Refrigerator Running Too Often? Check It With These Tips

Refrigerator Running Too Often

Stuck trying to figure out why your refrigerator is running too often?

Don’t worry, I’ve been there too. I know how annoying it can be to deal with the constant humming of a refrigerator, especially because it can significantly raise your electricity bills.

Luckily, you’ve come to the right place to fix this issue.

If your refrigerator is constantly running, chances are the condenser coils are dirty, your freezer’s temperature is too high, or the defrost heater and thermostat are faulty. A damaged door gasket or condenser fan motor could also explain the issue.

Keep reading to learn how to fix these issues!

Why Is Your Refrigerator Running Too Often? 6 Explanations  

A refrigerator that runs 24/7 does more than simply disrupt your peace. It will also land you a hefty electric bill at the end of the month. So for these reasons and more, you’re no doubt keen to get the problem fixed pronto.  

Take a look at the following information. It will go into detail about the most common reasons why a refrigerator would run continuously. Follow the tips to get the problem sorted. 

#1 Dirty Condenser Coils

During the refrigeration process, a coolant flows through the condenser coils to draw heat away from the unit.

If your condenser coils are dirty, your refrigerator will have to work overtime to keep cool. This will make it run for longer than it should. 

Luckily, you may solve the issue by simply cleaning the condenser coils. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Unplug the refrigerator from the wall outlet to prevent electrical hazards.
  2. Move the refrigerator from its place to access the condenser coils. They are usually located at the back or across the bottom of the unit.
  3. Use a vacuum or a refrigerator condenser coil brush to clean the coils of dust and dirt. 
  4. Sweep and then mop the floor under the refrigerator. Wait for the floor to dry.
  5. Put the refrigerator back in place and plug it back in.
Refrigerator components
Cleaning the condenser coils can solve the issue.

#2 A High Freezer Temperature

Now, it’s time to check your freezer’s temperature. To do it, just place a thermostat in an ice cream that has been in your freezer for at least 12 hours.

Your freezer should be set at a chilly 0 degrees Fahrenheit  (-18 ०C). Any warmer and your refrigerator will have to work hard to keep the unit cool. This could cause it to run constantly. 

What can you do if your freezer temperature is too high? Simple! Just adjust the temperature knob.

But, if you’ve already adjusted the temperature and your freezer is still too cold, try the following tips:

  • Manually defrost the freezer if it has iced up and doesn’t have an auto-defrost mechanism. 
  • If you hear a whirring or a rattling noise, replace the compressor. 
  • Replace the cold control thermostat.
  • Listen to the sound of the evaporator fan working inside the freezer when the compressor runs. If you can’t hear it, then you may need to replace it. 

#3 A Faulty Defrost Heater

Your defrost heater is located next to the evaporator coils and operates a couple of times a day to thaw the build-up frost in the area.

If your defrost heater is not working properly, frost will begin to accumulate on the evaporator coils.

If your evaporator coils are frosted over, it will be difficult for the refrigerator to remove heat from the unit. This will cause the refrigerator to run constantly as it battles to cool itself down. 

To determine if your defrost heater is faulty, you will need to test it with a multimeter. Here’s how:

  1. Unplug the refrigerator from the power source. 
  2. Remove the defrost heater. (To do so, you will likely have to remove the shelves, drawers, and other parts that are in the way.) Please read your manual for further instructions.
  3. Set your multimeter to Rx1 mode. 
  4. Place the probes on the defrost heater’s terminals and test for continuity.
  5. You should see a reading between zero and infinity. Any other reading will show that your defrost heater needs replacing.

#4 A Faulty Defrost Termination Thermostat

Your defrost termination thermostat and defrost heater work hand in hand. The defrost heater works to thaw the build-up of frost on the evaporator coils. The defrost termination thermostat is what detects the temperature on the coils.

It turns the defrost heater on when they’re too cold and off when they have finished defrosting. 

If the defrost termination thermostat is not working correctly, then it will not detect the temperature of the coils accurately. This could cause the defrost heater to stay on, although the coils have finished defrosting. This would keep the refrigerator running

What should you do if you think that your defrost termination thermostat is faulty? Conduct a multimeter test for continuity. If it does not show continuity, replace the thermostat. 

#5 Damaged Refrigerator Door Gaskets

Door gaskets are the seals that run around the refrigerator. These seals help to keep warmth and moisture out of the fridge so that it can maintain its temperature. 

If your fridge is constantly running, chances are the door gaskets are damaged. If your refrigerator is letting in warm air, the defrost cycle will have to run constantly to keep the environment cool. 

How can you tell if your door gaskets are damaged? The following are signs of wear and tear on your gaskets:

  • Torn gaskets
  • Brittle or cracked gaskets
  • Moisture on freezer shelves
  • Moisture on the edge of the door
  • Moisture around the air outlet ducts
Refrigerator's rubber gasket
Replace your fridge’s gaskets if they are damaged to prevent performance issues

Do you think that your refrigerator gaskets could use replacing? Then here’s how to do it:

  1. Start by soaking your new gasket in warm water or running it on a low cycle in your clothes dryer. This will make it easier for you to get the new gasket on. 
  2. Loosen, but do not remove the screws that hold the old gasket to the edge of the door. 
  3. Pry the old gasket away from the door.
  4. If you soaked the new gasket in warm water, dry it off. 
  5. Starting with one of the top corners, pull the gasket lip behind the metal retainer. Continue working your way around the fridge, pulling the gasket around the container. 
  6. Tighten the screws that fasten the gasket to the edge of the door. 

#6 A Faulty Condenser Fan Motor

The condenser fan motor works together with your fridge’s coils. They help to keep your refrigerator at the right temperature.

When the coils begin to build a layer of frost, the condenser fan motor pushes air over them to defrost them.

If the fan doesn’t operate properly, then the compressor will have to work harder to keep the fridge cool. This could cause the fridge to keep running non-stop. 

If you suspect that the condenser fan motor is blocked, please follow these simple instructions:

  1. Unplug the refrigerator and locate the condenser fan motor (please check the user’s manual)
  2. Remove any rubbish that may be blocking the fan. 
  3. Vacuum clean that area frequently to stop rubbish from building up in the fan. 

What can you do if you suspect that your condenser fan motor is faulty?

  • Check for wear and tear on the motor and blades. 
  • Have a technician test that the electricity is flowing correctly to the fan. 
  • Check that the motor has continuity. 

How Often Should a Refrigerator Start and Stop?

There isn’t an average time for a refrigerator to start and stop. That’s because various factors will alter how long it runs. 

Here are some of them:

  • How often you open the refrigerator door. 
  • How often you put warm food in the refrigerator.
  • The ambient temperature of your kitchen. 

Do you live with many people and is the fridge is constantly being opened and closed? Do you live in a hot or humid climate? If so, then your fridge will turn on and off more often than it would in a house where someone lives alone in a cold climate.


The noise of the fridge constantly running can be annoying. Not to mention expensive. I hope that this article has helped you to pinpoint the problem and get on the road to fixing it. 

If this guide has helped you, why not check out some of our related articles below?

Thanks for reading. Have a great day!


Hi there! I’m Craig, and I’m the founder of Appliance Analysts. When it comes to appliances and anything electrical, I’ve always loved opening things up, figuring out how they work, and fixing them. This website is where I share free advice from myself and our experts to help our readers solve their appliance/HVAC problems and save money. Read more