Refrigeration and Cooking during a power failure

Cooking on the grill during a power failure

Part 3 includes tips regarding refrigeration and cooking during a power failure. 


Freezers and refrigerators will start to warm without power. Newer units will hold the cold longer than older units. Can you afford to lose the food you normally have? An automatic whole house generator is your best protection. If you don’t have that, you need to do a little bit of planning. 

How much food do you normally store in your refrigerator and freezer? How much of that are you willing to lose? 

I see a lot of refrigerators that are almost built into the kitchen. If you have a whole house generator, then you don’t need to worry about the plug. If you are using a portable generator and extension cords then you need to be able to access the plug. In many cases that is easier said than done. 


I have a handheld laser spot thermometer. That is very useful for instantly measuring temperatures. I put a small label on the refrigerator and freezer indicating the normal operating temperatures. In the even of a power failure it only take a second or two to determine if the food is getting dangerously warm. 

If ice is available, you can fill a stock pot with ice and put it in the fridge. 

If you are expecting a long outage, use your most perishable food first if possible. 

I like to think that there are no stupid people BUT.. years back a snow and ice storm caused widespread outages. An in-law called in a panic wondering what she should do with the food in her freezer. The passing of the storm resulted in arctic temperatures.  

ME “Put the food in a cooler and put it out on your deck”
HER “But what is going to keep it cold?”
ME “It is 10 degrees outside” 
HER “But you don’t understand, I don’t have ice for my cooler” 
ME “It is 10 degrees outside”
HER “Should I go to the store for ice? “
ME “Yep – great idea”

^^^ True story


If you have a gas range you can probably cook on that. If it is a newer model, see if it will light without power. 

I use my grill year round and usually have one or two spare 20 pound tanks. The grill has a side burner which makes using a regular kitchen pot or pan easy. You can also use pans on the grill but be careful not to melt the handle or nobs on the lids.

You can warm canned soup on top of a woodstove. If you are a real survivalist, you probably have a dutch oven and know how to make a decent cooking fire. 

Other alternatives include camping or boat stove fueled by alcohol, propane or butane. These will only be useful as long as your fuel lasts. 

Part 4 discusses Sump Pumps. A power failure is bad enough. A basement full of water can sour your outlook on life. 

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