How Long Can a Freezer Be Unplugged?

How long can a freezer be unplugged

When nobody is at home for a long time, there is no need to preserve food. Should you turn off the power to the freezer when not in use to save money? Or, when there is an unexpected power outage, will your freezer be affected? And how long can a freezer be unplugged?

Let us answer these questions through the article below.

Should you unplug the freezer?


Sometimes, you will have times when you don’t need to use the freezer, such as going on a long trip; unplugging the freezer helps reduce electricity consumption significantly, saving a cost for the family.

In addition, unplugging the freezer when you are not at home can also prevent and limit the risk of unexpected fire and explosion due to electrical issues, ensuring the safety of your home and those around you.


However, unplugging the freezer when not in use can cause the risk of damage to internal components, reducing the quality and lifespan of the freezer.

When you disconnect the power to the freezer for a long time, the circulation between the outdoor unit and the indoor unit does not occur, the equipment that is not dried will easily be oxidized and rust.

On the other hand, if the freezer before disconnecting the power is not cleaned, dry and clean, the condensate will wet the sensor circuits inside, and damage to the cooling functions will also be reduced.

In particular, the musty smell of a freezer that hasn’t worked for a long time is not pleasant at all. It seems even more tiring and expensive to clean up this “endgame” compared to plugging it into work.

Further reading: Why Should You Buy a Chest Freezer When Your Fridge Already Has a Freezer?

Unplugging the freezer when not in use can cause damage to its components
Unplugging the freezer when not in use can cause damage to its components

In which cases should the freezer be unplugged?

It would be best if you did not unplug the freezer often, but in some cases, you need to disconnect the freezer to save electricity and protect it. Here are some instances where you should empty the freezer to ensure quality use:

When away from home for a long time

If you have to go out for more than 14 days, and do not have someone to look after the freezer, you should consider unplugging the power supply for safety.

Before that, you should clean the freezer and take out all the food to avoid spoilage, causing the freezer to smell bad after being used again.

When cleaning or moving the freezer

If we need to clean the overall freezer or move the freezer to another place, we should unplug it to be safe.

In this case, the time to unplug will not belong, so it will not affect the life of the freezer much.

Further reading: How to Organize a Small Chest Freezer Efficiently

When there is a sudden power outage

When the freezer is frozen, the power is suddenly cut off, causing the gas to be interrupted. In this case, we should unplug the freezer to protect the machine.

It is necessary to unplug because if the power is restored after only a few minutes, the process of starting the freezer will be complicated due to the unstable pressure. It will cause the compressor not to start leading to a very high risk of machine damage. Therefore, we will unplug and plug it back in after about 10-15 minutes to make the device more stable.

In some cases, you need to disconnect the freezer's power to save electricity and protect it
In some cases, you need to disconnect the freezer’s power to save electricity and protect it

Important notes when unplugging the freezer

When unplugging the freezer, take out all the food in the freezer. After the freezer is defrosted, take a clean cloth to clean the freezer from the inside out.

You should put the cabinet in a well-ventilated place, use a cotton cloth to cover the freezer instead of nylon fabric because nylon is not breathable. When leaving it for a long time, water water vapor will appear and make some components to rust.

If possible, sometimes you should plug in the freezer to operate for a few hours so that the hot and cold units can handle it; this avoids the freezer’s inefficient operation when being used again.

How long can the freezer be unplugged?

The best way to keep an unplugged freezer is to leave the door or lid open, especially with used freezers. Because even if you have cleaned the appliance thoroughly and adequately, it will have an unpleasant odor if the freezer door is left closed for a long time.

With the freezer still contains food inside: You can unplug the freezer for about 48 hours if the freezer is full. If the freezer is half full, you have 24 hours to unplug.

With the freezer cleaned and unplugged as planned: Just make sure you clean it thoroughly before storing it (don’t leave any water in it) and keep it properly, the freezer can be unplugged for a long time without worrying.

Further reading:  How Long Will Food Stay Frozen in a Cooler Bag?


You can rest assured that the freezer unplugged after cleaning will not affect the service life
You can rest assured that the freezer unplugged after cleaning will not affect the service life

Related questions

1. How long will food last in an unplugged freezer?

When the freezer is unplugged or there is power outage for days, it is possible that you need to discard lots of your food in freezer.

Normally, a full freezer can stay cold for a couple of days. If it’s half full, it can be cold in a day.

You can use a rug or blanket to cover the freezer to help it stay cool longer. Also, freezer’s door should be kept closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature inside.

For foods after being thawed, here are some ways to apply.

  • Meat and poultry: If the freezer temperature is over 45 degrees F for more than two hours, meat and poultry will start to spoil. Bad smell will appear, and it’s unsafe to eat them.
  • Fish: It is very perishable, and some kinds of seafood do not have bad odor when they go bad. Therefore, you should check carefully. If ice crystals remain throughout the package, it’s safe to refreeze.
  • Fruits: Taste and smell first. If they are fine, refreeze them.
  • Vegetables: You should not refreeze thawed vegetables as the bacteria may grow and they become harmful to your health.
  • Ice cream: Once it is melted, do not refreeze.

2. Does the freezer use lots of electricity?

The answer to the question whether a freezer consumes a lot of electricity or not is yes. Freezer is an electrical appliance that operates with a large capacity. The operating capacity of the freezer depends on the actual capacity of the freezer. The larger the capacity, the higher the operating capacity of the freezer.

In particular, old freezers will consume much more power than new ones.

Although the freezer consumes lots of monthly electricity, factors such as temperature setting, types of food, using habits may affect the energy consumption.

3. How to save electricity when using a freezer

If you know how to choose a suitable freezer and use it correctly, you can still save a lot of electricity.

Before buying a freezer, you need to know your needs as well as how much food will be stored. A freezer with a suitable capacity will avoid wasting storage space and electricity.

Adjust the appropriate freezer temperature

Customize the freezer temperature according to the quantity of food and the standard coldness of the foods. This not only saves electricity, but also ensures the freshest food. On average, the cold storage compartment should be at 7-8 degrees Celsius (45 degrees F), and the freezer compartment should be at -18 degrees Celsius (0-degree F).

Do not overload your freezer

Trying to put a lot of food in the freezer is a mistake that a lot of people make. This not only makes the refrigerator to operate continuously at maximum capacity, but also causes the freezer to be overloaded and not cold.

Therefore, when storing food, you should not arrange foods too closely together so that the cold air can convection well, cool evenly for all food in the refrigerator, reducing power consumption.

Do not put hot food into the freezer because it will reduce cooling efficiency and consume more electricity.

Limit the continuous opening and closing of freezer

Frequent opening of the freezer causes cold air inside to escape, resulting in pressure that makes the freezer work harder to meet the necessary heat level to freeze food. As a result, it consumes more power or the freezer is not cold, reducing its lifespan. If you have to open it, you should close it as soon as possible. You can also buy a freezer with a safety lock to prevent children from opening the freezer. Make sure freezer doors are always closed.

Regular cleaning and defrosting

Defrosting the freezer is very important. You should defrost once a week to clean the indoor unit and improve cooling efficiency. Or when the snow layer is about 3 to 5mm thick, you should defrost and clean the inside of the cabinet. The snow will reduce storage space and absorb extra heat that make the freezer less efficient.

At the same time, you should also check the drain valve to prevent water leak in the freezer. Clean it every 2 or 3 months to optimize freezing performance and prolong its lifespan. A clean freezer will keep the internal air fresh, prevent the growth of bacteria and mold as well as save energy.

Buy an energy-saving freezer

Power-saving inverter technology can save about 30% to 50% of electricity compared to the non-inverter type as it helps the machine operate smoothly and reduce noise.

However, freezers that apply inverter technology are quite expensive. Therefore, to save costs, you can refer to power-saving freezers such as the ones with copper and gas R600A.

Choose a proper place for the freezer

Place the freezer in a flat, dry location. Do not place near a source of high heat such as a stove or direct sunlight.  You should place it at least 10cm from the wall and 5cm high above the ground.


You can unplug the freezer for a long time if you have cleaned and sanitized the freezer properly and placed it in a dry, clean place.

Hopefully the article has provided useful information in handling the situation when your freezer is unplugged.


Keeping a freezer be unplugged – Using Guide,, Retrieved on Feb. 14, 2022

Jenny Brown
Hi, I’m Jenny. On my blog, you will find helpful advice about using and organizing the kitchen appliances. You will also receive the recommendations on choosing a compact refrigerator or freezer that best fits your demands. Besides, frozen meals from the freezer bring many incredible benefits because they ensure freshness, deliciousness, and full nutrients. Many helpful tips from experts on frozen meals will also be found.