Measure Power Outage Lengths (fridge)

Anyone know a surefire way to measure the amount of time electricity to a household circuit may have been out?

Say, for example, I were to go on a trip for a month. When I get back I’d like to know if everything in my freezer spoiled due to a power outage before trying to cook and eat it.


A bit of a roundabout way, but you could buy a UPS, leave it up and connected to your computer. When you return, you can read the logs to determine any power outages.

There’s probably a better way.

How about plugging a clock into the circuit that uses mechanical counting (arms/flip-numbers, etc.) for the time and date? Just subtract how far off it is from the “real” time when you get back.

Unfortunately, this would not tell you how many days the power was off. You couldn’t tell the difference between 25hrs and 1 hr.

Unless you are in a Third-World country or New York City, the power would never be off that long. **Una’**s method is probably the simplest. :smiley:

UPS logging software is by far the most affordable way to do this.

It might be more practical just to ask a neighbor if there were any power outages in excess of 12 hours or so. Food will keep cold in a closed fridge for a remarkably long time.

Why not just leave a brick of ice on the floor of the freezer and not in a container? If you come home to a frozen puddle, it’s safe to say you had a loss of power long enough that you should toss everything in it.

Along the lines of what Dewey Finn suggests, I’d buy a box of Popsicles and put them near the door of the freezer (its most vulnerable area). Those suckers melt in about a New York minute if the temperature goes above freezing. Get the brand name ones, the generics seem to freeze harder.

I have, inherited from a grandparent, a clock that uses flip-cards to list the hour, minute, and month and date (although it does not account for leap years). Plus, I’d hazard if your electricity was off by more than 1 day, you’d know it…

Or leave your ice trays upside down, or something of that nature.

I lost power for about a day or so from the last hurricane, and I judged my freezer food was OK because hardly any of the ice had melted. I have a plastic “box” like thing I out the ice in from the trays, and there was little water at the bottom.

But, I had put a lot of containers of water in there, to freeze and keep it cold after the inevitable power loss.

DF is closest to right! Take a bottle cap and fill it with water. Put it in the freezer. After it freezes put a penny on top and replace it in the freezer. If you check later and the penny is on the bottom of the cap beneath the ice, the freezer has been off for a significant lenth of time.

That is an excellent idea. Thank you. :cool:

But if you have a self-defrosting freezer, the ice in your bottle cap will vanish over a few weeks. So be sure to wrap your penny topped bottle cap with a tight layer of saran wrap or such.

Dude, that’s brilliant.

This thread made me feel like I was reading an Encyclopedia Brown book.

Wouldn’t it be far easier to just ask the neighbors? :rolleyes:

A few ice cubes in a zipper bag makes an excelleent tattle-tale.

Similarly (well exactly) when we’re testing out freezers at work (second hand freezers that we’re not ready to trust with thousands of dollars worth of product), or even some of our normal freezers…We fill a small container with water, freeze it and leave it in the freezer upside down. If there’s no ice in the container one day, you know the freezer stopped working at some point.