A chest freezer is a deep freezer with a lid that you can open from the top. It is usually compared to the upright freezer but is considered more energy efficient and affordable. A chest freezer is used mainly to freeze food items and store frozen foods.
However, due to unforeseen circumstances, power blackouts in your home or store may make your chest freezer lose its ability to freeze food items. Knowing how long it will remain cold without power will help you devise ways to keep all your food items cold and stop food deterioration and poisoning.
Factors that Affect the Length of Time a Chest Freezer Stays Cold
A chest freezer might remain cold longer or shorter than the average time depending on the following factors;
- Size of the chest freezer
- Quality of the insulation
- The temperature of the food in the freezer
- External temperature
- Type of food stored in the freezer
- Content of the freezer
Size of the Chest Freezer
A mini chest freezer is usually full as it can only contain a small amount of food. This means that the foods will be closely packed together, and they can stay cold for longer when there is a blackout. In addition, a mini chest freezer allows less cold air to escape when opened, compared to the large one.
Quality of the Insulation
The quality of your chest freezer's insulation determines how much it can keep cold temperatures and resist heat absorption.
All freezers come with certain types of insulation, but you can also improve it by adding extra. The most popular type used in several homes is a blanket, which is more affordable and easy to use.
The Temperature of The Food in the Freezer
Frozen foods kept at the coldest temperature before a power outage will keep the freezer colder than those already thawing out.
A chest freezer that is placed in a hot environment will lose its coldness faster than one in a cool room.
Type of food stored in the freezer
Different food types vary in the time it takes them to remain frozen. For example, thinly sliced foods will thaw faster, making them unable to keep the freezer cold for long. Thicker foods, however, will take more time to melt and therefore keep the freezer cold.
Content of the freezer
The quantity of food In the chest freezer determines how long it will remain cold. The chest freezer can either be full or half full. Storing your foods tightly together in a full freezer helps them stay frozen for extended periods.
Cold air can escape easily when you open your chest freezer several times after a power outage. And t will cause the chest freezer to warm up quickly.
How Long Can a Chest Freezer Stay Cold Without Power?
Did you know that a full chest freezer with a sealed lid will maintain a healthy temperature for around 48 hours (2 days) while a half-full freezer can only remain cold for only 24 hours(1 day)?
Yes, it's true. However, these timelines may vary based on the factors that are mentioned above.
If you want to extend these timelines and preserve your foods for a longer time, you can do the following;
- Always run your chest freezer at its coldest temperature
- Avoid Frequent opening of the doors
What to Do When a Chest Freezer Loses Power
Below are some quick action steps to take when a chest freezer unexpectedly loses power;
- If you own a cooler, move the food inside
- Fill the chest freezer with any form of ice
- Properly insulate the chest freezer
- Resort to using a backup generator
- Keep easily spoiled foods in your neighbor's chest freezer if there is a blackout only in your house.
- If you have any canned foods, consume them as soon as you can
You should only preserve food that has stayed in the chest freezer for four hours or less after the power goes out. However, refreezing your food should only be done if it retains some ice crystals or maintains 40°F or below. Even though it may have depreciated in quality, it is still healthy to consume.
Also, ensure not to taste or consume foods that have stayed long in a thawed freezer. This is because it might still carry some food poisoning germs despite looking and smelling good.
Foods that are Safe to Consume if Kept for Longer than 2 hours Over 40°F
If you have these foods in your freezer at the time you experience a power blackout, you can always keep or refreeze them. However, you should carefully examine each food item for abnormal changes in the look, texture, color, and smell.
- Fresh, canned, and dried fruits
- Herbs, vegetables, and spices
- Vinegar based Food dressings
- Taco sauce
- Fruit juice
- Hard and processed cheese
- Bread, including pancakes and waffles
Foods To Throw out if Kept for Longer than 2 hours Over 40°F
The following are some of the foods that are not safe to eat and should be discarded after staying longer than the safe period.
- Meat, poultry, and seafood
- Soft, shredded, and low-fat cheese
- Fish, Oyster and Spaghetti Sauce
- Cream-based dressing (opened)
- Cooked rice, potatoes, and pasta
- Foods containing egg and milk fillings
- Cut and cooked vegetables
Keeping your chest freezer cold after a power outage depends on various factors, as listed above. These factors, which range from the size of the chest freezer to the usage, should be considered when getting a chest freezer and also when trying to preserve your food items during a power outage.
Ideally, your chest freezer will maintain its cold temperature for about 48 hours, considering that it is fully stocked and the lid remains sealed. But despite that, always stick to your freezer operating at its coldest, and ensure that you own a cooler to move the food in during emergencies. Finally, after taking all these precautions, throw out the food immediately if you still notice any signs of spoilage. You can take a look on our Kismile website.