Refrigerator After a Power Outage [Issues & Proven Solutions]

Checking your refrigerator after a power outage is crucial. You can tell if it is still working or if there is any damage. Fortunately, there are easy ways to fix issues with a refrigerator after a power outage.

Refrigerator After a Power Outage

Refrigerator Not Working After a Power Outage – What to Do

Something has tripped off or gotten damaged in the power circuitry to your refrigerator if it stops working after a power outage. To determine the origin of the problem, check the circuit breaker, usually outside the house. It may have tripped off during the outage.

Also, check the refrigerator’s power cord for damages. While at it, check the wall receptacle into which you plug the refrigerator. The unit must have a dedicated outlet; otherwise, it may not work optimally.

This article explains what could go wrong with a refrigerator after a power outage in detail.

Refrigerator Clicking After a Power Outage – Solved

The clicking sound you hear is probably the compressor trying hard to resume operations after the restoration of power. If the sound comes within short intervals – 2 or 3 minutes – the start relay or overload protector may be defective. Without the relay, the compressor cannot start and run.

Disconnect the refrigerator from electric power and pull it out from the wall. Make space for you to reach the compressor. You may have to remove an access panel covering the coils and compressor. Then, detach the start relay, a small device, from the compressor’s side.

There are two ways to check the relay. One is to shake it. Typically, it should make no sound or movement. So, if the relay rattles when you shake it, it is an indication that it is faulty and should be replaced. Two is to run a continuity test on it. Using a multimeter, check for continuity between two terminals marked S and R. Consider replacing the start relay if you find no continuity.

While the compressor is the most probable cause of the sound, it may also come from the temperature control thermostat. When it turns off and on after the outage, it creates a clicking sound. It does not mean the thermostat is faulty; the sound stops after some time. The defrost timer may also tick or click as it adjusts and goes off or comes on after a power outage.

Refrigerator Beeping After a Power Outage – Solution

A power outage can cause the refrigerator’s internal temperature to go off. The beeping sound you hear is the alarm sounding to warn you of the high temperature. The beeping will continue at intervals until the temperature drops to a food-safe level.

It is possible to turn the alarm off while you wait for the internal temperature to cool. Consult the user manual for steps to turn the alarm off, but many models have an alarm button on the control panel. Pressing and holding it for a few seconds usually turns it off. However, it may begin beeping again as long as the refrigerator is not yet cold enough.

It is crucial to check the food items in your freezer and refrigerator after a power outage. This is especially needed if the outage lasted for a few hours. Check to be sure none of the perishable foods has thawed, and every item is in good condition. Remove and throw out any food item that has thawed and spoiled beyond salvaging. Otherwise, you risk contaminating other food items and ruining their taste and smell.

Cleaning a Refrigerator After a Power Outage – Guiding Steps

Food may go bad in your refrigerator after a power outage. If you find out the appliance has a foul odor and needs cleaning, empty the refrigerator and freezer compartments and prepare to clean them. Disconnect the refrigerator from electric power and turn the water off if applicable.

Next, remove the shelves, racks, and bins, leaving the refrigerator completely empty. Mix a little dish soap in warm water and clean the interior parts of the refrigerator and freezer. Clean the door seals while you are at it; smelly dirt can hide in the folds. A water and baking soda solution also works. Pour two spoons of baking soda into a bowl containing four cups of warm water.

You can take this opportunity to wash the bins and racks. Soak them in warm water and soap while you clean the refrigerator. It will be easier to wash them afterward. If odors are clinging to them, washing them helps eliminate the smell.

After cleaning and washing the refrigerator and racks, rinse them with a solution of unscented bleach and water. Mix one spoon of the bleach into a gallon of water and repeat until you have the desired amount. Water and lemon juice can also sanitize the appliance, but the solution is not strong enough to do the job. However, avoid using strong chemicals or cleaners because of food safety.

You may have to leave the refrigerator in its disconnected state for a couple of days. Also, leave the doors open for the best results. That way, it can air out and release lingering odors. That means you have to store frozen food and other items in another refrigerator or a well-insulated cooler with ice packs. Consider applying drops of disinfectant to door hinges, nooks and crevices, and even locks to remove odors and germs.

Deodorize a Refrigerator After a Power Outage

If cleaning the refrigerator does not rid it of bad smells, you can crumple newspaper, wet it with a little water, and set it on the shelves. Close the door and run the refrigerator for a few days. It is effective in getting rid of smells, though it is energy-consuming.

Another method to try is setting coffee, the freshly ground type, on the shelves for a few days while running the appliance. The strong aroma of coffee may linger, but it dissipates over time if you do not mind waiting. Otherwise, rinse the shelves to get rid of the aroma.

You can also use activated charcoal or baking soda for the same purpose. They are quick at absorbing odors, but you have to turn the refrigerator on for a couple of days. Change the baking soda or charcoal – depending on the one you use – if the odor remains afterward.

Foul-smelling condensate may have entered the refrigerator’s insulation if none of the above fixes works. In such a situation, hire an appliance technician to replace the insulation. You may also consider replacing the refrigerator if the smell is more than you can bear.

Check out these other articles…

Refrigerator Thermostat [How to, Issues & Proven Solutions]

Refrigerator Thermistor [How to, Problems & Solutions]

Refrigerator Temp Goes Up and Down [How to Fix]

Fridge Temp Alarm Keeps Going Off [How to Fix]

Refrigerator Thermometer [Detailed How to Use Guide]

Refrigerator Door [How to, Problems & Proven Solutions]

Refrigerator Does Not Turn Off [How to Fix]

What Goes Bad in a Fridge After a Power Outage?

After a power outage, check foods such as meat, dairy products, fish, poultry, eggs, soft cheeses, and cooked food. More likely than not, they are not spoiled, especially if the outage has lasted less than four hours and you have not opened the refrigerator door too often. Check ice cubes or the level of pooled water in the freezer to determine the length of the outage if you are unsure.

However, throw them out if you have opened the refrigerator too often or the outage has lasted longer than four hours. These types of foods are highly perishable, so when the temperature is too warm, harmful bacteria can grow in them. You may want to wait until the power is restored or you use a backup power source to check the temperature.

Use a thermometer to check the internal temperature of the refrigerator; you are good to go if it is at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. Otherwise, throw perishable items such as the ones mentioned above away. Do note that storing such foods in the freezer, where it is always colder, can preserve them for longer. So, try moving them into the freezer section immediately after you notice the outage.

Some foods do not go bad as quickly as others, so you may want to leave them. They include opened fruit drinks and juices, margarine, fruits and vegetables that are uncut, bread, and hard cheese. They can stay in temperatures of 40 degrees Fahrenheit or higher without going bad, but you must try to preserve them if you can. Throw out any food you are not sure is still worth consuming or that feels too warm.

Refrigerator Not Cooling After a Power Outage – What to Do

It is one thing for your refrigerator not to work after a power outage. But it is entirely different if it is not cooling after a power outage. When it is not cooling, it means the refrigerator is running. Therefore, it is getting power, just not cooling.

In light of this, check the condenser coils, evaporator coils, door, evaporator fan, condenser fan, and damper control. Before checking them, ensure you have waited about an hour or more after power was restored. It takes that long for the refrigerator to cool adequately after a power outage. Checking the internal temperature too soon may cause the refrigerator to look as if it is not cooling.

However, if the appliance is not cooling at all or enough after a power outage, hire a professional to check the above-mentioned parts or do it yourself. This article details how to troubleshoot and fix each faulty part.

Refrigerator Water Dispenser Not Working After a Power Outage – Solved

Check the water inlet valve. It is electrically controlled, so it may have burned out or become faulty when the power was restored. Turn the water supply valve off and turn it back on to check the inlet valve. Next, check the valve for functionality. You should hear water running into the refrigerator if the valve is working.

If it does not run, ensure the water pressure is sufficient to pump water through the inlet valve. You may not be able to check the pressure directly. But you can try dispensing water through the water line instead of the dispenser. Try filling a glass of water in ten seconds; if you cannot, the water pressure is low. Therefore, have a plumber fix it as quickly as possible.

However, check the inlet valve for continuity if the water pressure is not the problem. Use a multimeter and test the solenoid. If it is not getting power, replace the solenoid. But if it is getting power yet the valve does not work, replace the entire inlet valve.

Additionally, ensure the water filter does not need a replacement. An old filter can interfere with the flow of water, keeping the water dispenser from working. If it is older than six months, it needs a change. You can also check the water dispenser switch with a multimeter. Replace a faulty switch if you find one.

How to Tell if Eggs Are Bad After a Power Outage

The best way to tell if the eggs in your refrigerator have gone bad after a power outage is to use a thermometer. Also, determine how long the power was out. Typically, the food-safe internal temperature of a refrigerator is 40 degrees Fahrenheit. So, place a thermometer inside the refrigerator, where it tends to be warmest, which is at the top shelf or close to the door. Wait about thirty minutes to an hour before checking the reading.

If the power was out for more than two hours and the temperature is higher than recommended, throw the eggs out. But if the temperature is lower than 40 degrees, and the power was not out for too long, the eggs may still be edible. If you are unsure, throw them out and buy fresh eggs.

How to Keep Refrigerator Cold When Power Is Out

Keep the door closed as much as you can. The refrigerator will remain cold for about four hours when there is no electric power. But that will work only if you do not open the door for that duration. A freezer will retain its cold temperature for about two days if it is not opened and is full. A half-full freezer will do the same but only for a day.

You can extend the time for the refrigerator if you use ice blocks or dry ice. Place them at strategic points inside the appliance and keep the door closed. Open it only when you must, and take all you need at the same time to reduce the frequency of door opening.

How Long for a Fridge to Cool After a Power Outage?

The length of time it takes for a fridge to cool after a power outage will depend on the outage duration and how filled the fridge is. If the power was out for longer than four hours, it may take up to one hour to cool. For a frost-free fridge, it may take up to eight hours if the outage lasted for too long and the unit completely thawed.

The fuller the fridge, the longer it will take to cool. So, your fridge may take up to four hours to cool to a food-safe level if it is full and the temperature is high. Also, the ambient temperature affects the cooling speed. The hotter the temperature, the longer it will take the fridge to cool. The size of the fridge also matters. Take these factors and more into consideration when calculating how long it will take your fridge to cool after a power outage.

How to Reset a Refrigerator After a Power Outage

Some refrigerators come with a reset button while others do not. If your refrigerator has a reset button, locate it on the control panel. You can consult the user manual for the exact location of the button if you are unsure. Press it and hold it for a few seconds to reset the refrigerator. Others will require you to disconnect them from electric power and leave it unplugged for several minutes. Reconnect it afterward.


It is crucial to preserve your refrigerator after a power outage. Sometimes, there is a power surge when it is restored, and such surges can damage the refrigerator unless you have a surge protector. Apart from protecting your refrigerator, it is even more important to preserve your food. Ensure your foods are stored at food-safe temperatures. Also, properly cook food that has been in warm temperatures, especially if it should have been frozen.

When nothing else seems to work, contact the manufacturer to report any refrigerator issue and request service. Alternatively, use the chatbox to your right to speak with one of our appliance technicians. They are ready to offer further assistance.

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