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Refrigerator keeps running? Here's what you need to know

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Why is My Refrigerator Running Constantly?

As an appliance engineer with years of experience, I've come across several issues that homeowners face with their fridges. And today, we'll be discussing why your fridge keeps running constantly.

Your refrigerator is one of the essential appliances in your home, and it keeps your food cool and fresh. However, if your fridge runs constantly, it could be a sign that something is wrong.

In this post, we'll take a closer look at the possible reasons why your fridge keeps running and what you can do to fix it.

Reasons Why Your Fridge Keeps Running

When your fridge is running constantly, it could be an indication of some underlying issues. Here are some possible reasons:

  • Dirty condenser coils: Over time, dust and debris can accumulate on the condenser coils at the back of your fridge, making it work harder to keep the temperature cool.
  • Blocked airflow: If there's anything obstructing the airflow in your fridge, such as food or debris, it can make the fridge work harder and run constantly.
  • Thermostat issues: Your fridge's thermostat controls the temperature, and if it's not working correctly, it can make the fridge run constantly.
  • Overfilling or incorrect settings: Filling your fridge to its capacity or setting the temperature too low can cause the fridge to run constantly.
  • Damaged gasket: The gasket on your fridge's door keeps the cool air inside, and if it's damaged or not sealed correctly, the fridge will have to work harder to maintain its temperature.

What to Do When Your Fridge Keeps Running

If your fridge is running constantly, here are the steps to take:

  1. Clean the condenser coils: Use a vacuum or a brush to remove any dust and debris from the condenser coils at the back of your fridge. This can help your fridge work more efficiently.
  2. Check for air blockages: Ensure that nothing is blocking the airflow in your fridge. Remove any food or debris that may be obstructing the air vents.
  3. Replace damaged gaskets: If the gasket on your fridge's door is damaged, replace it with a new one to maintain the seal and keep the cool air in.
  4. Reset the thermostat: If the thermostat isn't working properly, try resetting it to see if it resolves the issue.
  5. Check the fridge's settings and adjust accordingly: Ensure that you're not overfilling your fridge, and that the temperature is set correctly.

If none of these steps work, it may be time to call a professional to diagnose and fix the issue.

Alternatives to Consider

If you've tried all the steps above and your fridge still runs constantly, you may want to consider these alternatives:

  • Upgrade to an energy-efficient model: Newer fridges are generally more energy-efficient than older models. If your fridge is over ten years old, you may want to consider upgrading to a new, energy-efficient model.
  • Consider a mini-fridge: If you don't need a lot of storage space, a mini-fridge may be a better option for you. They use less energy and are more compact than regular fridges.
  • Convert your fridge to a kegerator or wine cooler: If you're no longer using your fridge to store food, consider converting it into a kegerator or wine cooler. This can be a great way to repurpose an older fridge.

Whatever alternative you choose, ensure that it fits your needs and budget.

Related: Whirlpool Ice Maker Blinking Red Light? Here's What to Do!


Why does my refrigerator keep running?

A refrigerator that keeps running constantly can be caused by dirty condenser coils, blocked airflow, damaged gaskets, thermostat issues or overfilling.

How can I clean my refrigerator's condenser coils?

You can clean your refrigerator's condenser coils with a soft-bristled brush or a vacuum cleaner with a crevice tool.

What air blockages should I look for if my fridge keeps running?

Check for blockages in the vents, between shelves, in the crisper drawers, and around the fan.

Can a damaged gasket make my fridge run constantly?

Yes, a damaged gasket can cause cool air to escape, making the fridge work harder and running more than it should.

How do I know if my fridge's thermostat is the problem?

If the temperature inside the fridge doesn't match the settings you've selected or you notice frost buildup, there may be an issue with the thermostat.

What should I do if I overfill my fridge?

Overfilling your fridge can prevent air from circulating properly, making the fridge run constantly. Remove any unnecessary items and make sure there's enough space for air to circulate.

How often should I clean my fridge's coils?

You should clean your fridge's coils at least twice a year or more often if you have pets or live in a dusty environment.

Are "smart" refrigerators more energy-efficient?

Generally, smart refrigerators are more energy-efficient because they have advanced features like temperature sensors and automatic defrost.

Can a mini-fridge be a good alternative to a full-sized fridge?

Yes, if you live alone or have limited space, a mini-fridge can be a great alternative to a full-sized fridge.

Is it possible to convert a fridge to a wine cooler or kegerator?

Yes, with a few modifications, you can easily convert your fridge to a wine cooler or kegerator.

Real experience

Michelle always prided herself on her organizational skills, especially when it came to her fridge. She made sure to label each compartment with specific food groups, and every so often, she'd give it a thorough cleaning. However, lately, Michelle noticed that her fridge was... noisier than usual. When she paid more attention, she realized that the refrigerator keeps running, and it wasn't stopping.

Thinking it was a fluke, Michelle shrugged it off, but as the days went by, the constant hum became more and more annoying. So she did what anyone would do and googled the problem. To her surprise, she found out that there were several reasons why her fridge could be running non-stop, including overfilling and dirty coils.

Determined to solve the issue, Michelle took apart her teeny fridge and found out that it wasn't her organization skills or dusty compartments, but a faulty thermostat. She decided to replace it herself even though she didn't know anything about fridge repairs. Miraculously, she found a YouTube tutorial that explained how to do it.

After some intense online window shopping for a new thermostat, it arrived, and Michelle started the repair process. To her relief, it wasn't as complicated as she thought. With the newly installed thermostat, the refrigerator stops running non-stop, and Michelle had never been prouder of herself.

From that moment on, Michelle made sure to add "fixing a broken fridge" to her list of impressive skills. Anyone who knew Michelle wasn't surprised that she tackled that problem head-on and solved it like a boss.

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Having a fridge that runs constantly can be annoying, but with the steps outlined in this post, you can troubleshoot and fix the problem.

Remember to clean the condenser coils, check for air blockages, replace damaged gaskets, reset the thermostat, and adjust your fridge's settings as needed. If all else fails, consider upgrading to an energy-efficient model or repurposing your old fridge into a kegerator or wine cooler.

A fridge that runs constantly can lead to higher energy bills and possible damage to the appliance, so it's best to address the issue sooner rather than later. With these tips, you can keep your fridge in good working order and enjoy fresh, cool food for years to come.

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