Is Your Fridge Making a Loud Humming Noise? Causes & Fixes

A refrigerator is one of the most essential appliances in any household, so it’s natural to feel worried and uneasy when it starts making a loud humming noise. But what exactly causes this disturbing sound?

In this article, I’ll explore the possible causes of the humming noise emanating from your refrigerator. Additionally, I’ll provide insights into how you can address and potentially solve this issue. Keep reading for more information!

Causes of Loud Humming Noise in a Fridge

While several issues can cause loud humming noise in your fridge, below are the most notable ones.

The Fridge Has a Failing or Dirty Compressor

A compressor is the heart of the refrigerator and helps regulate the pressure and temperature of the refrigerant.

It may be hard to detect problems in the compressor, and you’ll only realize there’s an issue when you start noticing the following:

  • There’s an unusual sound coming from the back of the fridge.
  • You have high energy bills.
  • The fridge overheats.
  • The fridge doesn’t cool food properly.
  • The fridge constantly runs, even when the thermostat is set to a low temperature.

Since the compressor is located at the back of the fridge, over time, the compressor coils tend to accumulate dirt without you knowing. All that dirt can cause the compressor to produce a loud humming sound, which you’ll hear more when your fridge tries to cool.

To check if the compressor is damaged, open the access panel and try to hear a buzzing sound from the motor behind the freezer in the rear access panel.

The Fridge Condenser Is Damaged

The two vital components in a fridge are the condenser and compressor.

The condenser is typically located next to the compressor and is responsible for releasing the heat the compressor generates. It also maintains the temperature inside the fridge. Together, the condenser and compressor help keep your food fresh and cool.

If you hear a constant humming sound, there could be issues with the condenser due to the following:

  • Dirt has accumulated over time around the fan blade.
  • You see regular wear and tear on the condenser.
  • Dirt and dust have accumulated on the condenser coils, which prevents efficient airflow, making the compressor work harder than usual.

The Fridge Evaporator Fan Is Defective

The fridge evaporator fan is an important part of your refrigerator. It keeps the inside of your fridge cool and helps maintain a constant temperature by pushing the chilly air around the coils.

A functioning evaporator fan is essential for keeping your food safe and preventing any unpleasant smells from developing inside your refrigerator. On the other hand, a defective evaporator will produce a weird noise, a humming sound, from the evaporator motor.

In most cases, the build-up of ice on the fan blades may cause the evaporator fan to stop working. The fan blades can bend and jam against the metal fan shroud in this case and cause them to produce a weird sound.

The Fridge Is on an Uneven Surface

If your fridge is making a humming noise, it’s likely because it’s not evenly balanced on the surface.

Placing your fridge on a flat surface is important for its performance and longevity. If the surface is unbalanced, the refrigerator could vibrate and cause noise. It could also cause the compressor to work harder than normal, resulting in higher energy bills.

Additionally, an unbalanced fridge can result in damaged components, which may subject you to incur high repair or replacement costs.

For all these reasons, finding the right location for your fridge is important.

The Fridge Has Blocked Air Vents

Air vents play a major role in your fridge, ensuring everything is kept fresh and cool.

Without air vents, the cool air would not be able to circulate in the fridge. Likewise, the temperature would be unevenly distributed, which can make it much harder to keep the temperature consistent.

Air vents also allow moisture to escape from the fridge easier, which prevents mold and bacteria growth.

Blocked air vents in your refrigerator can affect the efficiency and effectiveness of your fridge. When airflow is blocked, it can cause your fridge to make a loud, humming sound, which can be really annoying and disruptive.

How to Stop Your Fridge From Making a Loud Humming Noise

No matter the cause of the humming noise, it’s essential to address the issue as soon as possible so that you can enjoy an efficient performance from your fridge.

Below are several ways you can stop your fridge from making a loud humming noise.

Clean or Replace the Compressor

You can clean the compressor by doing the following:

  1. Unplug the fridge from the power source. Operating the refrigerator when it’s on can expose you to electrocution risk.
  2. Move the fridge to an area with enough space. Working on the fridge when it’s still in its usual spot can be hard, so try moving it to an open area. This will expose the hard-to-reach areas, allowing you to clean them effectively.
  3. Access the compressor. You’ll need to locate the back panel of the fridge and remove any screws or other fasteners holding it in place. After that, you should be able to pull the back panel away from the refrigerator and access the compressor.
  4. Use a piece of cloth and water. Dip the rag in soapy water, and wipe the coil until you get rid of all dirt. You may use a brush if necessary.
  5. You can also use a vacuum cleaner. This is the most efficient way if there is no tough dirt build-up on the compressor.

After cleaning, allow the coils and the compressor to dry off completely before turning the fridge on.

Alternatively, if the compressor is relatively clean, you may need to assess it for possible damages. It may just be time to replace it, which you can do yourself without professional help if you’re handy, saving you money.

Clean the Condenser

Keeping your fridge condenser clean is one of the best ways to prevent the loud humming noise it can make.

Access the condenser, usually next to the compressor, at the back of your fridge and assess it for accumulated dirt. If necessary, take your time to clean it, but ensure that the power cord from the wall socket is off when you’re doing it.

You can clean the condenser quite easily. All you need is a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment and a cloth dampened with mild detergent. Vacuum away any dust or dirt on the part, and wipe with the fabric in a circular motion. Doing this every few months will keep your fridge running quietly and efficiently.

Regular maintenance of the condenser can help in the following ways:

  • It can increase the lifespan of your condenser and fridge as a whole.
  • It can reduce your energy consumption.
  • It prevents frequent breakdowns of the fridge.

Repair the Evaporator Fan

You’ll find the evaporator fan near the back wall of the fridge. Although its location can vary from model to model, it’s typically easy to spot as it has a grill cover and is clearly labeled. You can usually find it by looking behind or underneath the fridge if you need access.

Try to examine the fan blades. If bent, a replacement with a new one will do, as trying to straighten them will only cause more damage. In most cases, it will be impossible to restore their balance.

Watch this video to learn more about how to troubleshoot evaporator fan problems:

Additionally, try to check for dirt build-up on the fan bearings. If you notice any, clean them off and apply penetrating oil to the affected regions.

If you don’t have penetrating oil, I recommend the Gasoila Deep Penetrating Oil, as it can effectively penetrate rust and corrosion on metal surfaces. It also provides superior lubrication and prevents rusting and corrosion in the future. Plus, it’s safe to use on all types of metal, so no matter what kind of fridge you have, the oil can get the job done.

Place the Fridge on an Even Surface

Another simple solution is to reposition your fridge. Placing your fridge on an even surface will prevent it from producing disturbing noise. You can also improve its stability by putting it on a movable fridge holder.

An alternative solution is to adjust the fridge so that all four feet rest firmly on the surface. You may need to put something underneath its feet to ensure the surface is level, such as a piece of cardboard or wood or a folded towel.

Once you’ve fixed the uneven surface, your fridge should run quietly.

Check the Air Vents

Another viable solution to the humming noise is to check the air vents for blockage.

Try to locate the air vents in both the freezer and refrigerator compartments. Ensure that nothing lies near the vents, as these could be blocking them.

You can also try to open and rearrange items in your fridge. Move objects away from the air vents to create space and enhance airflow in the refrigerator.

To Sum Up

The most common issues that could cause your fridge to make a loud humming noise include the following:

  • A faulty compressor
  • Clogged condenser coils
  • Blocked air vents
  • Faulty evaporator fans
  • Uneven placement of the fridge

A fridge is a complex but essential machine in any household, so ensure it’s in proper working order. If you cannot diagnose the issue yourself, it’s best to call a professional to come and take a look. They can help you fix the problem as soon as possible.

See also: Is a Noisy Fridge Dangerous? Decoding the Sounds

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