When your refrigerator quits–go to ice
|When your refrigerator quits–go to ice
Russ and Tina DeMaris
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It’s a sad truth: Sometimes things go wrong on an RV trip, and you’re stuck making the best of it. Once of those “things that can happen,” is a refrigerator that decides to take a vacation–while you’re on vacation. It could be something simple, or it could be one of those really bad things like a deceased cooling unit, but no matter the cause, here are a few tips on coping without your reefer.
|courtesy brianc on flickr by creative commons license|
First, if you have room, you can give a whirl at putting ice in your existing refrigerator. While crushed ice will chill stuff off faster–particularly if the food itself is in direct contact with it–block ice lasts longer. The larger the refrigerator, the more ice you’ll need to put inside to keep things cool. Of course, you’ll need to put the ice in a pan to catch the melting water, but hey, ice water for drinking is great on a hot day.
If you’re really looking to keep things cool, try dry ice. It’s sold in cakes, and found at many Walmarts. Dry ice is nothing more than solid carbon dioxide; so as it “melts” or, technically–sublimates–it turns into a gas, rather than a liquid. Dry ice sublimates at a faster rate than regular ice melts, the industry suggests about five to ten pounds every 24 hours. However, the “chill rate,” of dry ice is much higher, pound for pound than block ice. Some folks use both, taking advantage of the lesser cost of regular ice, and extending its life with dry. Some have noted that dry ice may give a “funny taste” to the food it’s stored with; not everyone finds this true.
Mind you, dry ice by its nature is extremely cold. When you handle it, don’t even attempt to touch it with your bare hands–it’s so cold it will burn and damage your hide. When placing dry ice in your refrigerator (or portable cooler), be careful and don’t put it directly against plastic–it can actually crack the plastic. Best wrapped in cloth or PAPER (not a plastic bag) to give it a shield of insulation.
Finally, dry ice placed directly in contact with food will freeze it. A two-edged sword, keeping frozen foods frozen–stick them in a “surround” of dry ice, but keep the milk and soda pop away from it. And a chunk of it chipped off and put in a glass of otherwise ordinary juice or something like Koolaid makes a sparkling soft drink. One last disclaimer: Dry ice does produce carbon dioxide gas. The industry spin on this is simple: We breath off carbon dioxide, and plants take it in. Those worried about global warming may take a different view.
Keeping your refrigerator cold as long as possible takes effort. Open the reefer door and get it closed as quickly as possible. When adding food, make sure the new stuff is pre-chilled. If you’re in a bind, say company’s coming and you have no cold pop to offer, here’s a trick from your days when hand-churning ice cream: Take cube ice, add a good quantity of salt, mix together and toss in those warm cans of pop. The salt/ice combination will get VERY cold, and quickly chill off the pop.
Finally, if you need to use a portable cooler, a few observations: A hard-sided cooler will keep colder much longer than a soft sided one. Keeping your coolers in the shade will add more lifetime to the ice inside.
Posted on October 22, 2014, in The world as i see it as a camper and who loves his country and tagged boondocking, campers, camping, how to's, Koa, money, motorhomes, outdoors, road trips, rv news, rv tips, rving, tailgating, trailers, traveling. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.