The One Cup Tip That Could Save Your Life in a Power Outage

Hurricane season is among us, and there are few things scarier than the power of a seriously huge storm. The United States has seen some monster storms in the past 20 years or so, and we continue to see more. On the heels of Hurricane Harvey that brought deadly force to Southeast Texas and Louisiana, Hurricane Irma is circulating in the Atlantic, bound for a Florida landfall after wreaking havoc through the Caribbean islands in its path.

While there are countless tips for handling the house, the family, and the pet (check out Wide Open Pets for more helpful information!) during major weather events, the one cup tip is one we rely on the most in the kitchen. Posted to Facebook in 2016 from Sheila Pulanco Russell, this simple trick involves a frozen cup of water and a quarter.

For those of you that are evacuating from the coast, I just heard a great tip. It's called the one cup tip. You put a…

Posted by Sheila Pulanco Russell on Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The main gist of the great idea is that while you’re gone, you have no real way of telling if the power goes out at home. Using this trick, you’ll know if your refrigerator and freezer lost power because the water will have re-frozen at a lower point. The way the water behaves points to the way your food behaves.

If the quarter is at the bottom and there’s no more frozen water, it’s a safe bet that everything that could spoil in your refrigerator and everything that could thaw in your freezer should be thrown away entirely to prevent foodborne illnesses. One power outage can decimate your food and water supply, and this allows you to monitor your freezer’s contents even after the natural disaster has passed.

This brilliantly simple trick only takes about an hour to do, so place a cup of water in the freezer as you’re going about your closing tasks, and pop a quarter on before you’re out the door. The best part about this trick is that it’s functional for the entire time you’re gone, signaling safety or not.

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