Sub Zero Refrigerator Service Code EC 50 – Troubleshooting Guide

Refrigerators will experience problems from time to time. This happens with all appliances and technology that people have in their homes. After all, nothing can function perfectly forever. The best thing you can do is know what specific error messages mean and how to correct them. With this in mind, what does Service Code EC 50 on a Sub Zero Refrigerator mean?

Service Code EC 50 on your Sub Zero Refrigerator means that the refrigerator compressor has been running for too long, or simply that the fridge itself has been running for too long. This often is a sign that the condenser inside the refrigerator needs to be cleaned. After that, the service code should no longer appear.

This troubleshooting guide will explain what Service Code EC 50 means, why the code appears, how to fix this error code issue, and what can be done to prevent it from appearing again. So read on to learn more about this error code on your Sub Zero refrigerator and what you can do to get it working properly again.

What Does Service Code EC 50 Mean?

Service Code EC 50 on a Sub Zero refrigerator means that the refrigerator or freezer compressor has been running too long without a break. The compressor is the central part of the refrigerator that circulates the cold air throughout. Without the compressor, a fridge would not preserve food properly because the refrigerant is no longer circulating.

Food will spoil, and you will have to throw out food that you would like to eat sooner than planned if it goes bad before you can fix the compressor. The compressor is also the piece that will compensate if another piece of the fridge machinery stops working, which will cause the refrigerator machinery to deteriorate faster. 

Read: Why Is Fridge Making Rattling, Humming Or Buzzing Noise?

What Causes a Fridge Compressor to Run for Too Long?

Refrigerator compressors running for longer than usual is a common issue. This can happen for one or more of the following reasons:

  • Defrost timer stops working– Refrigerators have a defrost timer that will shut down the compressor for 20-30 minutes once it has been running for 8-10 hours so that the evaporator can be defrosted. When the timer malfunctions, it will make the compressor run for longer than needed.
  • Malfunction of defrost termination thermostat– The defrost termination thermostat is the piece that turns off the defrost heater at the end of the defrost cycle. When it is not working properly, the compressor will run for longer than necessary to compensate for it.
  • Condenser fan motor not working– The condenser coil condenses the air in the fridge, and it is attached to a fan that moves to expel heat. When the fan is not working, the compressor has to work harder to compensate for it.
  • Evaporator fan motor not working– The evaporator evaporates the refrigerant, and the evaporator fan airs out the evaporator while the condenser is running. When the fan motor is not working, the compressor runs longer than it needs to in order to make up for it.
  • Sealed system problems– The sealed system is all of the refrigerator components, including the compressor, condenser, evaporator, and associated tubes. If any of the parts has a problem, it could cause the compressor to run for too long or keep the fridge from getting cold enough.

How to Clear and Fix Service Code EC 50?

To clear and fix this error code, press and hold the door ajar alarm key for 15 seconds. If the error code does not clear after this, you may have to call a professional technician to fix your fridge for you.

There are other things you can try to do to fix the code as well:

  • If fridge temperatures are high and the door is not open, call to get your refrigerator serviced, as there is nothing you can do to troubleshoot it on your own.
  • If the refrigerator temperatures are normal, clean the condenser of dirt and dust, press and hold the door ajar alarm key for 15 seconds to clear the error, or make sure that the fridge kickplate is not covered. If none of these fix the problem, call for service for your refrigerator.
  • Make sure the fridge door is not blocked from closing and sealing properly. 
  • Make sure that nothing in the sealed system is leaking. 
  • Remove things blocking the blade of the condenser fan, or make sure it is tightened if it looks loose. 

Doing one or a combination of these solutions can fix the EC 50 compressor error and even prevent it from happening in the first place. Always make sure to call a professional if you need help.

Read: Does Fridge Need To Be Level And Why?

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How To Prevent Error Code EC 50 From Happening?

To prevent error code EC 50 and ensure that the compressor does not run for longer than necessary, you can do one or multiple of the following: 

  • Clean the condenser and ensure it is free of debris and dust.
  • Reduce the amount of food in the refrigerator and make sure that none of it is warm.
  • Ensure that the refrigerator door is closed and sealed properly. 
  • Check the temperature of the room where the fridge is stored and that of the fridge itself; the fridge needs to be kept in a cool place and away from direct heat.
  • Clean the condenser coils and remove any obstruction from the condenser fan so that it can work properly. 
  • Keep the grille plate free of obstruction. If anything is blocking or enclosing it, the fridge condenser will work overtime, or the obstruction can cause severe sealed system problems. 

Making sure that your Sub Zero Fridge and its parts stay clean and well-maintained is key to preventing errors such as this one. The better the fridge is taken care of, the less likely it is that the condenser will have to compensate for malfunctioning parts and run the risk of working overtime.

Read: Your Refrigerator Freezing Food? Here Is How To Fix It


Error code EC 50 on a Sub Zero Fridge means that the condenser is working overtime and the fridge has been running too long. Causes of this error code include: defrost timer malfunction, condenser or evaporator fan malfunction, or overall sealed system problems. The best way to prevent this error is to keep the fridge and its parts clean. Protection Status