Sign up ×
Home Improvement Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for contractors and serious DIYers. It's 100% free, no registration required.

My mini fridge has full power, but I come home after a couple of days to find that the compressor has shut off and everything has defrosted and the fridge isn't cold anymore. I can turn the knob and in about 15 minutes it's back to ice cold. Does anyone know whey this keeps happening? I don't want to just toss it if it's something I can easily correct.

share|improve this question
I have a 3.3 cu ft mini-fridge that I have to unplug, defrost, remove the interior back plate and wipe all the water off of the cooling fins. The condensation and humidity in the air freezes onto the fins that coil runs through, so I get a block of ice and metal behind the panel and no air flow. Mine is about 8 yrs old and does not goes through a defrosting stage by itself, nor can it drain any trapped condensation. For mine, I do have to defrost it for several hours before I can remove the interior rear panel because it's frozen on. – Jason Mar 6 '13 at 22:00
What if this has happened more than once and the knob cannot be turned any more? Please describe the knob turning behavior in more detail. To restart the fridge, do you turn the knob back and forth both ways, ending up at about the same position? Or are you turning the knob up to start the fridge, and then later turning it down to stop the fridge from running all the time? I mean, is it a bad thermostat, or a flaky knob. – Kaz Mar 7 '13 at 9:51

2 Answers 2

Check that the cooling coils are clean and dust free. vacuum if needed. If the coils are dirty and unable to release heat it may make the compressor over heat. Or if it has a reset switch the power will be cut out before it reaches critical temperature.

share|improve this answer

It is probably a bad thermostat.

A thermostat can be tested by shunting it. Wait until the problem occurs, then connect the two wires that go into the thermostat. If the compressor goes on, it means the thermostat is bad and should be replaced. The thermostat is inside a box attached to the back. It looks like this:

enter image description here

Alternatively, it may be inside the fridge itself if the fridge is larger.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.