In the situation when the power goes off, or your freezer stops working, you may opt to use dry ice to keep things cold inside your freezer until everything comes back on track. Before doing that, the first question that hits your mind will be, how long can dry ice last in the freezer?
If used in a freezer, dry ice can last 12 to 24 hours for every 5-10lbs use. The more quantity of dry ice you use, the higher the retention rate will be. However, if it is wrapped or packed with newspaper or cardboard, it can last for a more extended time of 3 days in a freezer.
It is not recommended to use dry ice in the freezer for regular use because it can potentially cause damage to your freezer. But, if you’re in an emergency and have no other option left besides using dry ice in the freezer to keep your food cold inside, then you can use it for a short period.
Is it safe to use dry ice in a freezer, and how long can it last in the freezer turned off?
If you want to use dry ice regularly for cooling, it is not safe to use it in the freezer. This is because dry ice is frozen carbon dioxide and has a temperature of 109.3°F (-78.5°C) which is twice as cold compared to a working freezer that has a cooling temperature of around 0°F (-18°C).
It will cause potential damage to your freezer by letting the thermometer go down and the freezer turns off. If your freezer is broken or not working and you need something that keeps your food cold until it is fixed, then dry ice is an ideal choice.
But how long can it last in the freezer turned off, and how long can you expect it to keep things cold? The dry will last for 3 to 5 hours at room temperature. In the insulated freezer, the retention time will increase by 12 to 24 hours for every 5-10lbs use.
Moreover, if you stacked it together in a block and wrapped it in a newspaper or cardboard before putting it inside a freezer, it can last for three days.
How Can I Use Dry Ice In Freezer If It is broken Or Stops Working:
Dry ice is not recommended to use in the freezer as it can cause severe damage to your freezer. However, if you use it properly while the freezer is turned off, it should be fine.
We have described some methods below that will help you understand how to use them in the freezer so that it lasts longest and doesn’t cause any damage to it.
Don’t Use Dry Ice Directly In The Freezer
Dry ice is twice colder than the cooling temperature of the freezer. If you put dry ice directly inside, touching the walls of the freezer, then it can damage the electrical components inside your freezer walls. Instead, you can use them in the drawers or shells of the freezer, so it is raised up and away from its walls. In this way, dry ice doesn’t make your freezer walls too cold that it breaks them.
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Wrap Your Dry Ice With Cardboard Or a Newspaper Before Using It
Dry ice is too cold if it makes contact with your skin and can burn it or give it frostbite. At the same time, its cooling mechanism can also ruin plastic containers, break glass shelves and spoil the food inside the freezer.
The safest way is to use it by wrapping it in a newspaper or cardboard (which works as insulators) before placing it inside the freezer. Using it this way will not make any physical contact with any part of your freezer.
Place Your Dry Ice In The Top Area Of The Freezer
As you know, heat rises to the top and cold sinks to the bottom. So by placing the dry ice in the top area of the freezer, it will sink the cold gas to the base area over all your produce. Hence, it will keep everything frozen inside your freezer as much as possible.
On the other hand, if you use dry ice in the bottom of your freezer, it will only freeze the things placed near it. Thus, the items above and far away from it will not get equal cooling and begin to spoil.
Avoid Anything Directly Touching it Inside The Freezer:
Dry ice is so cold that if you leave it directly touching your food inside the freezer, it will make it as hard as it is. Ice cream will become rock-solid at 100°F, and you won’t be able to eat it. The same happened with other foods as well. So, where possible, isolate the dry ice from everything else before placing it inside the freezer.