Fridge Stopped Working Then Started Again: How to Fix

Last Updated on May 28, 2022 by

You could be wondering why fridge stopped working then started again. It is a good worry so that your food and beverages in storage do not spoil. However, this may not be a problem at all. This article will keep you from immediately inviting a technician while you troubleshoot your fridge problem to know if inviting a professional is worth it.

When your fridge stops working and then starts again, it could mean a defrost cycle is starting. A fridge is designed to defrost for about 30 minutes after a cumulative compressor runtime of up to 9 hours, depending on the manufacturer. 

Additionally, it can be an overheating problem if your fridge turns off after a few minutes of working then on again repeatedly. In this case, it is protecting the compressor thermistor. But if a sticking thermostat, it is either your motor, thermistor or stat is faulty. However, if your fridge goes off and stays off, your electrical wiring could be faulty.

Why Does My Fridge Keep Turning on and Off?

Typically, there are two major explanations for your fridge turning off and starting again.

It could mean that the thermostat or cold control is okay with the coldness and so it stops working after shutting off the power flow to the compressor. In the same way, you do not want your fridge to get warm inside, you also do not want it to be too cold.

Secondly, when your fridge could stop working and start again when the defrost system comes on automatically. This process disables the fridge and power to the defrost heaters. Your fridge needs to frequently melt excess ice off the evaporator coils responsible for the cooling. Otherwise, ice can grow thick on the coils, preventing cold air to other components of the fridge.

Other Reasons Your Fridge Stops Working and Starts Again

    • Frozen coils.

      If you use an older fridge, ice would typically build up inside the freezer compartment or on the coils. When ice builds up on your fridge coils, the freezer fails to function properly. To activate a defrost, your fridge turns off and turns on again when the defrost cycle is complete.

  • Clogging.

    If your freezer coils clog from dirt, it will occasionally stop working then start again. This can hinder the compressor because dirt build-up heats the motor and compressor. Your fridge then turns off to cool off and then comes on again after a while. You can always remove dirt from the coils, inspect the overflow tray and clean up. Ensure to unplug your fridge from its power source and allow it to cool off first. Before you plug in your fridge again, make sure there is enough space around for proper air circulation.

  • Faulty capacitor or relay.

    Another reason your fridge can stop working then start again is a faulty start or run capacitor or relay. These components can become faulty due to a power outage, causing your fridge to go off and come on occasionally.

  • Incorrect thermostat adjustment.

    If your thermostat is not adjusted correctly, your fridge can stop working and start again. The compressor supplies power for the cooling process, so check that your thermostat is not adjusted incorrectly. Unfortunately, it could be a compressor problem if your thermostat is set correctly.

  • Faulty Power Cord.

    A faulty power cord can cause a fridge to suddenly stop working and start again. Unplug the power cord from the wall outlet and inspect it. If it is worn or frayed, you need a replacement power cord. A damaged cord can cause a short, causing the compressor to malfunction.

How to Know if Fridge Compressor is Bad

Since the compressor can be a common reason why your fridge stops working then starts again, let’s find out the signs that your compressor is bad.

Note: Never inspect or repair a fridge compressor by yourself.

  • Start Relay Frequently Turns on And Off

Conventionally, the fridge compressor can stop working and start again if it reaches the set temperature. Since we are tackling a situation where your compressor suddenly turns off and on again, even before the fridge reaches its set temperature, the relay could be the culprit.

First, turn off your fridge and disconnect it from the wall socket. Remove and shake the relay, if you hear a rattling sound, your relay is faulty. Ensure to shake the relay closer to your ear and physically inspect it.

If the relay is the problem, you need a compatible replacement relay. Suppose your product matches the recommendation below, inform a professional before purchase

  • YSLALCT Refrigerator Compressor Relay.

    The YSLALCT compressor relay works perfectly as a replacement compressor when your relay is faulty. The professional only has to plug it in for your freezer to reach 1 degree within a decent hour similar to the compressor relay original to the unit. You may have to pry the plug open a bit to plug it in. In essence, the YSLALCT compressor relay keeps you from disposing of your fridge for a replacement.

  • Overheating

Overheating can cause your fridge to frequently and unduly stop working and turn on again. A properly working compressor typically operates at about 45-60 degrees Celsius and feels slightly hot. This could be a sign that your fridge has no refrigerant or gas. In this case, there could be a leak along the line. If there is a leak somewhere in the fridge, the compressor will overwork and overheat. It could also mean that the technician failed to charge the system with sufficient refrigerant.

If your fridge runs for a while without refrigerant, it often causes the compressor to degrade faster. Two of the most common refrigerants your technician can consider include R600A and R134A.

The R600A is a flammable Iso butane commonly used in contemporary fridges. Compared to R134A, R600A is considered green and suitable in the fight against global warming.

The R134A, Tetrafluoroethane, is also commonly used and was a replacement for the ozone-depleting R12. Although it is ozone friendly, it is also considered a potent greenhouse gas. The R134A could be phased out in the near future. There are other fridge refrigerants in the market – your technician should do the picking.

  • Strange Knocking Noise

In a perfectly operating compressor, running noise should be gently buzzing and humming from the unit. The compressor has an electric motor in the springs, and so a loud buzzing or humming is a sign there is a problem with the motor.

If your fridge produces knocking noises, the motor mounting could be faulty and the inner walls of the compressor are receiving a knock from the motor.

If your technician declares that your compressor needs a replacement, consider the following recommendation if it is compatible with your fridge:

Avantco 17812321

  • The Avantco 1/4 hp compressor makes a decent direct compressor replacement for your fridge. It uses the R290 refrigerant, and would easily swap out with your original unit compressor to reduce downtime.

Narvon 2189 115V

  • The Narvon 2189 is a 115V and 60 Hz compressor you can consider as your replacement compressor. When your technician installs the Narvon 2189 compressor, you would be getting a frozen and refreshing beverage experience 

Beverage-Air 312-054B

  • The Beverage-Air 312-054B 1/4 and 115V replacement compressor is your go-to solution if your compressor is faulty. It is perfect for your bar refrigerator or beer dispenser to ensure a mind-freezing sip.

In extreme cases, you might require a replacement fridge:


RCA RFR322-B RFR322 is the compact replacement fridge to buy. It fits perfectly in your contemporary apartment, office, dorm, and motorhome. It features 3.2 cu. Ft capacity freezer and suiting can holder for your veggies, beverages, and more.

    • Storage. It features a reversible door and is designed to provide even more storage in a tight space. You do not have to worry about fitting in your wine and beverage, condiments and eggs, and more.
  • Temperature and defrost. RCA lets you simply twist the thermostat knob to adjust the temperature. To defrost, you are one push away and the defrosting cycle is up and running. Click here to see on Amazon


The Midea is an excellent fridge for your come, lets you store favorite food, including fruits, veggies, seafood, ice cream, meats, and more. It is your long-term food storage solution to replace your broken fridge. It is fitted with adjustable legs and a reversible hinged door to fit perfectly in your basement, garage, and bar area.

    • Lighting. At night, Midea gives you a daytime feel with its low energy, yet high power, LED lights. It illuminates your food for easier sighting.
  • Energy. Midea comes with built-in  advanced compressor with optimal energy technology that keeps it running quietly and efficiently.
  • Thermostat. You have the option to adjust your thermostat to chill your meal at an optimal temperature for fridge and freezer parts. Click here to see on Amazon

Final Thoughts on Fridge stopped working then started again

Although you can DIY some aspects of your refrigerator, the compressor is one such component a professional must handle. Good luck with knowing why your fridge stops working and starts again, and with resolving the problem if it is indeed a problem.