How To Keep Fridge Cold Without Power

A brief power outage generally does not affect the food in your fridge. However, what if the power outage goes on for a long time? The two most important questions in these tough times are how long will the fridge stay cold? And how long will food last in the refrigerator without power?

Let us discuss everything you need to know about managing refrigerator and freezer cooling in long power outages, like power out for 12 hours and how to keep the fridge cold without power.

keep fridge cold without power

How Long Will Food Last In Refrigerator Without Power?

Primarily, how to keep the fridge cold without power is about food safety. How long food will last in the refrigerator without power depends on many factors. How old is the food, the expiry of canned food, how frequently the refrigerator door is opened, etc.

Your refrigerator temperature should remain less than 40 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent microorganism growth from keeping your food safe from foodborne illness. However, this temperature cannot be maintained easily without power. Here is a table to show how long food will last in the refrigerator without power.


4  hours

Half-full freezer

24 hours

Full freezer

48 hours

So, if your power supply restores within these times, your food has more chances to stay safe for consumption. However, it is not a fixed rule because some food might already be stale or expired. Also, these tentative time frames are only applicable when the fridge door remains closed. It is always a good practice to check your items in case of a power outage and accidental switching off of the refrigerator.

How Long Will A Deep Freezer Stay Frozen Without Power

After a power outage, your deep freezer will stay frozen for around 48-72 hours, provided you keep your freezer door closed all the time. Also, if your freezer is not full, it may melt quickly. To overcome this issue, keep extra water bottles to fill up the space.

Power Out for 12 Hours Refrigerator

So, what will you do if you get a power outage for 12 hours, and how long will the fridge stay cold? After four hours of power outages, you need to monitor the temperature inside your refrigerator. The tipping point is when it remains higher than 40 degrees for two hours. After this, your perishable food is most likely not fit for consumption.

How to Keep Fridge Cold Without Power

We have already discussed how long food will last in the refrigerator without power and when the perishable items will go unfit for consumption. But if you know that the power will not resume for a long period, then it is always a good decision to find out how to keep the fridge cold without power. There are different methods of keeping the fridge cold without power for a limited time. You can either insulate your fridge or keep another power option. So let us see the options for "how to keep the fridge cold without power?”.

Insulate your Fridge

Insulation can lengthen the duration of how long the fridge will stay cold. You can use household items to restrict the escape of cooling from your fridge's exterior. Blankets, sleeping bags, quilts, towels, and other heavy materials are great choices for insulation. Tightly wrap the items around the fridge and plug them off the power supply to avoid accidents.

Use Frozen Ice Bricks

frozen bottles for refrigerator

This is a great option for chest freezers but can also work for standing refrigerators. However, it needs prior preparation. The idea is to fill empty bottles, jugs, soda water, etc., with clean water or salt water and place them in your freezer. When the power goes out, place these bottles in your refrigerator to keep the space at a maintained temperature. You can also place your frozen food on the lying bottles to make them last longer.

Saltwater is a better idea because the ice made of saltwater melts below freezing, so the freezer stays at a lower temperature as the ice melts.

Dry Ice

keep fridge cold with dry ice

Dry ice is a great option to keep your perished food safe for eating for days. On average, 50 pounds ice block can keep a 20 cubic feet full freezer cold for about four days. For a swift and reliable backup, it is important to locate a source for dry ice beforehand. 50 pounds of dry ice is enough to keep a 20-cubic-foot, full freezer frozen for about four days. However, this is a high-risk idea because the carbon dioxide gas can accumulate in empty spaces and cause medical repercussions. So, always handle it with gloves and keep the room ventilated.

Solar Generator for Refrigerator 

power out for 12 hours refrigerator

When you think about how to keep the fridge cold without power, the best option is a generator that can power up your refrigerator. It is easy to figure out the size of the generator you need. The wattage of the appliances decides the power and size of the generator. We recommend the Jackery portable solar generator 2000 Pro because of its ease of use and excellent features. Its power is 2160 watt-hour capacity with a 2200 wattage and can power up to more than 90% appliances. You can check the battery status on the LED display of the generator, including battery percentage and input-output wattage ratings.

It is a great option because of the price range, power, and features like noiseless performance and durability.

Propane-Powered Fridge

Propane-powered fridges are more popular in rural areas where the power situation is unreliable. However, it is a more expensive option if you are looking for how to keep the fridge cold without power for a rare incident.

Prepare Before Power Cut

1. Keep appliance thermometers handy to monitor the temperature in your refrigerator and freezer.

2. Extra ice and frozen water bottles always help keep the temperature of your refrigerator maintained without power.

3. Keep a cooler to keep your perishable food cold during prolonged power outages.

Here is a guide for how to prepare for long-term power outage.

During Power Outages

1. Keep your frozen food in your freezer to support its temperature and slow down the loss of cooling.

2. Transfer perishable items from your refrigerator to your freezer.

3. Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as long as possible.

4. After four hours of a power outage, you can transfer perishable food to a cooler with an ice source and maintain the temperature at 40℉.

After Power Outages

1. Keep checking food temperatures in the refrigerator and freezer using a food thermometer. Discard any perishable food that is above 40℉.

2. Temperature and ice crystals determine the safety of frozen food.

3. Do not taste food to determine its safety. 

What To Do If Flooding Occurs?

1. Monitor the situation by listening to TV, radio, and other news sources.

2. When there is flash flooding, move immediately to higher ground.

3. Check drainage channels, streams, canyons, and other flood sources here because flash flooding can be sudden.

4. Disconnect electrical appliances if water is reaching you already.

5. Suppose the power is cut down as a preventive measure. In that case, you can use reliable portable solar generators like Jackery Solar Generator 2000 Pro to power up your refrigerator to keep a handy food supply.


Food is a basic necessity of life, and it is critical to maintaining the safety of your food. It is important to keep the perishable and frozen food in your refrigerator safe and fit for consumption in emergencies like flooding, sudden power faults, and power failures. So, how to keep the fridge cold without power? We have discussed different insulation and alternate power supply options that you can review and choose one that fits you the best.

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