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3. Do clean out your refrigerator.

Opening up your entry door to a foul smell is not how you want to end your wonderful vacation or holiday getaway. Power surges and electrical outages occur all the time. Clear out anything that may spoil should the power go off.

Your nose will usually tell you if the food has spoiled, however even if you have cleaned out the common items such as dairy products and meats prior to your departure, you may still smell something rotten.

According to Foodsafety.gov, all perishable items should be discarded if the temperature rose above 40 degrees for more than 2 hours. There are other items to be concerned with especially here in Florida and that would be certain condiments and sauces such as fish, tartar, oyster and even the horseradish.

Take a look at Foodsafety.gov as it has a great guide for most items you store regularly in your refrigerator.

You should also take note of what is in your freezer. Before you leave on an extended trip, try eating up many of your frozen items, leaving your freezer bare and freeing up some of the money that would have been spent replenishing those food items lost due to a power outage.

According to FDA.gov, your freezer temperature should stay at or below 0 degrees. But you may ask how do you know if your freezer turned off and the food spoiled and then refroze?

  • First, an easy answer is to take a look at some of the frozen items. If everything is frozen into one big blob, you can probably assume the thaw and refreeze occurred.
  • Second, look at the bottom of the freezer, when a thaw occurs, the water pools at the bottom or you may have icicles that weren’t there when you left.
  • Third, you may find puddles of water under or around your freezer.
  • Fourth, if it took a while for the power to come back on, you may find that horrible in your face smell of spoiled, but refrozen food.

So how do you protect yourself while you are away?

  1. There are thermometers for sale that will alert you to a power outage. I’ve read many of the reviews and they are mixed. Some are great for the short term. Some don’t work at all. The prices range from $12 to $140.
  2. There is that little trick of putting a coin on top of an ice cube or on top of a full cup of frozen water. When the power goes off, the ice melts and the coin falls to the bottom or somewhere in between. That is great for letting you know the power went off. But how long was it off and is your food safe to eat?
  3. Your best bet is to leave the freezer as empty as possible.

You don’t want to be the guinea pig when it comes to trying out the food left behind to see if it’s safe to eat. Gotta Gal Home Watch can set up alerts should the electric go out and if the freezer is full and you want us to clean it out, we can do that too.