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Food Storage in a Sub-Zero Refrigerator Without Power


  • Should a Sub-Zero be turned off during a power outage?
  • How long does food last during a power outage?
  • What to do with food in a brownout or blackout
  • Food safety guidelines without cooling during a power outage
  • How to prepare for a power interruption
  • Safe food storage temperatures
  • Can dry ice be used in a refrigerator?


The amount of time that food will last in a Sub-Zero during a power outage depends on different factors, such as amount of food in the refrigerator, outside temperature, and type of food being stored.

  • In an empty Sub-Zero refrigerator, it typically takes 3 hours before air temperatures rise above 45°F (7°C) in a refrigerator section and 20°F (-6°C) in a freezer.
  • If the Sub-Zero refrigerator contains food, it will take longer for the temperature to rise depending on the type and amount of food stored.

Temperature and food safety guidelines:

  • If a product warms to 42°F (5°C) in the refrigerator section, do not keep it.
  • If food in the freezer rises above 20°F (-6°C), do not refreeze it.
  • Refer to Food and Water Safety during Power Outages and Floods for additional food safety information from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Sub-Zero recommends:

  • Keep the door to any refrigerator or freezer closed as much as possible when power is lost or a drop in voltage to power supply system (brownout) occurs.
  • Add dry ice or bags of ice to prolong the life of the food. Dry ice should be placed in the unit in a separate container.
  • Cool hot food safely first before storing. If a large amount of very hot food is placed in a refrigerator, it can raise the temperature of other foods significantly (ex. large pot of hot soup).
  • If a planned power outage is scheduled, the unit can be turned off ahead of time to prevent any power fluctuations that could cause damage.

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