Troubleshooting a Noisy Refrigerator

If your refrigerator seems to be getting louder, you should spend some time troubleshooting refrigerator noises to learn about and alleviate the problem. Once you identify where the noise is coming from, you can proceed with any repairs.

Noise Coming From the Back

If the offending noise is coming from the back of the fridge, there are three possible components that could be making the noise: the condenser fan, the defrost timer, or the compressor.

The condenser fan is located in the back of the fridge and is sometimes covered by a panel. Noise is commonly made because of dust or lint stuck between the blades of the fan. The first step to fixing this is to unplug (always the first step when attempting to fix any electrical appliance) your refrigerator to get to the condenser fan. Use a soft brush to clean between the fan blades, but if there doesn't appear to be any debris buildup, you may have to replace the motor as the noise will be indicating that it is faulty.

The defrost timer is usually situated at the bottom of the refrigerator near the front. If you hear the noise coming from this area, it means that you will have to replace the timer completely.

The compressor can be found on the outside of the fridge at the back. It's usually black with wires coming out of it and sits in a case. Unfortunately, if the noise is coming from the compressor, like the defrost timer, you will have to replace the entire part. This is a costly replacement so make sure you're troubleshooting your refrigerator correctly to avoid unnecessary and expensive part replacements.

Noise Coming From the Inside

If you have a self-defrosting fridge, the noise is most likely coming from the inside. This is because these types of refrigerators use a fan to circulate air through the fridge and freezer. The fan is situated in the freezer, but exactly where will depend on the kind of fridge you have. If your freezer is on the left side of your fridge, the fan will be located on the back wall near the top. If your freezer is on the bottom, your fan will be on the back wall near the top of the freezer. If your freezer is on the top portion of your refrigerator, your circulating fan will be on the back wall in the middle of the freezer.

To test if the noise being made is from the circulation fan, open your freezer and push in the light switch. If the noise becomes louder, you will know it's the fan motor that's faulty and there's no quick fix you can do. You must replace the part.

Noise Coming From the Bottom

The easiest repair to make is when a rattling noise is coming from the bottom of the fridge. In this case, the most likely culprit is the drain pan which sits under the fridge. This pan can start to rattle from time to time so all you need to do is secure it back in place to make the noise stop.