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Fridge Compressor not Running (Common Causes)

Your fridge compressor is not running and you don’t know what to do! It’s one of the most common appliances in your kitchen, so it could be a big problem if your fridge is broken. However, it may just be a small fix that you can do yourself. So let’s have a look at why your refrigerator compressor might not be running and what you can do about it. Read on.

What causes a Refrigerator Compressor to Stop Working?

Refrigerator compressors are a fairly reliable piece of machinery, but sometimes they do fail. When this happens, there are several possible causes for compressor failure:

  • High Voltage Surge: This is usually caused by a power surge when the power comes back on after a blackout. The voltage coming into your house will be very high and may damage the compressor in your refrigerator.
  •  Dirty Condenser Coils: The condenser coils are located on the back of the refrigerator and they help cool down the motor by drawing heat away from it. When these coils become blocked with dust or grime, they don’t work properly and this can cause your compressor to stop working.
  • General wear and tear: Over time, compressors tend to wear out due to general wear and tear from use over many years of service.

What happens if the Refrigerator compressor stops working?

Refrigerators use compressors to cool the air inside them. The compressors are built in and are operated by a motor that is powered by electricity.

When a refrigerator compressor stops working, it can be a serious problem. The refrigerator is designed to work with the compressor and without it, it cannot function properly.

The first thing you will notice when your refrigerator compressor stops working is that your fridge will stop cooling.

This means that any food stored inside will spoil quickly and there is nothing you can do about it.

You may also notice an increase in energy bills because your fridge will be running more often than normal as it tries to maintain its temperature.

How do I get my refrigerator compressor to kick on?

The compressor should kick in by itself when the temperature drops below a certain point.
Your refrigerator uses a thermostat to control the temperature, and it’s possible that the thermostat has failed. This can be replaced with relative ease. If you don’t feel comfortable performing this repair yourself, contact an HVAC contractor for assistance.

How do I know if my refrigerator compressor is not working?

There are several signs that can help you determine if your refrigerator compressor is not working properly:

  1. Your refrigerator does not cool at all. If you notice that nothing inside your refrigerator or freezer is cold or feels colder than room temperature, then it’s likely that something is wrong with your compressor.
  2.  The temperature inside your refrigerator does not get below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. This means that you will have difficulty keeping food fresh for long periods of time.
  3.  Your refrigerator makes a loud noise when in use. This can be very disturbing when trying to sleep or watch television while the appliance is running.

How to reset a refrigerator compressor

Here’s how to reset a refrigerator compressor if it won’t turn on.

  1. Make sure the refrigerator is unplugged from the wall outlet.
  2.  Locate the reset button on the front of the refrigerator behind a small cover on the top of the unit. The button is usually labeled “reset” or “defrost.” If there isn’t a cover, look for a small hole that has a white cap over it.
  3.  Remove the cap or push in on the button to reset your refrigerator compressor. If your model doesn’t have a reset button, refer to your owner’s manual for instructions on how to manually reset it.
  4. Plugin your refrigerator and wait one hour before trying to use it again

How long does a refrigerator compressor take to reset?

The average refrigerator compressor takes 24 hours to reset. This means that if you disconnect the power cord from the wall, unplug and wait 24 hours, the compressor will automatically reset itself.

If your refrigerator does not turn back on after 24 hours, there may be an issue with the control board or the compressor itself. You should contact an appliance repair technician if this is the case.


If you notice your fridge compressor not running, check to see if the condenser coils are dirty. These coils should be kept clean so the compressor can run effectively and efficiently. If they are covered in dust, debris, or any other particles, this could be causing your issue.

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