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How Long Will A Refrigerator Stay Cold Without Power?

Have you been without power for a worryingly long time now? Are you wondering how long your refrigerator will stay cold without power before all your perishables, you know, start perishing?

Well, most refrigerators, last for about 4 to 6 hours without power before returning to room temperature.

However, this range depends on a number of different factors.

You need to consider these factors to know how long your refrigerator will stay without power.

In this article, we will highlight these factors. We will also give you some tips to help you maximize a power loss to your advantage.

Let’s dive in!

Does Your Refrigerator Have Good Insulation?

Is your refrigerator one of the new models that are being produced, or is it an older model? Older refrigerator models don’t have as much insulation when compared to the refrigerators that are currently being produced.

This is definitely one thing you need to consider to know how long your foods will last in the refrigerator without power.

The amount of insulation that a refrigerator has is very crucial because of heat losses or gains. A refrigerator with better insulating properties tends to retain low temperatures. This, in turn, reduces drastic heat transfer to the surroundings.

A refrigerator with not-too-good insulation tends to gain heat rapidly. This basically increases the internal temperature of the refrigerator faster, such that the fridge won’t be able to stay cool for a while.

So, what kind of insulation do you have? Is it thick enough to reduce heat transfer?

How Many Hours Did Your Refrigerator Run For Before the Power Outage?

You may be thinking this question is a tad bit unnecessary, but you may be wrong. Estimating the number of hours that your refrigerator ran for before the outage can determine so many things.

On the bright side, it helps you to know whether your perishables are already going bad. It also helps to have a rough idea of what the temperature should be. If it’s working optimally, the lowest temperature a refrigerator should operate is about 1 to 3 degrees Celsius.

Meanwhile, if you don’t have one already, consider getting a thermometer for your fridge to be sure that you have an accurate knowledge of the temperature in it.


So, if a refrigerator is left to run for a few hours at a stretch, the lowest temperature can be achieved. This, however, depends on the performance of the refrigerator. But if it wasn’t running for so long, the lowest temperature may have not been achieved. And this means that the refrigerator may lose its coolness faster.

Makes sense, right?

In addition to the factors mentioned earlier, you may also want to consider this next question.

How Filled Up Is Your Refrigerator?

Is your refrigerator filled to the brim with foodstuffs and other perishables, or is it just about half full?

It has been noticed that when a refrigerator is filled up, there’s a greater chance of it staying cold for a longer time.

On the other hand, if a refrigerator is half-filled, it may not be able to stay cool for a very long time.

So, this is another factor to take note of to know how long a refrigerator will stay cold without power.

How Long Will a Refrigerator Last Without Power
Image by Pexels from Pixabay

How Often Do You Open The Refrigerator?

Assuming that your refrigerator attained the lowest temperature possible before the power outage. It should probably be at about  1 to 3 degrees Celsius. This is a good range for food and other perishables to remain fresh.

However, opening the door of the refrigerator frequently lets warm air in from the atmosphere. The warm air which comes into the refrigerator will replace the cool air and warm up the fridge after a while.

So, basically, if you open your refrigerator too many times during a power outage, then your foods may be at risk. This is because the chances of it staying cold for a long period of time gets slimmer.

This is why it is advisable to keep the refrigerator shut when it loses power so that it can retain its coldness for a while.

How Long Will A Refrigerator Stay Cold Without Power — Bottom Line

We’ve established the fact that a refrigerator can stay cold for about 4 to 6 hours even after a power outage. This, however, depends greatly on a number of factors.

  • Proper insulation: A refrigerator with proper insulation helps to retain the coolness for a longer period of time. This is unlike a refrigerator without proper insulation.
  • If your refrigerator was left to run for a long time, it most likely would have achieved the lowest temperature. And this would help the refrigerator stay cool even during a power outage.
  • A filled-up refrigerator has a higher chance of staying cool for a long time as opposed to a refrigerator which is just about half full.
  • Opening a refrigerator too many times may cause your refrigerator not to retain its coolness for a long period of time. This is because the warm air that goes into the refrigerator when you open the fridge will replace the cool air in it and warm up the refrigerator.

In the video below, wellness chef Geremy Capone offers tips on food safety measures to take when your refrigerator loses power. Check it out.




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