Day before yesterday I walked by the freezer where I store meat for bait, glands, stretched pelts and the like. Some "sixth" sense told me to check that freezer, so I moved the things that had accumulated on top of it and opened the lid.
It was thawed, and evidently had been so for a couple of days. Fortunately, nothing was in a total state of decomposition. The meat had just started to "taint" but that doesn't hurt because it needs to be tainted for bait anyway. It was a "stinky" mess, but it wasn't a total disaster like it could have been in a couple more days. I got lucky.
This is not the first time. Seven or eight years ago, the freezer quit, and Dennis and I caught it "just in time". Even a home freezer can quit working, but you're way more likely to catch it before anything spoils because you use that freezer more regularly. (The house freezer quit a couple years ago, but we caught it right away, and didn't lose a thing.)
A "bait" freezer is way more likely to go noticed because you just don't use it everyday, except maybe during trapping season. There's another thing that I know happens with my freezer, and I described above. Things accumulate on top of them when you don't need to get into them regularly. Then, you don't feel like clearing the stuff off of them, just to open the lid and "check" the freezer -- itís a vicous cycle.
I've heard some of the horror stories from other trappers. One trapper I know of lost a year's worth of fur in a freezer which contained unstretched, and also stretched and dried fur he was storing over the summer. Somebody accidentally unplugged that freezer.
I've been lucky too long. I actually considered doing this the last
time the freezer stopped working. But I procrastinated -- And got lucky again! I figure I'm out of luck.
What I did was bought one of those cheap indoor-outdoor thermometers that have the thin wire lead for the outdoor temperature. I put the sensor in the freezer, and let the gasket shut down on the wire. I now have a thermometer with a digital read out prominently displayed right above the freezer. Its near a spot where we hang gloves. Since we use gloves frequently, there will be many instances when the thermometer will be staring us in the face. We are more likely to notice if the freezer fails. We don't have to open the lid to tell that it's stopped working.
It's a little added insurance, and it cost less than ten bucks.
Anybody else got any tips or suggestions for avoiding a freezer "meltdown"?