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Freezer and Fridge

Discussion in 'Preparedness & Survival' started by unionguy, Apr 8, 2014.

  1. unionguy

    unionguy Portland Active Member

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    Trying to figure out the generator situation...one question: how many hours per day would I need to run my Refrigerator and (separate) Freezer to keep food from spoiling or unfreezing?

    thanks
     
  2. Kruejl

    Kruejl Hillsboro Moderator of the Coriolis effect Staff Member Gold Supporter Silver Supporter

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    Loaded question. Depends on the ambient temp of course. Also the condition and age of the appliances (i.e. door seals and quality of insulation/thickness). I don't think anyone can give you an exact answer. I know for me, I figure with quality appliances I SHOULD be able to run them for 1 hour every four hours. My deep freeze probably even longer.
     
  3. unionguy

    unionguy Portland Active Member

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    They are both very new. I'm basically trying to figure out if I can run them for 8 hours straight per day and then off for 16 hours...or not.
     
  4. Kruejl

    Kruejl Hillsboro Moderator of the Coriolis effect Staff Member Gold Supporter Silver Supporter

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    The thing is, you don't need to run them for 8 hours a day straight unless the ambient temp is really high. A good, modern machine should be insulated enough to go for several hours (deep freezers even more) without power. Fridges are way more picky as they cool to maybe 34. A quality deep freeze cools to 0 or even less and can sit without being opened for much longer before the inside temp goes above 32. On for 8 and off for 16 is tricky. Again I would say on for 1 or 2 and off for 4-6 is more realistic. You don't want your fridge off for 16 hours straight. Even your deep freeze may start to thaw. Being without power takes some work on your end. Cooling is not all about quantity of hours, but also about consistently running the compressor to maintain the temp.
     
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  5. The Heretic

    The Heretic Oregon Well-Known Member

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    You can get a temp sensor that has a wire to go outside (the door seal will close on it) and place it inside the freezer and record the temp over time with the power off.

    I keep my chest freezer in my insulated shop. It is only one year old and fairly efficient. I keep it at zero or less. I would estimate that I could probably run a small genset about one or two hours a day to keep it cold.

    My fridge would need to run more often as it is less efficient, I open it a lot more often, and the temps are not as cold so it won't take as long for it to warm up above where food might start to spoil. That said, I would use the food in the fridge first thing, move anything that can be kept frozen to the chest freezer and then once the fridge is empty I would not use it until line power was restored.

    There are chest fridges you can get - they are the same as a freezer, they just have a different thermostat.

    Also, you can add some insulation around the outside of *some* freezers - not all, some freezers have a heat exchange unit in the body that you don't want to insulate. It depends on where the coils are. Generally, I *think* if the coils are not visible, then you need to be careful about doing this. You might be able to add insulation on top of the lid only. I would ask an appliance repair person familiar with the make/model.

    If you can add insulation, you can go get some high-R rating freezer/fridge insulation, or you can just get some foam insulation.
     
  6. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    As everyone said,it depends on the condition,the ambient temp how much you get in it and if it is a frost free or not.
    Frost free freezers are NOT the way to go.They let the freezer warm up to melt the frost then refreeze everything,causing freezer burn.
    If you get into the freezer once a week and get your meals out then,it shouldn't use much as you won't open it much
     
  7. Doc In UPlace

    Doc In UPlace Tacoma-ish Well-Known Member

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  8. erudne

    erudne The Pie Matrix PPL Say Sleeping W/Your Rifle Is A bad Thing? Bronze Supporter

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    I'm learning important stuff in this thread!
    BTW, I fill old milk jugs 3/4 full of water and place them in the bottom of my 1960's chest freezer to buy me extra time in case of a power outage. I have a gas stove, if the grid fails, I'm cooking all that meat until it turns to jerky!
     
  9. Hook686

    Hook686 Northern California Active Member

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    If the grids fail, do the natural gas valves go to a normally closed situation ? Would natural gas supply then be cut off ?
     
  10. gunfreak

    gunfreak Boise Well-Known Member

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    Propane fridge would be the way to go if total prep is the goal. I can imagine that one of those large 1k gallon tanks would last a long time.
     
  11. Mark W.

    Mark W. Silverton, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I also keep a large amount of Ice in our freezer. I found a bottled water bottle that would just stand up within the spacing of the shelves and I have them all around the outside of each shelf. Sure it reduces the storage volume of the freezer but we are still able to fit 3 turkeys a 1/4 of beef a half dozen or more chickens and then maybe 30 lbs of misc meat into it easily.

    I know for a fact that if I only open the freezer once a day the Ice will keep the temp below 30 degrees for a full 3 days without power. In the almost 30 years we have lived here we have never been without power more then about 30 hours.

    The Freezer is also kept in our unheated laundry room. And since it have been my experience (except for one time when a construction crew hit a power line) it has always been very cold weather when we have lost power.

    I figure if nothing else I kick open the back door and let the ambient temp keep the food cold.

    As to the Fridge I keep ICE in the freezer side of it which will be used to cool one of my home made super thick (2.5" Blue foam) coolers to store the drinks and condiments.

    In this same vein. Our Hot water heater is a OLD one been here since before we bought the house in 1988 and I currently have it double insulated with 2" Styrofoam cut like barrel staves surrounding it very tightly. The Styrofoam has an outer layer of Mylar (like a space blanket) and its all held in place with 4 adjustable harbor freight tie down straps. Each 2 1/2" wide stave is taped to the one next to it and has tapered sides so it fits extremely tight. The there is a 4" layer of foam on the top of the tank and all the pipe have that charcoal color pipe insulation around it. Saves a bunch of money. Especially since it is in the unheated laundry room as well.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2014
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  12. Sun195

    Sun195 Pugetropolis, WA Well-Known Member

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    Like Mark, I keep frozen water bottles (2-liter) in my freezer. When we lost power most recently, I moved one to the refrigerator and kept one in the freezer. Things stayed cool/frozen for 12-ish hours until the power came back on. Not sure how long I could go on frozen bottles, but it does give me a margin of protection.

    We have a gas water heater and it works power or not. If the gas supply went out, then we'd probably have worse problems to worry about.
     
  13. Doc In UPlace

    Doc In UPlace Tacoma-ish Well-Known Member

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    This frozen water bottles is a superb way to have fresh water on-hand in the event of a water supply interruption, too. A winning idea all the way around.
     
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  14. cookie

    cookie THE SOCIALIST STATE OF KALI - FORNIA Well-Known Member

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    Think solar? Solar uses less gas .
     
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  15. Barefoot African

    Barefoot African Saint Helens Oregon Active Member

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    Yup!
    Outback inverter, solar charge regulator
    4-10@ 250W Solar world panels from Platt electric

    Failover switch can be auto.

    The only tough part is the batteries.
    US made trojan lead golf cart from Interstate are typical (work on 50% discharge in 5 days to give you capacity, but I prefer Lithium iron phosphate from EVTV store. 400AH cells are the best by a order of magnitude.

    Lithium is nothing like Lead acid though. Nothing you know about Lead acid batteries is relevant to the care and feeding of Lithium.

    That said. a couple of weeks reading/watching video on EVTV and you will be good to go.

    And you thought being self sufficient would be easy! LOL;)
     
  16. willseeker

    willseeker N. Portland. Well-Known Member

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    I agree with solar…unless it's nuclear winter time!
    I'm setting up a 476 watt system on my travel/bug trailer.
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