Why Your Refrigerator Is Noisy

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It’s normal for your refrigerator to make some noise while operating. In fact, it’s almost certainly the loudest appliance in your home because it’s always running. But if those noises start to get loud and/or abnormal, there’s probably something wrong with your refrigerator that will need to be fixed.

In this article, we will discuss the major types of noises that you might be hearing coming from your fridge and then tell you what is most likely causing them. Hopefully, you’ll be able to use our advice to find the source of the noise in your fridge and fix it.

Before going any further, make sure the noise isn’t coming from inside the fridge. Sometimes loose objects in your fridge can bang against each other when the compressor is operating, which causes loud noises.

Refrigerator making a grinding, scraping, or knocking noise

If your refrigerator is making any of these noises, they are likely being caused by one of the fans in your appliance becoming damaged or being covered in frost or the fan motor malfunctioning.

Your fridge has two main fans: the evaporator fan and the condenser fan. The condenser fan is located at the lower back part of your fridge, and the evaporator fan can be found in the freezer compartment.

To understand which fan is causing the noise, you need to determine where the noise is coming from. If the noise is coming from inside the freezer unit, the culprit will be the evaporator fan. If the noise is coming from behind your refrigerator unit, the culprit will be the condenser fan.

Here’s how to inspect the condenser fan:

  • Switch the power off to your refrigerator.
  • Pull your appliance out from the wall so you can access the back of it.
  • Locate the condenser fan at the back of the fridge. You may need to remove the back panel.
  • Once located, take the cover off the fan.
  • Attempt to rotate the condenser fan 360 degrees. If any object is obstructing the fan, remove it. If the fan is covered in ice, let it defrost before turning your fridge back on.
  • If the fan is bent out of shape beyond repair, it will need to be replaced.
  • If the fan can be turned around without obstruction, you can test the fan motor with a multimeter, if you have one, to ensure the motor isn’t the cause of the problem. If the motor is defective, the whole condenser fan unit will need to be replaced.
  • While you’re checking the fan, it’s a good idea to give the condenser coils a good clean too. This will help ensure the fan operates correctly.

Here’s how to inspect the evaporator fan:

  • Switch the power off to your refrigerator.
  • Open the freezer door and locate the evaporator fan unit.
  • Once located, take the cover off the fan.
  • Attempt to rotate the evaporator fan 360 degrees. If any object is obstructing the fan, remove it. If the fan is covered in ice, let it defrost before turning your fridge back on.
  • If the fan is bent out of shape beyond repair, it will need to be replaced.
  • If the evaporator fan can be turned around without obstruction, you can test the fan motor with a multimeter, if you have one, to ensure the motor isn’t the cause of the problem. If the motor is defective, the whole evaporator fan unit will need to be replaced.

Refrigerator making a buzzing or vibrating noise

A loud buzzing or vibrating noise coming from your fridge indicates that your ice maker might be switched on but not connected to the water supply.

To solve this problem, you will need to locate and turn on the shut-off arm, so your ice maker is connected to the water supply. Alternatively, if you don’t want your ice maker to be operating you will need to turn it off.

Refrigerator making a rattling noise

Rattling sounds coming from your refrigerator can be due to several possible reasons.

  • The rattling noise could be the result of your fridge not being level. The easiest way to test this out is to put a bubble level on top of your fridge and check if your fridge is setting level. If not, adjust the legs on your fridge until it is.
  • Sometimes the sides or the back of your refrigerator can rub up against the wall, your kitchen bench, or a cabinet, which causes your fridge to rattle or vibrate when the compressor is operating. The easiest way to stop this from happening is to make sure your appliance is a couple of inches away from any other surface.
  • The rattling noise could be caused by the drain pan coming out of position and knocking into other parts of your fridge. The drain pan can be found underneath your fridge. If you find it has broken off or become loose, it will need to be repaired or replaced.

Refrigerator making a loud humming noise

If you can hear a humming noise coming from your fridge, the most likely culprit is the compressor. When the compressor turns on to distribute refrigerant to your fridge, it makes a humming noise and can vibrate.

It is normal to hear a humming sound coming from the compressor, but if that noise gets louder and louder over time, this indicates the component is defective. Compressors are very dangerous and difficult to repair, so we recommend you call a qualified technician to come and inspect your compressor so they can hopefully solve the problem.

Alternatively, if the humming noise coming from your compressor is much quieter than usual, this indicates a potential problem with the component. The first thing you need to do is turn your fridge off and on, as this can reset your compressor. If that doesn’t work, you will need to call a qualified technician to come and inspect your fridge.

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