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5 Reasons Why Your Refrigerator Runs All The Time

James Elder
Last Updated on
by James Elder

Fridges cycle on and off to maintain a constant temperature inside the unit. However, if your fridge constantly runs to keep cool without shutting off, then it is an indicator that something is wrong.

A refrigerator that runs all the time indicates that the condenser coils are dirty and needs cleaning. A dirty condenser coil forces the compressor to work for an extended period of time without switching off.

The sound of your refrigerator running all day generally won’t disrupt the serenity in your house. What may worry you, though, is a super high electricity bill or the possibility that your eggs, meat, or other refrigerated goods become frozen .

Why The Fridge Doesn’t Need to Run All the Time

A refrigerator doesn’t have to run continuously in order to keep your food and beverages cool. On the contrary, refrigerators are designed to cycle on and off to keep the right temperature within.

Whenever the temperature rises over the set temperature, the thermostat detects the shift and transmits a signal to the compressor. The compressor then circulates refrigerant gas across the evaporator coils to absorb the heat and chill the air inside. Once the temperature approaches the right range, the thermostat instructs the compressor to switch off, and the cycle concludes.

This cycle repeats throughout the day. How many times it does so depends on the size and model of the fridge, the surrounding temperature, and how frequently the door is opened. On average, a refrigerator may cycle on and off every 30 minutes to maintain the temperature inside.

So yes, a refrigerator shouldn’t run continuously. Now that we are clear on that let’s concentrate on the root of the problem and share troubleshooting tips!

Reasons Why Your Refrigerator is Constantly Running

1. The Condenser Coils Are Dirty

Dirty Condenser Coils

One of the most common causes of a refrigerator running continuously is dirty condenser coils. The condenser coils are in charge of discharging the heat from the refrigerator’s interior compartment.

These coils may get clogged with dust, pet hair, and other debris and obstruct the flow of air, making it more difficult for the fridge to release heat. This forces the compressor to work harder and for a longer period of time, leading to higher energy bills and possibly compressor damage, which is quite expensive to replace .


To resolve this issue, you should clean your refrigerator’s condenser coils on a regular basis — once or twice a year is ideal. You can clean them with a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment or a dedicated coil cleaning brush. Make sure to unplug your refrigerator before you start cleaning!

2. The Door Gasket Is Malfunctioning

Door Gasket

The door gasket, also known as the door seal, is a rubber or plastic strip that lines the edges of the refrigerator door to create an airtight seal when the door is closed. Its role is to maintain the temperature inside the refrigerator and prevent cold air from escaping.

The gasket could, however, wear out or suffer damage over time, causing air leaks and forcing the refrigerator to run continuously to maintain the proper temperature inside.


Close the refrigerator door with a piece of paper so that the paper is half inside and half outside of the fridge. If you have difficulty when you try to get the paper out, the gasket is sealing as it should. However, if the paper slides off easily and without resistance, the gasket is damaged and must be replaced.

You can purchase a replacement gasket from the company that manufactures your refrigerator. It’s easy to install it yourself by following the manufacturer’s installation manual

3. The Thermostat Is Malfunctioning


The thermostat keeps track of the temperature inside the fridge and communicates with the compressor to maintain the appropriate temperature.

Newer refrigerators are equipped with a digital or electronic thermostat, which allows for more accurate temperature control and shows you the exact temperature of the unit at all times. Additionally, modern thermostats have an alert that goes off whenever the temperature fluctuates and a vacation mode to conserve energy when the refrigerator is not in use. Regardless of the features, though, a malfunctioning thermostat causes the refrigerator to operate constantly, leading to food spoiling or higher energy costs.


Try a quick test to see whether the thermostat is the problem. Increase or decrease the thermostat while keeping a close eye on the compressor. If the compressor doesn’t switch on or off in accordance with the thermostat, then you are dealing with a faulty thermostat that has to be replaced with a brand-new one.

The process of replacing the thermostat might be difficult, though, so it’s best to hire a qualified expert. However, you can do it yourself if you are a skilled and experienced technician, by following the manufacturer’s instruction manual.

4. Your Refrigerator Is Overfilled With Food and Beverage

Filled Refrigerator

A filled refrigerator might be a contributing factor to the unit running continuously. When the appliance is overstuffed with food and beverages, the air circulation is constricted, making it more difficult for the refrigerator to maintain its temperature. As a result, the compressor has to run non-stop in order to chill the refrigerator’s contents.


Maintaining an adequate level of food inside the unit is essential. The basic rule is to keep the refrigerator at least 3/4 full. This enables proper air circulation and aids the unit’s temperature maintenance.

Organize the food within the refrigerator to allow for optimum air circulation. This can be accomplished by designating specific storage rooms for various food items, such as fruits and vegetables, dairy items, and meats. While you’re at it, check food expiration dates and remove any spoiled or expired food.

5. The Evaporator Fan Is either Dirty or Malfunctioning

Faulty Evaporator Fan

The evaporator fan circulates cold air within the appliance. If the evaporator fan’s motor fails, the fan will be unable to circulate air throughout the refrigerator, requiring the compressor to run continuously in an effort to chill the unit.

Furthermore, ice accumulation or debris may prevent the fan from spinning freely. This can cause the refrigerator to run continuously as the compressor attempts to chill the unit without adequate air circulation.

Over time, the fan blade that turns to circulate air over the evaporator coils can become damaged. If the blade becomes deformed or damaged, it may be unable to spin properly, resulting in the failure of the evaporator fan and the fridge working non-stop.


If the evaporator fan is not working properly, it should be replaced. This can be a difficult task that may call for a skilled technician. But first, turn off the refrigerator and inspect it for probable ice buildup or dirt.

The evaporator fan is normally found in the freezer compartment towards the unit’s back. If you are certain that the evaporator fan requires maintenance, use a soft brush or cloth to remove any dirt or ice that may be clogging the fan and fan blades.


In conclusion, a fridge working non-stop can be an irritating and expensive problem, and there are five reasons why this may be happening. These include dirty condenser coils, a faulty door gasket, an overstocked refrigerator, a malfunctioning thermostat, and a damaged or dirty evaporator fan.

We hope that we were able to assist you in identifying which of the 5 problems we listed above is the culprit in your situation so you can improve your refrigerator’s efficiency, lower your energy costs, and prolong the life of your device.

Regular maintenance also helps prevent potential problems and keeps your refrigerator running smoothly. If you’re unsure of how to diagnose or fix any of these issues, it’s best to seek the assistance of a qualified technician.

James Elder
James Elder
James Elder has been fiddling with gadgets and using tools from a young age. His father was an excellent craftsman and James enjoyed spending time with his dad and learning all he could about working with wood, drywall, electronics, and various household projects. James has worked professionally for many years and his passion is to share knowledge that is especially useful to aspiring handy men & women to get more done around their homes.
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