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How to fix a noisy refrigerator

Woman looking inside noisy refrigerator

The soft hum of your fridge—that delightfully reassuring sound lets you know your food is cold and your appliance is working. But sometimes, your refrigerator makes other, more ominous noises. It hums, buzzes, and rattles—like it's broken, or maybe even haunted.

Don't worry: Asurion Experts have your back. They might not be able to take care of any ghosts, but they are experienced with repairs for every major appliance, including your fridge. Here's their guide to help you identify the cause of your noisy refrigerator and figure out how to fix it.

Why is my refrigerator making a loud noise?

Before you try to diagnose and fix your fridge, make sure you unplug it. You don't want to electrocute yourself. If at any time you worry you might not be qualified to fix a particular part or diagnose a problem, reach out to an appliance repair pro. Here are a few of the most common causes behind a noisy refrigerator:

Evaporator fan problems

If the noise seems to be coming from inside the fridge, the evaporator fan could be the culprit. Typically located at the back of the freezer, the evaporator fan is usually behind a protective panel that's either clipped or screwed into place. After removing the panel (again, make sure the fridge is unplugged), manually spin the fan to ensure it's moving smoothly and that there's no sign of damage. If not, it may be time to replace the blades or grommets.

The drain pan is out of place

Look underneath your fridge to check that the drain pan is firmly in place. If not, you can always turn to trusty duct tape for a little help to secure it and stop the rattle.

The compressor is broken

If your refrigerator is making an extremely loud buzzing sound—as opposed to a soft hum— the compressor is usually the cause, and it might be time to repair or replace it. Before making that decision, clean the fridge's condenser coils and fan to ensure built-up dirt and dust is not the source of the issue.

The condenser fan or condenser coils are dirty

When the condenser coils or fan are dirty, the refrigerator has to work overtime, which can cause it to heat up and hum loudly. Make sure you clean them regularly, either twice a year or more often if you have pets who shed. Both the condenser coils and fan can be found either at the bottom of your fridge or on the back, depending on the age and model of your appliance. Use a vacuum to clean up excess dust and dirt, then wipe the coils down using a damp towel (regular dish soap and water works). Be sure to let the coils and fan dry completely before plugging your fridge back in to see if the noise is gone.

Water line issues

If your refrigerator has a built-in water and ice dispenser, the loud noise you hear could be the ice maker unsuccessfully attempting to fill with water. Try pouring yourself a glass of water from the fridge. If it doesn't work, the ice maker is likely the source of your problem. The water line system is complex and often requires help from a professional.

Brand-new fridge settling in

If your refrigerator is new, these noises may be normal. As a fridge gets used to the cold temperatures, the plastic expands and moves in small ways. This can cause creaking or humming noises from your fridge. These sounds can be spooky, but they aren't a reason to be alarmed.

Temperature-related issues

Asurion Experts recommend keeping your fridge around 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4.4 degrees Celsius) to avoid food or cooling lines freezing. If your fridge is too cold, ice can form inside some of the mechanisms, causing the refrigerator to work harder and hum loudly. If your fridge is turned all the way up and you hear a loud noise, try turning the temperature down and see if the sound goes away.

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