There are many appliances inside a home that are prone to making noticeable noises, and a refrigerator is one of them.
Your refrigerator runs pretty much all the time so it's normal to hear a slight vibrating noise. If the refrigerator noise is noticeable to the point of being annoying then your noisy refrigerator compressor may need some maintenance.
In this guide, we have identified various steps that you can follow to make your refrigerator compressor quieter and this is ultimately going to help to reduce noise levels.
What is a refrigerator compressor?
A compressor refers to two components inside your refrigerator; the pump and the motor. Both are responsible for transporting the refrigerant through your appliance.
The compressor works by pushing the hot gas through the metal coils that are located on the outside of the refrigerator. Essentially, the purpose of a compressor is to keep the refrigerant hot.
What are normal noises for a refrigerator to make?
There are some normal noises that you should expect your refrigerator to make.
First and foremost, you are likely to hear the whirring noise of the fan as it functions. This isn’t likely to be a hugely distracting noise but one that is present and noticeable.
Aside from this, a creaking sound may also be heard as the internal walls begin to heat up before contracting and cooling down.
If your refrigerator is designed with a drip tray you may hear a noise which is simply the water draining.
How to Quiet a Noisy Refrigerator Compressor
In the majority of cases, the compressor is responsible for producing the most prominent sound because it is the component that works the hardest.
If you are concerned about the noise that your refrigerator is making, you may wish to consult a professional who will be able to inform you whether the noise is normal.
If the compressor isn’t the cause, they will be able to identify where it is coming from.
Below, we have highlighted some ways that you can make your refrigerator compressor quieter. You should find that they return your appliance to its normal volume.
Move Your Refrigerator
If you have noticed that your refrigerator is noisier than normal and you are confident that the compressor is causing the issue, it may be due to where it is located.
As such, it is worth moving your refrigerator to a different location. If you have an alcove in your kitchen, you may wish to move your appliance into it.
Doing so will help to dampen the noise because as an alcove is an enclosed space it is going to trap the sound waves.
Level Your Refrigerator Legs
The floor can hugely influence the noise of your refrigerator and if your refrigerator is not level it is likely to vibrate more. There are also certain surfaces that are going to cause the compressor to vibrate more than others.
First, we would advise you to check the legs of your refrigerator to make sure that they are level. If they are not you will need to adjust them until they are.
Some models will allow you to make these adjustments yourself. Ensure that they aren’t wobbly and your fridge stands straight after you have made the adjustments and tightened the legs.
This is a quick solution to the issue. However, if it doesn’t reduce the noise, it may be a problem with the compressor itself.
Use Soundproofing Materials
Using soundproofing materials will help to soften the sound that your refrigerator is producing.
It is worth noting that your refrigerator is equipped with certain components that should not be covered because there is a risk that you may damage your fridge and cause it to overheat.
Instead of securing these materials to the back of your fridge, you should attach them to the wall ensuring that you leave a small gap between the wall and your fridge so that the components are still uncovered.
This method isn’t going to get rid of the noise completely as there is still a risk of the noise escaping through the gap, but you will likely notice that it is not as prominent.
Now you may be wondering what soundproofing materials are suitable for use. Foam tiles are a viable option, but vinyl will also suffice. You could try some of wall soundproofing materials to absorb some of the sound at the rear of the refrigerator.
Both options can be easily attached to the wall behind your fridge and will have a similar sound reducing effect.
Ensure that You Properly Maintain Your Refrigerator
Improper maintenance may cause your refrigerator to make more noise than normal. It may be a case that dirt and dust particles have started to accumulate on the compressor.
You may need to give it a thorough clean to resolve this issue. Whilst you are cleaning the compressor, it is also worth checking the other components for signs of dirt particles and rust.
Before jumping straight in and starting to disassemble your refrigerator, you must make sure that you are confident with the task at hand as the layout of the internal components can be quite confusing.
As you inspect the components you may discover that some are worn and no longer fulfilling their purpose, hence why your fridge is making more noise than normal. You'll find the same if you are trying to quiet a noisy window air conditioner.
Although it is possible to replace them, if you have an older fridge, you may take this opportunity to invest in a replacement.
Most modern refrigerators are designed to function without a compressor so you will find that the noise is completely eradicated.
Select the Correct Sized Fridge for Your Needs
Though this may seem like an odd suggestion, selecting the correct sized refrigerator for your requirements is very important.
If your fridge is full the majority of time, the items inside are going to contribute to the internal temperature.
However, if your refrigerator is normally pretty empty, the compressor has to work much harder to regulate the temperature and it may produce more noise as a result.
To ensure that this isn’t an issue, choose your fridge wisely and consider how much room the items that contribute to your weekly food shop are going to consume.
If you have a larger family, the items that make up your weekly food shop are likely to occupy more space inside of your fridge.
Smaller fridges generally put out less noise because they have smaller compressors. If you want a really quiet fridge then check out our reviews of the quietest mini fridges on the market.
Avoid Running Your Refrigerator on the Lowest Temperature Setting
Running your refrigerator at a very low temperature can be dangerous and most models will struggle to cope with this. Over time, you will notice that your refrigerator starts to make an annoying sound.
To avoid this problem, it is advised that you do not run your refrigerator on the lowest setting over prolonged periods.
Place the Refrigerator on a Mat
Another option is to place your refrigerator on a mat. Refrigerators that are placed on wooden floors tend to be noisier than those that are placed on tiled floors. This is because wood tends to be a prime transmitter of sound.
There are specific mats that you can purchase which are intended for this purpose. An acoustic mat will absorb sound so that it isn’t as loud and prominent. Even placing the refrigerator on anti-vibration pads could help reduce the compressor noise.
Before purchasing a mat you will need to measure the size of your refrigerator to check that it is going to fit properly.
Use White Noise as a Distraction
If the above steps have proved unsuccessful in dampening the sound, you may wish to use white noise as a distraction.
Playing white noise on a machine in the background is going to cancel out the vibrating or rattling sound that your refrigerator is making. This sound can also have a relaxing effect on your body which is an added benefit.
In the majority of cases, this is going to be a temporary fix but one that you can utilize until you can enforce a permanent solution.
Purchase a New Refrigerator
We have touched upon this factor previously, but if all else fails you may need to invest in a new refrigerator.
For some, this is going to be quite a costly solution, but one that is going to be worth it. This is because newer models tend to incorporate upgraded technology that make less noise.
It is worth consulting the reviews from customers who have previously purchased the same model to see whether it has received complaints regarding the noise. If you're looking for a smaller option then check out our reviews of the quietest mini fridge models available.
As you can see, there are several steps that you can take to reduce the noise of your refrigerator’s compressor. You may find some of these suggestions to be more effective than others. You can also look for some compressor noise reduction ideas in our posts on quiet airbrush compressors and quiet garage compressors.
First, you must make sure that you identify where the noise is coming from before attempting to disassemble any of the parts.
It is also important to remember that your refrigerator is going to make some noise as part of its normal operation, and this is especially the case with older models.
If the solutions that we have listed above prove to be unsuccessful, it may be an indicator that there is a more serious problem that you may need to hire a professional to fix.