Refrigerator Keeps Running? Try These Fixes


A refrigerator is one of the most critical appliances in modern kitchens. They keep your food safe, and your family fed. Without a properly working refrigerator, the moisture in your diet can spoil at improper temperatures. Spoilage means bacteria is growing, and your family’s health is at risk.

While previous centuries used root cellars and salt to preserve food, refrigerators are the current norm and make having healthy, fresh food more accessible for people to access and keep at home.

A refrigerator should be set at 40 degrees Fahrenheit (or 4.4 °C) maximum to protect most foods. Anything warmer than this causes food to spoil.

A refrigerator has several working parts that steadily work together. There is the air compression unit to the refrigeration pump and the coolant circulation, all working in harmony to keep your food to the proper temperature.

One major feature in the fridge is the condenser fan that keeps the refrigerator cool by moving any hot air out of the unit. This fan should not always be running and audible. Occasionally, a condenser fan will overwork and keep running.

There are a handful of reasons below that a refrigerator fan would keep running and what you should do about it.

Issue With the Thermostat

Sometimes the fan overworks because of the thermostat. Its job is to take readings to only flips the cooling system on when the temperature needs to drop some. If the thermostat stops working, the fridge is left without direction in knowing when the heat is off.

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If you suspect that you have a broken thermostat, set the thermostat to the highest setting. Then, if the fan is still running, you’ll know the thermostat is broken as the fridge should not be working to heat the refrigerator.

Issue With the Condensor Coils

Grime and dust collect anywhere. If dirt accumulates on the condenser coils, the coils can’t work correctly. When the coils malfunction, the condenser will have to work harder to keep things fresh, and the fan will then have to work hard and continuously.

If you suspect this is the issue, unplug your appliance and wipe down the coil. With the grime removed, your device should be able to operate normally.

Issue With the Air Flow

The food in your fridge needs to stay cold for safekeeping. However, the motor that runs your refrigerator also needs to keep cool enough to run correctly. Dirt and grime can accumulate on the motor’s vents, which can prevent proper air circulation through the fan.

As with coils, if you suspect you have to issue with airflow in your refrigerator, wipe down the motor vents and clear any debris. This should ensure that your motor begins working correctly and that your fan will only run when needed.

Issues With the Fan Motor

Beyond debris and grime accumulating on the motor’s vents, the engine can endure damage over time. Motors can suffer shorting outs since many of the pieces are electrical, and the fan may overwork to keep the temperature down.

In this case, use a multimeter to identify any wire shortages. If you find this is the cause of your refrigerator running always, you will need a new motor.

Issues With the Fridge Door Seal

If the doors on your refrigerator are not closing properly, the internal airflow will continuously be fighting to keep to temperature. This can cause the fan to run continuously. The cold air would be leaking out, and any warm air would be seeping in the fridge.

If you suspect that you have a problem with the seal on your door, you can replace them with self-adhesive tape strips. These should close by pressing in place all along the door edges.

Issue With the Freezer Temperature

If your fridge also has a connected freezer, the refrigerator will not be able to stay to temp if it is holding a temperature above 10 degrees Fahrenheit ( or -12C).

If you suspect the freezer temperature is the cause that your fridge fan is continually running, set your freezer temperature lower to at least 5 degrees Fahrenheit (or -15C).

Issue With the Freezer Coils

If the freezer isn’t holding the right temp, your fridge will struggle to stay to temp, and the fan will run continuously. In this case, you could have frost covering the evaporator coils. This is typically caused by a failing defrost system. This needs to be replaced by a professional.

Issue With the Defrost Heater Assembly

Within your appliance, there is a defrost heater assembly. This works throughout the day to remove any frost on the coils. Your refrigerator will not stay temp if the defrost heater assembly isn’t working because it will have a cold lower temp. This, in turn, causes your fan to work continuously to fight to keep the ridge to temp.

If you suspect the issue with your fridge running regularly, test with a multimeter. If the heater doesn’t have proper flow, your defrost heater assembly will need to be replaced.

Issue With the Defrost Control Board

Your refrigerator has a defrost control board that controls several how often the defrost cycle should run. When the defrost control board fails, the defrost cycle won’t run. This can cause frost throughout the general mechanics, and the fan will continuously run to attempt the proper temperature.

If you suspect that the fan is running because of the defrost control board, you will need to have it replaced by a professional.

Issue With the Defrost Timer

Refrigerators have a defrost timer that runs a few times a day. This mechanism is set to run the defrost heater to melt any frost in the freezer.

If you suspect that the defrost timer is the issue causing your refrigerator to run continuously, you will need to have it replaced by

a professional.

While there are many reasons why a refrigerator fan may run continuously, you may find yourself needing to replace your condenser fan.

How to Fix Refrigerator Keeps Running!

If you’re always having problems with your refrigerator, you need to know what’s causing the issue and if you’ll need to get the refrigerator repaired or replaced. Having a working refrigerator is crucial for any home, and fixing it is just one form of home improvement, but there are many more.

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Replacing a Fridge Condenser Fan

The condenser fan runs when the compressor runs, allowing cold air to run through the coils and hot air to leave the appliance. If your fan is overrunning or stops, the temperature of the refrigerator will be off, and the food may spoil.

1. Unplug the refrigerator and remove it away from the wall.

2. Remove the cover from the motor compartment.

3. Remove any dust and debris from the fan blades, motor, and condenser with a vacuum.

4. Turn the fan blades to ensure they move well. If not, the engine needs replacing.

Where to Get a Condenser Fan Motor

Condenser fan motors (view on Amazon) can be purchased from an appliance part distributor or from the manufacturer of your appliance. You will need to know the make and model number of the refrigerator in order to order the correct condenser fan motor.

How Much Does a Condenser Fan Motor Cost

Condenser fan motors can cost between $40 and $100 depending on the make and model.

How to Replace the Motor

1. Use pliers to remove the two wires from the terminal block.

2. Use a screwdriver to detach the mounting screws that hold the fan in the motor compartment.

3. Remove the motor assembly from the compartment.

4. Remove the blade from the motor.

5. Remove the rubber washer off the motor shaft.

6. Remove the mounting bracket and install it on the new engine.

7. Reinstall the rubber washer and the fan on the new motor.

8. Reinstall the fan assembly and reattach the wires to the terminal block. There should not be any wires around the blade that could prohibit free movement.

9. Reinstall the access cover.

10. Plug the refrigerator back into the outlet.

WHen your refrigerator is not operating correctly, you have a risk of wasting food and getting your family sick. Keep your refrigerator running successfully with these tips above.


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