How to Quiet a Noisy Refrigerator (7 Ways to Soundproof a Fridge)
Recently, while visiting my cousins, I realized that something was missing. As we were drinking coffee in the kitchen, I remembered that the room which used to be known for the constant buzzing noise coming from the fridge was now mysteriously silent. I’d been telling them how they might fix the issue for years by that point, and they’d finally acted on my advice. So now, I’d like to share with you the same tips I gave them on how to quiet a noisy refrigerator.
Of course, if none of the tips I give you work out, the chances are that you’re too late to fix the issue. After all, you can’t expect to use the same fridge your whole life, anyway. Still, there are certain steps you could take to soundproof your fridge — much like you’d soundproof any other area of your home.
Previously, we’ve discussed how you could quiet other household appliances and machines such as washing machines and generators. So let’s start this article in the same way. Before we get into the steps you can take to make your fridge less noisy, let’s figure out where the sound is coming from, exactly.
Hearing a repetitive sound coming from your fridge can get annoying pretty quickly. While most people could ignore such a sound for days, weeks, even months at a time, I find that I simply can’t abide noise in my own home. Needless to say, I know more than anybody how tempting it is to want to rush into soundproofing projects. Still, before we do that, we ought to figure out where exactly the noise is coming from.
As always, you’ll want to take into consideration not just the noisy device but also its surroundings. First, examine the fridge itself. Where could the noise be coming from? You’ve got several options here:
- The noise could be coming from the bottom of the fridge. That could mean several different things, but it’s most likely that the moving parts inside the fridge are causing the whole thing to vibrate against the ground. You can also look at your fridge manual to see what exactly is down there to figure out what you’ll need to fix.
- Next, you might need to look at the back of the fridge. If the noise is coming from there, you may have to fix the compressor or the condenser fan. You can figure out which component is causing the noise by unplugging the fridge and the motor of the condenser fan, then plugging the fridge back in. If it’s still noisy, you’ll have to fix your compressor — if it isn’t, the fan was causing the sound.
- Finally, open the door and listen for the sounds coming from inside the fridge. This video might be even more helpful for determining the source of the noise.
Look Around the Fridge
As I have mentioned, there’s another problem in this equation you may want to consider. Naturally, I’m referring to the room around the fridge. In the right settings — or the wrong ones — even the quietest hum could be blown out of proportion.
Specifically, if your fridge is positioned in the corner of the room, and you happen to have ceramic tiles on the walls around it — the noise may become amplified. So one way to decrease that noise is to deal with the environment, and let the fridge go on humming.
No matter what kind of problem you discover, keep in mind that you’ll need to completely unplug the fridge before you work on it. So make sure that the items you have inside aren’t going to spoil while the fridge is out of order.
What Kinds of Noises Should You Expect?
Most kinds of noises a fridge makes are pretty benign. The occasional dripping or whirring sounds are nothing to worry about. In fact, dripping and gurgling noises are likely the result of the coolant circulating and water melting and draining away inside the fridge.
Refrigerators also have plenty of moving parts inside that can start making noise. Aside from the liquid components, there are also several fans inside every fridge. If you hear any clanging or whirring sounds, chances are that that’s where they’re coming from. Condenser fans are usually in the back of the fridge and the evaporator fan should be inside the freezer section.
You should also check out the compressor, which is a fairly common cause of fridge noises. Still, usually, all it takes to get rid of most of your issues is a thorough wash. All the dust that can settle on the fans can mess with the balance of the blades. That may cause them to rattle or even scratch against their case.
Speaking of rattling, vibrating against the floor can cause another kind of noise that’s especially common in older fridges. Moreover, aside from older fridges, vibrating sounds are also to be expected if your fridge is placed on a slanted patch of floor.
Fortunately, no matter what kind of noises your fridge is producing, most of them are fairly easy to solve. With that in mind, let’s talk about the things you can do to quiet your refrigerator.
7 Ways to Quiet a Noisy Refrigerator
Once you’ve established the reason your fridge is noisy, you’ll have a better grasp of what you need to do to fix it. So here are the steps to quieting your fridge in the most logical order I can imagine. To begin with, let’s get rid of any extraneous clutter.
1. Clean the Moving Parts
As I have mentioned, the easiest thing you can do to avoid unnecessary noises is to regularly clean your fridge. Specifically, you’ll want to make sure that all of the fans can operate without touching any of the parts around them. However, in the interest of doing a thorough job, you can also wipe down the top, the sides, the door, and even the door seals with a clean, soapy cloth.
To clean the inside of the fridge, you’ll want to unplug it first. That’ll also give you a chance to pay special attention to the fans and the compressor. Use a soft brush to dust the fans, and a rag to clean the coils in the back or bottom of the fridge. That should keep the contents of the coils cool and your fridge from becoming inefficient.
While you’re dealing with the fans, you may also want to dismantle them to check the rubber grommets that’ll probably be right under the blades. If you notice signs of wear, you can easily switch them out for new ones of a similar size.
After you finish cleaning the inside of the fridge, put everything back where it belongs. Put the drain pan back in place securely to cut off any rattling noises.
Of course, there is one last major component that you may not be able to fix as easily. If the compressor is just refusing to work quietly, you may have to get a new one. But really, that’s not something you’ll be able to do on your own.
2. Call the Professionals
If you don’t manage to figure out exactly what’s wrong with your fridge while you’re cleaning it, the next obvious step would be to call in the pros. A fridge repair service might be able to determine exactly what went wrong. If it comes to that, they may also be able to order any parts you might need to replace.
This route may not be cheap, but it’s definitely worthwhile. Besides, calling a technician would save you some trouble down the road, if you end up having to replace the whole fridge. If your fridge keeps making noise even after you’ve cleaned and serviced it, there are still some things you can do to soundproof it.
3. Separate the Fridge from the Floor
Floor vibrations can be incredibly difficult to silence. After all, any appliance that’s vibrating against the floor is basically causing impact noise. If you’ve read my article on that particular subject, you’ll know that structure-borne sounds are much more difficult to stifle than simple airborne noise.
Therefore, you’ll want to create some distance between the vibrating object and the surrounding structure, whether that’s walls, floors, or other furniture. The first step toward achieving that is lifting the fridge onto anti-vibration feet or a rubber mat if you prefer.
That solution is one that I’ve previously recommended for air compressors and laundry machines. As you know, both of those devices produce significantly stronger vibrations than fridges. So this tip should definitely work here.
Depending on the surface area you’d like to cover and the height you’d like to achieve, you may actually be able to use the products I’ve linked to in my previous two products.
If you’d like to completely separate your fridge from the floor, you can put thick rubber feet underneath it. Lean the fridge slightly toward one side while a helper slides the rubber feet under the fridge, then repeat on the other side.
On the other hand, you could also completely cover the area under the fridge with a large rubber mat. Alternately, you could purchase a pair of these. Either way, the rubber will to completely absorb the vibrations.
4. Cover the Surrounding Walls With Soundproof Products
In addition to using anti-vibration pads to prevent the sounds coming from your fridge from becoming structure-borne noise, you should also work on preventing them from escaping through the sides or the back. Most people keep the fridge flush against the wall, or maybe even in the corner of the kitchen. Some even have it against other furniture, such as kitchen cabinets.
If your fridge is close to walls or wooden panels, the sound may actually become even louder, as it bounces off the surrounding surfaces. There are several acoustic solutions you could try, including acoustic foam products and soundproof blankets. Still, both of those kinds of products are usually less than elegant.
5. Surround the Fridge with Soundproof Room Dividers
On the other hand, there are also several aesthetically pleasing solutions that will cover up the surrounding surfaces just as efficiently. Firstly, you could try walling the fridge off with soundproof partitions to give a more modern-looking flair to your kitchen. Conversely, for more bohemian vibes, you can hang soundproof curtains or room divider curtains behind and in front of it.
6. Move the Fridge to Another Location
If everything else we’ve tried so far has failed, you might want to try moving your fridge to a different location. Perhaps if it’s not surrounded by materials that amplify sound, the sound will be less audible. If possible, I suggest moving it to another room. However, even there, you might want to get to the bottom of what’s causing the sounds, for safety’s sake.
7. Create a Soundproof Cabinet for Your Fridge
Lastly, I wanted to suggest one of those “it’s so crazy, it just might work”, “thinking outside the box” plans. As you may be aware, I’ve previously written about building a soundproof box for your generator. I saw no reason not to apply those tips to this situation. As long as you leave vent holes in the back of the box, or wherever the coils are, you should be able to completely close off the rest of the fridge.
Essentially, what we’d need here is a custom-made cabinet made according to your refrigerator’s measurements. However, you’ll need to leave some extra space around the fridge as well. Next, you’ll want to choose sturdy wood for the project, and sort out the particulars.
Once that’s done, you can line the insides of the box with soundproof insulation, MLV, or acoustic foam. In fact, you can even use a combination of the three. But before you sketch out the plan, read through the fridge user manual for any possible warnings. You’ll want to make sure that all of the spots that need air are getting plenty of it.
Final Tips for Reducing Refrigerator Noise
Ultimately, if none of the tips I provided in this article work for you, it may be time to throw in the towel. I have two final suggestions that may not necessarily quiet the noisy fridge you have. Nevertheless, they should both improve the situation somewhat.
The first tip involves white noise — if you play it in your kitchen, you’ll never hear your fridge again. However, it’ll still keep making those noises, which doesn’t really solve anything. In any case, many people aren’t able to handle hearing the hum of white noise for hours at a time.
As for my other suggestion, you might want to consider getting a new quiet fridge. If things have gotten to the point of no return, your fridge is likely beyond help. At some point, getting a new fridge is bound to be cheaper than getting new parts for the old one. Most new models are pretty much soundless (here are some quiet mini fridges). Still, let’s hope that the tips in my article will save you from having to buy a completely new appliance.