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Refrigerator -Normal Run Time

For a freezer to maintain a desired temperature of 0 degrees F or a combination refrigerator-freezer to maintain a 5 degrees F freezer and 35 - 40 degrees fresh food temperature, the compressor will usually run more than 50% of the time. Refrigerators have smaller, more powerful, high-speed compressors that generally cost less to operate than those in older refrigerators. These compressors are designed to run 80 % to 90% of the time. This makes them more energy efficient because the greatest amount of energy used when the compressor cycles on.

Factors that contributes to run time:
  • In extremely hot, humid areas, run time may approach 100%.

  • Loading the refrigerator or freezer with a large amount of food, especially warm or hot foods, will also add to the run time. Hot foods should be allowed to cool before being placed in the cabinet.

  • Another significant factor that contributes to run time is an empty or lightly loaded freezer. Because no insulation material is perfect, air alone does not retain cold. An empty refrigerator or freezer must run more to maintain temperatures low enough to satisfy the temperature control and turn the compressor off. A freezer should be at least 3/4 full to maintain proper temperatures and reduce time.

  • Door openings contribute significantly to the run time of any refrigerator. When the door is opened, some of the heavy cold air slides out of the cabinet, pulling warm air in at the top.

  • Make sure that ALL bins and shelves, in freezer and fresh-food section, are properly seated in the refrigerator. Ensure that large trays, platters, and food items (like pizza boxes) are arranged so that they do not interfere with the door closing. (If freezer door, make sure no ice is behind the ice bin, and if present ensure bottom freezer basket is on its rollers)


  • Check door gaskets - are they sealing properly? How to check your gasket.


  • Check for blocked air vents in freezer section (any grill work on back wall).

  • Be sure the refrigerator is installed with proper air clearance. See the features text for recommended air clearances.

  • On models that do NOT have a NeverClean condenser, check condenser coils, dirty coils will result in long run times. Remember: Always disconnect power from breaker/fuse box before cleaning. How to clean the condensor.


  • Make sure interior lights are off when door is closed.


  • Heavy frost build up (1/2" or more) on non-defrost models will cause long run times.


The below are all exceptions to the above:
  • All 14 and 16 cu. ft. (TBX/CTX models vs.TBF models of past) will have an average run time of between 40 and 52% as do compact models,(TA2,4,6).
  • Cycle defrost and single door models will run slightly less,30-60%.
  • Chest & Upright freezers run 75% to 90% of the time.