How to Reduce Refrigerator Noise & Soundproof A Noisy Fridge


Is your noisy fridge becoming a real nuisance? Keeping you up at night, ruining your conversations with grandma and just being a big ol’ bully? Just like dishwashers, refrigerators can vibrate on the floor, parts can become loose and your fridge might prefer living in a different location too. I’ll tell you all about it. Here’s an overview of how you can soundproof your fridge so that it doesn’t make those complaining noises any longer:

To soundproof your fridge, first place it on a soft mat. You can also place anti-vibration pads under the corners of the fridge. This will greatly reduce vibration noise. Next, make sure to tighten any loose parts, especially doors and handles. You can also place the fridge in an alcove surrounded by soundproof material. If the fans in the fridge are too loud, see if they need a good scrubbing. If that doesn’t work replace them with new ones. 

Now here are the tips with all the nitty-gritty details:

STEP 1:  Identify the source of the noise & Fix It

Before you do any fixing, you should definitely put on your best impression of Sherlock Holmes and find the source of the noise.

Observe the fridge when it’s making that dreadful noise.

You might notice that it’s vibrating on the floor.

Maybe there are also some loose parts like door handles that make the noise even more dreadful.

Perhaps the fans in the fridge are spinning too fast or too loudly just like they do in a computer if you don’t clean them for a few months. This will also lead to overheating and then your fridge will be going on and off all the time.

These are the most common reasons for fridge noise, and you’re probably experiencing one of them.

Once you’ve identified the problem(s), use one or more of the following steps to fix it.

1. Noise from the fridge vibrating on the floor

If this is the problem you’re dealing with, you’re in a bit of luck because this is the easiest fix ever.

All you have to do is place the right rubber mat underneath the fridge to curb the vibrations.

Have someone help you with this, because it can be hard to move the fridge by yourself. You could also tear the rubber mat if you try to push or pull the fridge unto it forcefully.

This mat will reduce the vibration noise by at least 70%.

But if you want to get those last 30% of vibration-blockage, I suggest also using anti-vibration pads. I got these for my fridge and laundry machine and they work great. Place one anti-vibration pad under each corner of the fridge.

You can use the pads even without the mat. But my recommendation is to use both for thorough soundproofing.

2. Loose doors, handles and other parts

The noise from vibrations will be worse if some parts of the fridge have become loose.

Even if you use the mat and the pads under the fridge, you should still tighten loose parts.

Doors and handles are the usual culprits, but another one that rarely anyone mentions is the fridge door compartment. This part can bounce on the door if the screws have gone loose. Also, having small glass bottles and eggs rolling in there can amplify the noise so place them in a compartment where they won’t be rolling around too much.

To tighten any loose screws in the fridge, a regular screwdriver is usually the only tool that’s needed.

3. Loud fans, either worn out or dirty

Many older refrigerators and some small newer ones don’t have any fans. So if your fridge doesn’t have fans you can skip this step.

However, if you have a modern frost-free refrigerator, it most likely has two fans.

The condenser fan is under the fridge and its there to cool the compressor and force air through the exterior coil. The evaporator fan is in the freezer compartment, and its purpose is to move air around the coils inside the fridge and help with defrosting.

To put it in layman terms, both fans are there to cool the working parts of the fridge. If they stop working at full capacity your fridge will get ill, vibrate, produce rattling sounds, and wither away leaving your chocolate cake lukewarm.

So make sure your fans are in good order before it’s too late. If you hear any troubling fan noise do this:

a) Fix the Condenser Fan

  • unplug the fridge
  • remove the rear access panel
  • look for any debris or obstruction that could slow the fan down or prevent the fan blade from turning
  • if you find any obstruction remove it and vacuum the area
  • if the fan blade is damaged, replace it with a new one. New condenser fan blade costs around $10. Make sure that the dimensions and the design suits your fridge before buying. You can check out the available ones on Amazon by clicking here.
  • If the whole condenser fan is old and worn out, replace the fan’s motor as well. The whole package costs around $50-$70. Here are the best options on Amazon.

Here is a visual demonstration of the steps:

b) Fix the Evaporator Fan

If the noise is coming from the freezer compartment, you’re probably dealing with a faulty evaporator fan.

Some other symptoms of a faulty evaporator fan is that your fridge is warmer than usual, and it’s taking longer for the ice in the freezer to freeze.

So here’s how you can fix it:

  • unplug the fridge
  • remove the evaporator fan cover
  • look for any dirt or obstruction and clean the area
  • remove any ice in the area, as it could be the main cause of the noise
  • if you’re unsure about the problem, you can plug in the fridge and turn the power on for a moment. Make sure not to touch the fan blade or the motor. Simply observe them. If the blades are loose or damaged or the motor is simply worn out and not functioning properly it’s time to change those broken parts. Make sure to unplug to unplug the fridge again once you’ve pinpointed the problem.
  • Check out the wide range of evaporator fan motors on Amazon by clicking here
  • Check out the available evaporator fan blades by clicking here 

Here is a helpful video guide for replacing an evaporator fan blade:

Calling a pro to take a look at the fans and fix them can cost you between $150-$200. It’s much cheaper to clean them yourself and replace the old parts if necessary. Considering how easy it is, especially with the video tutorials available you can do this in half an hour.

4. Dishes inside or on top of the fridge

Any dishes, glass bottles and things of that nature can increase the rattling sound your fridge makes. Especially if your fan blades and fan motors need fixing. Place those items away from the fridge if possible.

Step 2: Move your fridge in an alcove (optional, but very effective)

An alcove is a recess in the wall. But it can also be a space between cabinets where you can fit in your fridge. If you have one of these spaces available, move your fridge there to further reduce noise. Here is a great example of a fridge in an alcove:

Even if you fix the fans and place a mat and vibration pads under the fridge, it will probably still make some noise. That goes for all fridges, even the newest ones, unless you get one that is super expensive. So blocking the noise from three sides like + from above can be really helpful.

You can additionally install soundproofing material like Mass Loaded Vinyl on each side of the alcove, including the back side, and above the fridge. The most important part to soundproof is the back side.

Mass Loaded Vinyl is a material specifically designed to block low frequency noise like the one typically made by fridges, washing machines, car engines etc. It can also be placed under the fridge to block vibrations as an alternative to a mat.  You can read my full review of MLV by clicking here.

I don’t recommend that you use acoustic panels for this project. I read an article where the guy recommends standard foam panels for soundproofing a fridge. This will not work well. I don’t know if he experienced some improvement or he’s just pushing the product to make money. But either way, foam panels do not work well against vibrations and low frequency noise in general.

It’s best to use either fiberglass panels or Mass Loaded Vinyl for soundproofing machines like fridges because these materials are designed for blocking impact noise that is commonly produced by them.

How many years does a refrigerator last?

The answer to this question depends on the quality of the fridge and the type. Also how well you treat it. The average lifespan is 14-17 years. Compact fridges usually last around 14 years, while standard ones last around 17 years.

But if you max the cold setting all the time, turn it on and off frequently and slam the refrigerator door too often, you can cut its life short pretty quickly.

On the flip side, you can make it last longer by cleaning the fans every once in a while (once a month is okay) to prevent compressor overheating. This is bound to happen eventually, but if the fans are top notch it can add a few golden years to your fridge.

Conclusion

Having a fridge that works properly and is quiet at the same time is a true blessing. You can have that beautiful combination in your home as well by soundproofing your fridge with the methods I shared with you in this article. I hope you use this information to your advantage!

P.S. 

If you have any soundproofing questions you can leave them in the comment section or you can email them to me at soundproofadvice@gmail.com. Once I’ve read your inquiry, I’ll respond by writing a new article on the topic and sending you the link! So good luck with silencing your fridge and I hope to hear from you soon! – Luka Baron

Peter Bone

Soundproof expert and a staunch opponent of noise. This website is a free source of information on how to 'keep it down a notch'. I update the content regularly to keep up with advancements in the soundproofing industry.

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