Power loss could cost homeowners hundreds in spoiled food. Here’s how to prevent spoilage
If the power goes out during a summer storm or heat wave, the clock is ticking on the food that is inside of the refrigerator. But Kane In Your Corner says there are some ways to save perishable foods so that people do not lose out on the money they spent.
Surveys show that Americans throw out an average of 103 pounds of spoiled food each year. But during a power outage, it is possible to throw out that much in just one day.
Experts say that it doesn’t take long for food to spoil, so if the power goes out during hot weather, they say that protecting perishable food is a good place to start.
“One big tip we offer is to just be strategic about how much you open the fridge and freezer,” says Paul Hope of Consumer Reports.
Hope says that one can usually preserve perishable for a while just by keeping the refrigerator door closed. After that, food should be transferred to a cooler, assuming ice is available.
The United States Department of Agriculture says to always throw out refrigerated food after four hours without power.
Frozen food can last longer. The USDA says if an item is still partially frozen and feels like it came out of a refrigerator, it is typically safe to refreeze. But once the food thaws, it should be tested with a thermometer or thrown out.
“The rule of thumb is once food is above 40 degrees, you have to consume it within two hours or toss it,” says Hope.
Utility companies will occasionally reimburse customers for spoiled food. If not the utility company, homeowners insurance often will.
Homeowners may need to document their losses, which could mean taking photos of the items that are being thrown out.
It may also be helpful to hold on to receipts for food that is purchased.