angry man infront of noisy fridge
Fridges
11 min. read

Why Is My Refrigerator Making a Noise?

Most modern fridges are designed to operate super quietly. However, it’s not uncommon for your fridge to make some type of noise during its operations. Although some of the noises may be quite natural, others may be a cause for concern. For example, if you are wondering about why is my fridge making a loud humming noise or why is my fridge making a buzzing noise, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll cover these questions and more, including:

  • Is it normal for a fridge to make a noise?
  • When should I worry about my fridge noises?
  • How do I stop my fridge from making noise?

Whether your fridge is making a gurgling noise or something else, there are many possible reasons for this. From the condenser fan to the compressor or simply that your fridge is not level, there are several reasons why your fridge is making noises. Before you start worrying about this, it’s worth considering the potential problems that may occur with your fridge causing it to make loud noises and then take the right steps to address the issue. Let’s take a closer look below.

Is it normal for a fridge to make a noise?

If you are wondering: is it normal for a fridge to make a noise, the answer is yes. Most fridges, despite their promise of quiet operations, will emit some noise. Generally, if your fridge is making a humming noise, this could be perfectly normal because your condenser fan and compressor are working optimally. As pieces of machinery that make your appliance work, they will emit some noises, although these should be relatively quiet.

Other noises that are normal for a fridge to make include a cracking or popping sound, which could be due to expansion and contraction of the fridge due to changes in temperature. A sizzling sound is also quite common and this is usually when water drips the defrost heater.

Further reasons why your fridge may be making noises include that it is overloaded in terms of food items placed inside it. Alternatively, it may not be sitting level on the floor or may be touching a cupboard or a wall, causing vibrations and therefore some noise. We hope this answers your question of is it normal for a fridge to make a noise. The short answer is in the affirmative. But there may still be some cause for concern. Keep reading to find out more.

Common fridge noises

Humming, clicking, buzzing, and rattling are some typical fridge noises.

  • Humming: The humming sound is produced by the compressor, the heart of the fridge, and the component responsible for circulating the refrigerant gas that cools your refrigerator. It is a steady, low-pitched hum that remains constant as long as the fridge is running. This is considered normal for a properly functioning fridge.
    If the humming noise is excessively loud or unusual, it may indicate a problem with the compressor or another component. In such cases, it is highly recommended to consult with a qualified appliance repair technician to eliminate any potential issues.
  • Clicking: The clicking sound is frequently produced by the compressor cycling on and off. This is completely normal, as the compressor strives to maintain the desired temperature within the fridge. When the compressor is turned off, the fan ceases circulating air, and the evaporator coils begin to accumulate frost. The compressor then turns on and heats up the coils to melt the frost, causing the clicking sound.
    The clicking sound is typically heard sporadically and is nothing to worry about. However, if the clicking sound becomes frequent or continuous, it could signal a problem with the compressor or another component. In such cases, consulting a qualified appliance repair technician is still advisable.
  • Buzzing: The buzzing sound is commonly generated by the ice maker or water dispenser. This is perfectly normal behaviour, as these components operate to produce ice and dispense water. The ice maker utilizes a motor to rotate the ice trays, while the water dispenser employs a solenoid valve to regulate the water supply.
    The buzzing sound is typically heard when the ice maker or water dispenser is operating. It is a low-pitched buzzing sound that is harmless. However, if the buzzing noise becomes excessively loud or constant, it may indicate a problem with the ice maker or water dispenser. In such cases, seeking assistance from a qualified appliance repair technician is still recommended.
  • Gurgling and Sizzling: These sounds are caused by the defrost cycle, which is a natural process that occurs every few hours to help prevent frost from building up on the evaporator coils. The defrost heater melts the frost, and the water dripping from the defrost heater makes a gurgling or bubbling sound. The sizzling sound is generated by water evaporating from the evaporator coils during the defrost cycle.
    It is important to note that these noises are normal and should not cause concern. However, if you notice that the gurgling or sizzling sounds are particularly loud or frequent, it may be a sign that your refrigerator is not defrosting properly. In this case, you should consult with a qualified appliance repair technician to have the problem diagnosed and repaired.

Noises that call for attention

Grinding or scraping, clicking or buzzing, rattling, and loud or unnatural compressor noise are some noises that should be considered causes for concern.

  • Grinding or scraping: A grinding or scraping noise could indicate a problem with the compressor or the fan clutch. These noises are louder and more unnatural than the normal humming or clicking sounds that a refrigerator makes. The compressor is the heart of the refrigerator and is responsible for circulating the refrigerant gas that cools the refrigerator. The fan clutch helps to turn the fan that circulates air around the evaporator coils. If the compressor or fan clutch is not working properly, it can make a grinding or scraping noise.
  • Clicking or buzzing: A clicking or buzzing noise in the ice maker or water dispenser could indicate a problem with the motor or solenoid valve. The motor turns the ice trays in the ice maker, and the solenoid valve opens and closes the water supply to the water dispenser. If the motor or solenoid valve is not working properly, it can make a clicking or buzzing noise.
  • Rattling: A rattling noise could indicate a loose or broken part in the refrigerator. These noises are louder and more unnatural than the normal hum or vibration that a refrigerator makes.
  • Loud or unnatural compressor noise: A loud or unnatural compressor noise could indicate a problem with the compressor itself. The compressor is a critical component of the refrigerator and is responsible for circulating the refrigerant gas that cools the refrigerator. If the compressor is not working properly, it can make a loud or unnatural noise.

When should I worry about my fridge noises?

And now we reach the question: when should I worry about my fridge noises? Not all fridge noises are normal. Some of these noises may be an indication of a fault inside your fridge’s mechanics and this may be a cause for concern. For example, if your noisy fridge is making sounds such as a scraping or grinding noise, this could be a fault with the compressor and should not be ignored.

In addition, a clicking or buzzing sound can indicate a fault with your ice-maker or water dispenser and should be checked out. Furthermore, a rattling sound can indicate friction on the outer surface or that your fridge is not level on the floor. Also, if the sound of your fridge’s compressor is starting to get louder or more unnatural (or even silent), that’s when you should worry about your fridge noise.

For those of you who are wondering what I should do if my appliance is making unusual noises, the answer lies in calling a professional. Depending on the age of your fridge, you may still have it in warranty. However, trying to repair the fault yourself could void this warranty and that’s when you’ll need a professional to take care of it. In such cases, calling a reliable service provider that offers you a long and quality service guarantee is your best bet.

How do I stop my fridge from making a noise?

a man trying to stop his fridge making noise

As we wrap up, it’s important to know how to stop your fridge from making a noise. There are several steps you can take, depending on the noise. For instance, if you hear a fridge vibration noise, check that it is level on the floor using a spirit level. Alternatively, make sure that your fridge is not directly touching a wall or surrounding cupboards.

Other things you can check for are dirty condenser coils or fans, a problem with the evaporator pan, the drain pan being out of place, a broken compressor, water line issues or temperature issues. And if this sounds like too much for you to handle, we recommend that you get in touch with a specialist repairman for fridges.

One of the major problems with fridges is when you need fridge compressor repairs. In these cases, you will also want to call in a professional appliance repair engineer to take care of the fault in question so that you can enjoy the full functionality of your fridge once again. At Domex, you can rely on us for a fully professional service, carried out by highly trained engineers, and backed by a 12-month guarantee on the fault repaired and/or spare parts fitted.

Quick and easy guide to troubleshooting fridge noises

If you hear unusual noises coming from your fridge, it’s important to check it out as soon as possible. You can try the following troubleshooting steps:

Check the compressor:

  • Use a spirit level to check if the fridge is level. If it’s not, adjust the feet until it is level.
  • Check for any obstructions that could be causing the compressor to strain.
  • Clean the condenser coils and fans to keep them clean and free of debris.
  • Check the evaporator pan for any obstructions.
    If the compressor is still making noise after you’ve checked all of these things, it may be a sign of a more serious problem and you may need to call a professional appliance repair technician.

Check the condenser coils and fans:

  • The condenser coils and fans are responsible for removing heat from the refrigerator. If they are dirty or clogged, the refrigerator will have to work harder to cool down, which can cause it to make more noise.
  • To clean the condenser coils, you can use a brush or vacuum cleaner.
  • To clean the fans, you can use a soft cloth.

Check the evaporator pan:

  • The evaporator pan is where water from the defrost cycle collects. If the pan is full of water, it can cause the refrigerator to make a gurgling noise.
  • To empty the evaporator pan, you can unplug the refrigerator and then remove the pan.
  • You can then clean the pan with a mild soap and water solution.

Check for water line issues:

  • The water line is responsible for supplying water to the ice maker and water dispenser. If the line is loose or damaged, it can cause the refrigerator to make a hissing or gurgling noise.
  • To check the water line, you can look for leaks or cracks.
    If you find a leak, you can tighten the connection or replace the line.

Check the refrigerator for temperature issues:

  • The thermostat is responsible for controlling the temperature of the refrigerator. If the thermostat is not working properly, the refrigerator can make a humming or buzzing noise.
  • To check the thermostat, you can use a thermometer to check the temperature of the fridge and freezer. The fridge temperature should be between 35 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and the freezer temperature should be between 0 and 5 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • If the temperature is not correct, you may need to adjust the thermostat or call a professional appliance repair technician.

Seek Professional Assistance for Fridge Noise Issues

If you are not comfortable troubleshooting the noises yourself, contact a professional appliance repair technician. We are just a phone call away. Or you can always fill in the form on our website to book your appointment at your convenience. Either way, our team of experts is ready to help. Domex offers a full range of fridge repair services, including:

  • Compressor replacement,
  • Condenser coil cleaning,
  • Fan repair or replacement,
  • Evaporator pan cleaning,
  • Water line repair or replacement,
  • Thermostat replacement.
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