Site icon Kitchen Rank

How Often Should a Refrigerator Run?     

how often should a refrigerator run

Refrigerators derived their name from a group of chemicals known as refrigerants. These chemicals have a low boiling point work by cooling the inside of the fridge. To keep your food cold, refrigerators work to maintain a constant temperature via the production of cold air. The average operating temperatures for a refrigerator when freezing food is -5 to +8 degrees F and 34 to 42 degrees F for preserving fresh food.

Your fridge cannot function without a compressor. This is the part that compresses the refrigerant, thus heating it before it is turned into liquid form. The compressor also determines the amount of liquid which flows via the system. Soon after, the coils which are on the outside of the refrigerator will cool the refrigerants and turn them into liquids. The question you are probably asking is how often should a refrigerator run? If you have an older refrigerator, it will go through the running cycle more than 50 percent of the time.

However, newer refrigerators that come with Energy Star rating go via the cycle more than 90 percent of the time. It all depends on the size and model of your refrigerator. In this article, we will explain everything you need to know about a refrigerator, including its running cycle.

What’s the Normal Refrigerator Run Time?

There is nothing like a “normal” refrigerator run time because it is affected by various factors. In normal circumstances, the refrigerator’s compressor runs over 50 percent of the time. So, how often should a refrigerator run? Experts suggest that the average run time of a refrigerator is about 30 minutes but this happens when the refrigerator is not opened. If you are alone in the house and you do not open the refrigerator door then the refrigerator cycle will repeat after every 30 minutes. But in case your family size is large say five or more members, the refrigerator door will likely be opened more often, which triggers the cycle to repeat more often.

For a garage refrigerator to maintain proper temperature, it needs the compressor to run most of the time. Note that energy-efficient refrigerators have a compressor that runs 80 to 90 percent of the time. In case you live in a humid and warm area, the run time of the refrigerator could be as high as 100%. However, run times of refrigerators vary depending on the model and size. A faulty refrigerator could have an increased run time.

How Long Should a Refrigerator Run Before Shutting Off?

Talking about the long period of a refrigerator, it should run for about 4 to 8 hours before it shuts off and goes into a defrost cycle. However, different factors affect how long a refrigerator should run before it shuts off. They include ambient temperatures, how often you open the refrigerator door and keep warm food inside it. If you are plugging in your refrigerator for the first time then it can up to 24 hours so that it attains a stable cold temperature.

Factors that Affect the Run Time

So, how often should a refrigerator run? Newer refrigerators come with compressors that are supposed to run 80% to 90% of the time. When you use a refrigerator in very hot, humid areas then the run time will approach 100%. Also, if the refrigerator is lightly loaded or empty the run time will be longer. You should keep the refrigerator at least 3/4 full to reduce run time and maintain a proper time. Other factors that contribute to the run time of a refrigerator include blocked air vents inside the bottom freezer refrigerator dirty or damaged door gaskets, and interior light does not turn off when the door is shut.

Reasons for Increase Run Time

The question that you are probably asking yourself is how long should a refrigerator run? Different factors affect the run time of a refrigerator.

First is a weak or damaged door gasket. A damaged door gasket can prevent the refrigerator from properly shutting, thus cold air will leak from the refrigerator. Also, if you constantly open the refrigerator to remove stuff it will cause cold air to move out of the fridge.

Second is a dirty condenser coil. In case your refrigerator is running for the whole day, it could be as a result of the condenser coils being dirty. Condensers that are located underneath or behind the refrigerator function by releasing heat which has gathered inside the refrigerator to the outside.

The third reason why a refrigerator may have an increase in run time is because of a faulty compressor.

Fourth is the defrost heater assembly. Defrost heater assembly works by melting away the frost which has accumulated inside the refrigerator. In case it malfunctions, the refrigerator will not defrost and will accumulate on evaporator coils. As such, the refrigerator will constantly run to cool down.

How to Solve it?

If you want your fridge to work properly you need to maintain it properly. The benefit of this is that it will help achieve a regular cycle and the fridge will work efficiently. Start by checking and fixing the defrost timer. If the defrost timer is faulty then the refrigerator will continue running. This is an electronic device that regulates the defrost cycle and affects the refrigerator’s run time.

Next, make sure that the refrigerator doors are not opened for long. After you remove something from the fridge, ensure that you close the door. Check the door gaskets to ascertain that cold air is not escaping and warm air is not entering the fridge as this leads to rising temperature inside the fridge.

If the door gaskets are faulty then it is recommended that to replace a new refrigerators door gasket. Also, when you put food inside the fridge, make sure that it is not cramped in front of air vents. However, you should not put hot food inside the fridge. The final thing you can do to ensure that the refrigerator does not run for a long time is to clean the coils which are found behind the fridge once per year to optimize heat exchange.


Your fridge has to work to keep your food at the required temperature. Typically, a refrigerator should run for about 4 to 8 hours before it shuts off and goes into a defrost cycle. However, a refrigerator can run longer in case the door gasket is defective, the main control board is defective, the condenser coil is dirty, the door is opened, and the refrigerator is exposed to direct sunlight. But for your refrigerator to work properly, it requires to be regularly maintained. Keeping the door closed as much as you can, fixing damaged door gaskets, and cleaning dirty condenser coils can help reduce how long your refrigerator runs.

Read more blogs:

Exit mobile version