Why Is Fridge Making Rattling, Humming or Buzzing Noise?

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So, your refrigerator is getting a bit too loud for your taste? Experts say you should pay attention to what noises your fridge makes.

Sometimes the sound may be normal and will just fade away with time, other times, you need to take these noises as a cry for help and resolve some technical issues in your fridge.

So how do you know when to act?

Here’s a look at the common causes of why the fridge making noise and ways to fix the issues.

1. Misplaced drain pan

Is the rattling coming from the bottom of your fridge?

Then you are lucky because this is an easy fix as the most likely cause of the mechanical problem is incorrectly placed drain pan.

So, check the drain pan, ensure it is in the correct position and that the supports placed underneath it are in good condition, i.e. not damaged or bent.

2. Dirty condenser fan

If the rattling noise is originating from the back of your refrigerator, then consider checking if the condenser fan blades are clean.

Now, condenser fans are not included in all refrigerators.

Still, if yours is a modern frost-free refrigerator, then it probably has a condenser fan located behind a rear access panel.

As dirt and debris accumulate on the condenser fan blade, they obstruct the condenser motor fan.

Fridge making noise condenser fan

To truly tell if the rattling noise issue from the back of your fridge has to do with a dirty condenser fan blade, there will be two other issues: one, the refrigerator won’t stay as cool as normal and two it may be turning off and on regularly.

If you notice the above three issues, disconnect your fridge from the power source and proceed to remove the access panel on its back.

Next, locate the condenser motor fan and clean away any dirt or obstructions that could be keeping the fan from moving freely.

While at it, inspect the rubber grommets for any signs of damage.

And if the condenser fan motor is worn out you need to get your mitts on a new one and make the switch.

3. a) Faulty evaporator fan

There’s a rubber grommet on the evaporator fan too; it helps reduce vibration noise by isolating the mounting bracket from the motor.

Now, due to wear and tear, you surely do not expect this grommet to last forever now, do you?

If you notice increased vibration and a lot of noise, check if the evaporator fan grommet is secured in place, and in good condition, if not, get your mitts on a new evaporator fan grommet and switch out the old one for the new one.

Do this by unplugging your refrigerator, then locate the evaporator fan inside the freezer compartment and remove the fan cover and visually inspect if the evaporator fan grommet has fallen off or if it is damaged then fix the problem.

3. b) Evaporator fan being frosted over in the Samsung or Whirlpool Fridge

If you hear rattling or crackling noises coming from your Samsung Refrigerator, but once you open the door, noise is gone, then you probably have an issue with defrost cycle in the fridge.

In other words, frost behind the panel in the fridge compartment builds up more and more to the point where it starts hitting evaporator fan blades.

Bellow is the picture of Whirlpool Fridge (freezer compartment) being frosted over, due to malfunction Defrost Thermostat.

Because of this issue evaporator fan was making a crackling noise and eventually stopped, and burnt out.

4. Faulty ice maker

Is your Ge refrigerator making a loud humming noise? Then probably your ice maker is faulty.

Many refrigerators have a normal ice maker humming sound that happens only when the ice maker is getting filled with water.

But if you hear loud buzzing and humming every 15 minutes and the water line is not connected, turn off the ice maker to stop this noise and avoid damaging your refrigerator.

If the humming continues even when the water line is turned on, verify that that the water lines are firmly connected to the fridge.

If all the above has been taken care of, and the problem still goes on, it may be due to high water pressure, turn it down but ensure you are still able to get 3.4 of a cup every 10 seconds.

5. Normal noises due to expansion and contraction of plastic parts

Is your brand new fridge making noise? Then verify is this is a snapping, crackling and popping sound and if so, then you shouldn’t worry too much.

Snapping and crackling sounds are common in new refrigerators, especially during the defrosting cycle as the plastic pats contract and expand due to a rise in temperature.

Such popping and crackling noises are going to fade away with time as your brand-new refrigerator acclimatizes to the temperature and humidity levels in your home.

But take note, the crackling shouldn’t be too loud, it should be comparable to the sound produced by Rice Krispies or when dropping ice cubes in a warm drink.

Louder than that and you’ve got a problematic fridge in your hand, better seek help from the manufacturer.

Refrigerator making noise

6. Issues to do with temperature or faulty doors

Fridge making a loud noise when the door closed could be an indication that the temperature in the refrigerator is too high.

Usually, the fridge produces a beeping sound with a blinking display. You just need to resolve the cooling issue.

On the other hand, in case of faulty doors, some Samsung refrigerator models have a beeping alarm sound to indicate the door is not shut correctly.

Apart from beeping sounds, faulty fridge door hinges can cause squeaking sounds.

Try checking if the doors were installed correctly.

Also, check to ensure the wheels aren’t touching the floor.

Use food-grade silicone spray to lubricate the hinges.

And give your new refrigerator a week so that the harness falls into place, if the squeaking continues for more than a week, uncover the hinges and fix the harness wire.

7. Issues to do with air vents

Another cause if humming noise is if you have placed items a bit too close to the air vents: Usually, along the sides and the back of the fridge.

As these items rattle against the wall, they prevent the air from flowing properly, leading to humming sounds.

Always maintain a space between food items and air vents for proper airflow.

8. Scraping sounds in case of a faulty defrost timer

A faulty defrost timer may be the reason your Ge refrigerator keeps making a loud humming noise.

All free frost refrigerators have a defrost system.

This system regulates the cooling and defrosting cycle of course and has got two components, a defrost heater and defrost timer.

The timer takes the fridge between the defrost mode and the cooling mode.

Now if the defrost timer goes bad during the cooling mode, there’s going to be an excessive buildup of frost on the evaporator fan coils thereby reducing airflow leading to a humming sound.

Also, as the fan rubs against the ice, it creates noise, always test your fridge fuses if you suspect the timer is faulty.

There are several other causes of fridge noises.

Some sounds are normal; others indicate technical problems.

Here is a summary of normal fridge sounds and what’s not.

Normal fridge noises

· Crackling, popping or snapping of new fridges

· Blowing and whistling due to air circulation – you can reduce this by repositioning the fridge or leaving some 2-inches of space at the back, sides and on the top.

· Hissing/sizzling sound as water drops onto defrost heater

· Bubbling and goggling as refrigerant changes from a gas to liquid and back

· Banging as ice lands on a bucket from the ice maker

· Rattling – is the fridge making rattling noise compressor turns off? This is normal and should last for about 10 seconds. But it must not be too loud.

The take-home

Is a noisy fridge dangerous? No.

Refrigerators have components like fans, etc. so no one expects them to be completely quiet.

Most refrigerators produce a fair amount of noise when working.

But even so, if the above sounds get too loud, things are no longer normal, seek help from the manufacturer as it could be an indication of faulty components even electrical ones like condenser coils, sensors, and thermostats.

The earlier you move to repair, the less it’s going to cost you.

Reader Comments (38)

  1. Hi, I have a non-digital G&E unit that makes a loud humming noise like a distant foghorn for about 10-20 seconds whenever the compressor turns on (though not every time). It’s loudest near the back and right sides of the freezer. There haven’t been any cooling issues, but it is so loud that it wakes me up at night. There is no frost buildup on the evaporator fan or coils as I checked this. Any ideas what it could be? Any feedback is appreciated thanks.

    Reply
    • Hard to say Anthony,.. You need to pull the fridge out and monitor this issue to see where exactly the noise is coming from. If its coming from the compressor, nothing you can do, other than to call service guy to diagnose the problem with the compressor.

      Reply
      • Hi Eugene, thanks for the quick response. I had a guy come to look at it and unfortunately, the fridge didn’t make the noise when he came to look at it so he couldn’t judge it well and he just guessed it was the evaporator fan. I’m no expert, but I’m not sure how the fan could make this noise and he didn’t really give a reason as to why. Because he didn’t get to hear the noise himself I didn’t feel comfortable changing the fan just yet. I have a top freezer unit and the noise is localized around the freezer and not the compressor which is located at the bottom. I also determined this because the noise is louder when the freezer door is open.

      • Keep watching to where exactly it is coming from. By the way, did you notice any ice build-up on the back wall in the freezer? You have to pull all food out to properly check

      • “Keep watching to where exactly it is coming from. By the way, did you notice any ice build-up on the back wall in the freezer? You have to pull all food out to properly check”

        I did. I removed the back panel and saw no frost build-up. However, while checking this I of course unplugged the refrigerator and the freezer door was open. When I finished checking and plugged it back in, somehow the noise went away for about 24 hours before starting up again. I had a friend listen to the noise and he also said it sounds like the evaporator fan so I just bought a replacement evaporator fan and motor to see if that fixes the problem. I thought the fan/frost problem just sounds like clicking which is why I was hesitant at first, but we’ll see. There is no noticeably loud noise near the compressor.

  2. Kenmore Elite refrigerator is making noise like it is blowing air. This is occurring approximately every 10-15 minutes. What is the cause?

    Reply
  3. new GE top freezer fridge, the air tower in the freezer rattles. if i press on the air tower i can get it to stop for awhile. occurs a couple times a day, about 65 decibles outside the fridge. it is model GTE19DTNBRBB, 2 weeks old. can i put anything between the air tower and the back of the freezer it eliminate the noise when the fan starts running faster, like a bead of silicone, or a thin sponge?

    Reply
  4. Whirlpool Model WRFS560SFYW04 – It sounds like a fan blade is hitting something and there is a small visible frost buildup inside, behind the freezer drawer at the back wall. It gets worse if we don’t unplug and defrost. After defrosting it goes away but the problem repeats in about two weeks. The first fridge was replaced under warranty for the same issue but the replacement fridge is now out of warranty. What part(s) might be defective?

    Reply
  5. We have a brand new KIC fridge/ freezer. 170l ,freezer on top. When we turned it on 4 hours after delivery, it started making a gurgling noise .It has been a week now,and the gurgling continues. It is quite loud and very irritating. What do you think could be the cause? Your help would be greatly appreciated. Lee

    Reply
    • AS i know this is normal. For some fridges is louder for some less loud. This sound is making refrigerant when moving inside the sealed system

      Reply
  6. I have a new Whirlpool with the freezer on the bottom. It makes a constant sound like a leaf blower. It appears to be coming from the freezer drawer. I can feel the vibration in the back of the freezer. The condenser and fans appear to be fine when accessing the bottom back panel. Any idea what could be causing the noise? It stops when the doors are opened.

    Reply
      • Thank you for your feedback. I was having the same issue, until I turned the cooling off. When I turn the cooling back on, the fridge wants to start running, but then shuts itself off and the control panel chimes, which I believe is the fridge trying to turn back on.
        There is frost build up on the back wall of the freezer compartment, near the vent. Why is the evaporator fan making noise and what can be done to fix it?

        Thank you!

  7. I have purchased new LG freeze recently (190L), it makes sharp noise while touching to its sides only. Is there any fault? If yes, how can correct it?

    Reply
  8. I have an older kenmore that makes a buzzing noise from time to time which I believe could be the actuator that starts the compressor- fridge is cooling and freezing but I get this buzzing noise when the compressor is starting – at least I think this what it is.

    Reply
  9. Check for an ice chunk buildup on the rotating mechanism of your evaporator fan/motor. That would make an imbalance and cause buzzing/humming
    noise.
    Evaporator fan stops when you open the freezer door.
    To get to the evaporator, you’ll probably have to empty out entire freezer, remove some shelf rails, and remove the back panel cover.

    Reply
  10. I have a brand new Beko fridge (ULJS1584W) for which many reviews comment on it being extremely quiet. While the compressor is running there is a constant crackling noise and this continues for a short time after the compressor stops. It is definitely not vibration or the usual defrosting noises. I have never heard this noise from any other fridge or freezer but to me it sounds like it is coming from the circulating refrigerant. The fridge is otherwise operating correctly and the noise level is not particularly high. My concern is that it may indicate a faulty unit.

    Reply
    • Nothing to worry about. If its cooling, its not a faulty unit. probably this noise coming from the refrigerant line due to expansion and contraction

      Reply
  11. Hi, my fridge has started making a noise that lasts about 10 seconds than stops.This has happened three times in two hours. What could be the course?

    Reply
  12. Our Samsung French Door fridge makes a periodic (every few days) very, very loud buzz – scares the bejeebers out of us! It lasts a couple of seconds. Some of the fridge veggies are frozen from time to time. What do we have going on?

    Reply
    • it can be anything.. I would pull the fridge out in order to, when its happens, try to figure out where its coming from. maybe its compressor, start relay(if you have old Samsung fridge), condenser motor, etc…

      Reply
  13. My freezer is making a buzzing noise. It seems to be coming from the ice maker. We have turned the arm off so it will not fill with ice. It will be quiet for a while. Then in a few days start buzzing again. When we unplug the refrigerator it stops. After a few days it starts again. You can only hear it when you open the freezer

    Reply
  14. Hi Eugene my name is Cyndi I am having trouble with my regfridgerator I just got the compressor fan replaced but recently I heard my fridge make a whining noise now it is starting to make that rattle noise again what could be wrong with it

    Reply
  15. Hi Eugene,
    I need some help to check the humming of my GE refrigerator.
    I can be reached at 780-490-0776
    Thanks,
    Patricia

    Reply
    • Patricia, i do not provide this kind of service… but if you provide more details about humming noise here, i will try to help you. Where its coming from?

      Reply
  16. Disappointed with my Samsung sis by side refrigerator After two and a half years I have had to change the fan in the freezer. 6 weeks later the fridge is noisy and not cooling properly

    Reply

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