If your refrigerator is making strange noises, it can be a little disconcerting. For a start, it’s hard to tell which noises warrant repairs, but at the same time, you don’t want to waste money on an inspection that isn’t needed. If extensive repairs are conducted, costs can add up quickly and take a big chunk out of your budget. To avoid unnecessary repairs, familiarise yourself with the various noises a fridge can make, and learn how to tell when something’s wrong. There’s a chance you may be able to resolve the problem yourself. If not, at least you’ll know exactly what needs fixing and will be able to tell when you’re getting ripped off. Here’s what to listen out for.


This sound is perfectly normal and is actually a good sign. It indicates that your fridge is running as it should, so it’s actually more of a problem if you don’t hear this noise. What you’re hearing is the compressor running, which is switched on between 60 to 80 per cent of the time. There simply isn’t any way to get rid of this noise. Overall, it shouldn’t be too disruptive, although everyone has different levels of noise tolerance. If you find the sound irritating, a bit of soft music or the background noise of the telly should be enough to drown it out. Alternatively, you could upgrade to a newer fridge freezer. The latest models have linear compressors which stay switched on all the time, so you’re less likely to notice the gentle hum. Although they are more expensive than older models, they are noticeably quieter.

A loud noise emanating from your freezer

If your fridge freezer starts making loud, unusual noises, try locating the source of the sound first. Open the freezer door; if the noise is louder after doing so, there’s a good chance something’s wrong with your circulating fan. If you notice no change, then check the compressor for noise – it’s the black unit on the back of your fridge with various wires and tubes leading to it. If this is the source of the sound, you’ll need to invest in a replacement.

Scraping or whirring

If you have a frost free fridge freezer and are hearing whirring or scraping noises, this usually indicates a build up of ice around one of the fans. If this is the case, you’ll also notice your fridge isn’t as cool as it ought to be. You could have a faulty fan motor.

First, inspect fans before calling a repairman. Start by shutting off your appliance, then check for debris or buildup that could be disrupting air flow and keeping your fan from moving freely. If you spot any obstructions, use a soft bristled brush to remove them. Reconnect the power, and if the sound persists, replace the fan.


If the drain pan under you fridge has come loose, it will produce an annoying rattling noise. Luckily, this can be easily fixed. All you have to do is tape the pan in place with heavy duty duct tape.


This is simply the sound of defrosted water dripping into the pan under your fridge, as such, it’s no cause for concern.


If your refrigerator has a water and ice dispenser on the door, you may notice a buzzing sound every time you use it. Again, this is perfectly normal; no repairs are needed.

If you notice any other unusual noises, and your fridge performance is suffering as a result, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Call a licensed technician to investigate the problem, and get an extended warranty in case the worst should happen. It’s worth the money to know your appliance is well-looked after.

© Axonn 2015