Is it Normal for a Refrigerator to Run Continuously?

We have heard over and over that fridges and freezers cycle on and off during the day to maintain the set temperature.

So you should expect periods of quiet and then other times when the constant hum of the compressor kicks in.

But what if all you hear is your fridge running constantly?

You can have concerns about how much energy it is consuming, right?

Is it normal?

Should you do something to fix it? You may wonder.

So, this guide will explain why it maybe normal for the fridge to run constantly, when you should be concerned if your fridge is running continuously and what you can do to fix it.

Is it Normal for a Refrigerator to Run Continuously?

Yes, it is normal for a new fridge or one that is already in use, whose thermostat settings has been adjusted, to run continuously until it has attained the set temperature.

Thereafter, it will cycle on and off to maintain that temperature.

Depending on the design and model of the fridge and the surrounding temperature, it can take about 24 hours to attain the stable temperature.

After this initial period elapsed, the fridge should then cycle on and off.

You should then expect the fridge to run between 40% to 80% of the time during the day unless the surrounding temperature is too hot or the user behavior such as the frequent opening of the fridge door is such that the fridge compressor has run constantly to maintain the set temperature.

If instead, the fridge runs continuously throughout the day then it may have a problem.

How Long Should a Refrigerator Run before Shutting off? (How Many Hours)

Once the fridge has attained the set temperature, you can expect it to run for a combined total of between 10 – 20 hours during the day.

The on and off intervals can vary depending on how it is used – whether it is fully packed with food or partially, how often the fridge door is opened plus other factors.

If it is a new fridge or the thermostat has just been adjusted, it can run constantly for about 24 hours.

Why your Refrigerator may Keep Running Constantly?

Your fridge may keep running constantly if:

  • The foods or drinks placed in the fridge are warm or hot.

When this happens, the fridge’s compressor has to work longer to attain the set temperature.

  • If the door seals are damaged or the fridge door is not closed properly. Warmer air from outside the fridge enters the fridge raising the temperature.

The compressor has to work longer to lower the temperature.

  • If the fridge door is opened frequently. Opening the door often also allows warm air to enter the fridge and raise its internal temperature requiring the fridge to run longer to lower it.
  • The fridge is either fully packaged or lightly loaded with food items. Either extreme, causes the fridge’s compressor to run longer to attain the set temperature.

Instead of fully loading or lightly packing, aim to fill the fridge to about 3/4 of its capacity.

  • The fridge may be low on refrigerant and takes a long time to cool the fridge.

Lastly, if the air vents are blocked which leads to poor circulation of cold air, the fridge will run longer to try and achieve uniform cooling.

How to Stop the Refrigerator from Running Constantly

To stop your fridge running constantly:

  • Do not place warm or hot foods in the fridge. Instead allow them to cool first to room temperature before placing them in the fridge.
  • Make sure the fridge door is firmly closed and that the seals around the fridge door properly seal the space between the door and the fridge’s body
  • Avoid unnecessary opening and closing of the fridge door. Instead, place or remove the food items in batches to minimise the number of times the fridge door is opened.
  • Aim to load your fridge to about 3/4 of its capacity for more efficient cooling.

If the fridge is still running constantly, you may need to call in a qualified technician to inspect the fridge.

The fridge’s air vents may need servicing or it may be low on refrigerant.

It is normal for a new fridge to run constantly. In some cases, it may run for up to 24 hours until it has attained the set temperature.

After this initial period, you can expect it stop running constantly and start cycling on and off as its maintains the temperature.

Final Word

It is normal for a new fridge to run continuously or for one in use to do so if the thermostat has just been adjusted.

If after the initial 24 hours, it is still running continuously, you may need to check if there have been any big changes in surrounding temperature, bad door seals, the fridge door is opened too often or the fridge needs to be serviced.

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