Picture this: you're enjoying your quiet and peaceful home when all of a sudden your refrigerator starts buzzing.
The main culprits for buzzing noises in your refrigerator are the ice maker, compressor or even something as simple as a loose door.
Fortunately, there are a few tricks to reduce loud noises such as using a hair dryer to melt a build-up of ice.
Even the simple act of making sure your refrigerator is properly level can help reduce the buzzing noises your refrigerator makes. We invite you to also read our guide on how to stop a noisy refrigerator compressor.
In this Home Inspector Secrets guide, we will cover…
- How to stop the buzzing coming from your refrigerator
- Removing ice from the evaporator fan
- Sound dampeners, such as rubber mats and acoustic foam
- How to thaw out a frozen vent without disassembling your refrigerator
Keep reading to learn the 7 Steps to stop your refrigerator from loud sounds...
What You Need To Know About Fridge Buzzing Sounds?
The sound tolerance for refrigerator noises is around 33-decibels according to this study on PubMed. There are several different issues that can cause your refrigerator to make a buzzing noise but these are two of the most common sources:
Buzzing Noise From Improper Leveling
The constant vibrations of a running refrigerator can throw an improperly leveled refrigerator from side to side. This uneven movement could be the source of your buzzing noise but can easily be mitigated by adjusting the leg height of your refrigerator
Humming Noise From Compressor
The compressor, a mechanical pump located in the rear of your refrigerator, can develop several issues which will cause a buzzing or gurgling sound. You may need to pull your refrigerator away from the wall to clean, tighten and adjust the compressor.
May Want To Call An Appliance Pro
As with any repair involving mechanical or electrical components, there is a chance that DIY solutions could damage or void the warranty on your refrigerator. Additionally, when dealing with the compressor, a homeowner should seek professional help for any issues beyond a basic cleaning or tightening of mounting screws.
Read Also >> How To Stop A Noisy Fridge Compressor?
Supplies You'll Need to Stop Loud Fridge Noises
- Phillips and Flathead Screwdriver - You'll be tightening and possibly disassembling parts of your refrigerator
- Soft Wire Brush - even the cleanest homes can have a build-up of dust and debris inside their refrigerator
- A Hair Dryer - not only will this speed up the process, it could let you avoid disassembly
How To Stop Your Refrigerator From Loud Buzzing? (8 Steps)
- Check Door Hinges
- Align the Drip Pan
- Level the Refrigerator
- Tighten Loose Parts
- Clean Compressor and Condenser
- Removing Ice Build-up
- Check Water Line To Ice Maker
- Installing Sound Dampeners
Step 1: Check Door Hinges
One of the more common causes of a buzzing noise from refrigerators is a result of the door or handle coming loose. A refrigerator door is opened and closed many times over the course of its life, and after time the screws holding it in place can loosen or even fall out.
While the buzzing noise is happening, open the door of your refrigerator and lift slightly up on the handle. If your loud noise stops, then the issue is your loose door and you can tighten the screws that hold it in place.
Be sure to check the screws holding the handle in place as well as the screws which connect the door to the refrigerator at it's hinges.
Step 2: Align the Drip Pan
Underneath your refrigerator is a large drip pan, made to collect any condensation or excess water and allow it time to evaporate. Usually these drip pans are placed so they do not touch any part of the refrigerator.
If your buzzing noise is coming from the very bottom of your refrigerator then you may have a drip pan that has shifted. Even a small amount of movement can place the drip pan in contact with the refrigerator and transfer its vibrations.
Adjust the drip pan so that there is enough clearance on all sides to prevent any contact between the pan and your refrigerator.
Read Also >> What Are The Top Counter-Depth French Style Fridges?
Step 3: Level the Refrigerator
The movement of the compressor and fans can cause a refrigerator to rock back and forth if it is not properly leveled during installation. Even over time as your home and your appliances age, there is the possibility that a perfectly leveled fridge will begin to shift.
The compressor is most likely mounted on one side of the refrigerator. This means vibrations and movement will favor one side of the refrigerator. This uneven distribution can cause a loud noise as various internal parts or even the actual legs of your refrigerator move with the natural vibrations of your refrigerator.
Adjusting Your Refrigerator's Leg Height
You can alter the height of the legs on your refrigerator easily. Turning the legs of your refrigerator to the left will raise the height and to the right will lower them. A properly leveled refrigerator will be able to better withstand constant movement.
Step 4: Tighten Loose Parts
This non-stop movement can also loosen screws, nuts, and bolts. A buzzing noise coming from the rear of your refrigerator points towards the compressor or condenser fan being your issue.
Compressor or Condenser?
If you are having trouble figuring out exactly which part of your refrigerator the buzzing noise in the back is coming from, there is an easy test.
With the refrigerator pulled away from the wall, track the power cord from your condenser fan located near the compressor, and unplug the white plastic connector.
If, once the power is removed from the condenser fan, the buzzing noise continues then you can safely assume the compressor is making the noise.
Pull the refrigerator away from the wall to tighten the screws used to mount the compressor, attach the condenser coils, or support the refrigerator.
These connections should be hand turned until they are completely secure. Most of the connections will be made with a Philips head screw, but some may be attached with hexagonal bolts or even Allen head screws.
Step 5: Clean The Compressor and Condenser
Modern refrigeration generates considerable heat on the outside of the refrigerator.
Over time, dust can build up on the condenser coils and compressor, making them less efficient at dissipating heat. This in turn puts a strain on the system, causing it to work harder than necessary, which can lead to any number of issues that would cause a buzzing noise.
Most people don't pull out and clean their refrigerator very often, so there may be a lot of dust.
When removing dust from these areas, use a coil cleaning brush which is usually soft plastic or nylon. These will be stiff enough to remove thick layers of debris but not damage any parts of your refrigerator.
Proper Clearance for Heat Dissipation
Since we're dealing with heat, some of the parts may be hot, particularly the compressor. Be careful of incidental contact with the outside of the compressor or the condenser coils, as both radiate heat when operating correctly.
Condenser coils should be spaced at least 1" away from any wall or surface to allow proper functioning.
Read Also >> How To Stop A Noisy Fridge Compressor?
Step 6: Removing Ice Build-up
Inside your freezer there is a small fan used to pump frigid air from the evaporator into the interior of your refrigerator and freezer. Most repair experts suggest that you only fill your freezer to half its capacity, allowing the evaporator fan at the top of your freezer plenty of space to operate.
Ice can build up on and around this fan, making the loud noises you've been trying to stop.
If you hear a buzzing noise in the freezer, but your ice maker is property working, you need to check your evaporator fan. Unplug your refrigerator if you haven't already so you can thaw out the ice build-up. You can allow the freezer to naturally defrost, but that will take some time, even with the freezer door wide open.
Using A Hair Dryer To Melt The Ice
A quick fix for this step is to use a hair dryer pointed into the vents of your freezer to melt the ice build up much faster.
The bottom of your freezer will fill with water during this process so you can put down some towels if you think there is a lot of ice or to make cleanup easier.
Removing The Rear Panel
For particularly large amounts of ice it may be necessary to remove the rear panel of your freezer. Attached by at least 4 screws, the rear panel of your freezer directly separates the fan from your frozen food.
Once removed you will be able to directly remove the accumulated ice that is interfering with the fan. Time and heat are your best options when it comes to thawing out something like this. Hitting or prying at the ice could damage the fan and cause your refrigerator to no longer work.
Once you've plugged your refrigerator back in and the buzzing has ceased, you can put the refrigerator back in place and return your groceries to their proper place and temperature.
Step 7: Check Water Line To Ice Maker
A buzzing ice maker is sometimes the result of a lack of water supply to the ice maker.
If the noise occurs after a batch of ice is finished, ensure that the water line to your refrigerator is functional and open the valve, as running dry can damage an ice maker to the point of requiring a replacement.
Often the connection for a waterline is located under the sink of your kitchen, branching off from the water supply to your sink. Simply open the valve by hand to increase the amount of water allowed through.
Step 8: Installing Sound Dampeners
If none of the prior steps helped, the noise you're trying to address might be the normal noise from your refrigerator. Due to all the moving parts, there is a certain amount of buzzing that will naturally be created and while you can't get rid of those noises, you can mitigate them.
Placing a large rubber mat underneath your refrigerator will help reduce the amount of vibration transferred from the refrigerator to the floor of your home.
You can also reduce the volume of your refrigerators buzzing noises by installing acoustic foam panels behind your refrigerator. These panels will attach to your wall and prevent the noises from your refrigerator from bouncing off the nearby wall.
It is important to leave at least 2" of space between the condenser coils on the back of your refrigerator and any acoustic paneling installed to allow the heat to properly dissipate.
Read Also >> How To Stop A Noisy Fridge Compressor?
Final Thoughts On Why A Refrigerator Makes Buzzing Noises
Although the buzzing noise from your refrigerator is gone for now, a regular cleaning and maintenance schedule will prevent it from happening again.
While it may be tempting to increase the amount of heat you are using to melt ice, avoid using anything hotter than a hair dryer. Items like space heaters and heat guns produce too much heat and can warp the interior of your fridge, dry out your gaskets, and even deform the polystyrene used as insulation inside your refrigerator's walls.
This guide addresses the most common and homeowner-friendly ways to stop your refrigerator from making loud noises, but if the issue persists an appliance repair specialist will be able to address it.