Chest Freezer Not Working After A Power Outage – What To Do?

Despite power outages being a nuisance, they are inevitable and will sometimes cause your chest freezer not to work even after power comes back. When this happens, what action should you take to ensure your freezer works again, and prevent food from going bad? We have consulted the experts on what to do when a power outage occurs.

There are several reasons your chest freezer could have stopped working, such as the power control shutting off automatically, the freezer outlet tripping, or the freezer just needs time to turn back on. Experts recommend doing these steps for your freezer to cool again:   

  • Check your chest freezer’s main circuit breaker.
  • Check the control panel.
  • Re-set the freezer GFCI outlet.
  • Give your freezer time to cool.
  • Inspect the freezer power cord.
  • Check for any failure of a freezer component/part.

Your food does not have to spoil after a power outage. Continue reading and learn the details on how to troubleshoot your chest freezer.


A white chest freezer on the side of a kitchen, Chest Freezer Not Working After A Power Outage - What To Do?

how to troubleshoot your Chest freezer After a power outage

Your chest-freezer should turn back on immediately when the power comes back. However, sometimes that does not happen, hence you need to troubleshoot by first finding out what the problem is and getting your freezer to work as soon as possible. Follow the basic steps below:

1. Check Your Chest Freezer’s Main Circuit Breaker

If your freezer does not turn back ON after the power is back, then you need to check the circuit breaker and find out if it went OFF when there was a power failure. The circuit breaker could have tripped because of a power outage. If you check and find it OFF, then turn it back ON so that your freezer cools again.

2. Check Your Freezer’s Control Panel

If your chest freezer is connected to a control panel, a power outage could have caused it to turn OFF. Check the control panel and turn it back ON, if it is OFF.

3. Re-set The Freezer GFCI Outlet

You may have to check the ground-fault-circuit-interrupter (GFCI) if your freezer is linked to one. It could have tripped after the power went out. Reset back the power by pressing the reset button, to allow the power back into the freezer.

4. Give your Freezer Time to cool

When power comes back and your freezer is running but there's no sign of cooling, wait for at least 15 minutes for it to cool again.

5. Inspect The Freezer Power Cord

In some rare occurrences, a power outage can cause damage to the power cord or plug because it could have shorted out. Here, the cord or plug will have to be replaced.

6. Check for Failure Of A Freezer Component/Part

If all the above troubleshooting does not turn back your freezer, then a part or component in your freezer may have been damaged. Find out which part it is and replace it.

Does a chest freezer have a reset button?

An opened chest freezer on a white background

Most chest freezers do not reset automatically. That is why they have reset buttons, which are set back ON after a power outage.

How do you reset a chest freezer after a power outage?

To reset your chest freezer back again after a power failure, press the reset button and hold both Up and Down arrows simultaneously as you plug back the outlet cord. Press the alarm reset button and hold it for 3 seconds to immobilize the control lock. Press the Up arrow 3 times until the #1 setting is displayed. Continue to press the Up arrow and then apply the settings you want.

Can a power outage damage a freezer?

Damage to your freezer rarely happens when there’s a power outage, rather it takes place when the power comes back, which could either be higher or lower than the normal amount.

Your chest freezer is highly unlikely it will get damaged because of a surge caused by a higher voltage than normal. It will mostly be vulnerable when the voltage is too low when power returns.

Lower voltage than what is ideal usually damages heavy appliances like your chest freezer. This happens when the motor does not receive enough power to start, or its wires overheat until it triggers the thermal protector.

What should you do with your freezer when there is a power failure?

A power outage sign

You have stored a lot of food in your chest freezer to help you easily plan your meals, especially if you have a tight working schedule. So, what do you do if power takes quite a while to come back or you suspect it will take much longer to return? As early as this situation, you need to start following these troubleshooting tips to save your food from going bad:

1. Do Not Open Your Freezer

Your chest freezer collects cold air at the bottom, leaving warm air at the top. If you open the freezer door, more warm air will get in, thus using up the much-needed cold air to keep it cool. By doing this, you can cool your freezer between 48 to 72 hours without power.  

2. Cover Your Freezer With Blankets

You can insulate your chest freezer to keep it colder for longer by covering it with a few blankets. However, make sure that you do not cover the vent as you would not want it blocked when power returns.

3. Stock Up Ice in Your Freezer

If power has been out longer than usual, then you can stock up ice in your freezer. In this extreme situation, you may have to open your freezer so that you can add a block of ice to extend your freezer’s life.

Using ice blocks is better as it lasts longer than smaller pieces of ice. Your best option, however, would be dry ice which is more efficient than normal ice.

How do I know if my chest freezer is broken?

It’s expected that your freezer will work normally after power is back, but if it doesn't, the following are signs it is potentially broken:

The Humming stops and Lights are out

If the internal light does not turn back on when the electricity comes back even when you flick the trip switch ON, your freezer has probably broken down. Also, if the gentle humming sound stops, but the lights turn back on, then most likely the compressor is damaged.

Warm Freezer

If your freezer is getting warm instead of cooling, then the motor fan may have stopped working signaling that it has been broken.

Knocking sounds

If your freezer produces sounds like clattering, banging, or knocking, then the motor shaft or compressor fly-wheel could be loose. It could also mean that another part of your freezer is breaking such as the condenser coil or condenser fan. That’s why it’s producing a lot of noise.

In Closing

Power outages occasionally occur, but if it happens for a short while, then there’s no need to worry as your freezer will continue working as it did before. Sometimes, though, power comes back either as a surge or low voltage posing a risk to your electrical appliances.

Whereas surges are not a major risk to a heavy appliance like your freezer, low voltage is likely to cause serious damage to it. Power failure does not necessarily mean that your chest freezer is not working. You can troubleshoot quickly and get it back to normal working conditions. But it’s also good to identify when it is broken so that you can seek a viable solution.

Elaine Kabi
Elaine Kabi
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