Noise pollution is one of the unavoidable hazards of modern life, but you don’t have to let it overwhelm your home. Refrigerators tend to be noisy because they cycle on and off, and having an automatic ice maker adds to the general din. But you don’t have to either grit your teeth and bear it or invest in ear plugs if you have a noisy ‘fridge. A few simple tricks will help cut the noise so you won’t lose your cool.
Refrigerator noise can be caused by any number of things, from a faulty part to something caught up in one of the moving parts. If your refrigerator is under warranty or your homeowner’s insurance stipulates that all repairs must be done professionally to be covered, you should call an appropriate service to fix it. Otherwise, most refrigerator noise is fairly simple to identify and not very difficult to fix. One of the simplest causes is the vibration of the refrigerator against the floor, which carries throughout the home. This can be eliminated by placing a rubber mat underneath the refrigerator.
Refrigerator noise is rarely loud enough to cause actual physical effects such as hearing loss, but a noisy refrigerator can contribute to stress levels in the home. If the noise occurs when the fan or ice maker turns on or off, it can startle babies and toddlers awake, and then no one in the house is going to be happy.
Noises that are coming from the outside of the refrigerator are likely due to the condenser fan or the compressor. Occasionally they can be caused by a loose door rattling. Examine your refrigerator to make sure that all doors and drawers are secured tightly. Check the screws holding the handles on and tighten them if they are loose. If the noise is coming from the back of the refrigerator, pull it out from the wall and remove the back. Unplug the refrigerator so you don’t get a shock. Unplug the motor that runs the fan, and then plug the refrigerator back in and run it for a few seconds without the condenser fan. If that stops the noise, then you know the problem is the fan, which you can remove and replace by finding the refrigerator’s model number and ordering or purchasing a replacement fan. If the noise continues after the condenser fan is unplugged, it may be the compressor. In that case, you will need to call a professional for a second opinion. Compressors are expensive, and it may make more sense to replace the refrigerator.
If the noise is coming from inside of the refrigerator compartment, it is probably the defrost timer, which may have worn out. You can usually find this where the temperature controls are located. Remove the housing and replace the timer. The most likely noise from inside the freezer compartment is the motor that runs the evaporator. This is usually found behind a panel in the back or bottom of the freezer. Remove the panel and examine the fan. You may have to hold or temporarily tape down the door’s sensor button, because in some models the evaporator fan stops running when you open the door. Check your refrigerator’s manual – use the manufacturer’s name and the model number to find the manual online if you don’t have it – to get a part number to replace the fan if it is making the noise. Freezer noise might also be normal. For example, there’s really no way to muffle the sound of ice cubes dropping into the automatic ice maker bin.