Refrigerator Noise

Photo of an attractive woman standing in front of refrigerator shouting because the refrigerator is so noisy<br />

Do you have a noisy refrigerator that is keeping you up at night? Believe it or not some refrigerators are so noisy they can be heard all the way across the house. Especially for those with sensitive hearing.

In the last 25 years the noise level associated with refrigerators and freezers has increased dramatically. Most of that noise increase has to do with the type of insulation that is used in refrigerators and freezers today. The insulation that was used in refrigerators and freezers in the past had more sound absorbing qualities. The foam used today has better insulating qualities for the buck but lack any sound absorbing qualities. I know this from personal experience. Two years ago I purchased a new automatic defrost upright freezer. And I have to tell you that it is one of the noisiest freezers I have ever encountered. And worst of all, it's right there in my kitchen.

I decided to troubleshoot this noisy freezer myself to find out if there was anything I could do to reduce the sound level. After I analyzed the noise with my fading hearing, I came to the conclusion that what I was listening to was normal compressor noise and normal evaporator fan noise. I figured that if I contacted the store where I bought it and demanded a new freezer, they would simply send out another one that was identical. I discovered that most of the noise was coming from the evaporator fan motor and the amount of air it was forced to move around in this large freezer. I concluded that there was not much I could do about it. I decided that when I sell the house I am selling this freezer along with it and purchasing a manual defrost freezer for my new home. Manual defrost freezers do not have evaporator fans. Besides food last longer in a manual defrost freezer. By the way not all modern day refrigerators and freezers have noise that you have to live with. In fact, I have an LG refrigerator not far from the noisy freezer in my kitchen that is so quiet sometimes I cannot even tell if it is running.

So if your refrigerator or freezer has been in place for a while and suddenly it starts to make noise, what can that be?

The first thing you should do is narrow down where the sound is coming from. Is it coming from the inside or the outside of the refrigerator or freezer? If it is coming from the outside down near the bottom you can pull the refrigerator out, remove the cover to the machine compartment to see if something is hitting the condenser fan blade. Occasionally refrigerators will suck in something off the floor and try to force it through the evaporator. Sometimes the debris will get stuck and the condenser fan blade will hit it causing noise. If there is no obstruction around the condenser fan blade and the condenser fan motor is not noisy, listen to the compressor. If your compressor is suddenly and unexpectedly noisy, you better start looking for a place to store your food. Refrigerator or freezer compressors that suddenly get noisy are destine to fail quickly. The cost of replacing a compressor today is sometimes one half to one third the cost of a replacement refrigerator or freezer. So it usually makes more sense to replace the refrigerator or freezer with a new one.

If the noises coming from the inside of the refrigerator look and see if there is a frost buildup on the evaporator. If there is a frost or ice build up on or near the evaporator there is another problem that needs to be addressed. You will need to start troubleshooting to find the underlying issue causing the noise. There may be a defrost problem or perhaps the evaporator drain tube is restricted. For more information on evaporator drain tube restrictions, click here

If it turns out to be a noisy evaporator fan, that is something that most homeowners or do-it-yourselfers can fix. All you need to do is get the complete model number from your refrigerator or your freezer and contact an appliance parts company to obtain a replacement fan motor. I do not recommend that you go with the universal fan motor as they never seem to fit correctly. I've seen appliance repair technicians struggle with universal fan kits and as a homeowner or do-it-yourselfer you will have trouble with the maze of parts that come in the box.

And finally remember a refrigerator or freezer evaporator is very fragile aluminum tubing. If you poke a hole in your evaporator, once again you will be looking for a place to store your food and will be in search of a new refrigerator or freezer based on the cost of repairing it.