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Mr Matt

join:2008-01-29
Eustis, FL
kudos:1
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Using Dry Ice for Cooling backup for refrigerator?

I just received a letter from the power company that there will be planned power outage on the 16th or 17th of this month starting between 8:30 AM and ending at 5:00 PM with the outage lasting for 4 to 5 Hours. I contacted the power company and asked if they could provide more accurate information on when the outage would occur. Their representative advised me that the letter was all the information that they could provide.

I have three options:

1) Do nothing and hope for the power is turned back on before the food in the refrigerator spoils. Power company says there will be no problem if I do not open the refrigerator during the outage. They were unable to advise what to do if the power goes out just after we opened the refrigerator several times to prepare a meal.

2) Rent a generator that can power the refrigerator. I do not want to purchase a portable generator because I am still considering installing a whole house standby generator. I have been unable to find a rental service that rents small say 2 KW easily transportable generators.

3) Use Dry Ice while the power is off to keep the refrigerator cold during the power outage. The question is if anyone reading this post has used Dry Ice to keep a refrigerator cold and how much did they have to purchase to keep the food cold for 6 or 7 hours?
Was there any problem with Dry Ice lowering the temperature to much in the refrigerator compartment?



Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1

6 or 7 hours should be no problem if you don't open the doors until the power comes back on. I've routinely had that here during power failures and overnight when I don't run the generator for 8 hours.



cowboyro
Premium
join:2000-10-11
Shelton, CT
Reviews:
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2 recommendations

reply to Mr Matt

Fill 4-5 1-gal jugs of water and put in freezer. When the scheduled day comes move the frozen jugs in the refrigerator. Maybe leave 1 in the freezer part.
I prepared 7-8 when Irene hit last year, they lasted for 2 days.
It won't matter if you open the refrigerator few times, the thermal capacity of the stuff inside is orders of magnitude higher than the thermal capacity of all air inside.


Bob4
Account deleted

join:2012-07-22
New Jersey
reply to Mr Matt

Even if the outage is twice as long as they anticipate, you won't have any trouble as long as you keep the door closed.

Take this as a cue to go out during the day and have a good time.



Ken
Premium,MVM
join:2003-06-16
Markle, IN
reply to cowboyro

said by cowboyro:

Fill 4-5 1-gal jugs of water and put in freezer. When the scheduled day comes move the frozen jugs in the refrigerator. Maybe leave 1 in the freezer part.
I prepared 7-8 when Irene hit last year, they lasted for 2 days.
It won't matter if you open the refrigerator few times, the thermal capacity of the stuff inside is orders of magnitude higher than the thermal capacity of all air inside.

This is exactly what I was going to recommend. The key is to have your fridge packed as full as possible. The less air space you have the longer the items will stay cold.


DarkLogix
Texan and Proud
Premium
join:2008-10-23
Baytown, TX
kudos:3
reply to Mr Matt

I haven't used dry ice for a fridge but it worked for some -40degree deep freezers with dippin' dots in them.

for those it was about one block of dry ice (sorry don't have a real measure of the size.



alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1
reply to cowboyro

said by cowboyro:

Fill 4-5 1-gal jugs of water and put in freezer.

This
Dry ice is overkill and might actually freeze stuff around it (Don't want to freeze your eggs now do you?).

Also for the frozen jugs, try to find containers with as much SURFACE to volume ratio. It will increase the amount of cold is expels over time, so instead of "somewhat cold", it will keep the fridge properly cold.

As for packing the fridge, ya do that, but don't actually go buy anything to put in the fridge. What you can do is fill up tons of bottles with water. They'll absorb plenty of coldness which will be useful when the electricity is out.

For the freezer section, try to consume as much stuff inside before the power outage. Frozen foods cannot be "re-frozen" so gracefully. Everything will ice/frost on the surface (from the water being unfrozen on the surface during the power outage). Chicken wing bags will become one big clump of chicken wings. Ice cream will have a frozen slab at the top. You might end up having to defrost your freezer after the power outage anyway. (Actually maybe that's where you WOULD use dry ice).

averagedude

join:2002-01-30
San Diego, CA
Reviews:
·Cox HSI
reply to cowboyro

said by cowboyro:

Fill 4-5 1-gal jugs of water and put in freezer. When the scheduled day comes move the frozen jugs in the refrigerator. Maybe leave 1 in the freezer part.
I prepared 7-8 when Irene hit last year, they lasted for 2 days.
It won't matter if you open the refrigerator few times, the thermal capacity of the stuff inside is orders of magnitude higher than the thermal capacity of all air inside.

^^2nd^^


nunya
Premium,MVM
join:2000-12-23
O Fallon, MO
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reply to Mr Matt

The best thing to do would be - nothing.
I change out services a lot. The power is out 8-10 hours. Never had a refrigerator or freezer issue other than this: The ice in the ice maker will sometimes clump up.
Empty the ice maker bin if you are real worried about it.
Relax. It's not going to be that bad. Just don't open the refrigerator unnecessarily.
--
If someone refers to herself / himself as a "guru", they probably aren't.



alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1

Nunya, but I bet the beer they offer you after the job is done isn't that ice cold.


itguy05

join:2005-06-17
Carlisle, PA
reply to Mr Matt

You could also make the fridge as cold as it will go the night before.
You also have to watch the temps of the food inside and make sure it doesn't get too high or you can cause things to grow. This all depends on the air temperature.

Our fridge shows its temp on a display. This summer we had an hour outage and without me opening the fridge but once the temp was already 40 degrees in the fridge and near 0 (we keep it at -2) in the freezer. The inside of the house was about 75 or 77 when that happened.

You could either do the dry ice or pick up one of those under $100 Harbor Freight 900 w 2 stroke generators. Not a lot of $$ and it could help in the future with power outages.



ArgMeMatey

join:2001-08-09
Milwaukee, WI
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Reviews:
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reply to Mr Matt

said by Mr Matt:

how much did they have to purchase to keep the food cold for 6 or 7 hours?
Was there any problem with Dry Ice lowering the temperature to much in the refrigerator compartment?

1. I've gotten a "chunk" of dry ice for $10 at a local dry ice place. It was not measured carefully, sawed off in a few seconds and given to me in a paper bag. I'm guessing 3-5 lbs.

I put it in a cooler to keep ice cream solid for a few hours for a picnic. The ice cream was so hard I took it out a half-hour early to thaw it a bit. The dry ice in the cooler lasted well into the next day and we had some fun with it the next night.

2. If you have freezer stock that you're concerned about, put the dry ice in the freezer compartment only. I wouldn't be concerned about the fridge.
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Tig

join:2006-06-29
Carrying Place, ON
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reply to Mr Matt

As mentioned, dry ice is too cold. A few pop bottles of ice will work fine. Move them from the freezer to the fridge each morning.
We always have ice bottles on hand. When long outages hit, some food gets moved to a cooler with an ice bottle or too.
For a four or five hour outage doing nothing would also be fine as long as you don't peek in every 20 minutes to check.



pike
Premium,MVM
join:2001-02-01
Washington, DC
kudos:3
reply to alkizmo

said by alkizmo:

Nunya, but I bet the beer they offer you after the job is done isn't that ice cold.

Perfect.. any beer worth drinking is best served in the 45-55F range anyhow!


Snakeoil
Ignore Button. The coward's feature.
Premium
join:2000-08-05
Mentor, OH
kudos:1
reply to Mr Matt

»en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dry_ice

Wow, dry ice has a variety of uses, some of which I wasn't aware of. I find the idea of plumbers using it to form an ice plug in a pipe pretty interesting, or using it as a bait in insect traps.
--
Is a person a failure for doing nothing? Or is he a failure for trying, and not succeeding at what he is attempting to do? What did you fail at today?.


garys_2k
Premium
join:2004-05-07
Farmington, MI

I've used it for freezing the incoming main water line to a house in order to change the shutoff valve. Worked great!


patcat88

join:2002-04-05
Jamaica, NY
kudos:1
reply to Mr Matt

Mix dry ice snow (from a dry ice gun) with alcohol from a freezer (everclear (if any risk of food contamination) or isopropyl) and you have an excellent cryofluid. Initially the slurry will be boiling but it will cool down after a minute or 2 and stop boiling and now you have -100F semi-liquid. It has the consistency of a slurpie IMO. Remember to wear winter gloves with plastic gloves over the that. Dry ice, and especially a liquid at dry ice temperature will burn you as bad as fire. You will have scars and peeling skin. And it hurts longer than a heat burn.



mityfowl
Premium
join:2000-11-06
Dallas, TX
reply to Mr Matt

Ever think of keeping the door closed for 6 hours?


Mr Matt

join:2008-01-29
Eustis, FL
kudos:1

The problem is keeping the door closed from when. The power company will not tell what time they intend to interrupt power nor will they tell me which day the 16th or 17th.


Bob4
Account deleted

join:2012-07-22
New Jersey

You're overthinking this. Just keep the door closed. Things will stay cool all day.

Leave the house. What else are you going to do with the power shut off?


Tig

join:2006-06-29
Carrying Place, ON
Reviews:
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reply to Mr Matt

said by Mr Matt:

The problem is keeping the door closed from when. The power company will not tell what time they intend to interrupt power nor will they tell me which day the 16th or 17th.

Turn a lamp on. Place it on top of the fridge. If the lamp is not lit. Do not open the fridge.

AsherN
Premium
join:2010-08-23
Thornhill, ON
reply to Mr Matt

said by Mr Matt:

The problem is keeping the door closed from when. The power company will not tell what time they intend to interrupt power nor will they tell me which day the 16th or 17th.

When the power goes off in the house, stop opening the door. When it comes back, you're OK.

Notice their windows are for when most people are at work.


Sc0tt
Kneedragger
Premium
join:2000-11-13
Stockholm, NJ
reply to Mr Matt

we regularly have power outages that last hours, if not days. i HATE JCP&L.

either get a generator, or just go out for a few hours.

if you decide to stay and you open it two or three times, you'll be fine. maybe pack the fridge with coors light to...... uhhhhh.....keep everything else cold?



fifty nine

join:2002-09-25
Sussex, NJ
kudos:2

said by Sc0tt:

we regularly have power outages that last hours, if not days. i HATE JCP&L.

either get a generator, or just go out for a few hours.

if you decide to stay and you open it two or three times, you'll be fine. maybe pack the fridge with coors light to...... uhhhhh.....keep everything else cold?

I am so glad we don't have JCP&L here (Sussex REC is our poco).

Bob4
Account deleted

join:2012-07-22
New Jersey

JCP&L customer here. We don't have any significant problems.



norton

join:2005-08-03
Howard City, MI

when dry ice melts it makes a great deal of gas and the fridge door would have a great deal of pressure on it from this melting.

I like the idea of a frozen milk jug or too.



Sc0tt
Kneedragger
Premium
join:2000-11-13
Stockholm, NJ
reply to Bob4

said by Bob4:

JCP&L customer here. We don't have any significant problems.

congratulations. the rest of us do. especially in the northwest.

did you not see the huge shitstorm on the news about their storm response and the week plus outages last October?

Bob4
Account deleted

join:2012-07-22
New Jersey
Reviews:
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said by Sc0tt:

did you not see the huge shitstorm on the news about their storm response and the week plus outages last October?

Sure, and my question is: How much higher do you want your electric rates to be to pay for what's necessary to avoid such outages? Having extra people and equipment available to handle once-in-a-decade outages costs a lot of money.


dennismurphy
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join:2002-11-19
Parsippany, NJ
kudos:3
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said by Bob4:

said by Sc0tt:

did you not see the huge shitstorm on the news about their storm response and the week plus outages last October?

Sure, and my question is: How much higher do you want your electric rates to be to pay for what's necessary to avoid such outages? Having extra people and equipment available to handle once-in-a-decade outages costs a lot of money.

That's a complete BS answer ... PSE&G has no problem providing extra equipment and manpower.... And indeed, they are (rightfully) proud of their reliability record.

I'm stuck in JCP&L territory, and they are a third-world energy company. Wish it were PSE&G.

Bob4
Account deleted

join:2012-07-22
New Jersey

How much higher do you want your electric rates to be to pay for what's necessary to avoid such outages?