A Maytag refrigerator in excellent working condition will turn on and off several times throughout the day. However, if you find that it’s turning off and on too frequently, that’s a sign of a problem that needs your attention.
Your Maytag refrigerator will turn off and on frequently because of power supply issues, a high set temperature, a failed compressor, or a faulty PTC start relay. Turning on and off too often is called ‘short cycling’, and it can damage your fridge’s parts. So, you need to troubleshoot and resolve it quickly.
In this guide, you will learn the most likely reasons why your Maytag fridge is short-cycling and what you can do to fix it.
Does A Refrigerator Compressor Go On And Off?
Before you begin troubleshooting your Maytag fridge, there’s one thing you must first understand: it’s perfectly normal for the appliance to turn off and on several times throughout the day.
More specifically, the compressor on your Maytag fridge will cycle on and off to keep your fridge cool. That’s the part you’ll hear a click from and hum before going quiet at some point.
The reason that happens is the compressor will turn on to cool your fridge down to your set temperature. That compressor might stay on for anywhere from 4-8 hours, or however long it takes to make the fridge compartment cold enough.
The compressor shuts off once the appliance reaches your set temperature to save power.
Then, it will stay off until the fridge gets too warm inside, and that’s when the compressor will turn back on again.
When you notice your Maytag refrigerator turning off and on at this frequency over several hours, that means there’s nothing to worry about. Your appliance is working as it should.
How Often Should A Refrigerator Turn On And Off?
As you saw above, it’s perfectly normal for your Maytag fridge to turn on and off several times throughout the day. However, you should ensure that your refrigerator isn’t doing that too frequently.
‘Short cycling’ is a common term that refers to when a fridge turns on and off more often than it should. For example, a refrigerator that turns on and off every 10 minutes is short cycling, which indicates a problem.
Connect with an Appliance Repair Tech
Click here to use the chatbox to speak with one of our technicians.
No in-home service calls. No appointments.
If you find that your Maytag refrigerator is short cycling, then you should begin troubleshooting the appliance using the steps detailed below.
Why Does My Maytag Fridge Keep Turning Off And On?
A Maytag fridge should never keep turning off and on frequently, a process also known as ‘short cycling’. When that happens, you’ll want to troubleshoot the appliance for power supply issues, temperature setting issues, a faulty start relay, or a failed compressor.
This section will help you understand each of those likely causes.
Power Supply Issues
What’s happening: The first item to troubleshoot on your Maytag fridge is its incoming power supply. If the appliance is turning off and on frequently, it’s likely because of a problem with the power supply, like low voltage.
The voltage drop is known as a brownout, which differs from a total blackout where there’s no power.
A brownout can cause your fridge to receive inconsistent and insufficient power. As a result, you’ll find it turns off and on without apparent reason.
How to fix it: Power supply issues typically happen because there’s a problem at the municipal level. So, suppose your household suffers from a brownout affecting your Maytag fridge. In that case, it’s best to contact the power company and notify them of the problem.
Temperature Set Too High
What’s happening: Next, check the temperature settings in your Maytag fridge.
Remember: a fridge will turn on to cool its compartments down to your set temperature. Once it reaches that temperature, it’ll then turn off.
However, suppose you set the temperature too high. Then, the fridge will only turn on for a short period before turning it off again. Worse yet, it’ll repeat this short cycling much more frequently than usual.
How to fix it: In this case, you can solve the problem by choosing a lower set temperature for your Maytag refrigerator. The U.S. Food ; Drug Administration (FDA) recommends keeping your fridge at 40°F or less to ensure that your food is stored safely.
More importantly, setting your fridge around that temperature will ensure that it doesn’t keep turning off and on so frequently.
About this part: The compressor is the heart of your Maytag fridge’s cooling system. From the name, you can tell that it compresses the coolant that circulates throughout the refrigerator to keep its components cool.
The compressor will turn on and run for several hours to cool your fridge until it reaches the temperature you’ve set for it. Then, the compressor will shut off until the refrigerator gets too warm and needs to cool down again.
What’s happening: When a fridge compressor works correctly, it’ll run for several hours without any interruptions. However, a failed compressor won’t be able to do that.
Instead, what you’ll find is that the compressor will cycle on and off frequently because it fails to stay on.
That can happen if the compressor’s internal parts have suffered damage or excess wear after being in use for many years.
How to fix it: Unfortunately, it’s not practical to repair a fridge compressor. Firstly, only an EPA-certified technician can inspect or repair the compressor, so you can’t do it yourself.
Besides that, compressors typically last throughout the lifespan of the fridge. So, if the refrigerator is already at the end of its useful life, it would be better to upgrade to a new model instead of replacing the compressor.
Faulty PTC Start Relay
About this part: The refrigerator compressor relies on a more minor component called the PTC start relay. The start relay has one clear purpose: to deliver the power necessary for the compressor to start.
You’ve likely heard the start relay in action before without knowing it. When it does its job, it’ll produce a loud click as the compressor turns on and starts humming.
What’s happening: As you saw above, the start relay supplies power to the compressor. However, it can also become faulty and fail to do its job correctly.
When the start relay malfunctions, it could cause the compressor to cycle on and off frequently, which you’ll notice as the fridge turns off and on.
Troubleshooting the start relay is pretty simple. After removing the part, you can shake it to listen for any noise. A rattling sound inside means that the relay is no longer usable.
How to fix it: The start relay is another part of your Maytag fridge that isn’t serviceable. Once you confirm that it’s the root cause of your problem, you’ll have to replace it with a new one.
Need a few more tips to help you troubleshoot your fridge? You might find the info you’re looking for in these questions and answers:
Is It Worth Replacing The Compressor On The Refrigerator?
Whether or not it’s worth replacing a fridge compressor depends on how long you’ve had the appliance. Let’s suppose you’ve had your Maytag fridge for many years. Instead of replacing a faulty compressor, it might be more worth it to invest in a newer fridge model.
What Temperature Should My Maytag Fridge Be?
Your Maytag refrigerator should ideally be 40°F or below. That will keep your food items stored safely and prevent your fridge from cycling on and off too frequently.
Where Is The Refrigerator Condenser Coil Located?
The refrigerator condenser coil is located behind the fridge, typically closer to the floor. You’ll see that it’s next to the condenser fan that blows air through the coil. Be careful, though! The condenser coil is typically hot to the touch and can burn your fingers.
What Causes A Refrigerator Compressor To Go Bad?
In most cases, refrigerator compressors go bad due to old age and excessive wear. However, high voltage surges, refrigerant problems, and dirty condenser coils can also lead to compressor problems.
What’s The Average Lifespan Of A Refrigerator Compressor?
You can expect the compressor on your Maytag fridge to last around 10 years with regular maintenance. However, you are more likely to experience compressor problems as the appliance gets older.