Common Causes of Refrigerator Humming and Buzzing Noises

Refrigerator Too Close to the Wall

Are you perplexed by the loud humming noise emanating from your new fridge making humming noise? It’s understandable to be concerned when unfamiliar sounds emerge from your appliances, especially when you’ve recently purchased them. Fear not! In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the common causes of refrigerator humming and buzzing noises, empowering you with knowledge to identify and address the issue. Whether you’re a homeowner or a tenant responsible for appliance maintenance, we’ve got you covered.

fridge making humming noise

Loose Parts

To help you effectively address the issue of your refrigerator making a humming noise, here is a step-by-step list of actions you can take to tighten the loose parts:

  1. Consult the manual: Refer to your refrigerator’s manual for specific instructions on identifying and accessing the components that may be causing the humming noise.

  2. Unplug the refrigerator: Before starting any maintenance or repair work, ensure your safety by disconnecting the refrigerator from the power source. This step eliminates the risk of electrical shock while working on the appliance.

  3. Identify the source of the noise: Listen closely to pinpoint the area from which the humming noise originates. It could be the back, bottom, or inside of the refrigerator. This will help you focus your efforts on the specific components that may be loose.

  4. Remove access panels or covers: Depending on your refrigerator model, you may need to remove access panels or covers to gain better visibility and reach the parts that require tightening. Follow the instructions provided in the manual to safely remove these panels.

  5. Inspect and tighten condenser coils: The condenser coils are typically located at the back of the refrigerator. Check for any loose screws or mounting brackets that secure the coils in place. Use the appropriate tools to tighten them carefully, ensuring a secure fit.

  6. Examine and secure fan blades: Locate the fan blades, which are responsible for circulating air within the refrigerator. Inspect them for any wobbling or looseness. If you find loose fan blades, tighten the screws or fasteners that hold them in position. Take care not to overtighten, as this can cause damage.

  7. Check motor mounts: The motor mounts secure the compressor and other motorized components in place. Carefully examine these mounts for any signs of looseness or instability. Tighten the screws or bolts that secure them, ensuring a firm connection.

  8. Reassemble and plug in the refrigerator: Once you have tightened all the necessary parts, reattach any access panels or covers you removed earlier. Double-check that all components are properly secured. Finally, plug the refrigerator back into the power source and observe if the humming noise has subsided.

Malfunctioning Compressor

Another common cause of refrigerator humming noises, including fridge buzzing, is a malfunctioning compressor. The compressor is a crucial component in the cooling process, responsible for circulating refrigerant and maintaining the desired temperature inside the fridge. When it begins to malfunction, it can produce unusual sounds, such as a persistent humming noise or even fridge buzzing.

The humming noise originating from a faulty compressor may indicate that it is struggling to start or that its internal components are wearing out. In some cases, you may also notice that your refrigerator is not cooling effectively or that the temperature is fluctuating more than usual. These symptoms often point towards compressor issues.

If you suspect a malfunctioning compressor in your refrigerator, it’s highly recommended to contact a professional technician with expertise in appliance repair. Dealing with compressor problems can be complex and requires specialized knowledge and tools. Attempting to fix a compressor issue on your own may lead to further damage or even pose safety risks.

Obstructed Condenser Fan Motor

The condenser fan motor in your refrigerator plays a crucial role in expelling heat from the condenser coils, helping to maintain optimal cooling performance. However, if this fan motor becomes obstructed by debris, dust, or any other objects, it can lead to a buzzing or humming noise, with your fridge making a buzzing noise.

Regular cleaning and maintenance of the condenser fan motor can help prevent obstructions and ensure that your refrigerator runs quietly. Here’s a step-by-step guide to cleaning the fan motor:

  1. Unplug the refrigerator: Always prioritize your safety when performing any maintenance or cleaning tasks. Start by disconnecting the refrigerator from the power source to avoid any electrical accidents.

  2. Locate the condenser fan motor: The condenser fan motor is typically found at the back of the refrigerator, near the condenser coils. Refer to your refrigerator’s manual if you’re unsure about its exact location.

  3. Remove accumulated dirt and debris: Gently inspect the fan blades and surrounding areas for any accumulated dirt, dust, or debris. These particles can obstruct the smooth rotation of the fan, resulting in the buzzing or humming noise.

  4. Use a vacuum cleaner or soft brush: Depending on the level of dirt accumulation, you can either use a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment or a soft brush to remove the debris. Carefully vacuum or brush away the dirt from the fan blades, motor housing, and surrounding areas. Be thorough but gentle to avoid causing any damage.

  5. Check for any loose parts: While cleaning, also check for any loose screws, fasteners, or mounting brackets that secure the fan motor in place. If you find any, tighten them appropriately to ensure a secure fit.

  6. Reassemble and plug in the refrigerator: Once you have cleaned the condenser fan motor and ensured all parts are secure, reattach any removed panels or covers. Double-check that everything is properly reassembled. Finally, plug the refrigerator back into the power source.


fridge making humming noise

Obstructed Evaporator Fan Motor

Similar to the condenser fan motor, the evaporator fan motor in your refrigerator can also become obstructed, resulting in a buzzing or humming noise, with the refrigerator making a buzzing noise every few minutes. The evaporator fan motor plays a critical role in circulating cool air throughout the fridge, ensuring even temperatures and proper cooling performance.

To address the issue of an obstructed evaporator fan motor and eliminate the humming noise, you can follow a similar cleaning process as with the condenser fan motor. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Unplug the refrigerator: Prioritize your safety by disconnecting the refrigerator from the power source before proceeding with any cleaning or maintenance tasks.

  2. Locate the evaporator fan motor: The evaporator fan motor is typically located inside the freezer compartment, behind the rear panel. Consult your refrigerator’s manual for specific instructions on accessing the evaporator fan motor.

  3. Remove the rear panel: Carefully remove the rear panel of the freezer to gain access to the evaporator fan motor. Depending on your refrigerator model, this may involve removing screws or clips holding the panel in place.

  4. Check for debris or dust: Inspect the evaporator fan blades and the surrounding area for any accumulated debris, dust, or ice buildup. These obstructions can hinder the fan’s movement and result in the buzzing or humming noise you’re experiencing.

  5. Clean the fan and surrounding area: Use a soft brush or a cloth to gently remove any debris or dust from the evaporator fan blades and the area around it. Take care not to bend or damage the fan blades while cleaning.

  6. Check for proper fan movement: After cleaning, manually rotate the fan blades to ensure they move freely and without any obstruction. If you notice any resistance or unusual noise, recheck for any remaining debris that may need to be cleared.

  7. Reassemble and plug in the refrigerator: Once you’ve cleaned the evaporator fan and ensured proper movement, reattach the rear panel of the freezer. Make sure it is securely fastened. Finally, plug the refrigerator back into the power source.

Malfunction with the Automatic Defrost

Another possible cause of a loud humming noise, including refrigerator buzzing, is a malfunction with the automatic defrost system. The automatic defrost function in your refrigerator plays a crucial role in preventing excessive ice buildup in the freezer. It works by periodically melting any frost or ice that accumulates on the evaporator coils.

When the automatic defrost system malfunctions, it can disrupt the normal defrosting process, causing ice to build up excessively. This can result in unusual sounds, such as a loud humming noise or even refrigerator buzzing.

If you suspect a malfunction with the automatic defrost system in your refrigerator, it’s best to consult a professional technician for a thorough diagnosis and repair. Attempting to fix the automatic defrost system on your own can be challenging, as it involves working with electrical components and refrigerant.

Worn or Damaged Seals

The seals, also known as gaskets, on your refrigerator doors are crucial for maintaining the internal temperature and preventing cold air from escaping. However, over time, these seals can wear out or become damaged, resulting in air leaks. When the seals are compromised, your refrigerator may have to work harder to maintain the desired temperature, which can lead to increased noise levels, including a refrigerator making a buzzing noise.

If you suspect that worn or damaged seals are contributing to the buzzing noise in your refrigerator, it’s essential to inspect them for any visible signs of wear or damage. Here’s what you can do:

  1. Visual inspection: Carefully examine the seals around the refrigerator doors. Look for any noticeable cracks, tears, or deformations in the rubber. Pay close attention to the areas where the seals make contact with the refrigerator cabinet.

  2. Check for proper alignment: Ensure that the seals are properly aligned and create a tight seal when the doors are closed. Misaligned or loose seals can cause air leaks and result in increased noise levels.

  3. Conduct the dollar bill test: An easy way to check the effectiveness of the seals is to perform the dollar bill test. Close the refrigerator door with a dollar bill inserted halfway. Try to pull out the bill while the door is closed. If you can easily remove the bill without any resistance, it indicates that the seals are not sealing properly and need attention.


refrigerator making humming noise

Excess Frost and Ice Buildup

Excess frost and ice buildup in your freezer can be another source of a loud humming noise. If your freezer is not defrosting properly, it can cause the evaporator coils to become encased in ice, leading to unusual sounds. To prevent excessive ice buildup, regularly check the freezer’s defrost system and ensure it is functioning correctly. If you notice significant ice accumulation, it may be necessary to manually defrost your freezer. Follow the instructions in your refrigerator’s manual or seek professional assistance to perform a manual defrosting.

Problem with the Ice Maker

If your refrigerator is equipped with an ice maker, it could be the source of the loud buzzing sound or humming noise. Several issues related to the ice maker can cause these noises. Let’s explore some common problems and their potential solutions.

Faulty Ice Maker Motor

A faulty ice maker motor is one possible cause of the humming noise or buzzing sound. The motor responsible for ejecting the ice cubes may experience wear and tear over time, leading to unusual sounds. If you notice a loud buzzing sound or humming noise coming from the ice maker, it’s advisable to contact a professional technician for an accurate diagnosis and repair. They can inspect the ice maker motor, determine if it needs to be replaced, and carry out the necessary repairs to resolve the issue.

Obstructed Ice Maker Fan

An obstructed ice maker fan can also contribute to buzzing or humming noises in your refrigerator. The ice maker fan is responsible for circulating air and facilitating the freezing process. If this fan becomes obstructed by ice or any other object, it can generate unusual sounds. To address this issue, start by unplugging the refrigerator to ensure your safety. Then, carefully access the ice maker fan and inspect it for any ice buildup or obstructions. If you find any, gently remove the ice or objects blocking the fan’s rotation. Once cleared, the fan should operate smoothly and quietly, eliminating the buzzing or humming noise.

Stuck Ice

Sometimes, ice cubes can become stuck within the ice maker, causing it to produce a humming or buzzing noise. This situation typically occurs when the ice cubes fail to eject properly from the ice maker tray. To resolve this issue, start by turning off the ice maker to prevent it from attempting to produce more ice. Then, gently remove any stuck ice cubes from the tray. Check the tray for any misalignments or blockages that may have caused the ice cubes to get stuck. Once cleared, restore power to the ice maker and monitor its operation. The humming or buzzing noise should cease as the ice maker functions properly.

Water Valve Issues

Problems with the water valve that supplies water to the ice maker can also result in humming or buzzing noises. If the water valve is not functioning correctly, it may create unusual sounds as it attempts to fill the ice maker tray. In such cases, it’s advisable to consult a professional technician to inspect and repair the water valve. They can determine if the valve needs to be adjusted or replaced to resolve the issue. Attempting to repair or replace the water valve without proper knowledge and expertise can lead to further complications, so it’s best to rely on a qualified technician for this task.

fridge making humming noise

How to Stop Refrigerator from Buzzing

Now that we’ve explored the common causes of refrigerator humming and buzzing noises, let’s move on to practical solutions to help you silence your fridge.

  1. Give Your Fridge Some Space: Ensure that your refrigerator is not placed too close to the wall or any other objects. A recommended distance of at least two inches between the back of the fridge and the wall allows for proper airflow and reduces noise.

  2. Regular Maintenance: Perform regular cleaning and maintenance tasks, such as cleaning the condenser and evaporator fan motors, removing obstructions, and checking for any loose parts. This preventive maintenance can help prevent and eliminate buzzing or humming noises.

  3. Check and Replace Worn Seals: Inspect the seals on your refrigerator doors regularly. If you notice any signs of wear or damage, replace them promptly to maintain a proper seal and reduce noise levels.

  4. Defrost Regularly: If your refrigerator has an automatic defrost system, ensure that it is functioning correctly. Regularly defrost your freezer to prevent excessive ice buildup, which can contribute to humming noises.

  5. Professional Assistance: If you’ve tried the above solutions and the humming noise persists, it’s recommended to seek professional assistance. A qualified technician can diagnose the problem accurately and carry out the necessary repairs or replacements.

Normal Noises

It’s essential to understand that some noises coming from your refrigerator are considered normal and do not indicate any issues. Here are a few examples of typical refrigerator noises:

  1. Clicking or Popping: These sounds occur when the compressor or other components turn on or off. They are a normal part of the fridge’s operation.

  2. Water Running: If your refrigerator has a water dispenser or ice maker, you may hear the sound of water flowing or filling the ice tray. This noise is expected and should not be a cause for concern.

  3. Whirring or Whistling: These sounds may come from the fans inside the refrigerator, which circulate air and help maintain consistent temperatures. They are generally normal operating sounds.

Remember that every refrigerator model may have its unique sounds. Consult your refrigerator’s manual or contact the manufacturer if you have specific concerns about the noises your fridge is making.

Discovering why your new fridge is making a loud humming noise can be a perplexing experience. However, armed with knowledge about the common causes and solutions, you can confidently address the issue. Whether it’s a simple fix like tightening loose parts or a more complex problem like a malfunctioning compressor, there are steps you can take to silence the buzzing and humming sounds.

Updated at: September 8, 2023