Check first to see if the plug has been pulled out, a fuse has blown or the thermostat has been misset before calling for maintenance. And keep the freezer door closed while you check. If there has been a power cut, food remains solid and safe for about 16-24 hours, providing the door has not been opened.
If you have advance notice of a cut in power, pack out any gaps in the freezer with crumpled newspaper and do not open the door during the cut, or for 2 hours afterwards. Food that is still solid with ice crystals is safe to eat. Foods that have defrosted may be cooked and eaten, but ice cream or foods that contain cream are best thrown away, as are commercially packaged meals near their expiry date.
If your freezer does break down and some of the contents deteriorate, leaving an unpleasant smell, wipe out the inside of the freezer with warm water to which you have added a little bicarbonate of soda or some vinegar or vanilla essence. In addition, a small dish of bicarbonate of soda placed in the refrigerator will help to absorb the smell of strong foods.
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