Refrigerator + Generator Power question

Refrigerator + Generator Power question

This is a discussion on Refrigerator + Generator Power question within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; If you didn't want to run your generator around the clock and didn't need it for a few hours (like if it's daytime and you're ...

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Thread: Refrigerator + Generator Power question

  1. #1
    Member Array daveb413's Avatar
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    Refrigerator + Generator Power question

    If you didn't want to run your generator around the clock and didn't need it for a few hours (like if it's daytime and you're just sitting around reading), how often do you think you would need to start it and then run it to maintain the temperature in your kitchen fridge \ freezer (ex. 1/2 hour ever 4 hours or 1 hour every 8, etc)?

    A lot of times, people ask "how much is in it", freezer is pull out drawer, full to the brim, fridge is 90% full, but not stuffed (every square inch isn't taken up).


  2. #2
    VIP Member Array oakchas's Avatar
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    Re: Refrigerator + Generator Power question

    Rule of thumb: 4 hours for an unopened refrigerator.
    48 hours for a packed freezer. 24 hours for a half-packed freezer.

    That's how long the stuff in those items will remain "safe"... Safely cold, or safely frozen.
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  3. #3
    Ex Member Array Yoda's Avatar
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    I think Oakchas has pretty good numbers. As far as the length of time running a generator or inverter to "refreeze" the freezer or "rechill" the refrigerator it will be at least 25% of the time to warm up. So, for example after 4 hours of refrig warm up time, run your generator and recool the fridge for an hour. 12 hours for the 48 hour freezer... If you open the doors the run time gets extended.

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    If you plan on not running your generator for several hours, bags of ice stuffed inside the fridge will keep things cool for quite some time. Did it in FL when hurricanes hit. Same for freezers. Turn temp to lowest setting and fill it with containers of water to freeze and maintain the cold while power is off. Keep openings of Fridge/freezer to a minimum. A cooler of ice keeps kids from opening teh frige to get a cool drink.

    The things I found that eat the most power are heat producers--water heater, stove, and believe it or not, a Mr. Coffee that would practically stall a 5500-watt generator. Mine would run anything (except A/C, dryer, oven) but not all at once. I ran the water heater, shut it off, took a hot shower, washed clothes, reheated water, etc. At night, I ran a small window A/C unit to make sleeping bearable in the FL humidity and heat.
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    Senior Member Array justherenow's Avatar
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    Re: Refrigerator + Generator Power question

    I did a 2 hour on/2 off in June /July when we were out a week and that proved not to be enough, still lost it all

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    Senior Member Array foxytwo's Avatar
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    As a refrigeration service man for over 45 years the average design run time for a refrigerator in a 72 deg ambient is 16 to 18 hours a day. The more product you have in the refrigerator or freezer the longer off time you can get away with. Over a period of 24 hours the run time should be twice as much as the off time.

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    U don't see people have those chest freezers like u used too. people have lost a lot of money in food during power outages or just something like a breaker trip, freezer quit, etc. if its freezing outside and u got power outage, take the food outside and put where animals can't get to it or put in a cooler with ice from outside in it which I'v had to do in the past during an ice storm.
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    VIP Member Array Eagleks's Avatar
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    The last time I had to do it..... the "hi" temps during the day was +9*F...... so, I put the frozen food outside in bags in the snow. It was -10*F at night. The refrigerated items went outside for 30 min and back into the frig every 12 hrs, which also had "ice" in bags to help keep it cold. LOL .

    Good luck with it all. How long are you looking at being without electricity ???
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    Member Array wraithls1's Avatar
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    +1 on the ice in the fridge and freezer. Fill it almost to capacity. You want as much thermal mass in there as possible. The more air in there, the faster it will heat up. If you can't find bags of ice locally right now,fill plastic containers with water and put them in there.
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    Senior Member Array Old Sarge's Avatar
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    For what it's worth. I don't agree with Oakchas since during the ice storm a few winters ago, we lost power for 15 days. I ran our generator spareingly for about 3 or 4 hours at a time, and kept both refrigerator, and deep freeze in safe conditions. Did not lose any food. running for 48 hours is way "over-kill" in my opinion.

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    Senior Member Array yz9890's Avatar
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    Refrigerator + Generator Power question

    both my fridge and freezer are on my transfer switch. they're not the worst power hogs in my house. they do surge a bit when they cycle on but they almost never do it at the same time.

  12. #12
    VIP Member Array oakchas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Sarge View Post
    For what it's worth. I don't agree with Oakchas since during the ice storm a few winters ago, we lost power for 15 days. I ran our generator spareingly for about 3 or 4 hours at a time, and kept both refrigerator, and deep freeze in safe conditions. Did not lose any food. running for 48 hours is way "over-kill" in my opinion.
    Sarge, I've gone longer, too.... but I posted a rule of thumb... and, IINM, that rule of thumb would guarantee safe food. If your fridge is unopened for 4 hours... the food in it will still be good. If your freezer is unopened for 24 hours (if half full) or 48 hours (if packed full)) your food will still be frozen.

    In my poorer days... when I lost my fridge... I used it as an Ice box. Filled 2 liter pop bottles 2/3 full of water and froze them in the chest freezer. Put them, frozen, on top shelves of fridge. rotated them out once melted, put in frozen ones.

    Usually, a fridge is about 38-40. If your high temps won't exceed that, you can store refrigerated items outside. But the sun can heat stuff up over the air temp... so watch where you put stuff.
    Rats!
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    I suppose

  13. #13
    Senior Member Array CanuckQue's Avatar
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    Having spare ice is a really good idea, if you're currently waiting to lose power. In fact, I'd suggest making a shedload of ice and moving it to the fridge once the ice is formed. It takes quite a bit of heat to melt ice, heat that won't then be spoiling your food. As well, remember to keep the fridge closed!
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