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Why does my refrigerator make that noise?

We’ve all heard the joke “Is your refrigerator running? You’d better go catch it!” But it’s no laughing matter when your fridge, undoubtedly one of the most used appliances in the home, isn’t working properly.


You may be wondering, “Why does my refrigerator make that noise?” Check out some common refrigerator woes and what they could mean. Even if you can’t fix your fridge foibles yourself, you may be reassured to know what the issue might be. Consult a reputable repair person to assess any issues you may have.

Rattle and rumble

Do the bottles in your fridge make music on their own? It could mean your fridge is off balance. A level can help you determine if your fridge is leaning to one side or another (or from front to back). You may be able to handle this issue with a friend. Have a strong helper handy to lift the fridge while you adjust the level on the legs underneath.

Rattling noises could also be from a loose drip pan. The drip pan is typically at the bottom of most refrigerators, behind the cover panel. Remove the cover panel (it should easily come off by hand), locate the pan, and adjust it if it’s off balance.

If the noise seems to come from behind the fridge, it could be the compressor fan. Consult a repair person to check this out, as it may need to be replaced.

Hissy fits

If your fridge begins to hiss or makes noises like a sizzle, it could be an issue with the defroster (most newer units are self defrosting). The noise can be a result of what happens when cold water drips onto the warm defroster.

It clicks

When something just “clicks,” it’s usually a good thing. In the case of your fridge, however, you might not be so lucky. Clicking could mean your compressor is going bad. The unit might be struggling to get an electrical current to the compressor, overheat with the effort, shut off and make the clicking sound.

Clicking sounds can also come from a condenser fan that’s not working right. The fan helps keep the compressor cool and clear of any water, but if it overheats, it may shut off and make the clicking sound.

Hum a few bars, please

This is one instance when sound coming from your fridge is a good thing. You’re probably so used to it you don’t even notice the low humming your refrigerator typically makes. But sometimes it’s the absence of sound that makes you take notice. If you don’t hear that low humming, it could mean your compressor isn’t up to par. The compressor is important because it helps run and pump the refrigeration through your unit to keep things chilled.

There are many reasons your refrigerator might be more “vocal” than normal. This is a good time to consider seeking the services of a reputable repair person.

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