This refrigerator hack could literally save your life.
By Marlisse Cepeda Oct 15, 2016
When a major hurricane is on the horizon, packing your bags and leaving home is the safe thing to do. But, if you're worried about the food in your fridge being safe to consume when you return, you're going to want to remember this brilliantly simple trick.
If the power goes out while you're gone, everything from meat to milk will be at risk. But, if the power returns before you do, you'll never know if your fridge was running the whole time or not.
As Sheila Pulanco Russell, from North Carolina, explains in her post, all you need is a quarter and cup of water. Put the water in the freezer until it's frozen solid. Then, take it out, and put a quarter on top of the ice. Return the cup—with the quarter—back to the freezer.
All of that may seem pointless, but stay with us. When you return, if you find the quarter has moved to the bottom of the cup, then you'll know your food was unrefrigerated while you were gone and it's no longer safe to eat. Found the quarter in the middle? The food is likely still okay, but, as Sheila advises, "If you don't feel good about your food, just throw it out."
Where you ideally want the quarter to be is exactly where you left it—on the top. That means your freezer's contents stayed frozen the entire time. Genius, right? Facebook agrees, too. In a matter of days, Sheila's post was shared close to 400,000 times.
This is actually a good idea even if you don't live in a hurricane zone. We had gone away for a few days and when we got home, we found our upright freezer had stopped. The food was still frozen and since we were not gone long we knew it was still ok. But, if we had been gone longer it could have been a problem.
We still don't know what the problem is. We had a repairman come look at it because we have the appliance protection plan, but the guy said it was the evaporator and that it cost $700 to replace and to just write off the freezer as it was more costly to fix than replace. He left it plugged in when he left. We found when we went out a bit later that it was running and cold inside.
I did some searches and found the Frigidaire site and the evaporator was only $74 to replace. There was also a timer and some other part that could have been the problem, so we ordered a new timer and this other part for like $20 and replaced them and so far so good. We are waiting to see. If it stops again we will try replacing the evaporator.
We called Consumers Power to let them know what the repairman said and low and behold, the repairman had sent them a totally different verdict, telling them that there was nothing wrong with the freezer. I don't what game this repairman was playing but Consumers wants us to let them know if we figure out what the bad part was.
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