1. Why does it seem like my refrigerator runs constantly?
When working properly, the thermostat turns the compressor on and off. Once the thermostat turns the compressor on, it will run until the temperature inside the refrigerator is lower than the setting of the thermostat.
Make sure that the refrigerator has enough air clearance on all sides. Refrigerators with a condenser coil grid on the back of them need room to radiate the heat away from the coils.
Verify that the door light switch is working properly. Push the switch with your finger to verify the light is turning off. If the light stays on, it will actually warn the interior of the refrigerator. Fix or replace the switch if it is faulty.
Modern refrigerators that have a lot of storage and large freezer compartments run for longer periods of time. They also start and stop very frequently to maintain an even temperature. This is especially true if you have just put a lot of warm food in the refrigerator, or if it is very hot and humid. It can take several hours to get back to the cool temperature you have it set for after putting a large amount of food in it.
If the compressor is not shutting off when the temperature inside the refrigerator is cold enough, you may have a bad thermostat. You may also have the temperature set too high in the refrigerator. Try adjusting the thermostat to a lower temperature. If this turns the compressor off, you had it set too high. With the help of a refrigerator thermometer, you can find a more ideal setting that will keep your food cold, but not so cold that the compressor is always running. If raising the temperature setting doesn't help, it may be a problem with the thermostat and you will need to replace it.
If your thermostat is working properly, there's a chance that you have low levels of refrigerant in the sealed system. If this is where the symptoms lead you, you need to contact a professional appliance repair person. Only an EPA certified technician can legally work on a sealed system. If you attempt to do work on this system, you will void the warranty.
If this is a new refrigerator, it will run for a long time, almost constantly, before it gets cooled enough to stabilize the interior temperature. Allow up to 24 hours for it to stabilize. The refrigerator should be at least one half to two thirds full. This will help to maintain a stable temperature inside the unit. The cold items inside will help to keep an even temperature inside after the door has been opened and closed. Some people prefer to keep a lot of stuff in the refrigerator as ballast, even jugs of water. This helps to maintain temperatures inside so that when the door gets opened and closed often, it doesn't need to run as much to maintain the temperature inside.
2. Why doesn't the freezer area freeze my food?
This is a common occurrence, and doesn’t always have a clear-cut solution. You’ll want to check the internal freezer temperature. The operating temperature range of most residential freezers is between -10F and +10F. The optimum temperature of the freezer is between 0F and 5F. Proper refrigerator operating temperatures should be between 36 and 45 degrees Fahrenheit. If the refrigerator temperature is very close to the 35 degree mark, you can try turning the temperature up a little bit.
Sometimes, rearranging how you put your foods in the refrigerator can make a difference. The temperatures vary from compartment to compartment. Another common cause is a leaky gasket. Try putting a dollar bill between the gasket and the frame of the freezer as you close the door. If the dollar comes out without resistance, then you need a new door gasket.
When installing a refrigerator door gasket, you should allow the gasket to adjust to room temperature before removing it from the carton. When carrying or handling the gasket, you want to carry it by the corners. This will help to prevent breakage of the flexible magnet. Should the magnet be found to be broken, it will NOT impair its effectiveness. If the gasket is deformed or twisted from long storage, you can heat the deformed section with an electric heater, hair dryer, or a 150-300 watt light bulb. Holding the heat source about 1 inch to 3 or 4 inches from the gasket, move the heat source back and forth to maintain even warming. Apply heat until gasket has resumed its original shape. This can also correct an already installed, deformed gasket. Make sure you use caution so as not to damage the inner door panel.
3. Why is my refrigerator not cooling properly?
If the refrigerator isn't cool, check to see if the light comes on when you open the door. Next check to see if the thermostat is set properly. If both of these are OK, then check to see if the compressor is running.
See if the compressor motor is running. The compressor is in a case with no visible moving parts. It is usually located at the back of the refrigerator near the bottom. If it’s humming, or making a steady noise, and your refrigerator is still not cooling properly, there could be a problem with one or more various components.
Refrigerators have either a mechanical defrost timer, or an ADC (Adaptive Defrost Control). If your refrigerator has a mechanical timer, set the cold control to the coldest setting and then advance the defrost timer. You can manually advance the timer with a screwdriver. Insert the screwdriver into the advancement pinion and turn clockwise a 1/4 to 3/8’s of a turn. If the compressor starts, replace the defrost timer. For further help, you’ll want to call a professional appliance repair technician.
Sometimes you can hear a click-buzz-click sound coming from the compressor. This is the relay/overload at work. If you hear this, power is getting to the compressor. If you do, something is wrong with either the compressor or the compressor starting components. If you have a newer model with solid-state starting components, you may not hear anything at all. If there is power to the starting components, you may be able to test each part and replace any bad parts. There is also a 3-in-1 unit that may work on your model which replaces all the components in one unit. If the compressor still won’t start, you have a bad compressor and need to replace it. If it does start, wire the 3-in-1 part in permanently. Make sure the one you buy is rated for the horsepower of your appliance.
If you don’t hear anything, you can take the cover off the side of the compressor and test for voltage at the two leads. If no voltage is present, it’s time to check the cold control. To test if the cold control is bad, you can temporarily jump the two wires at the cold control. If you get power to the compressor after doing so, the cold control needs to be replaced.
More common refrigerator problems can be found here.
Refrigerator Replacement Parts can be found here.
1. Why does it seem like my refrigerator runs constantly?