Why Is My Refrigerator Making a Loud Humming Noise?

Besides all technologies and top-of-the-line appliances, the unit by itself will need many components to works as we demand from them. Personally, there is no refrigerator you could find that is completely silent at all. Maybe in the future but for now, the motors and compressor that make this unit works are based on electro-mechanic components.

But I recently noticed my refrigerator started making a loud humming noise than usual and wondered what was causing it. I did some research and here’s what I found.

So, why is my refrigerator making a loud humming noise? There are two parts of a refrigerator that make a humming noise 1) the compressor and 2) the damper. It’s normal for them to make a fairly loud humming noise. But, if it’s excessive there’s likely an issue with it and you’ll need to check some basics before having a technician have a look at it.

If you’re good with your hands you can take it apart and take a look at it yourself. But, it’s a good idea to fully educate yourself about each of the components so that you don’t damage it. 

Check These 4 Components Before Calling The Technician:

  1. Ice Maker Humming Sounds: Some of the refrigerators on the market has an automatic ice maker included. The sound or humming from these parts is very common because it fills out automatics if you let the switch on. Check the water supply because it if does not are water on the system the humming noise will be very noticeable and you can damage all unit.
  2. The Air ventilation: The location of the refrigerator is crucial, check that you are not too close to the wall that could affect the air ventilation on both sides and also on the back of the unit.
  3. The clean status of the compressor: This is one of the most noise and humming unit on the refrigerator but you are not able to hear from another part of the house if are working as supposed to. Maybe some dirty as usual is in this part. You can disconnect the refrigerator from the power outlet and clean the compressor and the fan.
  4. The floor level: Yes in the perfect world the unit and the floor will be perfect leveled, but in the real world this will be a lucky day if you find your unit on the level. You can fix this by grabbing a level tool and rotating the adjustable legs to get the perfect even position.

Below, I’ll explain how loud is too loud when it comes to refrigerators and other warning signs that your refrigerator needs to be repaired.

How Do I Stop My Fridge From Humming?

You may be wondering how to make your refrigerator quieter because when it starts humming all of sudden it can be a bit annoying. Here’s whether you can stop your refrigerator from humming…

A refrigerator will produce 37 to 42 dB of noise, and it’s normal for a refrigerator to hum. You can measure the volume of your refrigerator using a free app you can download for your smartphone. This will tell you if the noise it makes is too loud, and it needs to be repaired.

There is a range of other noises your refrigerator will make as it’s operating normally. Here’s what they are:

Refrigerator ComponentNoise it Makes
CompressorHumming and vibrating
EvaporatorBoiling and gurgling
Defrost heaterBoiling, sizzling, and popping
Ice makerClunking
Ice maker fan, water valve, and refrigerant gasThumping, water running, and buzzing
Electronic control and automatic defrost controlSnapping and clicking
Drain panWater dripping
Ice chuteSnapping, clicking, popping
Evaporator fan and condenser fanRushing, blowing and whistling air

Here’s an interesting video from Frigidaire, which shows where each of the components on your fridge is normally located:

What a compressor does

According to Hunker.com, the compressor in a refrigerator is the main component that makes your refrigerator cold. It has a fan and pipes. The pipes transport the coolant and a fan blows over them and into your refrigerator. The humming noise comes from the motor that’s inside the compressor.

What A Damper Does

The damper controls the airflow from the cool part at the back of the fridge, and turns on or off to blow air into your fridge. Some dampers are located between the freezer and the refrigerator and blow cool air from the freezer into the refrigerator.

What Does A Bad Refrigerator Compressor Sound Like?

You may be wondering if your compressor is damaged or needs replacing, and you can work this out by the sound it makes. So, I’ll explain what a bad compressor sounds like.

A bad compressor will be louder than normal and can make a clicking noise. The compressor is usually located at the back of your fridge near the floor. But, other components can make a clicking noise. So, you’ll want to get close to it and make sure it’s the compressor that’s making the noise.

You’ll want to listen to it for a while to see where the noise is coming from. And measure how loud it is by using a decibel reader or a free decibel reader app you download on your smartphone. 

If you suspect there’s an issue with it, it’s a good idea to get a technician in, and/or contact the manufacturer regarding the issue.

Refrigerators can come with a warranty, and therefore they’ll repair or replace it free of charge. The best thing to do is to call their customer support line, send them an email, or contact them through their website.

What Are The Signs Of A Bad Refrigerator Compressor?

There are other warning signs that your compressor isn’t working correctly. These can give you additional clues about whether or not you need to have your compressor repaired or replaced. Here’s what they are:

If the inside of your fridge doesn’t get cold, then it’s a sure sign that your compressor isn’t working. Also, if you never hear your fridge hum or your fridge makes much more noise than normal then it’s a good sign that the compressor is dirty or damaged.

However, the damper can also make a humming noise and you could mistake the hum of your damper for the hum of your compressor. 

If you have one of the issues above it’s a good idea to contact the manufacturer to discuss how to repair it. Or, get a refrigerator technician to take a look at it.

How Do You Diagnose A Refrigerator Problem?

There are many components in your refrigerator, and it’s difficult to know exactly what’s causing the issue. But, there are some first steps you should take to see if you can identify the problem. They are:

1. Check that it’s plugged in, and it’s not your wall outlet that’s causing the issue. Sometimes, it can be loose, or the fuse on your circuit board might have blown.

2. Check that a food or drink item isn’t blocking the air inlet. These are small holes where the air is pumped into your fridge.

If none of these steps are what’s causing the issue then one of the components in your fridge is broken or damaged. When that happens it’s best to get a technician to have a look at it. But, this can be covered by warranty so you should get in touch with your manufacturer to see what they recommend.

Is It Worth Replacing The Compressor On A Refrigerator?

Sometimes it’s cheaper to buy a whole new appliance rather than repairing it. But, is that the case with a refrigerator compressor? Here’s what you need to know:

According to some experts, a compressor costs about half the cost of a refrigerator. So, if it’s older than 10 years or so, it’s a better idea to buy a whole new fridge. The older a fridge gets the higher the chances something else will go wrong with it. 

Is A Buzzing Fridge Dangerous?

If you hear buzzing coming from a refrigerator you might be worried, and fair enough. When something electronic buzzes like overhead power lines or a small motor your instincts tell you to stay clear. But, is it dangerous when a fridge buzzes? Here’s what you need to know:

A fridge will buzz as part of its normal operation and is not dangerous. A fridge will operate at a volume of 37 to 42 dB. Which you can measure by downloading an app on your smartphone. If it’s louder than that you should have a technician have a look at it.

The part of a fridge that buzzes is the compressor, and you shouldn’t put your hand near the components of your fridge while it’s running. If you do there’s a risk you’ll get electrocuted, or your fingers can get stuck in the fan. 

But, while it’s running a buzzing noise coming from your refrigerator isn’t anything to worry about. Also, it’s better to have a technician repair any issues with it unless you have experience with electronics.

Well, there you have it everything you need to know about why your refrigerator is making a loud humming noise.


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