Possible Causes For a Short Cycling Refrigerator

If you are sitting in your kitchen, you may hear your refrigerator when the compressor clicks on and starts to cool. Usually, this is one of those noises that you may not pay attention to. However, when you keep hearing the compressor kick on and then shut off 30 seconds later, you may have a problem. If your refrigerator is doing this, it is probably still keeping your food cold, but it will wreak havoc on your electric bill if you leave it unchecked.

What Causes Short Cycling in Refrigerators?

If your refrigerator is short cycling, it can be caused by a number of issues including:

  • An incorrectly set thermostat inside your refrigerator
  • Dirt and dust on the coils that prevents efficient operation
  • Faulty capacitors or relays that prevent the compressor from staying on
  • Physical power cord damage that affects the ability to get adequate power to the compressor

Starting with a physical inspection, you may be able to fix this issue quickly and without even replacing a part. If your refrigerator coils are dirty, then they should be cleaned. If you adjust the thermostat to a different temperature, it may solve short cycling issues. However, if you notice a power cord issue, it is best to cut the power right away. A frayed or damaged power cord is excessively dangerous, and should only be handled by a professional.

However, while replacing faulty relays or capacitors will require taking apart your refrigerator, by testing them with your multimeter, these are rather simple to replace. However, as it is one of the more involved repairs to a short cycling refrigerator, it should be left as the last option to the problem. If you have never cleaned the coils on the back of your refrigerator, like many homeowners have not, then that is the best place to start.


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