Why You Should Always Place A Coin In The Freezer Before Leaving

Why You Should Always Place A Coin In The Freezer Before Leaving
Why You Should Always Place A Coin In The Freezer Before Leaving. Photo – Adobe Stock (under license)

Jokes about frozen assets aside; this is actually a serious and very simple home safety tip. Did you figure it out?

This strategy serves as an “early warning system” that will notify you if your freezer defrosted!

Let’s imagine you were out for a day (or more) and there was a power outage. Then, the power came back on before you got home.

Now that we don’t all have clocks that flash 12 O’clock after an outage… you might never know that the power had gone out!

This is important because if meat thawed out it could start to spoil, potentially putting you and your loved ones at risk of harmful bacteria. Food poisoning is horrible at best and life threatening at worst.

This simple trick of a coin placed on top of a small bowl or cup of water will alert you as to whether this happened! If the freezer warmed up, the water would have melted, and the coin would have sunk. So all you have to do is check that the coin is still on top of the layer of ice in the cup. If so, then all is well. No defrost. Carry on.

If on the other hand the coin is now frozen at the bottom, you have identified that there was a thaw, and you can take the appropriate action! Best to follow the old rule of “If in doubt, throw it out” and dispose of items that might be bad. Better safe than sorry.


Here’s another hack that can prolong the safety of your food if there was an outage! It’s based on a simple principle of physics called “Thermal Mass”.

If you have a large block of ice, it stays frozen for much longer than an air space. The thermal mass principle is also used in the construction of the genius earthship houses in regions that such as deserts that experience large temperature swings between night and day – by building walls that are several feet thick. The large mass acts as a “heat storage” during the night and a “cold storage” during the day, helping to maintain even temperatures year-round. Thermal mass also explains why the ocean is warmer in the later part of summer – the body of water has greater thermal mass and therefore does not warm up as quickly as the air.

Now, how can we apply this principle to your freezer? Simple! Fill the empty space with ice bricks. If there is an outage, this thermal mass will keep your freezer frozen for longer. You can use plastic gallon containers of water, simply place them in and let them freeze. This will actually save you money too because every time you open your freezer, it has to work hard to re-cool the air; whereas all the area that was filled with ice will stay cold. These ice bricks will add fantastic thermal mass to your freezer and keep it cold for a lot longer.

If you are freezing gallon containers of good fresh water you also have an additional fresh water supply… 😉

That’s it for this simple survival hack. Got any other tips? Please let us know in the comments.

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Why You Should Always Place A Coin In The Freezer Before Leaving
Why You Should Always Place A Coin In The Freezer Before Leaving. Photo – Adobe Stock (under license)

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