Refrigerator Running Too Long? Here is What you Should Do

Have you ever imagined a life without your precious refrigerator? If you don’t have a refrigerator at your house, you will have no place to store your fruits and vegetables and will have to do without cold water during summers. Therefore, it is important that you take steps to maintain your fridge.

If you’re unlikely to maintain this appliance at home you are most likely to face problems such as spoiling the fruits and vegetables you have stored in the fridge. There can be problems with your fridge that are hard to rectify. In this article, we have compiled a list of parts that can cause major problems that are tough to fix. You must check each of these parts carefully and replace the damaged part immediately. If these steps don’t help, it is best to get a residential refrigerator technician to fix your household appliance problem.


Defrost Timer

Little girl opening fridge in the kitchen.The defrost timer in your refrigerator can be either an electronic or mechanical timer. Both these timers work by turning on the defrost heater for a specific duration and at specific intervals. Most modern fridges come with mechanical timers that activates the defrost heater every 8-9 hours of the compressor run time. This means that defrost heater is active once every day. When the defrost heater is active, the fans and the compressor are switched off and will automatically start again when the defrost cycle is complete. The fridge is also equipped with adaptive defrost controls that monitor the previous defrost cycle and ambient conditions. This helps the adaptive controls to improve the efficiency of the cycle.

Ask your refrigerator repairman to check the condition of the mechanical timer using a multi-meter. Also, most mechanical timers can be manually advanced using a screwdriver. The advance gear is usually located in the center of the mechanical timer, and it can be turned only in one direction. When the heater switch is turned on, you will normally hear a loud click. If the internal switch is not engaged or the timer does not advance on its own, then the mechanical timer must be replaced. The defrost timer is normally located on the bottom of the refrigerator. However, if the refrigeration unit you have is a side-by-side unit, it may be located on the back of the refrigerator.

Defrost Termination Thermostat

The termination thermostat can be found on the evaporator coil, and its role is to turn off the defrost heater when the temperature of the freezer reaches a certain limit. The defrost thermostat is usually wired in series with the element and is an open circuit about 36Â- 48Â degrees Fahrenheit. Since the temperature is not low enough to close the circuit, it becomes difficult to check the continuity of the thermostat using a multi-meter. You may need a modern thermostat that comes with an internal bias resistor. This aids in testing both the heater and the thermostat. The wiring diagram that comes with the product will indicate this.

When you check the continuity of the heater circuit, it will show a high resistance if the thermostat is open and the heater is good, low resistance if the thermostat is closed and the heater is good and no continuity if the heater is open. Before performing the tests, make sure you disconnect the power supply to the refrigeration system. If these steps are too complicated for you, calling for a refrigerator service technician to do the diagnosis can also be done.

Single modern black refrigerator isolated.Defrost Heater

This part can be found either next or below the evaporator coils. It is controlled by the adaptive defrost control or the defrost timer and the termination thermostat. The defrost heater is a glass-encased wire with well-insulated wire leads. You can check the condition of the defrost heater using a multi-meter. Before you check its condition, make sure you switch off the power supply to the machine.

Freezer and Fresh Door Gasket

Damaged or leaky door seals normally create excess moisture that is visible on the shelves or air outlet ducts, but they can also create long run times. If you notice moisture near the edges of the door, it indicates that door gasket is not sealing properly, and should be replaced.

Evaporation Fan Motor

The main function of the evaporator fan is to draw air over the coil and circulate cold air in the freezer and food compartment. If there is a problem with the evaporator fan, the control sensor or thermostat will not be able to sense the temperature and the compressor will run longer than normal. The temperature in the freezer and fresh food compartment will also increase.

The evaporator fan and the motor are located in the freezer compartment, and you can feel the air movement when the motor and fan are running. If you have reason to believe that the fan motor is not performing its tasks properly, you must switch off the power supply to the refrigerator and remove the evaporator fan cover. Make sure the fan blades are secure and the motor is working properly. You can check the condition of the fan motor using a multi-meter. You must also check the power applied to the motor when the compressor is running. Since this is a live voltage check, it must be performed by professionals.

Condenser Fan Motor

If your refrigerator is running more than normal, then the culprit could be the condenser fan motor. If the condenser of the refrigerator is not able to expel heat properly, it will require the sealed system and the compressor to work harder to keep the refrigerator cold. You must check for higher than the normal surface temperature in the cabinets between the freezer, and the fresh fruits door, as this is the area that is attached to the condenser and it will heat up if the condenser does not cool fast enough.

Shocked man looking in his empty fridge.The motor and the condenser are normally located at the rear next to the compressor, and you can access them by removing the back panel. Check if the condenser fan motor is working when the compressor is on. Also, check for airflow restrictions that can cause this problem. The fan must come on when the compressor is on. If this does not happen, you must check the fan or motor and replace if defective. Check whether power is supplied to the fan motor and the connections are tight. You can check the voltage and continuity of the fan motor using a multi-meter. Since this process involves live voltage checks, it should be performed only by trained and qualified technician.

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