Refrigerator Runs Every 20 Minutes

Are you anxious about why your refrigerator runs every 20 minutes? You should be because it is something really problematic! Well, dig out this article to find the solution!

We all know that the refrigerator has a cycle that makes it turn on and off several times a day, which is pretty normal. This cycle facilitates the fridge to cool the food and water so it can fulfill your desired purpose and also helps maintain the fridge’s steady temperature. 

Any interruption in the cycle can create trouble in the refrigerator’s function and overall performance, so the food quality starts to ruin, and they get soggy and stale inside the fridge. The most common error occurs when the refrigerator runs every 20 minutes. 

Are you also facing the same error? Perhaps it can be due to a broken seal or restricted space where the fridge is placed. So one by one, go through these discussed problem areas to fix the issue.

To get further detail, read the article till the end; for sure, you will find a detailed solution to your error.

Here you go!

Refrigerator Runs Every 20 Minutes

Refrigerator Runs Every 20 Minutes: An Overview

A refrigerator is an indispensable part of our kitchen that is exclusively designed to complete its cycle, cool your food, freeze your food items, etc. Any malfunction can lead to trouble because the things inside the fridge start to ruin their taste and freshness. 

The problem arises when the refrigerator runs after 20 minutes and interrupts its cycle; if you find yourself in this situation, don’t worry. There could be several reasons behind this case, just explore them and jump towards troubleshooting.

Before exploring the problem and the relevant solution, keep in mind that new fridges have temperature settings that you need to adjust. Hopefully, it will resolve your running time issue, whether it is 20 minutes or more.

Let’s move ahead toward a thorough discussion. 

Reasons Refrigerator Runs Every 20 Minutes

Below we will discuss common issues and solutions that cause refrigerator runs every 20 minutes.

Problem 1. Broken Seal

Remember – the refrigerator’s average run time is between 30-40 minutes, but when it drops to 20 minutes, it means the fridge is overdoing that and needs to be fixed. 

Its common cause is the broken seal of your refrigerator that needs to be fixed. It is considered one of the fundamental issues because it interrupts the fridge cooling process and drops the temperature.

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An absolute solution to this problem is to identify the damaged spot and replace it. If possible, you can repair i,t, but a fixed seal can break again at any time, so replacing the seal with the new one is recommended to nip the issue from the bud. 

Problem 2: Malfunctioning Thermometer

If the fridge exceeds its run time, the first thing that pops up in mind is a malfunctioning thermometer. The appliance cannot assess the set temperature, and temperature management issues arise.


A crashed thermometer doesn’t always need replacement because the issues can be resolved by adjustment of the thermometer setting, particularly for new fridges. However, if you want to go for a long run, it is recommended to set a separate thermometer and maneuver it to identify the internal temperature.

Problem 3: Cramped Room

The next anticipated problem is a cramped room when you keep your fridge in the wrong place that is shallow. For instance, if you have kept your fridge in a place that is surrounded by multiple walls, your fridge will not get appropriate air, the air crossing will be impacted, and the refrigerator will get cramped. 

Eventually, it will excessively heat up, hugely impacting its temperature management.


Position your refrigerator where the air can get across; it will hugely impact the fridge’s internal temperature.

Problem 4: Too Much Hot Food

Another problem is putting too much hot food inside the fridge. A lot of warm food in the fridge or freezer compartment creates temperature and impacts the running temperature of the fridge. 

The steam of the food enhances its internal temperatures and forces the fridge to regulate the temperatures to make the food chill. 

Figuring out the food temperature before putting it into the fridge is a wise option. 


If you have put the warm food in the fridge, it will disrupt the overall temperature of your fridge; thus, you are supposed to normalize the food before keeping it in the refrigerator. 

Problem 5: Frequency of Door Openings

Refrigerators’ air is much cooler inside than outside; when someone repeatedly opens and closes the fridge door, the outside air seeps into the refrigerator and saturates cool air. 

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Eventually, the fridge’s temperature shifts from an ideal one, which activates the compressor to begin a new cycle to make the air cooler, which affects its efficiency. On the flip side, homes that do not frequently open the fridge have fewer fridge cycles and do not face 20 minutes interval issues.


Do not open the fridge repeatedly as it can impact the inside air and make it less remarkable. The fridge running cycle will be interrupted, and it will cancel the colder air effect.

Problem 6: Empty Refrigerator

You might have never imagined that an empty fridge can create an issue in its cycle. Contrary to prevalent belief, the refrigerator needs more power to cool an empty fridge than a packed fridge compartment.

Thus, when a fridge is empty, it makes space for cold air to flee at the tiniest chance. The refrigerator then goes through more cycles to cover this loss and maintain a stable temperature. In contrast, a full fridge escapes less air because the food items keep the cold air in them. 


If you want to manage your fridge’s cycle issue, neither overpack your fridge nor keep it empty – create a balance.

So, this was all about why Refrigerator Runs Every 20 Minutes; if you encounter this issue, you can check all the discussed problems and then apply their solutions. It will help you get rid of your troublesome issue like a pro. 

How Long Should A Refrigerator Run?

Well, there is no pet answer to this question because the run time of the fridge varies according to its brand and model. That is why the duration of refrigerator shutting off is becoming a dilemma for users, and the lack of this crucial information makes their food stale. 

However, it is a thumb rule that a fridge runs for 4-8 hours before it turns off, but meanwhile, it also ensures appropriate food cooling and steady temperature maintenance. The typical set time is 30 minutes, but it can vary if the fridge is repeatedly opened and closed.

Consequently, a fridge runs for 12 hours daily and minimally completes its five cycles. This is why it is said that the fridge compressor works 80 to 90% of the day. 

Repeating the statement – there is not a thumb rule for fridge run time, but sometimes it overdoes and starts with the interval of 20 minutes. 

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The Bottom Line

A fridge is not only an expensive appliance, but it sometimes becomes complex too. Its cycles start to disturb and work with different intervals, such as 20 minutes; if it happens with your refrigerator, don’t panic.

This issue commonly occurs due to a broken seal, malfunctioning thermometer, or restricted space where the appliance is placed. So, if you find your fridge is not managing its temperature and running down, you can check all these parts or re-install its thermometer.

If the problem continues, you are suggested to call a contractor and take its assistance.

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Robert Smith

Robert Smith is a technology lover and loves to write about laptops, monitors, printers, tablets, Apple products and anything that's related to computers and games. He is passionate enough that he maintains this blog regarding tech updates on a daily basis.