Refrigerators are usually one of the most reliable kitchen appliances in the average home, which makes it all the more surprising when you suddenly encounter problems with it. These problems are often so subtle that it can be difficult to spot them before they turn into bigger and more expensive issues. As a result, it’s easy to dismiss an ongoing problem as normal behavior for your fridge.

Here are a few common problems your refrigerator can run into during the course of its life.​

1. Excessive Frost Buildup

When you open your freezer door, the last thing you want to see is your refrigerator doing its best impression of Antarctica. This phenomenon is yet another common sign that something’s up with your refrigerator. Excessive frost and ice buildup inside your freezer can turn something as simple as grabbing a bag of mixed vegetables into an act involving an ice pick and a lot of frustration.

Thanks to the advent of the frost-free refrigerator, excessive frost buildup isn’t as common as it used to be. Nevertheless, the problem can still surface if the automatic defrosting feature experiences a sudden failure. Faulty evaporator coils or a refrigeration leak can also lead to a freezer caked with thick ice.

When faced with excessive frost buildup, the best thing to do is turn the refrigerator off and allow it to manually defrost. If the problem happens again after turning the fridge back on, then you may need to have a professional take a closer look at your refrigerator.​

2. Excessive Condensation

You might notice a little condensation inside your refrigerator under normal operation. However, seeing your refrigerator literally dripping with “sweat” isn’t normal. Too much condensation could lead to standing water on the bottom shelf of the fridge as well as water leaks caused by overflowing condensate.

Excessive condensation usually happens when large amounts of warm air somehow infiltrate the refrigerator, typically through a failed door gasket. It’s important to make sure the gasket is able to seal the refrigerator properly. If the gasket is weak, worn out or covered in mold, then it’s a good idea to have it replaced.

3. Constant Operation

Your refrigerator’s compressor only needs to run at brief intervals in order to keep things cool inside. If it seems to run all day and all night, then there may be a problem with the compressor. Not having enough refrigerant due to an undetected leak can cause the compressor to run non-stop. Faulty relays can also cause the same issue.

Letting your compressor run non-stop can easily cause it to overheat, shortening its lifespan even further while putting the rest of your refrigerator at risk. It’s a good idea to listen carefully to your refrigerator and call an expert if it shows no signs of shutting down.

4. Sudden Increase in Energy Consumption

A sudden spike in energy costs can be caused by a number of issues, including your refrigerator. What was once an energy-efficient appliance can suddenly start wasting energy due to years of cumulative wear and tear. This problem is usually more evident with refrigerators that have gone well past their expected lifespan.

Keep in mind that a typical refrigerator offers an average lifespan of 17 years when properly maintained. Problems with the evaporator coils and other parts of your refrigerator can cause its energy consumption to increase.

Although a simple tune-up can help reduce your current refrigerator’s energy consumption, it may be time to think about buying a newer and more energy-efficient fridge. AAA Home Services offers a broad range of energy-efficient options for your home as well as the certified technicians to help with expert installation.