Troubleshooting a Refrigerator That Runs Continuously

A repair man fixing a refrigerator.

Troubleshooting a refrigerator that runs continuously requires an understanding of how the refrigerator works. By definition, a refrigerator is one of the few appliances within your home that has to run on a continuous basis. If the refrigerator is not running, it will not be able to keep food cold, which will lead to spoilage and waste. The way refrigerators are built to run on a constant basis, they break down on an infrequent basis.

When a refrigerator experiences problems or seems to be breaking down, there are some steps that can be taken to troubleshoot the problem. A continuously running refrigerator is indicative of a problem with one of the components within the refrigerator that needs to be assessed in order to determine the proper fix. In order to properly troubleshoot problems with your refrigerator that runs continuously, an understanding of how the refrigerator works is in order.

Condenser and Evaporator Coil

The refrigerator consists of a condenser coil and an evaporator coil. It is kept cold by a liquid coolant that is pumped between the condenser and evaporator through the use of a compressor and motor. The coolant moves from the condenser where it is cooled into the evaporator. The condenser coils inside the refrigerator can be seen on the outside of the appliance while the evaporator coil is located inside the refrigerator.

The Role of the Heater and Thermostat

Frost and condensation rarely builds up inside the refrigerator. A heater inside the refrigerator melts any frost that may occur inside the refrigerator long before it ever appears. This melting of frost takes place at various stages inside the refrigerator. After the melting process that takes place with the heater, the thermostat is engaged to set the refrigerator at its proper cooling temperature, keeping frost from building up.

Identifying Specific Problems

Most of the parts that make up the compressor and evaporator units inside the refrigerator, consisting of thermostats, the heater, condenser, fans and various switches, are easy to identify and replace. The trick to troubleshooting the refrigerator that runs continuously is to listen for noises and sounds that occur and seem unusual to you. A loud running refrigerator or constant churning of ice when the ice makes is not engaged can indicate problems with the motors or compressors that need to be replaced immediately.

Addressing Problems With a Continuously Running Refrigerator

Nearly all problems that can be uncovered by troubleshooting your refrigerator can be fixed by most every do-it-yourselfer. Those problems with your refrigerator running constantly that involves the coils located outside or inside the refrigerator should be handled by a professional repair technician. This is because the coils contain the refrigerant that can be dangerous if you are exposed to it accidentally during the course of a repair.

If you notice a problem with the refrigerator or a constant running that seems to be getting progressively worse over time, the best way to address the issue is to isolate the problem and fix it.