Why does my refrigerator keep running and does not turn off?

We need our refrigerator to keep our food in a safe place.

If it is not working properly, the result will be spoiled food and products and possibly a higher electricity bill. A refrigerator should not go lower than the necessary temperature to maintain our food in good condition.

But what happens if it continues to run at the same temperature without shutting off every now and then? Should we accept that once we put products in our fridge, they will be guaranteed to be frozen due to the temperature it maintains? Or can we do something to fix this issue?

Your fridge is actually not meant to run all the time

For most modern refrigerator models, they are only meant to run for an average of 35% each day.

This means that every day, your fridge may only be in cooling mode for around 8 hours, while it stops for a bit to go into a defrost cycle. Of course, the specific hours in which your fridge is expected to run will ultimately depend on its model. After all, not all fridges are the same.

Once you notice that your refrigerator does not seem to stop and continues to freeze the items inside your fridge, these may be clear indicators of a bigger issue that needs your attention.

Reasons why your refrigerator runs all the time

A refrigerator that runs at a constantly high temperature without defrosting is not normal. If your fridge functioning weirdly, the problem may be due to the following reasons:

Issues with easy fixes

Reasons that may cause your refrigerator to run all the time but do not need major repairs or service:

1. Your fridge may be in a warm room

Since a refrigerator’s main function is to keep a cool temperature, it is optimal to place it in an area with a normal temperature. This will allow your fridge to maintain the recommended coldness without putting it under too much stress.

Unfortunately, you may be keeping your fridge in a warm room or worse, in direct sunlight.
Doing this makes it run longer to maintain the necessary temperature to keep your food from
spoiling. Hence, instead of taking some rests in the cycle, your fridge must run continuously.

What you can do to fix the problem

Whenever possible, you should reposition your refrigerator and move it to a cooler place in your kitchen. Like other appliances, placing it in a heated area will do it no good and may even affect its lifespan.

2. Your fridge may be loaded with warm food

Remember what your mother or grandmother may have warned you about putting hot food
into your fridge when you were younger? Aside from making the food spoil earlier, doing so can affect your fridge’s temperature.

When you put hot food inside your refrigerator, it releases steam that also makes the inside
of your fridge warmer. Hence, your machine will have to work harder to maintain the coolness of the area and will result in it continuing to run far from its normal operation. Doing this often may not damage your appliance immediately but will eventually cause it to encounter some

What you can do to fix the problem

Like other things, following the adults’ advice is actually a good thing to do. Avoid putting
piping hot food immediately in your fridge and wait for it to cool instead. To hasten the cooling process, divide the food into different containers and it will be at room temperature in no time.

3. You may be opening your fridge too often

Are there a lot of people in your home that use your fridge? Do you find it hard to choose what food you are in the mood for? Or are you forgetting to close your fridge’s door when getting food or water?

Unfortunately, when you are opening your fridge too much in the day, you are draining the coldness inside it. When you open your fridge, the warm room air temperature from the outside will go into your refrigerator. As a result, it will need to work a couple of times harder to keep
the air cold again, which makes it run continuously.

What you can do to fix the problem

Since fridges have to be opened every now and then, the thing you can do is to lessen the frequency of opening them. It is also possible to decrease the amount of time you are opening your fridge. You can do this by deciding what you want to get instead of taking a look inside your refrigerator to choose.

If you are a visual person, taking a picture of the food inside your fridge may be helpful.

4. Your fridge may have dirty condenser coils

In many cases, your refrigerator’s condenser coils may rack up dust and dirt. Since they are
necessary to keep your fridge cool, dirty coils will make it difficult for the fridge to release heat.

What you can do to fix the problem

a) Unplug your refrigerator.

b) Remove the grill and use a small brush to dust off the condenser coils.

c) Return the grill and test the fridge.

Issues that may need replacement or service

Reasons that make your refrigerator run all the time that may require help from a professional technician:

1. Your fridge may have a faulty condenser fan motor

A refrigerator’s condenser fan motor mainly functions to keep the compressor and condenser cool. Hence, when it is not working properly, your fridge will have trouble in keeping itself cool and will work non-stop to try and fix the problem.

How to determine if this is the case

a) First, make sure to unplug your refrigerator to avoid electrocution.

b) Remove the back access panel of your fridge and inspect the condenser fan motor.

c) Use your finger to turn the fan around and check for dust and debris.

d) If you find any obstructions in the fan’s blades, use a small brush or vacuum cleaner to remove them.

e) Inspect the fan motor’s parts for any damage. If there are any signs of wear, you will need to replace that part.

f) Check the continuity of the fan motor’s terminals. If one or more do not show continuity, you will need to have them replaced.

2. Your fridge may have a faulty evaporator fan motor

A refrigerator’s evaporator fan motor operates by blowing air all over the evaporator coils. This ultimately helps in cooling the refrigerator down to its required temperature.

As a result, if the fan is not doing its job properly, this will make the fridge double down in its cooling operation. If the target temperature is not achieved, the refrigerator will continue to run and attempt cooling itself for a long period of time.

How to determine if this is the case

a) Unplug your refrigerator and take the cover of your evaporator fan off. For an easier access, you may want to check your appliance’s manual.

b) Inspect your evaporator fan. Use your finger to rotate the blades and check for any debris or damage.

c) Get a small brush or vacuum cleaner to remove the debris.

d) If you see ice or frost in the fan, this may mean that another issue may also be affecting the defrost cycle.

e) Get your multimeter and check the motor for continuity. If one or two terminals are failing, you will need to contact a technician to fix the issue safely.

3. Your fridge may have a faulty defrost timer

The defrost timer of your refrigerator activates the cooling and defrost cycle of your appliance automatically. If it is failing, your fridge will also be affected and will also put it under stress by making it run most times of the day.

How to determine if this is the case

a) Unplug your refrigerator.

b) Locate your defrost timer. If you do not have access to your manual, try checking in the rear panel, control panel, or lower kickplate of your fridge.

c) Pull the timer out of your fridge. In some cases, you may need to unscrew the timer before you can pull it out to remove the wire connectors. If you are not confident in doing this, you can always call a technician to do it properly.

d) Using a multimeter, check your defrost timer’s terminals for continuity. If one or two terminals do not respond, you will need to replace the timer.

4. Your fridge may have a faulty defrost heater

The defrost heater of your refrigerator does its job by heating the evaporator coils of your freezer. If it is not working as it should be, your fridge will run continuously to try and prevent ice from building up on the coils.

How to determine if this is the case

a) Unplug your refrigerator to avoid electrocution.

b) Check your appliance’s manual to find the location of your heater. In some cases, you may see it in the side of your freezer.

c) Inspect the evaporator coils of your fridge. If you see frost or ice buildup, calling a technician will be a good idea.

d) Using a multimeter, test the heater for continuity. As always if it does not, you will need to replace it.

5. Your fridge may have a failing door seal or gaskets

A refrigerator’s seal gaskets are very important for it to run optimally. Once damaged, the fridge will have a difficult time in controlling and regulating its internal temperature. As a result, it will run for a much longer time than necessary.

How to determine if this is the case

a) Inspect your refrigerator’s gaskets. Since they are usually dark in color, using a flashlight to thoroughly check each cranny may be useful. If there are too many damages, you will need to replace them soon.

b) If you see food spills and debris in the gaskets, take a wet cloth and wipe the debris away. This can be what’s causing your fridge to stay ajar, which releases the cold air out in the open.

c) Take a dollar bill and place it between the seals before closing the fridge’s door. Try getting the dollar bill by gently pulling it out. If it was too easy, you will need to replace your seals as soon as you can.