My refrigerator is making a buzzing noise, why?

refrigerator is making noise

There’s no denying that the refrigerator is one of the most important appliances in a residential or commercial space.

And while a gentle hum is a definite sign of the compressor running well, you should be careful enough to gauge if it turns into a rather loud or annoying buzz, which can indicate serious problems. Now, we don’t mean to scare you, but paying a little attention to the finer details never hurts!

So, if you’re wondering, “why is my refrigerator making a buzzing noise off late?” then read our guide to find the answers.

Do You Need A Professional To Diagnose The Underlying Issue?

Don’t get us wrong- we don’t mean to downplay chances of a buzzing sound translating to something being seriously wrong with your refrigerator. However, it’s also true that you don’t always need to call professional help and spend hundreds of dollars for repair or replacement jobs.

In the following sections, we have listed some common fridge noises that can be detected and fixed the DIY way.

Buzzing Or Humming Noise From The Outside Walls

If you have observed that the annoying buzzing noise originates from one of the outside walls, then it can be caused by a loose panel that’s vibrating when the power is on. Buzzing noises like these can be intensified if you have stacked items on the top of the refrigerator or there are magnets on the front wall.

To confirm the issue, press the panels and see if the noise stops. If not, then empty the top, remove the magnets, and press the panels again. This should fix the panels and stop the noise, but you may have to find other places for storing the removed items.

Buzzing Sound From The Inside

Again, a refrigerator buzzing from the inside can be alarming, but there’s no reason to panic from the get-go. This may happen if there’s no ice in the ice maker and the water valve is open or if the ice maker is devoid of a water supply.

Most refrigerators that come with self-defrost mechanisms produce a buzzing noise during every cycle, which is caused by the water dripping into the coils. However, if this sound persists even after the cycle is over, then it might be caused by a malfunctioning part or loose panels.

Buzzing Sound Originating From The Bottom

A fridge that isn’t kept in the correct position can give rise to humming sounds from the bottom when the legs are unbalanced and barely touch the floor. These unbalanced legs can then vibrate while the power is one. And the same can be caused by an uneven floor.

Tilt the fridge on one side to shift its weight and see if the noise stops. If yes, then you may have to adjust the legs to distribute the weight accordingly.

Buzzing Noise Coming From The Drain Pan

Another reason for a “bottom buzzing” fridge can be an ill-placed drain pan, which collects the condensation flowing down the defrost drain. It may so happen that this pan shifts towards one side, which is a common occurrence if you have tried relocating the fridge due to maintenance or other reasons. You’ll need a torch to increase the visibility and adjust it properly, which should stop the sound.

When Do You Need To Make That Service Call?

Fixing your buzzing refrigerator may require professionals if the noise is coming from:

The Compressor

As you may already know, the compressor is an integral electric pump-like part that helps the fridge work properly. It’s usually located at the back panel of the unit and contains the refrigerant that conducts the cooling process. However, it might sometimes make a “gentle hum” or low buzzing noise.

Although this is not an uncommon occurrence in households, we’d advise calling the professionals early on before the sound turns into loud humming.

Condenser Coils

Condenser coils are generally located at two places, viz., the rear and bottom of the refrigerator, behind the panel. The main function of these coils is to cold down and condense the circulating refrigerant. And it’s important for users to regularly clean this part using a dry brush, as accumulated dust and debris can cause the coils to work harder, thereby resulting in a loud buzzing noise.

But if the noise persists despite appearing clean, then call the professionals as they’re better equipped to give them a deep clean or diagnose other functional issues with them. They may also advise you to opt for replacement, which will require expert installation.

Ice Maker

As stated above, some noise from the ice maker is considered a normal occurrence, but you might want to seek professional help if the sound becomes louder or overbearing. This is especially recommended when the freezer compartment hasn’t been operational for a long time, or the refrigerator itself is still new, as it can indicate a wobbly, broken, or even frozen connection.

Can You Fix A Buzzing Refrigerator Without Professional Help?

If none of the above-mentioned reasons is contributing to your noisy fridge, then the problem may require you to conduct some manual checks. However, it is not always possible to avail emergency repair fridge repair services, which means you have to take matters into your own hands. And in the following sections, we will help you with just that.

Checking The Condenser Fan Motor

The condenser fan motor runs along with the compressor and evaporator fan motor. It is primarily in charge of removing the heat from the condenser coils by ensuring continuous air circulation for ventilation purposes. Plus, it helps circulate air above the drain pan to eliminate the defrost water pool.

A malfunctioning condenser fan motor can cause your refrigerator to make a loud noise while also increasing its ambient temperature and making it shut on or off automatically.

To check its condition, start by unplugging the fridge from the power source and giving it a few minutes to cool down. Since the condenser fan is usually located close to the compressor of the unit, you will have to remove the rear access panel to get to it.

From here, you can check for any damages, usually resulting from prolonged, heavy-duty use. Many times, accumulated dust and debris also prevent the proper movement of the fan, so clean it gently using a clean cloth or brush. If the motor is severely damaged, it’s better to replace it with a new one.

Steps To Remove And Install The Condenser Fan Motor

Step 1

With the rear access panel still removed, find the mounting bracket that holds the condenser motor and unscrew it. Remember to keep the screws safely until the installation is over.

Step 2

Now, disconnect the writing harness by sliding your thumbs over the tab, which will help the entire assembly “pop out” from the socket. You will see that the condenser motor is attached to  a bracket above with a couple of screws, so remove them to detach the bracket. Press the fan and gradually pull it upwards to detach the motor.

Here again, you will need to disconnect the wiring setup and keep it aside. This is also a good time to clean the bracket and fan to get rid of any loose dirt.

Step 3

Once everything is clean, move on to installing the new motor. Start off by sliding a rubber grommet (a ring-like structure that comes with the motor) to move it over the spindle of the replaced motor and pushing it into the fan. Place another grommet on the motor and secure back the bracket with the screws.

Step 4

Reconnect the wiring harnesses and reassemble the condenser fan setup. We’d also advise cleaning the condenser coil before putting back the rear access panel with screws. Turn on the power supply, and the refrigerator should resume normal operation.

Checking The Evaporator Fan Motor

The evaporator fan motor circulates air to keep the evaporator coil cool when the compressor is engaged. Issues like a buzzing noise, slow running ice maker, as well as a relatively warm refrigerator can all be signs of a faulty evaporator fan.

Like you’d do for checking the condenser fan motor, turn off the power supply, and let the refrigerator cool down. Then proceed to detach the evaporator fan cover from the inside of the unit by unscrewing the bolts. This will reveal the motor, and you can check it for damages or ice deposits. If the sound is caused by the latter, then defrosting the freezer should resolve the problem.

At the same time, inspect the fan motor grommet (which separates the motor from its mounting bracket) to see if it has been damaged in any way and needs to be cleaned or replaced. Otherwise, try turning the shaft of the motor manually and notice if it moves with minimal resistance. The motor may need a replacement if the movement is not smooth.

Removing And Installing The Evaporator Fan Motor

Step 1

Once you have removed the cover, unplug the wire of the fan, and slide the cover towards the left side. This will enable you to disconnect the ground wire (green in color) and detach the ice maker.

Step 2

Remove the metal locking rings located behind the fan cover to detach it and push it upwards to unlock the locking tabs, usually four in number. Pull off the blade from the shaft of the motor and lift the tabs located on the motor retainer. Then turn it clockwise.

This should bring out the motor from its mounting bracket, and you can install the new fan motor. Fix the retainer, put the blade back on the shaft of the motor, and reinstall the fan cover.

Step 3

As the last step, put back the main evaporator fan cover before mounting the bolts and turn on the power supply.

Final Words

On that note, it’s time for us to bring down the curtain on today’s proceedings.

We hope that our guide has equipped you better to deal with buzzing sounds coming from your refrigerator. While some of these noises may be part of its normal operation, others may require you to put in some effort, whether it’s in the form of conducting DIY fixes or calling the professionals.

We’d also suggest keeping handy the contact details of the best fridge repair services in your area for emergencies. And it will be even better if you can opt for a regular fridge maintenance contract to ensure that any issues are nipped in the bud.

Need professional help when it comes to refrigerator repair? Look for the nearest appliance repair services in your neighborhood.

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