Refrigerator Repair: How to Identify Common Causes of Refrigerator Noise
Is your refrigerator keeping you up at night with its various moans and groans? When you need immediate relief from your noisy refrigerator, there are a few steps you can take. Follow these helpful tips from your local appliance repair shop:
- Locate the source of the noise – Is the noise coming from the inside of the freezer, or the outside back of the refrigerator? Determining what area the noise is coming from will help you narrow down the possible components that might be causing the sound.
- Troubleshoot – There are only a handful of parts in a refrigerator that typically cause noise. Once you have narrowed down the general location of the sound, you can begin troubleshooting various components to try to resolve the issue. While some issues can easily be fixed with minimal effort, others will require that you call in a professional who is trained in refrigeration repair.
Noise Inside the Freezer
Noise originating inside the freezer can typically be attributed to the evaporator fan, which runs whenever the unit is actively cooling. If you notice a chirping, squealing, or groaning sound that comes and goes (rather than being steady), it may be an issue with the fan motor. To find out for sure, open the freezer door and hold down the light/fan switch if there is one. If the sound gets louder with the door open, you can be pretty sure that the fan is the cause. Unfortunately, there is no way to repair the evaporator fan motor–you must replace the part in order to resolve the issue.
Noise from the Back of the Refrigerator
Most noises that you notice will come from the back of the refrigerator, where most of the moving parts are located. If you have a self-defrosting unit, the first place you will want to check is the condenser fan. The condenser fan is located on the back of the refrigerator, often behind a thin panel. The fan can occasionally accumulate a buildup of lint and other debris, causing a buzzing or clicking noise. You can try to resolve the problem by removing the thin cover to access the fan, and then cleaning the fan of any debris using a soft bristled brush (old toothbrushes are great for this!). Once the fan is clear of dust or other materials, replace the cover and plug the refrigerator back in. If you still have noise coming from the condenser fan after cleaning it, you may have to replace the part with the help of an appliance repair company.
If your refrigerator is making a rumbling, or purring noise from the back, it may indicate a problem with your compressor. The compressor is located in a football-sized case on the back of the refrigerator, near the bottom of the unit, and usually contains either black or copper tubes with a variety of colored wires. The compressor is typically a sealed unit, so it can not be replaced by a do-it-yourselfer. If you are able to isolate the problem to the compressor, you will need to contact a refrigerator repair technician to complete the job.
Noise from the Bottom of the Refrigerator
If you have noise emanating from the bottom of your refrigerator, it is likely coming from one of two places. The first, and easiest to resolve, is rattling from a loose drain pan. To fix this issue, simply tape the pan securely in place to stop the noise. If that doesn’t work, you may have an issue with the defrost timer. The defrost timer is located in the front of the unit, behind the kickplate. This part is actually a heating element located on the evaporator coil and can not be repaired. If you are experiencing trouble with the defrost timer, you may also notice a buildup of frost in your refrigerator or freezer. To have this component replaced, you should contact an experienced professional for installation of the refrigerator repair part.
When to Contact the Professionals
If you complete the above steps and still can’t determine where the problem is coming from, or if you need to replace a complicated part such as the compressor or defrost timer, you should contact your
local appliance repair service. In addition to providing you with thorough troubleshooting and safe, reliable repairs, most refrigerator repair technicians also offer routine maintenance, which can help you avoid problems down the road. With their help, you’ll be able to sleep soundly without being interrupted by strange kitchen noises well into the future.