Refrigerator Is Running Constantly: Causes And Fixes

Refrigerators are intelligent machines that are programmed to shut down once the desired temperature is achieved. A constantly running refrigerator means there is a problem that is preventing it from turning off. Appliance repair experts can fix this problem quickly, but there are some DIY fixes can help you troubleshoot the issue.

Clean The Coils

The first thing you need to do if your refrigerator is running constantly is clean the coils. The coils installed in your refrigerator have an important task to carry out. The condenser coil in particular is designed to dissipate heat generated by the unit. With time, dirt and dust accumulation takes place that covers the coils and impedes their function.

In such a case, the coils will not be able to dissipate heat and will eventually lead to a decrease in their performance. The way to avoid such an issue is by regularly inspecting and cleaning the coils. Generally, coils are located at the back of the refrigerator but the location may vary depending on the variant.

To clean the coils, you will need to consult the user manual. Keep in mind that cleaning should only be performed when the unit is unplugged from the main power socket. Plus, use a soft cleaning tool and appropriate chemical agents to help remove the accumulation and prevent damage to the coils.

Check Your Temperature Settings

A major reason your refrigerator might be running constantly could be due to temperature settings. Every refrigerator comes with pre-factory temperature settings that are ideal for most conditions. However, you can change the temperature settings depending on your needs.

Ideally, the fridge should be at 40 degrees Fahrenheit, while the freezer should be at 10 degrees Fahrenheit. If there is a huge difference between the two or either of the settings is too high, it could create problems not only for the unit but also for the food inside.

This could easily result in expensive food spoilage as food needs to be kept at low temperatures. If the temperature rises, bacteria and mold will grow. In addition to that, if the temperature of the refrigerator is set too high, the fridge will heat up, causing it to constantly run to keep things cool.

Faulty Fan Motors

Refrigerators also come with fans that help keep the unit cool. Depending on the variant, a refrigerator may have one or more fans. That said, if you observe the refrigerator constantly running, it might be that either of the fans is faulty. Unfortunately, replacing the fan is not something we will recommend you do on your own.

It is better if you consult a refrigerator ice maker repair Alexandria expert who will determine the root cause of the problem. If the refrigerator has not been maintained in a while, it might be that dirt and grime accumulation is preventing the fans from functioning. A thorough cleanup might get them working.

However, if the refrigerator is old, the fans have likely reached their maximum lifespan. In this case, you will not see any damages but will need to replace the motors as their time is up.

Frosted Evaporator Coils

If your refrigerator does not stop running, it might be due to frosted evaporator coils. Like the condenser coils, the evaporator coils are also equipped with an important responsibility. Both the condenser and evaporator coils work together to maintain the internal temperature.

If either of the two malfunctions, the unit will run constantly. In most cases, the evaporator coils tend to frost, which causes the unit to run for hours without stopping. In this case, all you need to do is remove the layer of frost but you will need access to the coils.

Consult the user manual and make sure the unit is unplugged. Modern refrigerators are equipped with defrost features that automatically turn on if the unit detects frosting/icing. It helps the frost melt away. However, if you have an older unit, you will have to manually remove the ice.

Problems With The Defroster

As mentioned previously, the auto-defrost feature can do wonders if there is ice or frost formation on the coils. However, it could also stop working and cause the refrigerator to run constantly. This could be a slightly complicated issue as you will need to check the defrost heater assembly, defrost timer, defrost thermostat, and defrost control board.

To make sure that either of the components are causing the issue, you will need to check them separately. Once you have determined the issue, you will need to replace the part. More often than not, it is better to leave such repairs for the professionals. You can easily end up damaging or electrocuting yourself during the process.

Replace The Door Gasket

The door gasket might seem a minor component but it maintains the internal temperature by preventing the outside air from entering. Since it is made of rubber, it will last several years until cracks and other damages occur. Door gaskets are not expensive and easy to replace.

However, door gasket issues normally go unnoticed and ignored as the leak tends to be very minor in most cases. If the gasket is leaking, the unit will not be able to maintain the internal temperature which will result in constant running.

The best way to spot leaks is by running your hand on the gasket. If you notice air leaking, it means the gasket will need replacement.

Broken Main Control Board

If all else fails and your refrigerator keeps running, it most likely means you are dealing with a broken control board. The main control board is the brain of the refrigerator. This is where the unit gets its signals from. If the control board malfunctions due to some reason, the unit will not receive proper signals.

As a result, it might run constantly. In most cases, the control board malfunctions due to a power surge. It can be replaced like other components in the fridge. However, it does not come cheap. You will have to opt for the exact replacement.

We will recommend consulting an expert to remove and install the new control board. Plus, at this point you should also keep in mind especially if the refrigerator is old, not to pay more than 50% of the price of a replacement fridge.

If the unit is constantly experiencing problems, it is better to replace it with a new one.

How To Prevent Refrigerator Issues?

Most refrigerator issues can be solved by simply scheduling expert maintenance. Most people consider it an expense whereas it should be thought of as an investment. The reason is, that expert maintenance not only aims to clean but also thoroughly inspect the unit for potential issues.

This allows the repair and replacement of components before things turn serious and expensive. As a general rule of thumb, you should get your refrigerator professionally maintained at least once a year or more depending on the usage frequency and external factors.


These tips will surely help you troubleshoot a constantly running refrigerator. However, it is your responsibility to keep it clean and maintained to prevent both minor and major issues. This will help you prolong the lifespan of the unit. Moreover, have a refrigerator repair Fairfax professional perform repairs so there is no room for error.

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