How to keep canned foof from freezing : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Question for you. How does one store canned food above ground in a unheated location without the food freezing -- and going bad? This applies to those using storage lockers or sheds. It also applies to those who have their electric and heat go off -- such as apartment dwellers, those "bugging out" above ground in January, ect.

I was thinking about storing canned food in an UNPLUGGED ice box or freezer in a storage locker...what do you think? Any suggestions or guidance would be appreciated. Thank you.





louis, just pile some of the bodies of your unprepared neighbors on top of the cans. should work as a fairly good insulator.

-- corrine (, July 02, 1999.

Oops. I thought you meant canned foof.

-- I'm in the wrong (pl@c.e), July 02, 1999.


And think about how much fun you can have eating your way down to the cans. Got salt?

-- jeff (got, July 02, 1999.

OOPS! Sorry about the misspelling. Oh least "foof" rhymes with "goof"...I would appreciate serious replies to a serious question...thanks!


"one key off today"...AKA:


Louis, excellent question (and a good laugh, to boot.)

I expect that if we have no heat from electricity being out that the one room that we _do_ heat will be close enough to keep the canned goods from bursting. If not, we will be moving and stacking lots of food to a place closer to the warmth. Eight of us in one room will raise the room temperature purely by body heat alone.

I don't anticipate much of a problem as long as we can stay at home. After that? God knows. Linda

-- newbiebutnodummy (, July 02, 1999.


You are right on track by using an unplugged refrigerator or freezer. An insulated cooler works for me for small amounts of food. If the locker isn't too big you can apply insulation to the walls. Do this before freezing weather hits and nothing will freeze.

I keep a cooler outside on the porch all winter long for extra refrigerator space.

Good Luck--Foxrun

-- Foxrun (, July 02, 1999.


The answer is you can't. You have to have a heat source to elevate room temperature above freezing.

On the third consecutive day of a power loss, the indoor temperature will be equal to outdoor ambient with a lag of X hours depending on insulation rating.

And herein lies the danger of believing a power loss of a week will not be that bad, just like a bad storm.

I live near Dulles airport in East Virginia, the northern section of the state.

I have seen January weather in the fifties and also below twenty for three days in a row.

North of us it is consistantly colder. If the power goes off with twenty degrees ambient or less for three consecutive days, people in the northeast are going to leave their homes and migrate south.

Probably about one million of them will run out of gas and end up wandering around the Shenandoah Valley on foot. If they bring their frozen canned food with them, maybe they can thaw it out for six or seven good meals.

When Paul Milne says leave the city, he has a reason. If you leave now you have choices where to go. Later you will have fewer options.

In St. Louis you have the same weather we do. You just get to have it three days before it comes here.

As here, the building code frost line there is probably twentyfour inches. Bury the canned food somewhere to protect it from freezing.

Twelve inches below the surface , covered with dirt to grade level and then covered with three inches of mulch will be good enough. The mulch absorbs radiant heat because of its dark color. Leaves don't do much, but every little bit helps.

Deeper is better. Further north, deeper yet, according to local convention.

Re bugging out in an apartment, I suggest you really think this option through very carefully and consider the implications of having no water and no sewer.

Depending on elevation, sewage will be coming in through bathtubs and floor drains and toilettes and manholes in the streets in some cities.

Sounds too unbelieveable to be possible, doesn't it?

-- Tom Beckner (, July 02, 1999.

>How does one store canned food above ground in a unheated location without the food freezing

Short answer: one doesn't, for more than a brief time after the air temperature drops below freezing.

Longer: Once the aboveground temperature drops below freezing, there will be a heat flow from things with temperatures above freezing to the parts of the environment that are below freezing. Insulation does not and cannot prevent this heat transfer; it can only slow it down. Without a heat source to counteract this transfer, your canned food's temperature will inexorably fall as long as the air temperature is lower.

Storing the canned food in an ice box or freezer in a storage locker will simply provide insulation to slow the rate of heat transfer; it will not prevent the food's temperature from dropping below freezing if the air temperature remains below freezing long enough.

_If_ the outside air temperature warms back up above freezing before the canned food's temperature drops below freezing, the food gets a reprieve from freezing until the next time the air temperature drops below freezing. However, note that the heat-transfer-inhibiting property of whatever insulation is around the food works both ways: it will slow the transfer of heat back into the canned food once the air temperature rises above the temperature of the food. So an above-freezing day after a freezing night may not provide enough time for the food to regain as much heat as it lost, and the food may enter a second consecutive subfreezing night with a lower temperature than it had at the beginning of the first subfreezing night. Food that doesn't freeze during one subfreezing night may well freeze during the next night even though the nighttime air temperature pattern is the same.

-- No Spam Please (, July 03, 1999.

Tom and No Spam--

Please see Diggables thread!

-- Michael (, July 03, 1999.

Well I found this after your second post

If you want to resist freezing of materials when there is little heat store whatever on shelves close to the ceiling. The warm air rises and will keep it from freezing. Hang shelves on the ceiling of your living area.

One of these days we are going to have to bang heads and get the apartment survival figured out. Water is the hardest to deal with. The city would have to provide water but it would only be available at the ground floor. If there are stairs the kids will be carrying 5 gallon pails.

Fires and security would be my first consern, evacuation second in the event of failure.

The GREATEST problem will be the panic that could happen and people thinking "will it come back on agian"

If one has their manure in one or more places then they can "weather any storm". A good attitude is the best start. I see survival is always relative to your enviorment. Learn to fit into your enviorment without utilities is just a mental shift. Of course the length of time is another matter. 3 days or 3 months??

-- Brian (, July 03, 1999.

Would like to hear of others' actual experiences with frozen cans.

My experiments with can in my freezer for days or a week: ends of cans bulge out somewhat, but this reverts to normal, and the contents seem not to be harmed.

So... why is it so important not to allow canned food to freeze?

-- alan (, July 03, 1999.


i had a gentleman caller friend that had a frozen can. i won't say how, but with a simmering, sweet session we were able to soon thaw it out.

a toasty tip of the tea cup.


-- corrine l (, July 03, 1999.

>So... why is it so important not to allow canned food to freeze?

Because the subsequent bulging of the can may cause the seams' seals to be broken.

-- No Spam Please (, July 03, 1999.

"Because the subsequent bulging of the can may cause the seams' seals to be broken."

...... my experience is that nothing breaks. It bends slightly (the bulging) but does not break. Perhaps repeated freezings and thawings might cause some metal fatigue and eventual rupture, however.

Antoher thought/question along these lines: Will the basement of a home without heat ever get well below freezing? That is, obviously the basement will be below frostline most everywhere. In an unheated place, will things in the basement remain unfrozen?

-- alan (, July 03, 1999.

I started collecting canned food last winter and stored it in an unplugged refrigerator in the garage. I checked the thermometer every day. Even when we had 4 days of 20 degrees. the temp stayed at least 36. Maybe not foolproof but it worked here in Pennsylvania. I have moved it all into the basement now that its hot.

-- (, July 04, 1999.


Was that garage attached to your house, or separate?

-- No Spam Please (, July 05, 1999.

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