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Noises - Refrigerator

Troubleshooting Refrigerators Last Updated 09/20/2017
Noises - Refrigerator

Many of the common refrigerator noises are due to normal operation of the unit. If the the noise becomes louder than normal, follow these simple steps to determine the root cause of the problem.

  1. Is the noise coming from the refrigerator or door alarm?

  2. Does the refrigerator have a water dispenser?

    Yes No
  3. Water Dispenser

    Does it dispense water?

    Yes No
  4. Does the refrigerator have an icemaker?

    Yes No
  5. Does the noise occur when you are dispensing water?

    Yes No
  6. Does the noise stop when the doors are opened?

    Yes No
  7. When you dispense water, does the noise occur everytime; or briefly as you start and stop dispensing water?

    Yes, Everytime No, Only on Start/Stop
  8. Does the noise stop when the doors are opened?

    Yes No
  9. When does the noise occur?

    When Opening/Closing Doors Occasional All the Time
  10. When does the noise occur?

    When Opening/Closing Doors Occasional All the Time
  11. This noise may be coming from the icemaker when the water supply is not connected to it.

    The reasons for this sort of noise:

    • During normal refrigerator operation, when the icemaker is turned ON, the refrigerator’s water valve will activate and vibrate for a few seconds as the ice maker requests for water.

    • If the icemaker is turned ON but the WATER SUPPLY IS NOT CONNECTED the refrigerator will make a buzzing or clicking sound that can become louder and more persistent.

    How to fix the problem:

    • TURN OFF THE ICEMAKER until you decide to connect a water supply, and this will eliminate the noise you are experiencing.

  12. This noise is caused when the home water pressure is a bit too high. You can partially close the water valve connected to the refrigerator to decrease the pressure. This will reduce such noise.

    How to check the water pressure:

    • Get a standard size coffee cup (8 ounce).

    • Fill the cup with water from the refrigerator's water dispenser.

    • Count how many seconds it takes to fill the cup.

    How long does it take to fill the cup?

    Less than 4 Seconds More than 4 Seconds
  13. This noise may be caused by the water supply line. The water supply line shifts intermittently as the water valve opens and closes, and can strike the wall or back of the refrigerator, causing a thumping or vibrating sound. In general, this is a normal operation.

    To reduce this normal operation noise:

    1. Pull the unit away from the wall slightly, or reposition the water line behind the unit to eliminate the noise.


    Water supply lines behind the refrigerator

    Unit making vibrating sound when it is too close to the wall

    Pull the unit away from the wall or reposition water line

    Depending on the installation condition, the home water supply line can hit the wall, floor, and refrigerator. Please re-arrange the home water supply line, and check the noise again.

    Does this step reduce the noise?

    Yes No
  14. The water pressure is TOO HIGH. Adjust the home water valve to reduce the pressure.

    How to adjust home water valve:

    • Shut off the water at your house's internal water main.

    • Turn the shut off valve completely to the right (turn water supply off).

    • Loosen the locking nut on the water pressure regulator by turning it to the left.

    • Turn the adjusting screw to the left to reduce the water pressure, or to the right to increase the water pressure.

    • Allow few hours for the refrigerator to regulate, and monitor the noise reduction.

    This adjustment depends on your home water valve installation, if you are not sure about how to adjust home water valve, do a quick search on any search engine for this topic, you may also need the help of a plumber for proper adjustment.

    Does this step reduce the noise?

    Yes No
  15. Your water pressure is NORMAL within 4 seconds and a little more. But if the water takes longer to fill, then the water pressure is too low. Having confirmed that your water pressure is normal, proceed to the next troubleshooting step.

    Proceed to Next Step
  16. Good job, now that we have been able to reduce the noise of your refrigerator, continue the troubleshooting steps to check for other contributing factors that can lead to refrigerator noises.

    Proceed to Next Step
  17. Okay, If you have tried the steps above, but the noise still persists; continue with the troubleshooting steps. There are other contributing factors that can cause refrigerator noises.

    Proceed to Next Step
  18. Determine if the noise is caused by high water pressure or from the water lines.

  19. This noise may be coming from the icemaker when the water supply is not connected to it.

    The reasons for this sort of noise:

    • During normal refrigerator operation, when the icemaker is turned ON, the refrigerator’s water valve will activate and vibrate for a few seconds as the ice maker requests for water.

    • If the icemaker is turned ON but the WATER SUPPLY IS NOT CONNECTED the refrigerator will make a buzzing or clicking sound that can become louder and more persistent.

    How to fix the problem:

    • TURN OFF THE ICEMAKER until you decide to connect a water supply, and this will eliminate the noise you are experiencing.

  20. Good job, now that we have been able to reduce the noise of your refrigerator, continue the troubleshooting steps to check for other contributing factors that can lead to refrigerator noises.

    Proceed to Next Step
  21. Okay, If you have tried the steps above, but the noise still persists; continue the troubleshooting steps. There are other contributing factors that can cause refrigerator noises.

    Proceed to Next Step
  22. Door hinges, door stopper and proper leveling

    Noises that occur when the doors are opening or closing typically do not require a repair service. They are primarily related to door hinges, door stopper and proper leveling.

    DOOR HINGES:

    Noises from the door hinges may sound like grinding or squeaking.

    Recommended solution: Apply a food grade silicon grease to stop the noise. Food grease are availble for sale at local building supply stores. If you are not sure of what to look for, please ask a sales associate to help you find it.

    DOOR STOPPER:

    A popping sound that occurs while the door is opened or closed can be coming from the auto closing hinge or door stopper. Some models may not have a stopper on the closing hinge.

    Recommended solution: For LFC, LFX, or LMX models, the latch on the underside of the refrigerator door may be dirty or dry. Clean the latch and apply a food grade silicon grease to stop the noise.

    PROPER LEVELING:

    Proper leveling of the refrigerator, and the alignment of the door(s) of the unit are very important for proper operation of the unit.

    Steps for proper leveling:

    The following steps are snippets culled from our detailed article about proper leveling. Please visit our LG Refrigerator Leveling Instructions page for a step by step guide.

    Leveling a Refrigerator
    • Open the refrigerator doors.

    • Place a level on top of the refrigerator to check if the unit is leveled from side to side.

    • If a level is not available, fill a glass half full of water, set it on top of the refrigerator to gauge if the unit is leveled.

    • The refrigerator legs should be adjusted for the unit to have a slight backward slope.

    • Check the door alignment.

    • Even if your refrigerator cabinet is leveled, the doors should be properly aligned too.

  23. How long does the noise last?

    Less than 30 minutes More than 1 hour
  24. This noise may be coming from the compressor which is supposed to be normal operation. The noise is not supposed to last more than 1 hour, but if the noise is loud enough to be heard from another room, then the unit requires a repair service.

    Before we conclude that the noise occurs all the time and the unit requires a repair service, let's get a closer look at the compressor. There are two types of compressors, the linear compressor and standard compressor.

    LINEAR COMPRESSOR:

    Units with linear compressors can often be recognized easily by the insignia located on the control panel.

    Insignia of a Linear Compressor

    The linear compressor will change speeds according to the needs of the refrigerator in order to cool both the refrigerator and freezer compartments effectively. This change in speed will produce more activity on the compressor, which in turn results to an increased sound. If the compressor goes into a higher speed than normal, it can make noises that resemble buzzing, knocking, or banging.

    If this sort of unexpected noise continues for more than one hour at a time, the unit will require a repair service. Please visit our Request a Repair page for a professional service.

    STANDARD COMPRESSOR:

    The standard compressor will make a low buzzing or humming noise during normal operation. But if the noise becomes louder or can be heard from another room, the unit will require a repair service. Please visit our Request a Repair page for a professional service.

  25. Compressor noises are a part of normal refrigerator operation; however compressor noises are not supposed to last longer than 1 hour and should not be loud enough to hear in another room. Let’s take a closer look at the compressor to determine if your refrigerator needs a repair service. There are two types of compressors, the linear compressor and standard compressor.

    LINEAR COMPRESSOR:

    Units with linear compressors can often be recognized easily by the insignia located on the control panel.

    Insignia of a Linear Compressor

    The linear compressor will change speeds according to the needs of the refrigerator in order to cool both the refrigerator and freezer compartments effectively. This change in speed will produce more activity on the compressor, which in turn results to an increased sound. If the compressor goes into a higher speed than normal, it can make noises that resemble buzzing, knocking, or banging.

    If this sort of unexpected noise continues for more than one hour at a time, the unit will require a repair service. Please visit our Request a Repair page for a professional service.

    STANDARD COMPRESSOR:

    The standard compressor will make a low buzzing or humming noise during normal operation. But if the noise becomes louder or can be heard from another room, the unit will require a repair service. Please visit our Request a Repair page for a professional service.

  26. This noise may be coming from the compressor. Compressor noises are a part of normal refrigerator operation; however compressor noises are not supposed to last longer than 1 hour and should not be loud enough to hear in another room. Let’s take a closer look at the compressor to determine if your refrigerator needs a repair service

    There are two types of compressors, the linear compressor and standard compressor.

    LINEAR COMPRESSOR:

    Linear compressors can often be recognized easily by the insignia located on the control panel.

    Insignia of a Linear Compressor

    The linear compressor will change speeds according to the needs of the refrigerator in order to cool both the refrigerator and freezer compartments effectively. This change in speed will produce more activity on the compressor, which in turn results to an increased sound. If the compressor goes into a higher speed than normal, it can make noises that resemble buzzing, knocking, or banging.

    If this sort of unexpected noise continues for more than one hour at a time, the unit will require a repair service. Please visit our Request a Repair page for a professional service.

    STANDARD COMPRESSOR:

    The standard compressor will make a low buzzing or humming noise during normal operation. But if the noise becomes louder or can be heard from another room, the unit will require a repair service. Please visit our Request a Repair page for a professional service.

  27. Persistent noise that stops when the doors are opened is usually caused by the refrigerator fans. The unit uses fans to help circulate air through the compartments. These fans stop spinning when you open the refrigerator doors. If the noise starts to return shortly after you close the doors, then this noise is typically caused by frost buildup around the fan's housing which can be resolved by proper leveling and temperature adjustment.

    PROPER LEVELING:

    The following steps are snippets culled from our detailed article about proper leveling. Please visit our LG Refrigerator Leveling Instructions page for a step by step guide.

    Leveling a Refrigerator
    • Open the refrigerator doors.

    • Place a level on the top of the refrigerator to check if the unit it is leveled from side to side.

    • If a level is not available, fill a glass half full of water, set it on top of the refrigerator to gauge if the unit is leveled.

    • The refrigerator legs should be adjusted for the unit to have a slight backward slope.

    • Check the door alignment.

    • Refer to our LG Refrigerator Leveling Instructions page for a step by step guide.

    • Even if your refrigerator cabinet is leveled, the doors should be properly aligned. If the alignment is off, moisture from the room can enter the unit and cause frost to buildup.

    ADJUSTING THE TEMPERATURE:

    While checking the leveling and alignment of your refrigerator, you may want to make minor adjustments to the temperature settings. When the refrigerator's temperature is too low, it causes frost buildup (because the unit is unable to warm up to melt the previous frost buildup). Once you've confirmed the unit is leveled, raise the temperature for a couple of days so that the frost will disappear and the noise will stop.

    For your convenience, bookmark this page, so that you can return here anytime. If your refrigerator is properly leveled, the temperature is adjusted to remove frost, but the noise still persists, the unit may require a repair service. Please visit our Request a Repair page for a professional service.

    Please, DO NOT SKIP this step. Frost buildup on the refrigerator fans will cause noise to your unit if the unit is not leveled properly. Please visit our LG Refrigerator Leveling Instructions before proceeding to the next step.

    Did this step eliminate or reduce the noise?

    Yes No
  28. Good job, now that we have been able to reduce the noise of your refrigerator, continue the troubleshooting steps to check for other contributing factors that can lead to refrigerator noises.

    Proceed to Next Step
  29. Okay, If you have tried the steps above, but the noise still persists; the unit may require a repair service. Please visit our Request a Repair page for a professional service. But before you request for a repair service, we recommend that you continue the troubleshooting steps because there are other contributing factors that can cause refrigerator noises.

    Proceed to Next Step
  30. Select the type of alarm problem you are experiencing:

    Beeps While Doors are Closed Alarm No Longer Works
  31. To understand why the alarm beeps while the doors are closed, we need to test the alarm.

    Steps to follow:

    • Open the refrigerator door and locate the upper hinge.

    • Check if the hinge has a push switch or a reed(magnetic) switch.

    • NOTE: The door push switch or magnetic switch is located on the top door hinge of the unit. When the door makes contact with this switch the refrigerator alarm will stop.

      Push Door Switch Magnetic Reed Switch
    • Test the door switch according to the switch type:

      FOR PUSH SWITCH:

      • Visually inspect the upper hinge to make sure that it is flushed against the refrigerator cabinet properly.

      • If it is raised out of position with space, the door may not make contact with the push switch, and the alarm may sound when the doors are closed.

        Steps to follow:

        • Push in the door switch to see if the door alarm stops.

      FOR REED (MAGNETIC) SWITCH:

      • Place a magnet over the switch to see if the door alarm stops.

    Does the alarm turn off?

    Yes No
  32. If the alarm stops after manually pressing the door switch or holding a magnet over the reed switch, then the doors are not aligned with the switch. This can be resolved by leveling the refrigerator, aligning the doors, or both.

    Steps to follow:

    • Visually inspect the push or reed switch to ensure that sure it is not stuck or damaged.

    • If the push switch was stuck, clean the door switch with warm soapy water to reduce the chances of the door switch sticking in the future.

    • Level your refrigerator and align the doors.

      Leveling a Refrigerator

      Steps for proper leveling:

      The following steps are snippets culled from our detailed article about proper leveling. Please visit our LG Refrigerator Leveling Instructions page for a step by step guide.

      • Open the refrigerator doors.

      • Place a level on top of the refrigerator to check if the unit is leveled from side to side.

      • If a level is not available, fill a glass half full of water, set it on top of the refrigerator to gauge if the unit is leveled.

      • The refrigerator legs should be adjusted for the unit to have a slight backward slope.

      • Check the door alignment.

      • Even if your refrigerator cabinet is leveled, the doors should be properly aligned too.

    NOTE: When the unit is leveled and the doors are aligned correctly, check inside the refrigerator to ensure no food items, bins, or drawers are obstructing the door from closing completely.

  33. If you have tried the steps above, and the alarm noise still persists; the unit will require a repair service. Please visit our Request a Repair page for a professional service.

  34. If the door alarm is no longer working, let's test to see if it is turned off, jammed, or requires a technical repair service.

    Steps to follow:

    • Check the control panel to see if the door alarm function has been turned off.

    • Open the refrigerator door and locate the upper hinge.

    • Check if the hinge has a push switch or a reed (magnetic) switch.

    • NOTE: The door push switch, or magnetic switch is usually located at the top inner part of the unit (this switch is what the door presses when closed, it shuts off the light and triggers the cooling of the unit).

      Push Door Switch Magnetic Reed Switch
    • Test the door switch according to the type:

      FOR PUSH SWITCH: Push-in the door switch to see if the door alarm turns back on.

      FOR REED (MAGNETIC) SWITCH: If you have a reed (magnetic) switch, unfortunately, testing and repairing it requires a technician's help. Please visit our Request a Repair page for a professional service.

    For push switch, does the alarm turn back on?

    Yes No
  35. The push switch may be stuck, lift it out gently, and clean the door switch with warm soapy water to reduce the chances of the door switch sticking in the future.

  36. This unit requires a repair service. For your convenience, please visit our Request a Repair page for a professional service.

Do you recognize the sound of the noise?

Use our sound diagnosis tool to understand the causes of the noise, and how to reduce oreliminate the noise.

Open Sound Diagnosis

Go Back to Troubleshooting Steps

Sound Diagnosis

During normal operation, refrigerators can make different noises. Listed below are some examples of common refrigerator noises, their causes, and solutions to eliminate noises that are not associated with normal operation.

Clicking Sound

  1. This is a normal operation, the clicking noise is coming from the defrost control. The defrost control will click when the automatic defrost cycle begins and ends.

  2. The thermostat control (or refrigerator control on some models) will also click when cycling on and off.

Recommended solution: None, this is a normal operation.

Rattling Sound

  1. Rattling noises may come from the flow of refrigerant, the water line on the back of the unit, or items stored on the top, or around the refrigerator.

    Recommended solution: None, this is a normal operation

  2. The sound is also caused when the refrigerator is not resting solidly on the floor.

    Recommended solution: If the floor is weak or uneven, move the unit to a study floor; otherwise, the leveling legs need to be adjusted.

  3. When refrigerator with linear compressor is jarred while running, it will trigger the noise for few seconds.

  4. Recommended solution: None, this is a normal operation

Whooshing Sound

  1. Evaporator's fan motor is circulating air through the refrigerator and freezer compartments.

  2. Air is being forced over the condenser by the condenser fan.

  3. Recommended solution: None, this is a normal operation

Gurgling Sound

  1. Refrigerant is flowing through the cooling system.

  2. Recommended solution: None, this is a normal operation.

Popping Sound

  1. The popping noise is due to the contraction and expansion of the inside walls due to changes in temperature.

  2. Recommended solution: None, this is a normal operation

Sizzling Sound

  1. Sizzling sound is due to water dripping on the defrost heater during a defrost cycle.

  2. Recommended Solution: None, this is a normal operation

Vibrating Sound

  1. If the side or back of the refrigerator is touching a cabinet or wall, some of the normal vibrations may make an audible sound.

  2. Recommended Solution: To eliminate the noise, make sure that the sides and back cannot vibrate against any wall or cabinet.

Dripping Sound

  1. Dripping noise is caused by water running into the drain pan during the defrost cycle.

  2. Recommended Solution: None, this is a normal operation

Pulsating High-pitch Sound

  1. Your refrigerator is designed to run more efficiently to keep your food items at the desired temperature. The high efficiency compressor may cause your new refrigerator to run longer than your old one, but it is still more energy efficient than previous models. While the refrigerator is running, it is normal to hear a pulsating or high-pitched sound.

  2. Recommended Solution: None, this is a normal operation

Humming and Buzzing Sound

  1. The humming and buzzing noise is coming from the compressor.

    The compressor noise is supposed to be normal operation, and it is not supposed to last more than 1 hour, but if the noise is loud enough to be heard from another room, then the unit requires a repair service.

    Before we conclude that the noise occurs all the time and the unit requires a repair service, let's get a closer look at the compressor. There are two types of compressors, the linear compressor and standard compressor.

    LINEAR COMPRESSOR:

    Units with linear compressors can often be recognized easily by the insignia located on the control panel.

    Insignia of a Linear Compressor

    The linear compressor will change speeds according to the needs of the refrigerator in order to cool both the refrigerator and freezer compartments effectively. This change in speed will produce more activity on the compressor, which in turn results to an increased sound. If the compressor goes into a higher speed than normal, it can make noises that resemble buzzing, knocking, or banging.

    If this sort of unexpected noise continues for more than one hour at a time, the unit will require a repair service. Please visit our Request a Repair page for a professional service.

    STANDARD COMPRESSOR:

    The standard compressor will make a low buzzing or humming noise during normal operation. But if the noise becomes louder or can be heard from another room, the unit will require a repair service. Please visit our Request a Repair page for a professional service.

Popping and Tapping Sound

  1. Popping or tapping sounds can occur for 30 - 90 seconds when the compressor begins to run, this is common to models that are equipped with a linear compressor.

  2. Popping or tapping sounds may also occur if the unit is moved while it is in operation.

    The compressor noise is supposed to be normal operation, and it is not supposed to last more than 1 hour, but if the noise is loud enough to be heard from another room, then the unit requires a repair service.

    Before we conclude that the noise occurs all the time and the unit requires a repair service, let's get a closer look at the compressor. There are two types of compressors, the linear compressor and standard compressor.

    LINEAR COMPRESSOR:

    Units with linear compressors can often be recognized easily by the insignia located on the control panel.

    Insignia of a Linear Compressor

    The linear compressor will change speeds according to the needs of the refrigerator in order to cool both the refrigerator and freezer compartments effectively. This change in speed will produce more activity on the compressor, which in turn results to an increased sound. If the compressor goes into a higher speed than normal, it can make noises that resemble buzzing, knocking, or banging.

    If this sort of unexpected noise continues for more than one hour at a time, the unit will require a repair service. Please visit our Request a Repair page for a professional service.

    STANDARD COMPRESSOR:

    The standard compressor will make a low buzzing or humming noise during normal operation. But if the noise becomes louder or can be heard from another room, the unit will require a repair service. Please visit our Request a Repair page for a professional service.

Vibrating and Rattling Sound

For these types of noise problems, the following items should be in order:

  1. The doors must be properly aligned.

  2. The refrigerator cabinet should be leveled.

  3. The floor where the refrigerator is installed should be as level as possible.

If any of the above is affecting the unit, it will cause the refrigerator to make noise during operation. The above factors are all parts of proper installation.

These sounds may also be caused by items inside or nearby the refrigerator

  • An item inside the refrigerator that is contacting one of the inner walls may vibrate when the unit is running.

  • An item resting against or touching the cabinet of the refrigerator could also cause noise.

  • NOTE: If nothing is resting against the sides, top, or front of the refrigerator, try pulling it away from the wall slightly (about an inch or more) to see if the noise stops. If it does it may be been caused by the water line resting against the back of the unit

Hissing and Gurgling Sound

These sounds might be as a result of the auto defrost cycle, or they could be coming from the sealed system components.

  • As the frost melts and water drips onto the defrost heater, it will make a hissing sound as it evaporates.

  • Typically, auto defrost is set to run every 4 hours. For newer models, the defrost cycle interval will be shortened depending on how often the doors are opened.

Gurgling noise can also come from the sealed system as refrigerant moves through its components.

Note: Normal operational noises can be louder depending on the installation environment.

Author - Sanmi Ajanaku

Sanmi is a Home Appliance expert and author of this help library article. Please leave him feedback below about the page.

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