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How to Fix a Refrigerator That Keeps Running

A properly configured refrigerator runs when the internal temperature rises above the level set on the thermostat. The appliance should be quiet the remainder of the time. A fridge often runs for long periods if the thermostat is not properly set up or if the appliance is unable to maintain a consistently cool temperature. Identifying and resolving the problem with your particular make and model should reduce the noise from the compressor.

Step 1

Move the refrigerator to a cool, shady location if extreme heat is a consistent problem in your area. Some models may run constantly if the weather is particularly hot. Loading the appliance with food also causes the appliance to run for longer periods.

Step 2

Change how you use the appliance. Propping the door open or storing hot or warm food may increase the amount of time the appliance runs. Packing the appliance against the rear walls reduces the air flow around the appliance and similarly causes the motor to run longer. Move the refrigerator if it is near a heat source, such as an oven, radiator or clothes dryer.

Step 3

Check the rubber door seals make contact with the body of the refrigerator. Door bins and shelves may have been knocked out of position, causing the door to remain ajar. Check that bulky bottles and jars stored in the doors do not strike the shelves inside the appliance when the door is closed. Cold air leaks out of the gap in the seal and causes the appliance to run longer.

Step 4

Adjust the thermostat. It might be set to a temperature too cold for the appliance to ever achieve. Set the refrigerator to 37 degrees Fahrenheit or 3 degrees Celsius for ideal food storage without straining the appliance. You might need to purchase a thermometer to help you accurately set the temperature if you own a dial-controlled refrigerator. Digital thermostats can easily be adjusted using the up and down arrow buttons on the control panel. Allow 24 hours for temperature changes to take effect.

Step 5

Unplug the refrigerator and clean the condenser coils, which are behind the toe grille below the doors or behind the appliance. Brush or vacuum any accumulated dust, hair and dirt off the coils and reconnect the power. Dirty condenser coils contribute to longer run times. Make sure there is space of a few inches on all sides of the appliance when you move it back into place.