How to Quiet a Noisy Refrigerator Compressor: 9 Easy Tips

SilentHomeHub is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Silent Home Hub How to Quiet a Noisy Refrigerator Compressor

Loud refrigerator starting to get a little TOO annoying?

A noisy refrigerator can be such a bother. Sure, a refrigerator is bound to make some noise, but it doesn’t HAVE to keep you up at night.

Well, no worries!

After reading this guide, you’ll learn how to quiet a noisy refrigerator compressor and find out WHERE that loud noise could be coming from.

Table of Contents

Reasons Why Your Refrigerator is Noisy

There are many reasons why a refrigerator could be noisy, and it’s important to identify the source of the noise coming from the fridge.

It’s NOT ALWAYS the compressor, and sometimes the refrigerator just has to do its job.

1. The Ice Maker

If your refrigerator has an ice maker, this could be the source of the noises in your refrigerator.

Don’t be alarmed by the banging noise, gurgling noise, pulsating noise, and buzzing sounds made by the ice machine though, these noises aren’t a problem. It’s just ice cubes being made.

2. The Drip Tray

This can make an alarming dripping noise, hissing sound, sizzling noise, and gurgling noise. But don’t worry, this noise problem is just the sound of water drips from the inside during the defrost cycle.

3. Water Lines

If this is the source, it can make a rattling noise. The water dribbling sound is just the water lines moving against the refrigerator — nothing to worry about.

4. Refrigerator Walls

As the temperature in the refrigerator changes, the walls could expand and contract. This causes a wide array of noise, from clicking, creaking, clacking, and popping. There is no problem with this.

5. Defrost Timer

If you hear a ticking noise, then the defrost timer may be faulty. In this case, it’s best to have it replaced ASAP.

6. The Compressor

The compressor contains a motor and pump that helps to keep the refrigerator cool.

Because of the motor, it can whirr, hiss, and drip, which are all completely fine. If there are gurgling noises, it could be because of melting ice.

The compressor also has different liquids flowing inside, and this is normal and should not be a problem.

The dripping noise could come from water dripping into the drain pan during the defrost cycle. Just make sure you clean the drain pan regularly, and your refrigerator should be fine.

Is a Noisy Fridge Compressor Dangerous?

In most cases… no. There are a lot of reasons why a refrigerator could be making noise. And these are COMPLETELY NORMAL.

The only sounds you should be worried about would be the loud and angry noises. So make sure the noise level is appropriate. These would also come with other warning signs.

Another thing you should be concerned about would be if your fridge stops making noise at all! That means that your compressor is not functioning.

The Answer You’ve Been Looking For: Tips on How to Quiet a Noisy Refrigerator Compressor

So once you’ve identified that the noise coming from the refrigerator is from the loud compressor, it’s time to find out what exactly you can do to lessen the refrigerator noise.

Here are some steps you can take. If you follow these tips, you should be good.

Here is how to quiet a noisy refrigerator compressor!

Tip #1: Use a White Noise Machine (Worked Wonders for Us)

Okay, this isn’t exactly how to quiet a noisy refrigerator compressor. But a white noise machine has its benefits and will definitely distract you from the buzzing noise of the fridge.

Some people just don’t like how it sounds, you know? And noisy refrigerators aren’t exactly a bad thing. So masking the noise can be enough sometimes.

If all you want is not to hear THAT whirr noise, this would be a great idea. But if you’re looking to eliminate the loudest noise and not hear noise AT ALL, white noise machines would not be ideal.

So read on to learn how to actually make your fridge quieter.

Tip #2: Fill the Fridge

One of the ways you can reduce refrigerator noise is to fill the inside of the fridge.

An empty fridge would make more noise than a stocked one. So fill it up with food! Weird, right? But hey, it HONESTLY worked!

Here’s why:

This is because an empty fridge occasionally turns off and has temperature changes to save power, while a stocked fridge stays on to keep the food fresh. This can cause some unwanted noise.

Tip #3: Make Sure the Refrigerator is Level

If the refrigerator is not level, that might be the cause of the compressor making the noise. A vibration noise would be the telltale sign that your fridge is not leveled properly. 

Sometimes if your floor is uneven, it could cause the fridge to make much more noise than usual.

The noise usually comes in the form of FLOOR VIBRATIONS, which is why it’s so important that the fridge stays level.

First, you want to check the refrigerator legs. Most refrigerators have adjustable legs, so make sure they’re even and adjusted well.

Tip #4: Use a Mat

If your fridge is already level and it’s still vibrating and buzzing, you may want to place a mat under it. 

Of course, what you want is not some rug lying around your house. Now, here’s where it GETS SPECIFIC: a sound deadening mat.

READ MORE: Dynamat Alternatives to Consider for Soundproofing

While these are mainly designed to dampen the noise of engines by being added to the interior of a vehicle, it serves the same purpose here. It dampens the noise of the refrigerator.

If you don’t have access to vehicle sound deadening mats, you can also use mass-loaded vinyl or a rubber mat.

We use mats under every appliance in our house. This just keeps the noise down in our house and ABSORBS some of the sound waves and floor vibrations coming from the refrigerator compressor.

Tip #5: Soundproof the Wall at the Back of the Fridge

So, soundproofing the refrigerator itself may be something you have thought of.

But doing this could cause the fridge to overheat and eventually lead to the compressor breaking down. And that is NOT what we want.

The next best thing here would be to soundproof the wall behind the fridge. Just make the GAP between the wall and the fridge small enough to take effect but not touching.

This would be the same method you use to soundproof a wall, which we won’t go into in that much detail. But here is a quick run-through of effective noise-absorbing materials you can use to soundproof a wall.

  • You can use MDF or wood around the size of your fridge (or a bit larger)
  • Attach mass-loaded vinyl to it with nails.
  • Cover it with acoustic foam paneling and attach the acoustic foam to the wall behind the fridge.

Of course, there are other ways you can soundproof a wall, but this is one EFFECTIVE and EASY method.

Medium-Density Fiberboard (MDF), Mass Loaded Vinyl (MLV), and acoustic foam paneling are just some of the many soundproofing materials you can use.

Whatever soundproofing material you choose to use for this process should be fine. Just make sure it doesn’t make your fridge compressor overheat.

This way, you can absorb some of the sound waves coming from the refrigerator compressor through the back.

Tip #6: Put the Refrigerator in an Alcove or Build Shelves Around It

Having an alcove is a great way to contain the noise in a small area. This way, you can soundproof the whole area around the fridge.

If you don’t have an alcove, you can have a SHELVING UNIT installed around the fridge.

When your fridge is surrounded by walls or shelves, you can add your soundproofing material around it.

Although, we would recommend paying attention to your fridge because sound proofing can also INCREASE INSULATION.

This means that your fridge, just as all home appliances, would have a hard time losing waste heat energy if you overdo it.

Tip #7: Clean the Condenser Fan Motor

If none of the above steps worked and you still don’t have a quiet fridge, you could clean your condenser fan.

This way is the TRUE way on how to quiet a noisy refrigerator compressor.

However, we wouldn’t suggest taking apart your fridge compressor unless you have a good idea of what to do and if your fridge is no longer under warranty. Not just anyone can do this. So if you can, get a professional.

That being said, here is how you can clean your condenser fan.

  1. Turn off your fridge and unplug it from the wall.
  2. Use a screwdriver to remove the rear access panel of the refrigerator compressor.
  3. Check for any debris or loose material which could be causing the vibration noise.
  4. Run a vacuum cleaner over the fan and surrounding area. If you have a hand vacuum, that’s way better since it’s less powerful.
  5. Check for any damage to the fan motor. Check if the fan blade spins properly and doesn’t scratch anything. If it has to be replaced, there are many cheap condenser fans online.
  6. If everything is in order, wipe down the area with a microfiber cloth. This can help to make sure the fan is clean and free from any loose material.
  7. Reattach the access panel, and turn the fridge back on.

Once you do this, everything should be good, and you should have been able to quiet a noisy refrigerator compressor.

But if you find that the fan motor is worn out, the whole condenser probably is too. In this case, you may just want to replace the entire condenser unit.

That being said, it may be more worth it to just buy a newer, quiet refrigerator since condensers can get pretty expensive. Why fix an old fridge when you can get a new one for almost the same price, right?

Tip #8: Replace the Fan Motor

Okay, so it’s just the fan motor that has to be replaced. No problem! Fans are relatively affordable if you look online. A lot cheaper than replacing the whole compressor.

Here is how you can go about replacing a fan motor.

  1. Unplug the fridge. This is for safety, to prevent getting electrocuted.
  2. Turn off the water supply valve.
  3. Gain access to the rear panel. You can do this by pulling the fridge forward.
  4. Disconnect the water line.
  5. Use a screwdriver to open up the rear panel.
  6. Find the fan, and detach the wires harnessed around the condenser motor.
  7. Use a socket wrench to remove the screws attaching the motor to its mounting bracket.
  8. Attach the new fan to the mounting bracket.
  9. Reconnect the wire harness and slide the fan blade back to the motor shaft.
  10. Reattach the rear panel.
  11. Reinstall the water inlet valve of the refrigerator.
  12. Plug in the fridge. And just like that, the fan is replaced!

Just be sure to look for fans that fit your fridge well.

Fans are easy to find online, so that would be a good place to start.

Tip #9: Buy a Quieter Fridge

So it’s come to this, huh? After following all the steps, the refrigerator compressor is still noisy.

When all else fails, getting a new fridge is the better option than trying to fix a noisy compressor.

But now that you know what you want, or don’t want (noise!) for that matter, here are some things to look out for to make sure you get as quiet of a fridge as possible!

  • Energy efficiency. An energy-efficient refrigerator would have compressors that run long and low. This means that they are more likely to make loud noises. While they would definitely be quieter than an old fridge, stay away from these if you ABSOLUTELY cannot stand loud sound waves.
  • Does it have a fan? Some compact fridges and mini-fridges don’t actually have fans as part of their cooling mechanism. This means this makes quieter noises than a conventional refrigerator.
  • How old is it? Most likely, you would be looking at a brand new fridge. But in case you aren’t, make sure you get a fridge that is still relatively young, as older refrigerators are the ones that are noisy.
  • User ratings. The only true test for longevity is user testimonials. So make sure you read up on reviews. While you’re at it, make sure the compressor isn’t too noisy. A noisy compressor would just give you the same problem you had before, and we don’t want that!

Final Thoughts

woman cooling herself with a refrigerator

So if a noisy fridge is plaguing you, you know exactly what to do to quiet a noisy refrigerator compressor.

While some people add soundproofing to the inside of the fridge as an option, we highly advise against this. 

This is because it takes up space, and is not the most hygienic. Sometimes silencing the noises isn’t worth wrecking your fridge over.

The options we gave are already great ways to silence your fridge. Any one of these suggestions, or all of them, should be enough to fix that noisy fridge!

And like we said, you can also consider getting a new fridge if you have the budget!

Hopefully, this article on how to quiet a noisy refrigerator compressor helped you eliminate that annoying refrigerator noise.

OTHER SOUND REDUCTION GUIDES:

About the Author

andrea_adams

Andrea Adams

Fidgeting with gadgets and electronics has long been Andrea’s expertise. She has assembled, disassembled, and tweaked almost every type of device you can think of. Through the years, she has come to realize that technology should never be fussy. And that’s where her interest in quiet products stemmed from. She hopes to become your go-to person for insight when deciding on noiseless goods to purchase.