Refrigerator Compressor Cycles [Issues Solved]

It is essential to know refrigerator compressor cycles. If the refrigerator begins to cycle incorrectly, you will identify it and find a solution quickly.

Refrigerator Compressor Cycles

How Often Should a Refrigerator Compressor Cycle?

The compressor of a refrigerator should cycle about four times daily. But it may cycle more often if you open the door of the refrigerator frequently. Dirt and other debris on the coils can also cause the compressor to cycle more than necessary.

If you find that the compressor cycles more than this number of times, it is crucial to find out what is causing it to run often. Check the condenser coils and clean them if they are dirty. Use a vacuum cleaner or a condenser coil cleaning brush.

Also, reduce the frequency at which the door opens. Cold air escapes from the refrigerator and as warm air replaces it, the unit’s internal temperature rises. So, the compressor cycles more often than it should in order to maintain a cool temperature inside the refrigerator.

Refrigerator Compressor Cycles On and Off – How to Fix

If your refrigerator compressor cycles on and off, check the start relay. A faulty start relay cannot provide the power for the compressor to run smoothly. As a result, you will hear the compressor cycling on and off too often.

Also, if the compressor pulls more power than it needs to run, it shuts itself down. Shortly after, it starts again. If the power overload continues, the compressor will keep shutting down and restarting. With time, it will wear out.

Detach the start relay from where it is mounted on the compressor. Shake it a little; if you hear a rattle, the relay is defective and needs a replacement. The same applies if the relay has a burnt smell.

But if the relay shows no damage, take a multimeter and check it for continuity between its start and run terminals. Replace the relay if you find no continuity.

1. Condenser Coils

Move the refrigerator so you can remove the bottom access panel and inspect the coils. If there is a significant coating of dirt on them, vacuum the dirt or use a condenser cleaning brush. Make sure to clean the coils thoroughly and sweep the dirt off the floor around the coils.

Dirty coils cannot release the heat from the refrigerant. Over time, the heat builds and causes an overload on the compressor. So, you will find it cycling on and off as it tries to run smoothly. Therefore, it is important to keep the coils clean, maintaining a yearly or twice-a-year cleaning routine.

2. Thermostat

Check the setting of the thermostat to ensure it is at the correct point. If it is set too low or too high, the compressor will keep cycling off and on to keep up with the incorrect setting. To fix the problem, adjust the thermostat to a point where it can cool the refrigerator. That way, the compressor can run normally.

3. Power Cord

Inspect the power cord for any physical damage. A frayed or worn cord cannot deliver the required amount of voltage to the refrigerator. As a result, the compressor will cycle more times than necessary. Replacing the power cord is usually inexpensive, so it is best to find a suitable replacement quickly.

If these fixes don’t get the refrigerator compressor running smoothly, there may be internal damage. Replacing the compressor is the best fix in such a case.

Important Notes

Hire a professional to check the compressor if you suspect it is damaged. But if you are going to run the test yourself, ensure you unplug the refrigerator from electric power and wear protective gloves. Also, allow the compressor about thirty minutes to cool before touching it; the compressor will be hot to handle immediately after switching the refrigerator off.

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