Refrigerator Making a Humming Noise? Here’s What to Do

VIA Appliance
September 6, 2022
Refrigerator Repair

A refrigerator that is making a loud humming noise is not just an annoyance – it can indicate that there is a serious problem with it. This step-by-step guide will look at the most common reasons for a refrigerator to make a humming noise, and how to fix them. 

1. Refrigerator too close to the wall

Sometimes the problem can have an incredibly simple solution. The first thing to do if you notice your refrigerator is making a humming noise is to check whether moving it a little away from the wall solves the issue. Sometimes if a refrigerator is touching the wall, the slight vibrations caused by the refrigerator running normally can make a buzzing or humming sound. If you move your refrigerator and the problem persists, move on to the next step. 

2. Refrigerator unbalanced

Another cause of a humming refrigerator that is simple to fix can be a refrigerator that is unbalanced. You can use a bubble level to check if your refrigerator is sitting flat. Most refrigerators have adjustable feet which will allow you to ensure your fridge is flat. If this doesn’t solve the issue, it is time to start looking into the different components of the refrigerator that can cause a humming sound. 

3. Malfunctioning ice maker

The next thing to check is your ice maker. If your fridge is making a humming noise this can mean that the ice maker is operating, but the water supply to the ice maker itself is insufficient.  

In order to fix this:

  • Check that the water pipes are properly linked to the refrigerator.
  • If they are not properly connected, or if there are kinks in the lines, this may be the issue. 
  • Straighten out any kinks in the water lines. This is very important because if the mechanism is operating without water it can be damaging for the ice maker.
  • Check if the noise has stopped. If your fridge is still humming, move on to the next step. 

4. Problem with the evaporator fan

Sometimes an issue with the evaporator fan can cause a humming noise from your refrigerator. 

To investigate if this is the issue:

  • Push the light switch in the freezer to determine if the evaporator fan is making a loud buzzing noise. The noise will increase if the evaporator fan is to blame. 
  • To determine the severity of the damage, examine the fan.
  • The evaporator fan is accessible within the refrigerator near the back of the freezer compartment, hidden behind a panel fastened with screws or clips. 
  • Check the fan’s operation by spinning the blade with your hand when the fridge is unplugged. If it is in good condition it should spin smoothly. 
  • Look for evidence of wear and tear on wires, grommets, and other parts. It might be necessary to replace the fan and surrounding components if the fan blade can’t rotate freely or if there are other indicators of damage or corrosion. You will be able to order a replacement from the manufacturer of your refrigerator.
  • Once the fan is replaced, your refrigerator should be running quietly again. 

5. Problem with the condenser fan

Not every fridge has a condenser fan, but if they malfunction they can cause a humming noise. If yours has one, you can find it hidden behind an access panel on the fridge’s rear. 

Once you have located it:

  • Check the condenser fan, particularly the rubber grommets, for signs of wear and tear when the refrigerator is unplugged. 
  • Clean any particles or debris that might be clogging the condenser motor fan with a soft brush. 

Try the other suggestions listed below if this doesn’t stop your refrigerator from being noisy.

6. Dirty compressor

Your refrigerator’s compressor can easily become dirty over time because it is located between the wall and the refrigerator’s rear. Your refrigerator’s compressor can start to hum due to the accumulation of dirt and debris. 

To correct this: 

  • Turn off your refrigerator’s electricity
  • Locate and thoroughly clean the compressor. It is best to clean this with a soft brush to prevent damage.
  • Turn your refrigerator back on and check to see if the humming noise has stopped.

7. Restricted airflow

Your refrigerator can make a buzzing or humming noise if the air vent is blocked by any object that prevents airflow. This blockage can occur on the inside or outside of your refrigerator.

To check the outside:

  • Blockages to the vent from the outside are usually caused by built-up dust or grime. Carefully clean around the vent to ensure that air can flow freely. 

To check the inside:

  • The vent can be blocked from the inside by spilled food or an overly crowded refrigerator. 
  • If there is any spilled food or grime around the air vent, clean this thoroughly to allow airflow. 
  • Organize your refrigerator so that food items are well clear of the vent and make sure there is plenty of space for airflow inside your refrigerator. 
  • Once you have ensured your air vent is clear from both the inside and the outside of the refrigerator, listen to see if you can still hear the humming noise. 

These are the main reasons for a refrigerator making a humming noise. Hopefully, after following these steps you will solve your issue and have your refrigerator running quietly again.

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