Refrigerator or Freezer - Normal Run Time

For refrigerators and freezers to maintain the proper temperature, the compressor will run much of the time. Refrigerators and freezers have compressors that are designed to run 80% to 90% of the time. This makes them more energy efficient because the greatest amount of energy is used when the compressor cycles on as opposed to when the compressor is actually running.


These are average operating temperatures for a refrigerator or freezer:

  • Upright or Chest Freezer: 0 degrees F

  • Refrigerator: -5 to +8 degrees F (Freezer); 34 to 42 degrees F (Fresh Food)


Here are factors that contribute to the run time of a refrigerator or freezer:

  • If you live in an extremely hot, humid area or are experiencing a heat wave where you live, the run time may approach 100%.

  • Loading the refrigerator or freezer with a large amount of food, especially warm or hot foods, all at one time.

  • An empty or lightly-loaded freezer. The freezer should be at least 3/4 full to maintain the proper temperature and reduce the run time.

  • When the door is opened, some of the cold air escapes from the interior cabinet and allows warm air to enter the unit.

  • Damaged or dirty door gaskets. See Refrigerator, Freezer or Standalone Ice Maker - Care and Cleaning of Interior and Gasket.

  • Blocked air vents in the freezer section.

  • Dirty condenser coils on models that do not have a NeverClean condenser. See Refrigerator - Cleaning Condenser Coils.

  • Interior light not turning off when the door is closed.