Purchasing an energy-efficient and spacious fridge takes quite an investment, so you need to keep a new appliance running for as long as possible to recoup what you spent on it. Listening carefully when you're in the kitchen can pay off because you'll be able to notice noises that indicate a problem with the refrigerator. Arrange for prompt repairs rather than waiting to see what happens in order to save money when you notice any of these four noises coming from your refrigerator.
Scraping and Grinding
There are multiple fans inside your refrigerator that move cold air around to keep your food fresh or frozen. When any of them become damaged, worn by age, or obstructed by ice and debris, you'll likely hear scraping and grinding noises on a constant or intermittent basis. Getting close to the refrigerator and trying to determine what part of the appliance is creating the noise can help you narrow down which particular fan needs attention. Possibilities include
- The condenser fan, which moves air around the compressor and which is usually located at the back and bottom of the unit
- The evaporator fan, which is found in the back of the freezer or where the freezer and refrigerator sections meet
- Extra fans added to speed defrosting, which are not always essential and may be switched off when malfunctioning on some models.
It's easy enough to use a flashlight to look for debris that could be causing the noise, but leave fan replacements and motor repairs to a service technician to avoid creating refrigerant leaks or exposing yourself to electrical shocks. Allowing fans to fail will reduce the cooling power of the refrigerator and potentially wear out expensive parts.
Refrigerators with extra features like water and ice dispensers will often make many seemingly random clicks during the day and night. These clicks are caused by opening and closing valves, automatic movements, and other normal functions. However, if you hear a steady and consistent set of clicks every time your refrigerator kicks on, it's likely the compressor having trouble starting due to age or damage. You may notice the kitchen lights flickering or dimming during the clicking noise, which is a side effect caused by the compressor needing more power to start. Replacing the compressor before it goes out can save you money, especially if it prevents you from losing hundreds of dollars worth of groceries and frozen foods.
Fans can start rumbling due to ice accumulation or wear, but it's still more likely you'll hear grinding or squealing instead. A steady and loud rumbling from the back or bottom of the refrigerator is another sign the compressor is reaching the end of its life. The noise may come and go over the course of the day, but it'll steadily grow louder and more frequent as the compressor reaches its last leg. In some cases it's just a relay switch or fuse increasing resistance on the compressor, so getting a timely and inexpensive repair can prevent the compressor from burning itself out due to a minor problem.
Finally, don't let your refrigerator just keep beeping at you if it has advanced detection features to warn you when the door is left open or there's a block in the water supply line. Even if you've verified the problems don't exist, incorrect warning alarms indicate that the sensors are acting up. This could be due to a larger problem like ice accumulation, drain blockages, damaged wiring, or a more general malfunction. Switch off the sound for now if you must, but follow up on incorrect beeping and other alarm notifications with a refrigerator repair technician within a few days.