Food Spoilage: How to Prevent It When Your Refrigerator Stops Working

The refrigerator is one of the hardest working appliances in the kitchen. It runs 24/7 for years with little to no maintenance, keeping food fresh and beverages cool. For this reason, when it stops working, most people are taken entirely unawares.

There are many reasons for a fridge breakdown. These include problems with the compressor motor and frayed cabling. Another possible cause is refrigerant leakage—if coolant leaks out, your fridge may not cool as well as before or even completely stop working.

If your fridge breaks down, your most urgent concern is likely to prevent the food inside from spoiling. You only have a few hours before perishable items in your refrigerator start to go bad, so it’s best to act fast. Here are some things you must do if your fridge unexpectedly stops working.

Contact a Trusted Repair Company

Unless you are a licensed technician and can fix your fridge yourself, it’s best to call a professional. Choose a provider of appliance repair services in Bountiful or other areas that:

  • Services refrigerators that are of the same brand as yours
  • Has the parts needed to fix your fridge
  • Employs certified technicians
  • Is willing to go to your location
  • Can provide a repair estimate before starting
  • Has an excellent reputation

To find a reputable repair company, ask your friends or neighbors for referrals. You can also call the manufacturer of your refrigerator for a list of certified technicians.

hand opening the refrigerator

Move the Food

You only have a small window of time wherein you can save the food in your fridge from spoiling. While you’re waiting for the repair guys to arrive, get a cooler and stock it with ice. Then, assess the contents of your fridge. Identify which items can be stored at room temperature and prioritize the ones that need to be refrigerated.

If you have food items that quickly spoil, such as raw meat and seafood, consider asking a neighbor if you can store them in their freezer until your fridge is repaired. If that isn’t an option, you can store these perishables in your cooler.

However, keep in mind that these food items cannot be kept like this indefinitely and should be cooked or eaten as soon as possible. They should also be kept in food-safe containers so that they don’t contaminate the other contents of your cooler if they become spoiled.

Store eggs, hard cheeses, bread, and dairy-free condiments, such as vinegar and ketchup, in your cupboard for the meantime. Some fruits and vegetables can even last longer when kept on the counter instead of inside a fridge. These include avocados, beans, tomatoes, and whole melons.  Cut fruit and vegetables, leftovers, as well as hard cheeses need to be kept cold. Store them in your cooler until your fridge is back up and running. Moving perishable food to a cooler will keep it from spoiling while you wait for the repair people to arrive.

To prevent future breakdowns, keep your refrigerator clean, avoid overloading it with too many items, and set the temperature to the middle setting. By taking good care of your fridge, you can keep it running smoothly for many more years.