Whether it’s from a powerful storm or extreme heat, when your house goes dark and quiet, there are specific things you should do to prevent refrigerated and frozen food from spoiling. That is particularly essential should the power outage extend past four hours as this is the time that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA): Food Safety and Inspection Service says that perishable food will remain safe in the refrigerator, while a full freezer will hold its temperature for 48 hours – 24 if half-full, assuming the door stays closed until a certified electrician can restore power.
The agency also assumes that the fridge and freezer maintained temperatures of 40ºF or below and 0ºF or below. Ideally, you should purchase two appliance thermometers, placing one in the refrigerator and the other in the freezer to ensure those temperatures. Depending on the type, you can find these at the most popular retailers for under $20. A thermometer will be needed after power returns as well.
Should the temperature creep above the recommended degrees, bacteria can grow, potentially causing you to be at risk for foodborne illnesses once the food has been eaten. That is why the USDA encourages discarding any perishable food items if the temperature of your fridge is above 40ºF or your freezer is above 0ºF after a certified electrician has restored power to your community or residence. If you are uncertain about an item, play it safe by discarding it, especially if there’s an odor or color. The agency also cautions against tasting food as even a tiny amount may make you sick.
Consider a Whole House Generator
Unfortunately, power outages happen without notice, and those considered weather-related have been up 67 percent since 2000. That is according to the Department of Energy Data, as mentioned in by the USDA in their article, “Avoid Foodborne Illness During Temporary Power Outages.” While there are certainly ways to promote food safety before and during an outage, one of the best things you can do before the power goes out is to invest in a whole house generator, professionally installed by a certified electrician.
These devices are designed to deliver power to your home’s electrical panel, built to withstand the elements, and available with a host of additional features so that you never have to worry about opening the fridge and freezer, decreasing the time that your food will stay safe, during a power outage again. Also known as home standby generators, these devices start once they detect an outage, powering all your devices and appliances until power has been restored to your home. Remember that a certified electrician must professionally install these to ensure optimal operation.
Contact a Certified Electrician in Conroe
A&H Electric Co. has over thirty years of experience providing residential and commercial electrical repair, maintenance, and installation. We offer a full suite of services, not limited to electrical safety inspections and whole home rewiring, with all work performed by skilled technicians. Please don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment anytime you need a certified electrician to service your home or business, even if it’s after hours, as we offer 24-hour emergency repairs.
Join the A&H Electric Co. Family! A&H Electric Co. is currently looking for experienced electrical technicians. You must have experience providing residential and commercial electrical repair, maintenance, and installation. If you’re interested in filling one of our open positions, please contact us at (936) 756-0442 or complete the online job application.
We look forward to hearing from you soon!
Carothers, Meredith. “Are You and Your Food Prepared for a Power Outage?” USDA, February 21, 2017.
“Food Safety During Power Outage.” U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, FoodSafety.gov, January 28, 2021.
“Food Safety for Power Outages.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), September 8, 2020.
Garcia, Jesus. “Avoid Foodborne Illness During Temporary Power Outages.” USDA, August 18, 2021.