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Why Your Refrigerator Runs a Lot

image of kitchen refrigeratorThe gentle hum of the refrigerator is a sure sign all your food is safely cooled at the right temperature, but that sound should not be constant. When a refrigerator runs normally, you’ll hear the compressor click on several times a day. If it seems to click on every few minutes or doesn’t shut off at all, it’s time to troubleshoot a few areas to avoid overheating internal components. A broken refrigerator could be in the future if the running issue isn’t dealt with swiftly.

Ample Air Vent Space

Every refrigerator must have circulated air to cool components and operate correctly. Air constantly moves into and out of the appliance. Allow for clearance along the sides and rear to keep airflow consistent. When vents are covered or blocked, the compressor tries to compensate for the change by remaining on. Unusual sounds may emanate from the refrigerator too because of the blocked vent issue.

Door Gasket Wear

Refrigerator doors are opened and closed thousands of times during the appliance’s lifetime. The gaskets holding the doors to the appliance’s frame slowly warp or break down. Allow a professional to inspect and replace these gaskets as necessary. When they don’t adhere to the refrigerator correctly, cold air escapes and forces the compressor to work overtime and compensate for the continual loss. Placing your hand against the gasket gives you a quick check on air loss. You’ll feel the escaping air immediately.

Hot Food

You may be concerned about fresh food left out on the counter, but allow it to sit for a few hours to cool off. When you take hot food and place it directly in the refrigerator, that heat must dissipate into the surrounding appliance’s empty space. The cold air is suddenly lukewarm, forcing the refrigerator to run the compressor again. If there are several hot containers inside the appliance, the refrigerator will definitely run for a long time.

Heat Waves

Although the refrigerator is insulated, it’s not entirely immune to the outside temperature. If the appliance remains in a hot area, it will run the compressor until the right temperature is reached. For example, the air conditioner breaks down during a heat wave. The home slowly warms to the outside temperature. Your refrigerator reacts by cooling for longer durations just to combat the outside temperature.

Empty Refrigerator

When you add food to the refrigerator, it technically reduces the space inside that must be cooled. The appliance doesn’t have to run as long because the space is filled. An empty refrigerator, however, creates a larger space to cool. As a result, the compressor runs a lot to create a consistent temperature setting.

Although the refrigerator stands stoically in the kitchen, it does require some attention for a long life. Consider hiring a refrigerator repair professional to survey the appliance at least once a year. They’ll tell you if any issues are about to arise. Clean coils and fresh gaskets are just some of the services that prolong a trusted refrigerator’s life.

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Helpful Hints

Things to check before you call:

  • CHECK for a blown fuse
  • CHECK that the appliance is plugged in
  • CHECK that the dryer vent is clean
  • CHECK that refrigerator controls are at the proper setting