Preparedness blog

Build Your Own Non-Electrical Fridge

By Nicole from Ready Store
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Zeer Pot FridgeHave you ever thought of what you’d do in the case that there was little to no power in your home? Do you have a generator or an alternative power source to keep appliances like your fridge running constantly? If you answered no, we have a non-electrical alternative for you to keep food cold and preserved longer.

The Zeer Pot

The zeer pot was invented by people in Africa and the Middle East who needed a way to keep fruits and vegetables fresh for more than a few days 1. Since the zeer pot uses an evaporative technology, it works best in environments that are shaded, have cool dry air and a constant breeze.

If all the criteria can be met, the zeer pot can chill down to 40˚F. For those of you are homesteading or looking to live off the grid and are concerned about a constant breeze with the zeer pot, consider using solar powered fans. Take note that if the relative humidity is above 70%, it will be very difficult to keep the zeer pot cold. Below, we have created a chart to show how well it will work in your environment.

Zeer Pot Minimum Temperature Due to Evaporation


This means if it is 85˚F outside and the relative humidity is 60% then the coldest a direct evaporative fridge could possibly get is 73.5˚F. In all honesty, it is better than no cooling at all but it is way less than what we expect with our modern day fridges that keep food at 40˚F or cooler.

What Do I Need to Create a Zeer Pot Fridge?

There are an array of different sizes and styles that you can go with when creating a zeer pot fridge. For a very basic design, we've listed the items you'll need:

  • 18" unglazed terra cotta pot (allows the moisture to be evaporated easier)
  • 14" terra cotta pot
  • 50 lbs of sand, pre-washed
  • Gorilla Brand Duct Tape
  • Funnel
  • Refrigerator thermometer
  • 13.5" glass pot lid
  • 12" sandwich basket


Quick Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Tape both holes at the bottom of the pot. It is important to make sure no sand escapes
  2. Fill the bottom of the bigger bowl with sand. You want to make sure that it is packed enough that when you place the smaller bowl, it is level
  3. With your funnel, pack and fill the sand around the bowl
  4. Once packed, fill the sides of the bowl with water. It is important to do it slowly since you don't want your smaller bowl to move around. If the sand sinks quite a bit, pack more in.
  5. With the glass lid, see how well it fits. Sand if needed
  6. Last, put a damp cloth over the lid and let the zeer pot sit in a shaded, well-ventilated place!
  7. Monitor the temperature for the next few hours before putting in food or drinks!

Keep in mind that the sand needs to be damp at all times. Most people recommend that you water it 2 times a day. The great thing about this application is that the water does not need to be purified. This makes it great for the outdoors!

What tips do you have for replacing electrical items in an emergency situation?

8 years ago
8 years ago at 12:23 PM
What would be a good recommendation for Southeast Alabama? We have hot sultry summers, most of the time low or no breezes. What do you recommend?
8 years ago at 10:53 AM
This is a cool idea. I'm going to print this one out. Thanks too for the print button on the side!