A refrigerator is a necessity to keep many foodstuffs fresh and healthy, so it needs to be in good running order.
If your refrigerator is making noise, you need to pay attention before it becomes an urgent problem.
You don’t normally take much notice of your refrigerator other than to stock it, use the contents and repeat.
It hums away quietly until one late one night, it suddenly starts making weird sounds.
You might not even know how to describe the noise.
We’ll examine all the sounds a refrigerator might make. Some might be normal, and some might mean getting a technician in to fix it.
The inside of the fridge may be spotlessly clean, but sometimes we neglect the working parts that we can’t see.
A buildup of dust and grime could be responsible for many noises but equally, there could be other reasons:If you hear buzzing, your ice maker may be faulty.
- A knocking noise might mean your compressor needs attention.
- A gurgling sound may be your refrigerant liquid sloshing around.
- Sizzling might be heard when water drips onto the defrost heater.
- A moaning noise could simply be the compressor cutting off, which is quite normal.
If you want to know more about these or other strange noises, stay with us, and we’ll tell you whether or not you should worry.
Is a Noisy Fridge Dangerous?
You’ll have to investigate the source of the noise your fridge is making before you panic.
If your fridge suddenly starts making strange noises that you haven’t heard before, it may be worth checking it out.
If you are confident doing this yourself, by all means, try, but call in a technician if you are unsure.
Be aware though, that if the item is still under warranty, you may void this by opening up the back and removing parts.
A noisy fridge may only be dangerous once you know what’s causing the racket.
Why is my Refrigerator Making Noise?
There are a number of reasons why your refrigerator may be making noise.
These could be perfectly innocent:
- The working parts may need a good clean
- It might not be sitting level on the floor
- It may be rattling as its too close to a wall
Alternatively, your compressor or the fans might need replacing.
If you are in doubt, call in a professional before you inadvertently cause more damage.
15 Common Refrigerator Noises and How to Fix Them
We’ll discuss the common reasons why a refrigerator is making noise and what steps you can take to fix them.
Only attempt this if you are confident in your technical expertise; otherwise, call in professional help..
A fridge can be heavy and awkward, so ask for assistance before you try and move it by yourself.
Always unplug the fridge before you work on or clean any working components.
1. Loud Noise
The first thing is to identify where the noise is coming from.
If it’s from the front, it could be the evaporator fan.
If it’s from the back, it could be the defrost timer, the condenser fan, or the compressor.
If the fridge is icing up, the defrost timer may be faulty, assuming the thermostat is set accurately.
Another symptom is the fridge making loud noise a couple of times a day for about an hour..
If it is faulty, a technician will need to replace the device.
Your fridge might make a buzzing noise if the compressor and fans are grimy and clogged up.
The condenser coils may collect hair and other debris, which needs to be removed regularly.
Like most people, you probably don’t pull the fridge out too often to clean the back.
To give them a good clean, dampen a cloth with soapy water. Wipe down until the coils are clean. If the grime is firmly entrenched, you can use a soft brush.
Make sure that you don’t get other working parts of the fridge wet or you may damage them.
Let everything dry properly before you plug the fridge back in and switch it on.
You may be able to vacuum the dirt off, but you’ll need to get into all the gaps.
A knocking in your fridge making noise may be more ominous.
Your evaporator fan may be the culprit.
The blade may have become clogged or damaged, or the motor may have failed.
As this fan distributes cold air, your fridge won’t cool properly if it’s not working correctly.
A quick solution is to defrost the fridge, as ice may be blocking the fan.
If this doesn’t resolve the issue, remove the back panel to access the fan.
Remove any dirt with a soft brush and see if it spins properly.
Don’t get the whole unit wet, as you may damage the electrical components inside.
If the blade is bent, you will need to get the evaporator fan replaced. Trying to bend it back into shape won’t work.
If the fan motor has stopped working, you’ll need a technician to replace it.
Another reason for your fridge to knock is if the condenser fan malfunctions.
The condenser transfers heat from inside the fridge to outside.
Older model fridges will have condenser coils which are cooled by air movement, while newer models are fan cooled.
You can take the same measures to clean or repair the condenser fan as for the evaporator fan.
A humming fridge is not necessarily an indication that something is wrong.
But if it suddenly starts making louder or different humming noises, you need to investigate further.
If your ice maker is not getting sufficient water, it may make a humming noise.
Ensure the water lines are connected properly, or the ice maker may be damaged.
If the compressor is dirty, your fridge will have to work harder, and this may cause it to make a louder noise.
Clean the compressor and coils as discussed above.
Ensure the air vent inside the fridge is not blocked. Make sure containers are not placed on top of the air vent, blocking free airflow.
This will also cause your fridge to make a loud humming sound.
If the condenser coil is clogged with dirt, the compressor may become overloaded, which could cause a clicking sound.
You may find your fridge and freezer are still cool but not as much as they should be.
A thorough cleaning of the compressor and condenser coils should solve the problem.
The start relay of your compressor may also be the cause. The relay starts the compressor running, which in turn starts the cooling cycle.
The faulty start relay will keep trying to work, which makes the clicking noise.
It is simple to replace but may need to be tested with a multimeter to confirm that it is not working.
A multimeter measures AC/DC current, voltage, and resistance.
Hearing your fridge gurgle may simply mean it is working normally.
During the cooling cycle, the refrigerant liquid flows through the tubes, which you can hear as a gurgle.
You may also hear this when you open and close the fridge door, as the water level equalizes in the drainage tube.
This is nothing to be concerned about, but you may want to leave the fridge closed for longer periods.
The compressor and condenser coils may be the cause of your fridge making a grinding noise.
However, it may also be down to the recirculation fan getting iced up or a bearing in the fan having worn out.
You will need a technician to replace the fan if the bearing is the problem.
If the fan is iced up, you simply defrost the fridge — remove the contents, and leave the door open for a few hours.
If the ice continues to build up quickly, the door seal may need replacing.
A fridge constantly changes temperature as it cycles through the cooling process.
These temperature variations may cause the expansion and contraction of plastic in the fridge, which will cause a popping sound.
This process is called thermal expansion.
The compressor motor causes vibrations, which in turn causes items inside the fridge to touch and sound like they are popping. Small items on top of the fridge may have the same effect.
If your fridge has an ice maker or water dispenser, you may hear a popping sound as the water valve opens to allow water in.
The opposite may also happen if the water supply to the ice maker or dispenser is interrupted; the water valve may make a popping sound.
If the defrost timer is not working properly, it could cause the evaporator coil to continue getting colder instead of working in a cycle.
This would need to be repaired by a technician.
If you hear your refrigerator making a noise similar to sizzling, this may be nothing more than water dripping onto the defrost heater.
This is a normal part of the defrost cycle in self-defrosting fridges.
A rattling sound from your fridge may mean that the drain pan is loose.
Other reasons may include:
- The compressor may be faulty
- Dirt accumulating on the fan blades of the condenser
- The fan motors on the condenser are faulty
- The defrost timer is faulty
If dirt and debris are clogging up the compressor and condenser, they will need to be cleaned thoroughly, as discussed earlier.
The fan motor may need to be replaced if this is the source of the rattle.
To replace a defrost timer, unscrew and remove it from inside the fridge, being careful not to damage any wires. Reconnect the wires to a new timer and replace any plates that you removed.
You may not expect to hear chirping sounds from your fridge, but if you do, it usually indicates a faulty evaporator fan.
This may be caused by faulty wiring or a fan blade that has been damaged.
If the evaporator fan is not functioning properly, neither is the cooling system.
If you are confident in your DIY skills, you can open the panel in the fridge that houses the evaporator fan and test if it spins smoothly.
If the blade is damaged or clogged, the fan may need to be replaced.
If your fridge starts making a ringing sound, it is probably caused by a faulty compressor.
If the compressor motor stops working properly, this can result in a high-pitched ringing sound.
If this is the case, your compressor will probably require replacing.
It may simply be a dirty condenser fan, so check this first by pulling the fridge out and checking for accumulated dirt and debris.
There are three reasons why your fridge may make hissing sounds.
Two of these are no cause for concern:
- Defrost cycle
A defrost cycle is necessary to control the buildup of ice on the evaporator coils.
If these get completely iced over, the fridge cannot maintain a cool enough temperature to stop food from spoiling.
The hissing that you can hear is likely from water dripping onto the element as it heats up to maintain the correct temperature.
- Thermostatic valve
A second reason could be the thermostatic valve expanding and contracting as the refrigerant coolant passes through it.
This is a normal process, and nothing to be concerned about.
- Freon leak
However, a third reason is much more problematic.
If the evaporator coil or condenser coil is punctured, you will encounter a gas or freon leak.
This may have been caused by your attempting to remove ice from the freezer, making noise as it struggled to maintain the right temperature.
Freon is toxic and potentially lethal if inhaled. It is also a major contributor to holes in the ozone layer and, thus, extremely environmentally unfriendly.
You should immediately call a technician and not attempt to repair this yourself.
You may think your home is haunted if you hear moaning sounds coming from your fridge.
There could be a few reasons:
- It could simply be your compressor cutting out as part of its normal cycle
- Your ice maker may be clogged up, in which case, simply defrost it using hot water
- The formation of gas pockets as the refrigerant flows into the evaporator coil could cause unusual noises
These are not major concerns and are a part of the fridge’s normal working cycle.
15. Condenser fan motor
If your condenser fan motor is making strange noises, it could be due to it being damaged or obstructed.
If this happens, it will need to be replaced.
The condenser fan works by circulating air through the coil, removing heat.
It also evaporates water in the drain pan by circulating air over it.
The noise could be a combination of the condenser fan, evaporator motor, and compressor running simultaneously.
Why Does My Samsung Refrigerator Make a Noise?
Samsung is a major international supplier of fridges, other white goods as well as electronic devices including mobile phones.
But sometimes their fridges make odd noises such as:
This could be due to a couple of reasons, such as debris building up on the condenser fan blades.
If so, clean them properly with a soft cloth or brush and a little soapy water. Be careful not to wet any nearby electrical components.
Another reason may be an ice jam, where the chute is blocked, but the ice maker is still pushing more through.
Dislodge any ice that is causing the blockage, and if this doesn’t solve the issue, you may have ice accumulating on the ice maker fan.
This will cause it to strain and make an odd noise.
Defrosting the fridge should solve the issue.
It is easy for dirt and debris, such as hair and dust, to accumulate on a fridge’s condenser fan.
If this has occurred, clean the fan blades thoroughly.
If a larger object has been caught in the fan blade, this may cause it to make a noise.
It may be a more serious problem if the condenser fan motor bearings fail.
You can test if the fan is working by turning it manually. If it does run smoothly but still makes a noise, test it with a multimeter.
If these results are unsatisfactory, the fridge will not cool optimally.
This may be due to the fridge being installed in a small space.
Samsung recommends a gap of at least 50mm between the back of the unit and the wall and 25mm between the sides of the fridge and the wall.
Another reason may be that the unit is not sitting flush on the floor, and you will hear noise from the vibration of the compressor.
Why Does My Whirlpool Refrigerator Make a Noise?
Whirlpool is another major supplier of white goods, including fridges.
Sometimes you may hear odd noises from a fridge, such as:
Any vibrating sound is likely caused by the fridge not sitting level on the floor.
This is easy to fix: simply remove the base grill underneath the fridge and adjust the leveling screws until the unit sits level off the floor.
This may be caused by the screws on the water drain pan working loose over time due to the fridge vibrating as it works.
It’s not a big repair job; simply tighten the screws up, and you’re good to go.
If your ice maker is turned on, but there is no water supply, your fridge may make a pulsating noise.
This is because the valve is still trying to open and close, but no water is going through.
Either connect the ice maker to a water supply or turn it off.
As we can see from the above discussion, many noise issues with fridges are caused by the compressor or condenser.
Depending on where the noise is coming from, this may be perfectly normal or cause for concern.
Other rattles, hisses, moans, or strange noises may only require some simple DIY to fix, while others will require the expertise of a trained technician.
Modern refrigerators have many inbuilt features to prolong their life, so with regular care, maintenance and cleaning, your fridge should last for many years.
Robert is an electronic engineer with more than five years of experience with a solid affinity for helping people reduce noise. He writes about these silent home appliances and easy soundproofing measures to help everyone avoid the negative effect of extended exposure to high noise levels.