Does your fridge keep turning off on its own? We’ve got some clever fixes that will get this problem solved right away. 

If your fridge keeps turning off, you could run the risk of having your food spoil. These quick fixes will not only save your money in repair bills, but also keep your food safer, faster. 

If your fridge keeps turning off, it’s likely got one of three problems. There could be an issue with its power source, a faulty circuit board, or it could be overheating. You can fix these issues quickly with a few DIY solutions. 

Are you ready to fix your fridge? Let’s get started. 

What You’ll Need

Are you looking to do some DIY repairs to fix that fridge that keeps turning off? Here are all the tools and supplies you’re going to need to get your fridge fixed:

  1. Screwdriver set
  2. Nut driver set
  3. Needle nose pliers
  4. Cleaning supplies such as paper towels 
  5. Replacement fuse 
  6. Replacement parts as needed 

Fixing a Fridge That Keeps Turning Off

This quick guide will walk you through everything you need to know to fix a fridge that keeps turning off. Let’s start with some easy fixes first. 

#1 Is it Plugged In? 

Yes, we know. This might seem like it’s too simple to even put on a list of DIY fridge fixes, but you’d be surprised.

Your fridge’s power cord could have been knocked loose by a pet, one of your kids, or maybe you even knocked it loose while cleaning and didn’t notice. Checking to make sure that your fridge is safely plugged in should be your first stop. At the very least, this will save you a little embarrassment. Who wants to have an appliance repair technician come all the way out just to plug your fridge back in?

You can also do another quick repair while making sure your fridge is plugged in. Inspect the power cable to make sure that it’s not worn or damaged. If the power cable is frayed, call an electrician right away. They can safely handle broken electrical cables. An appliance repair technician can also replace a damaged cable. 

#2 Check Your Fuse Box

The next fix doesn’t actually have anything to do with your fridge. The most common cause of our fridge suddenly turning off is a blown fuse.

You should head to your fuse box if your fridge is acting up. There’s a good chance that the fuse that controls your kitchen has blown. This can happen when you run too many appliances at once. Switching out a blown fuse is easy, quick, and very affordable.

A burned fuse
Time to replace the fuse if it’s burned

This is one DIY home repair job that you can handle safely and on your own.

Here’s a quick tip when working with your fuse box. Your fuse box should be labeled so that you know which fuses control which outlets, rooms, and switches. If your fuse box isn’t labeled, you should set aside some time to accurately label it. In addition to writing labels on the fuse box itself, you should also write those labels down in a second location. This could be in an email you send to yourself, in a document, or just a note card you leave in a junk drawer. 

#3 Bad Contacts on Your Temperature Control

Your fridge stays on all day. However, it’s only active during certain cycles. The temperature controls inside your fridge activate a few times throughout the day. They make sure that your fridge and freezer stay nice and cold. If the temperature control has bad contacts, your fridge can start constantly turning on and off.

Your temperature control contacts are located behind the dial that allows you to change the temperature. Changing out your temperature control contacts is actually pretty easy. 

Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Unplug your fridge
  2. Clear out the food from the shelves around the temperature control 
  3. Remove the temperature control housing. This is typically done by pulling down on the housing 
  4. The temperature control is the component that is attached to the dial. You should be able to disconnect all of its wires by unplugging the cable harness 
  5. Unplug any other wires connected to this control 
  6. Remove the face of the dial. These can get stuck with age, so pliers may be necessary 
  7. Unscrew the control from the temperature control housing 
  8. Slide the control out 
  9. Seat the new control in the house 
  10. Screw the new control in and reattach the dial face 
  11. Reconnect the cable harness and any other wires 
  12. Return the temperature control housing to its normal position inside your fridge. These usually just click back into place 
  13. Put your food back into your fridge 
  14. Plug the fridge back in 

The temperature controls should kick in and your fridge should be good to go. 

Here’s two important tips when working on your fridge. Always unplug your fridge to avoid the risk of an electric shock. It’s better to be safe than sorry. 

You should also consult your owner’s manual. This has valuable information about your fridge such as part numbers, locations for various components, and instructions for how to repair your fridge. 

#4 Faulty Defrost Timer

The defrost timer in your fridge controls when the defroster kicks in. It’s not supposed to run all the time but, if your fridge starts then immediately turns off the defrost timer might be faulty.

You might need a professional to replace your defrost timer. This all depends on the make and model of your fridge. Some refrigerators have very complicated defrost systems that are better handled by an expert. Your owner’s manual will give you a heads-up on how you can repair your own refrigerators defrost timer.

Here’s a general guide for repairing a basic defrost timer:

  1. Unplug your fridge 
  2. Locate your fridge’s defroster assembly which is typically found in the freezer
  3. Detach the defroster assembly by unscrewing it or popping out the plastic latches
  4. You’ll see the defrost timer in the middle of the defroster housing
  5. Unplugged the broken defrost timer from the cable harness
  6. Flip the housing back over to unscrew the broken defrost timer
  7. Grab your new defrost timer and screw it into the housing. Make sure that the defrost timer is facing the right way so you can plug it in to the cable harness
  8. Plug your new defrost timer into the cable harness
  9. Reattach your defroster assembly
  10. Plug your fridge back in

#5 Broken ADC Board

Did you know that there’s a little computer in your freezer?

The ADC board is a small circuit board that controls your defroster.  The ADC board can cause your fridge to turn on and off when it breaks. There is a quick way to tell if your ADC board is faulty. If you unplug your fridge, plug it back in, and then the problem stops for a short while, your fridge’s circuit boards are likely to blame. 

Here’s a general guide for replacing a broken ADC board in your fridge:

  1. Unplug your fridge
  2. Clean out your freezer
  3. Detach the freezer control housing by unscrewing it
  4. Slide the freezer control housing forward to remove it
  5. Be careful. There are fragile components and connections here. Make sure to go slowly to avoid breaking anything 
  6. Unplug the ADC board from any connections. Take the time to note which connections go where. You don’t want to accidentally connect the wrong wires later! 
  7. Unscrew the ADC board from the freezer control housing 
  8. Position your new ADC board and screw it in place 
  9. Connect the wires to the new ADC board 
  10. Reattach the freezer control housing
  11. Put your food back and plug your freezer back in 

Here’s a tip when working with more complicated wirings. Use your smartphone to take a picture of the wires before you unplug anything. This way you’ll have a guide that shows you exactly where everything should be plugged back in later. 

#6 Clean Those Condenser Coils! 

There are so many problems that can be fixed just by keeping your condenser coils clean. If your fridge turns on and off on its own, it can be experiencing a problem with it overheating.

This is directly related to the condenser coils. The condenser coils will be located either on the back of your fridge or on the bottom behind the access panel. Over time, your condenser coils will start to build up dust and debris. This can quickly lead to problems with overheating.

A hand cleaning the refrigerator's condenser coil
Clean the debris and dust build-up in the condenser coil to avoid overheating

The best way to fix this problem is to prevent it. You should clean your condenser coils at least once a year. This is done by first unplugging your fridge and then giving your condenser coils of light dusting. This will prevent any build up and make sure that the coils can vent heat and keep your fridge cool. 

Fridge Turns Itself Off FAQ

Do you have a problem with a fridge that keeps turning itself off? These are some answers to common questions that people have when their fridge keeps shutting off.

Should I Turn My Fridge Off?

No.

Your fridge is designed to be left on all the time. If it’s working properly, the internal sensors will be able to shut it off on its own in order to maintain the right temperature. Unplugging your fridge to save on your electricity bill will only wind up spoiling the food you’re trying to keep cool.

What is the Average Life Expectancy of a Fridge? 

This one is a little tricky to answer. Your fridge might last you for decades. However, the average life expectancy of a refrigerator in the United States is 13 years. 

Wrapping Up How to Fix a Fridge that Keeps Turning Off

A fridge normally runs in cycles. This means it naturally turns on and off throughout the day. However, if your fridge is powering down constantly you should try the fixes in this guide. 

Got more fridge problems? Check out the articles below for more fridge repair tips.