In the harmonious symphony of a well-functioning home, there’s one element that can sometimes strike a rather discordant note – a noisy refrigerator compressor. As an essential component of your kitchen’s heart, the refrigerator compressor diligently keeps your perishables fresh and your beverages chilled. Yet, its persistent hums, rattles, and clatters can disrupt the tranquility of your living space, leaving you in search of ways to restore the peace.
Whether you’re working from home, enjoying a quiet evening with loved ones, or seeking a good night’s sleep, a raucous refrigerator compressor can prove to be quite the intrusive guest. But fret not, for in this guide, we will delve into the world of appliance acoustics and explore a range of practical solutions to quieten that bothersome compressor noise. From simple adjustments to more intricate fixes, we’ve got you covered.
1. Level the Refrigerator
If your fridge is sitting on an uneven or not-so-solid floor, it can end up making a lot more noise than usual. Most of this extra noise comes from vibrations, and that’s why the type of floor matters a lot. Vibrations have a tougher time traveling through materials like tile compared to wood. So, it’s worth addressing this problem.
The first thing to do is to check the legs of the fridge. Almost all fridges have legs that can be adjusted independently. This is really useful when your floor isn’t flat. Fixing this might quickly solve the noise issue. Similarly, over time, due to vibrations and regular use, these legs might become loose or shift. So, even if you set them correctly when you first got the fridge, it’s a good idea to check them again.
An easy way to do this is by gently shaking your fridge. If it moves, then you need to adjust the legs. It could be helpful to have someone else help you with this – they can shake the fridge while you watch the legs or the other way around. Using a level might seem like a good idea, but it’s not necessary. Stability and being level are two different things. Your fridge might be stable but not level if the floor is uneven. Just focus on the legs, and keep in mind that the fridge shouldn’t wobble.
2. Use Soundproofing Mat
Refrigerators can make noise because of the vibrations from the compressor and other parts. If your fridge is on a thin floor like a laminate floor, it might be the reason why it’s so noisy.
The good news is you can fix this issue easily. Just get a special mat that stops sounds from traveling. Put this mat under your refrigerator. The mat needs to be big enough to cover the legs of the fridge. This mat will lift the fridge off the floor, so the vibrations and any extra noises because of the floor won’t be a problem anymore.
You can find these mats in different shapes and sizes. So, you should be able to get one that fits your fridge just right. Once you have the mat, here’s what you do:
- Move the refrigerator away from where it’s sitting.
- Put the mat where you want the refrigerator to be.
- Put the refrigerator back, making sure all four legs are on the mat and touching it firmly.
3. Soundproof Behind the Refrigerator
Making a fridge compressor quieter is really tricky. The back of the fridge has coils that release heat. But you can’t cover them up, or the fridge might get too hot and break. So, you need clever ideas.
Instead of quieting the back of the fridge, attach things to the wall behind it. If there’s not much space between the fridge and the wall, this could help. Still, some sound might escape because sound travels easily.
For this plan, use things that block sound and help with acoustics. This will stop sound from going into the wall and air. You need a mix of solutions.
The noise mostly comes from the compressor, making “airborne sound.” To fix this, get things that trap sound waves. Stuff like special foam or Rockwool insulation can work.
Also, add a heavy vinyl sheet on the wall to stop any loud noises. This sheet won’t pass on the vibrations from sound waves.
Here’s how to do it:
- Cut a piece of MDF board the same size as the fridge with extra inches.
- Put the heavy vinyl sheet on it using nails or glue. Seal the edges with special sealant.
- Add a layer of foam on top, but be careful not to block the holes.
- Attach this board to the wall behind the fridge and push it close.
- You should hear less noise from the compressor now.
Remember, some noise might still get out from behind the fridge, but there’s not much you can do. However, this soundproofing board should help, especially when you’re in another room. Ideally, you should only hear the fridge noises if you’re near it.
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4. Clean the Moving Parts
Sometimes, a noisy fridge can be because of dirty parts like fans, coils, ice makers, and water valves. Cleaning these parts well can help reduce the noise.
To clean these parts safely, first, unplug the fridge. This makes sure nothing moves while you clean. Then, use a wet cloth to wipe away dust and dirt. It’s good to regularly clean the compressor, coils, and fans to stop too much noise. But cleaning can be a bit tricky for a few reasons:
- If you’re not sure how opening the back of your fridge can be hard.
- Also, opening your fridge might cancel your warranty.
So, what can you do to clean these parts?
- Call a professional: If your fridge is still under warranty, you might not have to pay for someone to check and clean it.
- Check the user guide: The guide that comes with the fridge might have more instructions on how to clean the dirty compressor, coils, and fans.
To clean the ice maker, empty the ice bin and scrub it with a toothbrush. You can mix water and vinegar to clean it well. Sometimes, you might see stuck pieces of ice that you need to take out.
Remember, each part can make a different noise. Here’s what to listen for:
- Evaporator Fan Blade: When it touches ice, it might make a clicking sound.
- Condenser Fan Blade: If it touches cardboard or something like nests, it might click.
- Water Valves: They might sound like a jackhammer, especially when the ice maker is filling.
- Damper Doors: These might make a clicking or popping sound between the freezer and the fridge.
5. Place your Refrigerator in an Alcove
Well, moving your refrigerator in the alcove can also help alleviate the noise problem. In short, you’re simply isolating the fridge such that the noise the unit produces is trapped in an enclosed room and, hence, there is no chance of escaping to other rooms in your house.
For maximum effectiveness, I would recommend you to soundproof the alcove- it’s as easy and similar as soundproofing a closet, and, in most cases, you can use affordable or household items for soundproofing. Alternatively, you can move the unit to the corner of your room. As a result, half of the surface of your refrigerator will be covered by the walls.
6. A Shelve Around the Refrigerator
Not everyone has a spare nook in their kitchen. But there are other ways to deal with this. For example, you can make shelves around your fridge if you have some space and know-how for DIY stuff.
The idea of putting shelves around the fridge is to make the area heavier so that it can absorb more of the noise and stop it from spreading. This trick can work quite well if you do it the right way.
I won’t get into the details of how to make these shelves because it depends on how much space you have. But there’s a video you can watch below if you’re interested. The important part is to soundproof the space around the fridge, just like I mentioned before, while still making sure there’s enough space for air to flow around it. Basically, you’re creating a little corner where you can soundproof and keep your fridge. The main thing is to soundproof around the fridge, just like I explained, while still giving it enough room so it can get the air it needs. In simple words, you’re making a cozy space for your fridge that keeps it quiet.
7. Use an Intake Silencer
One of the main reasons why a fridge makes noise is because of its intake – that’s the part that takes in air. To make the noise quieter from this part, you can add something called a silencer. This thing has two main parts: one to reduce noise and another part that filters the air effectively.
Can you put the intake part outside the house?
To make your fridge quieter without spending too much, you can move the intake part outside your house. How? You can use a pipe to make the intake longer and place it just outside your home. Of course, you need to put your fridge in a good spot with enough outdoor space if you want to try this idea. While it might not make the noise completely disappear, like covering the motor with special material, it can still make a big difference in reducing the noise.
8. Regular Maintenance
It’s no no-brainer, but a dirty compressor or fan will make your fridge noisier. A dirty refrigerator compressor will struggle to maintain the temperature as the dirt interferes with its efficiency. As a countermeasure, it’s important to always undertake regular maintenance of the fridge.
You can DIY and maintain a healthy working fridge, or alternatively call a professional. After maintenance, you should ensure that the unit is placed a bit far from the wall. This is because there are heat sink fins located at the back of the fridge; this helps dispose of heat to the surrounding environment.
9. Get Professional Help
When everything else fails or finds it hard to undertake all the DIY hacks recommended above, I would request you to seek assistance from a qualified technician. There are two ways to approach this- you can either get a new refrigerator. Or dispose of your old, noisy one in the garage where you can stash beverages. Alternatively, you can call a technician to help you replace your noisy compressor with a quiet fridge.
10. Buy a Quiet Refrigerator
While attempting to reduce the noise of your refrigerator, you might realize that it’s not always worth the effort. Some refrigerators, especially older models, are naturally loud. This tends to happen when the parts inside start to wear out, and replacing them might not make financial sense.
If you’re considering getting a new fridge, consider some factors that affect how much noise it produces. These factors include:
- Energy efficiency: Modern fridges that are energy-efficient often run quietly because their compressors work smoothly and quietly. However, if even this level of noise bothers you, you might want to avoid extremely energy-efficient models.
- Fan presence: Not all fridges have cooling fans as part of their design, especially smaller ones. When looking for a fridge, you might not always find this information easily, but fridges without fans tend to be quieter.
- Age of the fridge: If you’re thinking of an upgrade, whether new or secondhand, newer fridges are usually more efficient and quieter.
- User reviews Many people before you have dealt with noisy fridges, and they often mention this in their reviews. Take notice of these reviews, as people have strong opinions about noisy appliances like fridges.
On How to Quiet a Noisy Refrigerator Compressor
In conclusion, dealing with a noisy refrigerator compressor involves several strategies. Firstly, identifying the type of noise and its source is crucial for effective solutions. Securing loose components, ensuring level placement, and providing proper ventilation are fundamental steps to reducing the noise. DIY options like lubricating moving parts can also be effective, but caution is advised. Seeking professional help is recommended if DIY methods fail or if you’re unsure. Overall, by combining maintenance, environmental adjustments, and expert assistance, you can successfully quiet down your refrigerator compressor and restore a peaceful living environment.
Hi, my name is Todd R. Bressler and I am the founder of this soundproofing blog. I’m a DIY enthusiast from Cincinnati, the city that just beat New York for the City That Never Sleeps Award in 2020. (Original) I have been in the DIY soundproofing industry for close to 5 years, running a YouTube channel and a Podcast show every Saturday. I started Crafty Soundproofing to help you learn the basics of “self defending yourself against noise”
Have an idea worth sharing? Please contact me and I’ll be happy to respond ASAP.