Kenmore Refrigerator Keeps Running [How to Fix]

If your Kenmore refrigerator keeps running without the breaks, this article will show you possible causes and how to fix them.

Kenmore Refrigerator Keeps Running
Photo Credit: Raymond Shobe, (under license)

Kenmore Refrigerator Keeps Running – Solutions

The following are steps to take to fix the problem of a Kenmore refrigerator that keeps running:

1. Check Content

Arrange the contents of the refrigerator to create proper airflow. Throw out old or expired items and arrange the rest in an orderly manner.

It is true that a refrigerator functions best when it is occupied with items at the required capacity. But when it gets over-filled, it obstructs airflow in the refrigerator. The air that cools the refrigerator compartment flows from the freezer compartment.

But if the refrigerator remains warm, it means there is no proper airflow. As a result, the refrigerator begins to run constantly to maintain a cool temperature.

On the other hand, if your refrigerator is empty, it will struggle and overwork itself to cool. This is because Kenmore refrigerators are programmed to cool when they are properly stocked and arranged.

To resolve this issue, fill the refrigerator ¾ of the way to encourage cold airflow. If you must, keep it ½ way full.

2. Check Temperature

When a Kenmore refrigerator’s temperature is set higher than recommended, the unit becomes warmer than usual.

To resolve this issue, consult the refrigerator’s user’s manual to determine the required temperature settings.

3. Check Condenser Coils

Another reason your refrigerator could be running non-stop is because of dirty condenser coils. Because the coils are built to remove heat as the gas passes through them, it’ll be difficult for them to effectively do so when they are coated with dirt or debris.

To fix this, use a soft but narrow brush to carefully clean the coils usually located at the lower back section of the unit. Clean the coils every six months.

4. Check Defrost Heater Assembly

The Kenmore refrigerator defrost heater assembly turns on at certain times of the day to dissolve the ice on the evaporator coils. If the defrost heater is faulty, ice will accumulate on the evaporator coils. As a result, the refrigerator will work excessively and constantly in a bid to lower the rising temperature.

To fix this, test the defrost heater with a multimeter for continuity. If you find none, change it.

5. Check Gasket

When your refrigerator’s gasket is damaged, the door won’t shut and seal fully. Consequently, warm air will enter the refrigerator through the gap(s) and cause the evaporator coils to frost so fast, the defrost cycle can’t handle it.

In this situation, the refrigerator will constantly run to lower the internal temperature. To fix it, replace the damaged gasket. It is also necessary to check the door hinges for adjustment(s) when changing the gasket.

6. Check Condenser Fan Motor

The condenser fan maintains the temperature of the condenser coils and compressor. So if debris sticks to the fan blade or motor, it’ll stop working and the condenser coils will heat up.

To fix this, locate the fan motor at the lower end of the refrigerator’s rear. Check the blade to confirm there’s no debris stuck on it. You may use a multimeter to test the motor for continuity. And if there is no continuity, replace it.

You may also have to replace the specific faulty part of the motor if there is still continuity on the motor.

7. Check Defrost Timer

The defrost timer times and activates the defrost heater at specified periods to defrost the amassed ice on the freezer evaporator coils. When it is faulty, the defrost timer will fail to activate the defrost heater, and this will result in too much frost on the evaporator coils.

To fix this, consult the user manual to help you find your refrigerator model’s defrost timer. Detach it from the refrigerator and use a multimeter to test it for continuity. If you find none, it should be replaced.

8. Check Main Control Board

At certain times of the day, the main control board bars the cooling system of the Kenmore refrigerator from functioning, allowing the defrost cycle to take its course. At the completion of the cycle, it restarts the cooling system.

If the main control board is faulty, it will mean that the cooling system will function non-stop and will cause the refrigerator to overwork itself.

However, replace the board only if other components are in good working condition. If you are not sure how to test the board, hire an appliance technician to check the board and recommend a fix.

9. Check Defrost Control Board

The defrost cycle controls the defrost system. So if it malfunctions, it means that the refrigerator will get no automatic notifications to commence the defrost cycle.

However, the defrost thermostat and the defrost heater before examining the defrost control board.

10. Check Defrost Thermostat

Use a multimeter to test the defrost thermostat for continuity. And if you find none, replace it. Note that it’s best to conduct the test when it has attained its lowest temperature level.

Another cause of the continuous running of your refrigerator could be a faulty defrost thermostat. The defrost thermostat is a sensor that at certain times of the day, triggers the defrost heater to come on once it senses that the coils are becoming too cold.

Therefore, if the defrost thermostat malfunctions, it will be unable to determine the coldness of the coils and will not trigger on the defrost heater. The resultant effect will be the amassing of ice on the coils and this will limit the amount of cold air that goes into the affected cabinet which will lead to the overworking of the refrigerator to remain cool.

Refrigerators are built to automatically go on breaks while functioning. This is to allow for certain parts of it to cool and in some other cases, for mild activities like defrosting to take place.

If your Kenmore refrigerator keeps running non-stop, it could lead to exorbitant electricity bills and in certain cases, damage some parts of your refrigerator.

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Kenmore Refrigerator Water Dispenser Keeps Running

If your Kenmore refrigerator water dispenser keeps dispensing, even after you have tried to stop it by releasing the actuator, the problem is likely to be a damaged water inlet valve or a faulty trigger. If the cause is a faulty trigger, then the problem is electrical. But if it is a damaged water inlet valve, it is mechanical.

To determine which is the cause, disconnect power from the refrigerator and reconnect after about 30 seconds. If the flow stops, then the issue isn’t a result of a faulty trigger, but likely a stuck valve.

That means the mechanical part of the valve has stuck somewhere along the water dispensing channel. It is due to wear and tear or water particles, and will not return to normal to block the flow of water, even when you have released your hold on the actuator.

This issue normally occurs due to long usage and may be fixed if it were just blocked by water particles. But if it is worn out, the only option is to replace the valve. If the trigger is the cause, you will have to test with a multimeter for continuity. If you find none, replace it.

Kenmore Elite Refrigerator Fan Keeps Running

A refrigerator’s condenser fan should not run non-stop. So if it does, the possible causes are:

1. Clogged Condenser Coils

If your refrigerator’s condenser coils are clogged with dirt or debris, it will have to function extra hard to cool the refrigerator. In doing so, it will continually generate more hot air than it requires.

This will, in turn, make the fan work extra hard to keep the condenser coils cool. To fix this, clean the condenser coils.

2. Broken or Damaged Door Gasket

If your Kenmore refrigerator’s door gasket is damaged or broken, warm air will penetrate through it into the refrigerator. Consequently, it will undermine the efforts of the interior of the refrigerator to remain cool.

In this situation, other components of the refrigerator that complement each other to cool the interior of the refrigerator will function non-stop to produce cool air.

The fan will also function non-stop to regulate the temperature of some of these, and if the fan doesn’t, the components will break down.

To fix this, replace the damaged/broken door gasket.

3. Faulty Thermostat

Your Kenmore refrigerator’s thermostat is the sensor that notifies the refrigerator when to recommence and when to suspend cooling. It carries out these activities by sensing when the interior’s temperature is rising or dropping beyond the stipulated.

If the thermostat is faulty, it means the refrigerator will run without a limit because there is nothing notifying it when to stop or restart. To confirm that the thermostat is faulty, set on the warmest setting. And if the cooling unit keeps functioning, it’s a confirmation.

To resolve this matter, replace the thermostat.

4. Damaged Fan Motor

This is usually the least likely of all the possible causes of a non-stop functioning fan. But such cases could be seen in a refrigerator that has been in use for a very long time.

To determine the state of the fan motor, use a multimeter to check for continuity on the wiring terminals of the compressor motor. If there’s none, replace it.


Find a solution quickly if your Kenmore refrigerator keeps running. But disconnect your appliance from electricity before replacing any part.

Ensure you replace any damaged part with that prescribed by the appliance’s manufacturer and ensure it is of the same refrigerator model.

You may consult the User’s Manual for further information from the manufacturer before carrying out any test or replacement.

For any further help on the maintenance of your refrigerator, do not hesitate to contact Kenmore customer care online or qualified maintenance personnel.