My refrigerator runs way too much - is this because it doesn't seem to be level? It doesn't seem to be any other reason.
A fridge motor is controlled by a thermostat - a device that reacts to temperature inside the fridge. So fridge motor starts/stops are completely agnostic to whether the fridge is level, the only practical consequence of fridge being non-level is extra noise.
The most likely reason for fridge motor running too often are the following:
- loose gasket around the door - as the fridge gets older the gasket loses shape and no longer seals the interior letting cold air out and warm air in. This is addressed by replacing the gasket.
- users putting hot stuff in - the fridge has to run for a long time to cool down a glass of hot water or a hot pan, only room-temperature or colder stuff should be put into the fridge to avoid that
- users opening the door too often
Some additional reasons a fridge may be running too much, beyond what sharptooth posted::
- Thermostat may be set very low: check recommended temperature level for the kinds of food you want to store.
- Thermostat or temperature sensor may be damaged or in need of maintenance.
Also, I know it's recommended for a fridge to have a certain amount if clearance behind, around, and underneath. If it is too close to the back wall or there is a bunch of junk under/around it preventing proper circulation, it can adversely affect it. I am not sure if this will cause it to run more, or just be less efficient.
If it's an old refrigerator, the sealed unit could be leaking refrigerant. In this case, it's probably time to buy a new refrigerator.
According to this info some low energy designs rely on long run times. I suggest to check the actual power usage of the device during a couple of days.
If you've noticed a change in performance, the coil is dirty; you've got to clean it. At the very least it's time to take the faceplate off the bottom and give it a wipe. Check the back side too, which is also guaranteed to be covered in fuzz.
To answer the other part of the question: Being absolutely level is not required. If it's more than a few degres you might want to check with the manufacturer to get actual specs for this model, but the designers are very aware that nothing in a house is perfectly square or level after a few decades.