Hurricane Irma: How a coin and a cup of water could keep you from getting sick

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Hurricane Irma has made landfall, first striking in the Caribbean and now on the way to the U.S. As Irma closes in, many in Florida are bracing for impact, securing their homes and businesses, and going as far as evacuating.

But as people prepare the outside of their homes, there is one thing that you could do on the inside of your property to make sure you and your family members don’t get sick after the storm moves out.

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You may have seen this post on your Facebook feed. It suggests to put a quarter on a cup of frozen water in the freezer. If you have to leave, you can see if the quarter stayed put or if it sunk. The sinking will tell you that the water melted. If the water in the cup melted then refroze, the same can be said for the food in the freezer.

But can you believe all of the tips and hacks you see on Facebook and other social media?

In this case, experts said yes, but with a slight change.

The Houston Chronicle reported that instead of a quarter, you’ll want to use a penny.

That’s because pennies contain copper and copper is a better conductor of heat, Don Mercer told the Chronicle. Mercer is an associate professor in Food Science at University of Guelph.

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The university is located in Ontario, Canada.

Mercer said that food will stay frozen in a freezer for about 24 hours, as long as you don’t open the freezer door to check on what is inside.

The coin/cup trick helps when you’re away and are not sure if there’s been an extended power outage. Mercer said if the contents of the freezer thawed and then refroze, you’d have no way of knowing without the hack. If food thaws then refreezes, microorganisms that were there before the first freeze can multiply, posing a threat of food poisoning.


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