A refrigerator that is constantly running is not only annoying; it might indicate a problem with your appliance. Here are some easy, do-it-yourself tips, as well as some more involved repairs, in order to avoid a refrigerator breakdown.
Warning! Before attempting to work on any appliance, make sure that all power (electricity) and utilities (water and gas) have been turned off and/or disconnected on the appliance. Learn more about Appliance Repair Safety.
Dirty Condensor Coils
Dirty condensor coils could be causing your refrigerator to run constantly. The compressors pumps refrigerant through two different sets of coils – the condensor coils located on the outside of the machine and the evaporator coils, located inside the freezer compartment. Over time, dirt and pet hair can coat the outer coils, causing the compressor to run more often in order to cool the refrigerator. This continuous running could cause your condensor to overheat and cause your refrigerator to stop cooling altogether. To avoid this, be sure to clean the condensor coils every six months so the coils can dissipate heat easily and continue to do their job.
You can clean the coils easily by using a refrigerator condensor coil cleaning brush. This thin long brush is designed to easily fit into the tight spaces where your coils are located.
Problem with Freezer Defrost System – Defrost Heater, Defrost Timer, or Defrost Thermostat
There could be an issue with your refrigerator’s defrost system which is made up of a defrost heater, defrost timer and defrost thermostat, depending on your refrigerator’s model. If one of these parts goes bad, then frost will continue to build up on your evaporator coils located inside your freezer, restricting air flow. This restricted air flow will make the compressors run continuously.
Try testing the defrost heater first, as this is an easy part to test for continuity. If the defrost heater does not have continuity, replace it. This may solve your frosty evaporator coil problem and allow your compressor to run as normal.
A bad gasket or seal could be allowing warm humid air inside your freezer, causing the evaporator coils to ice up more than normal. If the evaporator coils freeze up then air flow is restricted and the compressor will run all the time. Replace the defective gasket with a new one.
Bad Evaporator Fan Motor
The evaporator fan blows over the cold evaporator coils circulating the cool air throughout the freezer and into the fresh food compartment of your refrigerator. If the motor is faulty, then the fan will not run and no cold air will circulate throughout your refrigerator. Replace the evaporator fan motor.
Sometimes it is not the motor that is faulty, but the blade. Dirt can interfere with the blade and a little cleaning is all it needs. If the blades on the fan are bent, it’s best to replace the part entirely.
Condensor Fan Motor or Fan
If the condensor fan is not operating, then cool air will not blow over the condenser coils, causing your compressor to work harder in order to keep your refrigerator cool. Check to see the condensor fan is running. If it is not, it might be due to a faulty fan motor. Test and replace the fan motor if needed.
Sometimes the fan blade could be the problem. Dust and dirt can accumulate in the blade, not allowing it to spin. Be sure to clean off the fan blade. If the fan blade appears warped of defective, replace it with a new fan motor blade.