Appliance Tip of the Day: Loud or Weird Noises in Your Fridge

by Samurai Appliance Repair Man on July 25, 2002

in Refrigerator Repair

This topic comes up a lot in the forum in various ways, some of them pretty bizarre. In my tireless efforts to help my precious grasshoppers achieve ultimate appliance satori, I’ve put together this handy list of common sources of fridge noises.

  1. Some of the newer-design compressors produce a higher pitched sound which can be mistaken as being louder.
  2. The evaporator fan (the one in the freezer) makes noise while it does it’s job of pushing cold air around the freezer and fresh food compartments. That’s just what happens when you move air around rapidly in a confined space. On some models, this fan can sound louder than on others.
  3. If your fridge is on a floor that’s not level or is weak and buckling, this can cause distortions in the cabinet and make buzzing or rattling sounds, especially around the compressor and condensate drip pan.
  4. Occasionally, you may hear a sizzling sound from the freezer. This is just part of the defrost process where ice accumulated on the evaporator is melting and dripping on the defrost heaters below. Defrosting: it’s a good thing.
  5. When the fridge goes through its defrost cycle and then cools back down to operating temperature, they’s a whole lotta expandin’ and contractin’ goin’ on in there. This can cause all those mass-produced metal and plastic parts that’re smooshed together to move a little bit and you’ll hear popping and crackling. Don’t sweat the load, everything’s fine.
  6. Sometimes, you’ll hear a bubbling or gurgling sound, like boiling water, inside the fridge. Relax, it’s just the refrigerant doing it’s job. The refrigerant boils at a much lower temperature than water. So when it boils and goes from a liquid to a vapor, it’s sucking up heat from inside your fridge. So, this all boils down to this: boiling refrigerant = cold fridge.
  7. If you hear a dripping sound from underneath the fridge, it’s just condensate water dripping into the drain pan like it’s supposed to. By the way, if you have a problem with your fridge leaking water on the inside and you pull the condensate drip pan from underneath and it’s bone-dry, that’s a sure sign that the condensate drain port inside the fridge is plugged with ice or gookus.
  8. Mechanical defrost timers can make noticeable clicking noises when they switch into and out of defrost mode.
  9. Icemakers make some of their own noises. The water valve buzzes when it opens to let water into the icemaker mold. You may hear a trickling sound as water flows into the icemaker. And then there’s the periodic and welcome rattling sound as the icemaker dumps ice into the tray.

grasshoppers basking in the light and wisdom of the master


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