How to Quiet a Noisy Refrigerator Compressor

Of all the home appliances, refrigerators tend to be the noisiest. A noisy refrigerator can prevent you from getting a good rest in your home.

In extreme cases, a very loud refrigerator may have severe repercussions, including hearing impairment.

How to Quiet a Noisy Refrigerator Compressor


Before you address the noise coming from the fridge, it is essential first to identify the source of the noise and how to quiet a noisy refrigerator compressor.

Typically, refrigerators are noisy; therefore, the noise coming from the fridge may be normal.

However, the sound may also be an indication that your fridge is faulty and is not functioning the way it should. The most common source of noise in a refrigerator is the compressor because it is the most active component.

The compressor is responsible for moving the coolant throughout the refrigerator. The compressor also plays the role of pushing out hot air as waste from the fridge.

What Makes the Compressor Noisy?

It is normal for the compressor to produce varying sounds, including dripping, hissing, and whirring. Different liquids flow through the fridge’s system, and they produce noises. Some of the factors that make a fridge’s compressor noisy include:

  • Uneven placement of the refrigerator on the floor, which leads to a vibration noise
  • A dripping noise may result due to the flow of oil in the compressor
  • You may hear a hissing sound due to the floor refrigerant
  • As the refrigerator undergoes the defrost cycle, the melting ice may lead to a gurgling noise
  • You may hear a clicking or a buzzing sound, which mainly occurs when the water inlet valve to facilitate water dispensation
  • For the enhanced performance of your refrigerator, the compressor or the fan needs to readjust often. This may cause a whirring or a pulsating noise from the fridge.
  • If you place items on top of the refrigerator, you may hear a rattling noise. The rattling noise also occurs due to the movement of water lines again in the fridge’s cabinet. A banging noise may also result when you place items on top of your refrigerator.
  • As you defrost the fridge, water drips down the heater, and this may cause a sizzling noise. A clattering noise may also occur as the ice cubes fall into the storage bin.
  • The flow of the compressor refrigerant or the flow of water in the compressor may lead to a water dribbling sound.
  • Leaving the compressor and the fans running for too long may also make the compressor noisy.

Other Sources of Noise in a Refrigerator

In addition to the compressor, the noise from the fridge may be coming from other sources. Some of the likely sources of noise may include:

The Fridge Walls- As the temperature changes within the refrigerator, the interior walls of the refrigerator have to expand and contract. This may lead to cracking, creaking, popping, and clicking noises in the refrigerator. As the inside walls of the refrigerator contract and expand, it leads to a popping noise.

The Ice Maker– If your refrigerator is complete with an icemaker, the icemaker may produce a wide range of sounds. Most of the sounds, which come from the icemaker, are normal. In the making of ice, certain sounds like buzzing, clicking, and clattering may arise. The removal of ice from the icemaker mold may lead to a grinding noise.

The Drip Tray– Noise may result from the drip tray as water drains from the inside of the refrigerator. You are likely to hear sizzling, rattling noises and gurgling noises. However, these noises are normal and simply signify draining of water from the fridge.

Noises coming from your refrigerator should not alarm you. You should only feel concerned if the refrigerator is producing very aggressive and angry noises. Aggressive noises may be an indication of an underlying problem or malfunctioning. If your fridge has an underlying problem, other warning signals will accompany the noise.

The noise coming from your fridge may be annoying, especially if your home is not spacious. In a spacious house, you can place the fridge at a distance to reduce the intensity of the noise. However, if you have to keep the fridge close to a small house, the noise can be loud.

However, it is essential to note that you should be concerned if your fridge does not produce any noise at all. A very quiet fridge may be a warning sign that something is wrong.

Proven Ways for Quieting a Noisy Fridge Compressor

Some of the strategies that you can adopt to reduce the noise coming from your refrigerator include:

Use of Acoustic Sound Absorbing Foam

If your fridge produces constant rattling and noise, you could try using acoustic foams. Acoustic foams are effective noise-absorbing materials available.

You should attach the foams to the wall right behind your refrigerator. Studies indicate that acoustic forms can reduce noise coming from the fridge by 50-90%.

cheap soundproofing foam

For maximum effectiveness of acoustic foam, you have to ensure that the back of your refrigerator is touching the panel.

This arrangement will ensure that the acoustic panels trap all the sound coming from the refrigerator. When the sound waves leave your refrigerator, the acoustic panel will absorb the sound immediately.

The rear of the fridge usually has compression coils. The fridge releases excess energy by passing fluids through the compression coils.

You cannot directly cover the coils to quiet the compressor because this may cause the fridge to overheat. On the other hand, overheating may overwork the compressor, making it break down.

You have to be creative on how you handle the refrigerator; you would rather have a noisy but functional fridge than to have a faulty fridge.

It is creative to fix the soundproofing materials on the wall instead of mounting them directly on the fridge.

You can leave a space between the fridge and the soundproofing material mounted on the wall. This is the science behind the acoustic sound absorbing foam. Although some sound may still escape from the fridge, your fridge will be quieter than before.

The compressor produces airborne sound. Therefore, an acoustic sound absorbing foam will help to trap the sound waves and prevent the waves from bouncing off the wall.

If you do not have access to acoustic foam, you may consider mounting a mass loaded vinyl on the wall behind your refrigerator. The mass loaded vinyl will not pass the vibrations and the sound waves from the fridge but will block them instead.

Check the Placement of the Fridge

Checking the placement of your refrigerator and leveling out its legs is an essential step in reducing the noise coming from the fridge.

If you place your fridge on a lower density floor or uneven ground, the refrigerator may produce more noise than usual. The placement of your refrigerator goes a long way in regulating the vibrations from the fridge.

If you place the refrigerator on tiles, the vibrations will not easily pass through the way they would if you placed the refrigerator on wood.

You should ensure that you check your refrigerator’s legs. A fridge comes with adjustable legs, and this means that you can adjust each leg to ensure that the four legs are at par. This could go a long way in solving the noise problem almost instantly.

It is good to check your fridge’s legs regularly. The legs get loose over time, mainly due to moving the fridge around and due to vibrations. Even if you set the legs right when you first installed the fridge, it would help to keep checking the legs and adjusting them accordingly.

How can you tell whether you need to adjust the legs of your refrigerator? You may start by shaking your fridge a bit. If the fridge moves or appears imbalanced, it may be a sign that you need to adjust the legs. You may seek the assistance of another person.

He/she can shake the fridge as you observe the legs of the fridge. With proper alignment of the legs, your refrigerator should be stable and should not wobble even when you shake it.

Separate the Fridge from the Floor

After adjusting your refrigerator’s legs, you may realize that the fridge continues to produce noise. If the refrigerator continues to vibrate while placed on the floor, you may consider separating the refrigerator from the floor by placing it on an anti-vibrational pad.

It may not be ideal to use a regular cloth for your fridge; there are some especially -designed mats for this purpose.

anti vibrational pad

The ideal mat on which you can place your fridge is made from butyl rubber. This rubber has minimal elasticity and is dense. Whenever the refrigerator vibrates, the thick mat will absorb the sound and the vibrations, consequently reducing the noise from the fridge.

If you do not have access to the butyl rubber mats, you may go for vehicle sound deadening mats. These can do the jobs right, although the fridge may not require the insulation properties of vehicle mats. Ensure that you get the right size of the rug so that your fridge can rest on the mat efficiently.

Change the Position of the Fridge

To address the noise coming from the fridge, you may consider changing the position of the fridge. For instance, you may place the fridge in a tiny recessed section of a room, commonly known as an alcove.

This way, you will be able to trap the sound waves from the refrigerator in a small place. It will be hard for the noise to bounce throughout the house and disturb your peace of mind.

By placing the fridge in a small room, you may be able to soundproof other areas in addition to the area behind the refrigerator. You may opt to soundproof the entire alcove to ensure that the noise from the fridge does not escape.

You may also construct a soundproof board, which surrounds the entire refrigerator. While building the soundproof board, ensure that you leave a space between the refrigerator and the board to prevent the refrigerator from overheating.

Leaving some space ensures that air will continue to circulate freely around the refrigerator to prevent overheating.

It is advisable to be alert pay close attention to your fridge after moving it to an alcove or after placing a soundproof board.

Soundproofing may enhance thermal insulation, which may be harmful to your fridge because a fridge requires ample space and air circulation.  If soundproofing gives your fridge a hard time losing the excess waste heat energy, your fridge may break down.

Check the Condition of the Condenser and the Fan

The noise coming from the refrigerator may be due to the accumulation of dirt in the condenser and the fan. The condenser may also be worn out and replacing it may help solve the noise problem.

However, it is not advisable to take your fridge apart unless you have the necessary legal expertise. Opening the fridge may also affect the warranty terms of the fridge.

Plus, if dirt has already accumulated on the condenser and the fan, the chances are that the fridge is past the warranty period.

You may follow the fridge’s manual before initiating the cleaning process. You may also consider seeking the assistance of an expert. You may even find that the fridge manufacturers offer cleaning and maintenance services at a small fee.

While cleaning the condenser, the first step entails turning off the refrigerator and unplugging it from the wall. You should then proceed to remove the rear access panel by removing the screws. In most cases, noise results from the accumulation of dirt and debris on the fan; this should be the first place you check.

You may use a vacuum cleaner to take off the dirt from the fans. If the fan blades have malfunctioned, they may cause the fan to spin wrongly.

You should consider acquiring buying replacement blades because they are affordable and readily available. If the fan is faulty, the chances are high that the rest of the condenser is faulty as well and may require a replacement.

Internal Soundproofing

Other than external soundproofing, internal soundproofing may also work for your fridge. This entails adding soundproofing materials to the interior of your refrigerator.

However, for hygiene and space reasons, adding internal soundproofing to the fridge should be the last option. If all the other options of reducing noise from the compressor fail, you may consider this option.

Internal soundproofing may not be the ideal solution because most of the noise in a fridge comes from the back of the fridge. However, this solution would be good if you feel that most of the noise is coming from the inside of the refrigerator.

When choosing the right internal soundproofing material, choose a material that is thin to avoid occupying much space in the fridge. Before you add in the internal soundproofing material, ensure that you switch off the fridge, and you allow it to defrost.

Seek Professional Repair Services

If you try all the do-it-yourself techniques and you are not able to quiet your refrigerator compressor, it may be time to involve a repair professional.

An experienced expert will be able to identify the noise with your refrigerator and fix it. You do not have to move the fridge because most repair experts would be willing to come to your home. Even if you have to incur some repair costs, it will be worth it because you will have a quiet fridge.

Replace Your Refrigerator

Refrigerators tend to get louder with age. Therefore, an older refrigerator is likely to produce more noise despite your efforts to contain the noise. If you find that no remedy for making your fridge quiet seems to work, it may be a sign that you need to get a new fridge.

Getting a new refrigerator may be particularly important if the existing fridge is old and has some worn out parts. If you are planning to get a new fridge, ensure you consider several factors that will determine the level of noise the fridge produces.


A fridge is a valuable addition to your home. Even though a fridge is noisy, its benefits surpass this vice. Therefore, all you need is to find a way to minimize or cope with the noise, and you will be just fine.

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