How Long Do Refrigerators Run before Shutting Off?

While refrigerators are vital to any kitchen, it’s also important to note that they make use of quite a bit of electricity. Indeed, refrigerators are notorious for their energy consumption to the point that the cooling industry causes 10% of all global CO2 emissions. This brings up an interesting question: how much does a fridge cost to run?

You’d be surprised to know that it’s actually quite simple to arrive at the answer to this question. All you’ll need is to know how much your monthly electricity bill is, how much you get charged per kilowatt and the wattage of the appliance. From there, just multiply the wattage by the amount of time the appliance is used per day, then multiply that amount by your energy costs.

However, this becomes a little more complicated when it comes to your refrigerator. One common misconception about refrigerators is that they are always “on.” This just isn’t the case, as refrigerators go into a defrost cycle after a certain amount of time. Now, keep in mind that there are different factors that affect how long refrigerators keep running. 

If you want to better understand this process, read on as we explain what you need to know about a refrigerator’s running cycle!

How Long Do Refrigerators Run?

So, how often should a refrigerator cycle? Ideally, refrigerators should run for about four to eight hours before shutting off and going into a defrost cycle. The defrost cycle is vital to your refrigerator as it helps maintain the airflow in your refrigerator by making sure that the evaporator coils inside the refrigerator aren’t covered with frost. It’s important to note that refrigerators that have just been plugged in can run for up to 24 hours as they need to attain a stable cold temperature before going into the regular cycle.

Factors that Affect Run Time

Well, technology plays a significant role in all of this. Today, newer refrigerators come with compressors that allow them to run around 80% to 90% of the time. However, even this can change depending on the environment the refrigerator is in. The hotter the area, the longer the refrigerator’s runtime will be. Furthermore, hot and humid areas pretty much force refrigerators to run 100% of the time. 

Another factor that heavily influences run time is the number of items that are being kept in the refrigerator. The fewer items in the refrigerator, the longer the run time. If you’re looking to minimize your refrigerator’s run time, it would be best to keep it relatively full!

Lastly, remember that poorly maintained refrigerators have longer run times. This is why you’ll want to check for blocked air vents, damaged door gaskets, and frozen evaporator coils, as all of these could affect the overall run time of your refrigerator.


Despite using it daily, not everyone understands how refrigerators work. As such, we hope this article has helped shed some light on the matter. You can use the information you picked up from this article to optimize how you use your refrigerator at home and keep your electricity spending to a minimum!

Pixel Fridge is committed to providing our readers with reviews, tips, and recommendations for high-quality refrigerators. We’re here to answer your pressing questions whether it be about the mini fridge’s electricity cost or the best eco-friendly refrigerator. If you want to know more, check out the rest of the resources available on our site!

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