much longer than loose ice and they don’t allow the water to get your food soggy when they do.

When you need to add food to your freezer, you can simply take out a few jugs of frozen water and set them beside the freezer. When you take out food and have space, put them back in. Another handy benefit is that this water could also be used as emergency water in a pinch. You might want to refresh it occasionally if you want to use it in this way.

Any great tips to share for those times when the electric is off?

A few more freezer/freezing posts:
Freezing in Glass Canning Jars
Keeping Your Freezer Organized

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.