Is your refrigerator operating properly? If you’re experiencing problems with your refrigerator, one of the most common causes is a bad compressor. The compressor is one of the main components of a refrigerator, so if it fails the fridge won’t function as it should and your food will spoil.

What are the signs of a bad refrigerator compressor? Here’s what you should look, listen, or smell for.

Your Refrigerator is Constantly Running

Does it seem like your refrigerator is running all the time? Take a few minutes and listen to it. It should run for a few minutes and then stop. Does it stop? And if it does, does it start right back up again? This likely indicates a compressor problem. A bad compressor will cause your refrigerator to run continuously without ever reaching the desired temperature inside.

Your Energy Bill is Rising

Have you noticed that your electric bill has been a little higher lately? A rising energy bill could be related to any appliance in your home. But if your refrigerator is running constantly due to a bad compressor, it can make a noticeable difference in your monthly bill. Don’t ignore it or assume your electric company is raising their rates. There is most likely a problem somewhere in your home, and your refrigerator might be it.

It Doesn’t Stay Cold 

Is your food spoiling? Do your beverages seem less refreshing? Your refrigerator is likely not reaching the desired temperature inside. A bad compressor prevents the refrigerator from being able to sufficiently cool itself down.

The compressor’s job is to move the refrigerant through the refrigerator’s cooling system. As the refrigerant moves through the evaporator coil the heat is moved out and the inside of the refrigerator is cooled down. But if the compressor isn’t working properly, the refrigerant isn’t moving through as it should, if at all. This is indicated by a refrigerator that doesn’t get cold.

You Hear More Noise than Usual 

Does the noise from your refrigerator seem to be ramping up? Or maybe you’re hearing noises you’ve never heard before coming from your refrigerator. The compressor is the motor for the cooling system of your refrigerator, and when it begins to wear out or fail it can make extra noise from friction around the bearings or other parts.

The Circuit Breaker Trips 

Another sign of a failing compressor is a repeatedly tripping circuit breaker. If your refrigerator isn’t running at all or the light won’t come on, check your circuit breaker box and look for a tripped breaker switch. Flip the breaker and see if your refrigerator begins running again. If it doesn’t or if the breaker trips again, you most likely have a compressor or other electrical issue with your refrigerator. First check the other appliances on the same circuit to make sure it isn’t something else causing the breaker to trip.

You Notice a Burning Smell 

If the compressor is wearing out it tends to run hot, which can give off a smell like burning oil. If the problem is electrical, you may notice more of an electrical burning smell. Either way, a burning smell coming from your refrigerator is an indication of a problem that needs to be addressed.

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