How to Save your Frozen Food During a Power Outage

Team GAFELLNov 1, '20

In typical Hong Kong weather a freezer can keep frozen for about 32-hours if full or 18-hours for a half full. 

Here is what to do in the event of a power outage or if your old freezer compressor just decides to die, which honestly is very common in Hong Kong. Especially during the months of June and July - those months are the freezer killers and we have had several die on us as well as many of the supermarket freezers tend to break during peak summer. 

gafell policy for power outage with freezers

Our power outage policy

In fact we have a power outage policy in place in our kitchen in the event of a power outage and in this article we will share with you our best practices on what to do and steps you can take to save your precious frozen food from spoiling. 

Related: Check out our guide for how to fit more food in your freezer or how to buy a new freezer. 

Don’t open the freezer!

The first thing you need to know in the event of a power outage or your freezer breaking is don’t open the freezer door. Opening the freezer will significantly reduce the amount of time the food inside can stay frozen. We suggest you get some paper masking-tape and seal the freezer door shut and also put up a note to let others know not to open the freezer. 

Write down the time the power outage started

Note down the time the power outage started so you can keep track of how long the freezer has been without power. If you notice only a part of your home without electricity it is possible that a main switch or circuit breaker has tripped or a fuse has blown. Call a registered electrician to come help you.

Contact your power company

  • If you are on the Island side in Hong Kong you should contact Hong Kong Electric
  • If you are in Kowloon or New Territories your electricity supplier will be CLP

They should be able to give you more information about the power outage and try to learn more about how long you can expect the power to be out. It can be a good idea to have your latest electricity bill ready so you can give them your account number. 

Buy dry ice

If you expect the power outage to last for a longer period of time and you have a freezer full of food it may be a good idea to buy dry ice. Dry ice can keep your freezer frozen for a long period of time and it’s relatively inexpensive and easy to use. However you do need to take some precautions when using dry ice and remember to never touch it with your bare hands or keep it away from children and pets. 

Dry ice is available in Hong Kong from several suppliers. You may also find dry ice in Häagen Dazs or other shops selling frozen cakes or frozen mooncakes as they will pack them with dry ice.

You can find dry ice from these suppliers in Hong Kong

Once the power comes back on

Open the freezer and check the internal temperature of a few foods if you have a temperature probe. 

  • If the temperature is less than 4°C (the temperature of a fridge) the food is safe to eat, but we don’t recommend re-freezing it. 
  • If the temperature of the freezer is less than -8°C, the food has been frozen and safe to continue keeping frozen. 

If the temperature was above 4°C then your food has been kept outside of the safe cold range. However that does not necessarily mean you need to discard the food. We suggest you use your senses including sight, smell and touch to examine the food. But if you have high risk groups such as infants, elderly or anyone else would be at risk from any spoilt food we recommend you discard the food right away.