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Refrigerator Runs Constantly

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The part(s) or condition(s) listed below for the symptom Refrigerator runs constantly are ordered from most likely to least likely to occur. Check or test each item, starting with the items at the top of the page.

Most Frequent Causes for Refrigerator runs constantly

Cause 1Condenser Coils are Dirty

The condenser coils are usually located under the refrigerator. They dissipate heat from the refrigerator as refrigerant passes through them. If debris accumulates on the coils, the refrigerator will have to work harder to remove the heat. If the coils are significantly dirty, the refrigerator will run constantly in an effort to cool down. Your refrigerator’s condenser coils should be cleaned twice a year.

Cause 2Freezer Temperature is Above 10 Degrees F (-12C)

If the freezer temperature is above 10 degrees Fahrenheit (-12C), the refrigerator will not be cold enough. If the refrigerator is not cold enough, it will work harder to cold down. As a result, it will run constantly. The freezer temperature should be set between 0 and 5 degrees Fahrenheit (-18 to -15C). If the freezer temperature is too high, ensure that the condenser coils are clear of debris and the condenser fan is working properly. In addition, check to see if frost has accumulated on the evaporator coils. If the evaporator coils are frosted over, part of the defrost system has likely failed.

Cause 3Defrost Heater Assembly

The defrost heater assembly turns on several times throughout the day to melt away any frost that may have accumulated on the evaporator coils. If the defrost heater assembly is defective, the refrigerator will not defrost, and frost will continue to accumulate on the evaporator coils. If the evaporator coils are frosted over, the refrigerator will work harder to remove the heat. As a result, the refrigerator will run constantly in an effort to cool down. To determine if the defrost heater is defective, use a multimeter to test it for continuity. If the defrost heater does not have continuity, replace it.

Part Testing
Parts
Defrost Heater Assembly for your Refrigerator
Defrost Heater Assembly - Part # 914088 Mfg Part # WR51X10055

Refrigerator defrost heater and bracket assembly.

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Cause 4Door Gasket

If the Refrigerator runs constantly the door gasket may be torn or defective, or if the door is not shutting tightly warm air can enter the the refrigerator and cause the evaporator coils to ice over. This happens because humid air from the room is drawn into the refrigerator through the opening at the gasket. As the humidity comes in contact with the cold evaporator coils it condenses and freezes. Normally the defrost system removes this frost and ice. However, if the door gasket is defective the evaporator coils ice over too quickly and the defrost cycle cannot keep up.

Parts
Door Gasket for your Refrigerator
Door Gasket - Part # 1057545 Mfg Part # WR24X10155

Refrigerator door gasket, white

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Cause 5Door Gasket

If the Refrigerator runs constantly the door gasket may be torn or defective, or if the door is not shutting tightly warm air can enter the the refrigerator and cause the evaporator coils to ice over. This happens because humid air from the room is drawn into the refrigerator through the opening at the gasket. As the humidity comes in contact with the cold evaporator coils it condenses and freezes. Normally the defrost system removes this frost and ice. However, if the door gasket is defective the evaporator coils ice over too quickly and the defrost cycle cannot keep up.

Parts
Door Gasket for your Refrigerator
Door Gasket - Part # 1092496 Mfg Part # WR24X10156

Freezer door gasket, white

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Cause 6Evaporator Fan Motor

If the refrigerator runs constantly, the evaporator fan motor might have failed. Every refrigerator has a set of coils called an evaporator. The refrigerator may have one or more evaporator fan motor(s) depending on the model and evaporator locations. The evaporator fan motor circulates the cold air from the coils thru the compartment. If there is only one evaporator it is in the freezer side. If the fan is not working, no cold air will get to the refrigerator compartment. The freezer may still get cold.

Parts
Evaporator Fan Motor for your Refrigerator
Evaporator Fan Motor - Part # 1170107 Mfg Part # WR60X10185

Refrigerator evaporator fan motor. If your motor has a white thermistor in the connector you need the related fan motor 914169. If it has a connector for a light you will need 1169928.

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Cause 7Main Control Board

If the refrigerator runs constantly, the main control board might be defective. A few times a day the control board is supposed to turn off the cooling system and turn on the defrost heater to melt away any frost that may have accumulated on the freezer evaporator coils. If the control board is defective it could cause the system to never cycle into defrost.

Parts
Main Control Board for your Refrigerator
Main Control Board - Part # 1531075 Mfg Part # WR55X10942

Refrigerator main control board assembly with installation instructions. This board also has the defrost controls built into it.

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