How to Diagnose and Repair a Noisy Refrigerator

Robert Russell By Robert Russell, 28th Nov 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>DIY>Kitchens

Noisy refrigerators are annoying but the problem is usually easy to diagnose. According to, the noise is either coming from inside the refrigerator or from the outside. In some cases, it is possible to replace the faulty part and get rid of the annoying noises.

Step by Step Guide

A noisy or worn-out fan, which can be easily replaced, is the most common source of a noisy refrigerator. The worst case scenario is a bad compressor. If this is the source of the trouble, it is time to consider buying a new refrigerator. There are a variety of good online resources such for new refrigerator parts. The parts have ID numbers that allow you to match them. Compare their prices with the local refrigerator repairman.

(1) Investigate the freezer fan.
Self-defrosting refrigerators have an evaporating fan that runs when the refrigerator is cooling. They eventually wear out and have to be replaced. Open the freezer door and push the light/fan switch in. If the noise is louder, the problem is the freezer fan motor. The fan motor needs to be replaced.

(2) Remove the panel in the back of the freezer.
Remove the screws that secure the fan to the housing frame. The fan is connected by two or three wires. Disconnect the wires and remove the fan. Make a note of where the wires connect. Remove the fan blade from the old motor and place it on the new motor. Reverse the steps to reconnect the fan.

(3) Check the food compartment.
If the noise is coming from inside the food compartment, the noise is being caused by the defrost timer. The electric motor in the defrost timer will become noisy over time. It is located near the temperature controls. If it is noisy, it needs to be replaced. Disconnect the wires from the timer and timer motor. Remove the timer from its bracket. It is held in place with two screws. Buy a new timer and reinstall it in the bracket and reconnect the wires.

(3) Locate the condenser fan.
If the noise is coming from outside the refrigerator, it is either the condenser fan or the compressor. It is either in the back or in the bottom of the refrigerator. If it is in the back, unscrew the back panel to inspect the fan. If it is located in the bottom, remove the front grill. Inspect the fan and use a broom or vacuum cleaner to remove any dust or debris that you see. If you don't see anything in the fan, unplug the refrigerator and the fan motor.

Plug the refrigerator back in. If you no longer hear the noise, then the problem is the fan. It needs to be replaced. If the noise returns when the refrigerator is plugged back in, that means the compressor is bad. Because compressors are expensive, the two options are to buy a new refrigerator or to learn to live with the noise.


Noisy Refrigerators, Refrigerator Fan Problems, Refrigerator Repair

Meet the author

author avatar Robert Russell
I play guitar professionally in a Cajun/zydeco band named Creole Stomp. We are a nationally touring band that have been together ten years. I also have a PhD in philosophy.

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