How To Quiet A Noisy Refrigerator Compressor (Do This!)

Ossiana Tepfenhart
by Ossiana Tepfenhart

If you live in a studio apartment, then you already know how loud refrigerators can be. They are pretty noisy, even to the point that they can damage the quality of your sleep in the same room. In many cases, the reason for all the noise deals with a refrigerator compressor that is just too friggin loud. Clearly, you gotta quiet it down. But, how?

After you’ve ascertained that you have a noisy compressor, you have several ways to make sure your fridge stays quiet. These include:

  • Using A Quieting Mat
  • Adding Soundproofing To The Wall
  • Moving It To An Alcove
  • Cleaning The Condenser
  • Getting A New Fridge

There are a lot of reasons why a compressor could become noisy, most of them normal. To help quiet down that noisy fridge, we’re going to chat about all the details in this guide.

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Why Is My Refrigerator Compressor So Noisy?

Honestly, it’s just the way they run. Compressors are pumping a bunch of air throughout the fridge and doing their thing. The process that compressors undergo is a naturally noisy one that causes humming, whirring, and other similar noises. In the vast majority of cases, there is no reason to call a repairman. It’s just a fridge being a fridge.

Every compressor will make some kind of noise. With that said, we should probably start talking about ways to mitigate the compressor’s noise levels.

How To Quiet Down A Noisy Compressor

A noisy compressor can make it hard to take a nap in an apartment, or just be a nuisance. No one wants to have a compressor that’s kicking up a storm. However, you can’t just cover up the compressor, since that could make it overheat and break. Let’s take a look at some of the easiest ways to quiet it down.

Use A Quieting Mat

Part of the issue of a normal compressor’s noise comes from all the vibrations they cause when they work. With some machines, you could just wrap the machine up and hear some quieting. While you cannot wrap your compressor with material to quiet it down, there are ways to make it quiet. The easiest way is to put a sound-absorbing mat underneath your refrigerator.

There is no specific type of mat that you need to go for to get a quieter fridge. Most people, though, find that foam tends to work best. While it is not necessary to be foam, it just seems to work better. If you want to get very specific, check out the mats that are labeled as soundproofing equipment online.

Adding Soundproofing To The Wall

The vibrations of a compressor aren’t exactly easy to quiet, but you can prevent them from reverberating throughout your kitchen. A good way to do this is to pin a soundproofing mat to the wall that your refrigerator’s back is facing. Soundproofing mats will absorb the soundwaves, keeping the waves from bouncing off the wall.

With that said, this often doesn’t have as much impact as a quieting mat. However, if you’re in a bind, this can help quiet down a really noisy fridge. We suggest using padded material, similar to what you would get as a quieting mat.

One thing you want to avoid doing is wrapping the soundproofing material over the compressor or giving the compressor no space to run.

Moving It To An Alcove

The place your fridge is will make a huge difference in how much noise you hear. Fridges that are up against a single wall will have the sound escape from either side. Moving it to a corner or into a small nook in the kitchen will reduce the amount of soundwaves that escape either side, giving you an impression of a quieter fridge.

This is a quick and easy way to give your fridge a little feng shui, if you have a nook you can move it to. Obviously, not every kitchen will have this luxury.

Cleaning The Condenser

Be honest with yourself. When was the last time you cleaned the back of your fridge, really? If you’re like most people with a life, the answer is never. Believe it or not, there are a lot of cases where the dust and grime on the condenser actually adds to the reverberation that you’re dealing with. The longer you leave the condenser unclean, the worse your situation will get.

To see if this is the issue with your home, push the refrigerator’s back to face you, and start wiping everything down with a paper towel sprayed with all-purpose cleaner. Then, work your way to the condenser. If you notice that the noise starts to die down, you now know what’s causing it.

Getting A New Fridge

If you’ve tried everything and you still can’t get the fridge to quiet down, then you might want to consider getting a new fridge. Newer models are made to have a quieter running style, with some even going so far as to have special casings that keep the condenser away from the open air.

It’s worth noting that this is a good idea if you are sensitive to sounds. Newer models that are advertised as quiet-running can have volumes as low as 25 decibels. If your fridge is ancient, that will make a world of difference in the sounds of your kitchen. To get a super-quiet fridge, make sure that you look at reviews regarding the unit’s ability to stay quiet.

When Should You Call Your Repairman?

Though all refrigerators are bound to make some kind of noise, there is a certain point where you may have to give a call to your repairman. If you notice any of these issues, then you probably have a bad fridge compressor or something similar.

  • The fridge is not cold. If you notice that your fridge isn’t cold, but your freezer is, your fridge compressor died. You may need to replace that one before your freezer’s compressor dies too. The same rule goes if your freezer is warm and melty, but your fridge is cold.
  • The noise fluctuates along with your fridge’s temperature. Some fridges will always have temperature fluctuations. That is normal. What isn’t normal is if you hear a loud buzzing noise whenever your fridge starts to cool down heavily.
  • Your fridge is *too* quiet. Even if you don’t like the hum of the fridge, you need to hear it. That’s how you can tell the compressor is still working. If your fridge is dead quiet, it died.
  • You notice that the area around your fridge smells a little funky. This could be rotten food, so check in and around the fridge before you assume something is awry. If you smell a deeply chemical smell, or notice that there are fumes coming out of the fridge, unplug the fridge and get a new one immediately. It’s leaking chemicals.
  • You can actually hear your fridge from the next room. While you should always be able to hear your fridge in the kitchen, you shouldn’t be able to hear it buzzing away from the living room. Like, ever. Call a repairman because this could be something pretty serious regarding your fridge.
  • The fridge is making a lot of snapping, clanking, or loud vibrating noises. If you can hear a grinding noise or a random buzzing sound, this is something you should be concerned about.

How Loud Should A Refrigerator Be?

The answer to this question is, not very loud at all. A refrigerator that was recently made will be between 32 to 47 decibels in loudness. This is about the same volume as the background noise in a library or quiet cafe. This is not as loud as a blender or anything else that would involve lots of noise, so if you see your fridge going above that range of volume, call a professional.

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Related Questions

What does a dying fridge sound like?

A typical refrigerator will emit a soft, continuous hum as it cools down your food and keeps running. A dying fridge, on the other hand, will start to emit a loud buzzing noise—almost like a blender. This loud, vibrational sound is a sign that your fridge’s motor is struggling to provide the cold air your food needs.In some cases, it can also sound like a clanking and popping noise. However, this is rarer and can usually be linked to the inside of the fridge walls expanding and contracting. If you are unsure of your fridge’s health, call a repairman.

Can a fridge compressor explode?

One of the reasons why you should never wrap up a fridge compressor is because of the danger it can pose if it overheats. If the gas that’s supposed to get compressed gets trapped inside the compressor due to overheating, pressure will build up back there.In most cases, the pressure will eventually get released. However, once in a while, there are reports of compressors that explode or pop as a result of all the hot gas pent up in there. This can lead to a fire hazard, which is why it’s important to make sure your compressor is in good working order.

How long should you expect a fridge to last?

Refrigerators are the type of appliances that most people view as an investment, and rightfully so. The quality of your fridge will make a huge impact on its lifespan. A low-quality fridge might only last as little as seven years. However, most refrigerators will last at least 10 to 12 years with regular maintenance. Top-tier refrigerators, on the other hand, will last for as long as 15 years or more.

Ossiana Tepfenhart
Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

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