Refrigerator Making Clicking Noises? (Possible Causes & Fixes)


Refrigerator Making Clicking Noises

A refrigerator is a big investment, which means you’ll want to know when you should report a problem to the manufacturer. I think we’ve all stopped and paused near our refrigerator door after hearing a clicking noise. The problem is, how do you distinguish normal refrigerator sounds from clicking noises?

To diagnose a fridge’s clicking noises, you’ll need to open up the refrigerator. Checking the coils, cleaning the start relay, and checking to see if all components are working can help locate the problem. If the issue persists, we suggest contacting your fridge’s manufacturer and asking about the warranty.

If clicking noises are driving you insane, don’t worry. We’ve taken the time to research the numerous causes of unusual refrigerator noises. Below is a list of a few common problems that can result in clicking sounds.

Count the Frequency of the Noise

The first thing you should ask yourself is the type of noise and frequency of how long each click lasts. Depending on the sound of the click, you can narrow down what is wrong with the device. Although, in some cases clicking noises are a sign of a dying refrigerator.

Clicking noises that are produced every few minutes can usually be fixed without much hassle. However, if your refrigerator is continuously making a clicking noise, then a part will need to be replaced.

But, what about other types of noises? Are there noises that are normal for refrigerators to produce?

Normal Refrigerator Sounds

Before you move the refrigerator and attempt to replace parts, it’s best to ensure you know what normal noises. A working refrigerator will occasionally make these noises;

  • Chirping – sounds should only be heard when the damper door is opening or closing.
  • Fan Speed – fan speeds change when the door is opened or closed. They also go on when you change or adjust the internal temperature of the fridge.
  • Clicking – a clicking noise can be heard when the defrost timer turns on or off.
  • Click – one audible click can be heard when the temperature unit switches on or off. On rare occasions, you’ll be able to listen to a few clicks when the unit is regulating temperature or defrosting.
  • Gurgling – may be heard when you are closing the door. This is likely due to water in the drain tube being moved around.
  • Dripping – dripping water should only be heard when the defrost is turned on. If the defrost isn’t turned on, then there is a leak somewhere in the refrigerator.
  • Buzzing – there are a few situations where the buzzing is a typical sound. A buzzing will be heard if you’re using the water dispenser. It will also be audible when water is being filled back into the ice dispenser. The noise should then stop after a minimum of 7 seconds.
  • Popping – a popping will be heard when the defrost is turned on and is heating the evaporator coils. Once it reaches the desired temperature, it may pop again.

Dirty Condenser

There are a few telling signs of a dirty condenser. First, your food will not be adequately cooled. If you notice food going bad quickly or that the temperature almost seems closer to room temp, we suggest checking the condenser.

Secondly, a dirty condenser coil will make a sound every three to five minutes. This is the condenser trying to “reset” itself and attempt to function normally. The problem with this is that there is dirt and grime built up around it, which prevents it from working functionally.

To prevent this, you may need to clean out the coil condenser regularly. The cleaning process is straightforward, and you won’t need any extra tools to do so. Here are the steps you should take for the cleaning procedure;

Step 1: Locate the Condenser Coil

The condenser coil is generally located on the back of your refrigerator. For older models, it may be located closer to the ground. However, newer models may have the coils resting anywhere in the back.

Step 2: Shut Off the Power

Before you start to touch the coils, you must power off the refrigerator. The reason is that you’re going to need to remove the coils and they are part of the electrical unit. If you were to touch the coils without powering the refrigerator down, then you would end up electrocuting yourself.

Step 3: Clean With Brush or Towel

Using either a clean towel or a brush to wipe the dust away. The unit can get messy if you don’t clean it annually. If this is your first time cleaning it out, be prepared for a lot of dust to be built up.

Faulty Start Relay

Another issue that produces frequent clicking noises is if there is a faulty start relay. Food will start to spoil, and you’ll be able to physically feel no cold air when you put your hand into the fridge. To fix a faulty start relay, you will need to do the following;

Step 1: Locate the Compressor

The compressor is going to be located next to the coil condenser. The coil condenser is located on the bottom of the back of the fridge. You will need to move the entire fridge to access it. Make sure to pull it out enough so that you can access the back of the refrigerator.

Step 2: Unplug Your Fridge

Yet again, you’re going to be taking parts apart. To do so, you will need to shut down the power. If you don’t, you could end up getting shocked.

Step 3: Take Out the Start Relay

Next to the compressor should be the start relay. It looks like a small box and resembles an ink cartridge. Take the start relay out and shake it. If you hear an audible rattling, then you will need to purchase a new starter relay.

Broken Defrost Timer

Depending on what type of refrigerator you have, you may have a bad defrost timer. It’s a rare case for the defrost timer to malfunction. However, it does happen from time to time.

What the defrost timer does is heat the evaporator coil in your refrigerator. The timer then heats the cooling element and melts any frost that has formed around it. Here’s how to fix a broken one;

Step 1: Locate Defrost Timer

The defrost timer should be located at the back of the fridge. Each model is designed differently, so it may be hard finding it at first. The defrost timer should look like a small box with four terminals.

Step 2: Cut the Power

You don’t want to end up getting electrocuted. That’s why it’s essential to cut power. With the defrost timer, you will have to remove the part entirely.

Step 3: Unscrew Defrost Timer

Take a screwdriver and unscrew the defrost timer from the back of the fridge. You’ll need to pull the defrost timer out and examine it gently. Connect it to a multi-meter and see if there is any continuity. If not, then this is likely the problem.

Related Questions

Why does my refrigerator make a clicking noise after a power outage?

Whether you shut the power off through your circuit control panel or had a power outage, your refrigerator will make a clicking noise.

The clicking noise is produced by the compressor shutting itself down. It will shut itself off before powering back up. As it powers up, it will create a loud clicking noise.

What to do if the fridge is clicking every second?

A refrigerator that clicks repeatedly may be failing. A constant clicking noise isn’t common. If the fridge starts to cool down as well, then it has a major issue.

Before you call a maintenance specialist or purchase a new refrigerator, you should try doing three things. First, clean out the condenser coils. Next, check the start relay before then looking at the condenser fan.

If you do all of that and you still hear a constant clicking, call a professional. They will be able to help repair the refrigerator if it isn’t dying.

Should refrigerators be making noise? Is this normal?

Yes, there are plenty of normal sounds a refrigerator makes that doesn’t relate to a problem. It’s quite normal to hear a clicking, humming, and rumbling noises from time to time.

Most of the time, it’s due to either the ice maker, defrost, and the fan. However, it’s due to other small flukes such as debris build-up or dirty coils in some cases. Either way, if you believe the noises are too frequent, it’s best to do a quick checkup to see anything wrong.

How long are refrigerator warranties?

In most cases, a refrigerator’s warranty lasts ten years. However, they won’t always replace damaged parts. There are two types of coverage; parts warranty and comfort quality pledge.

The parts warranty ensures that you can get a replacement part if something breaks down on your refrigerator. The comfort and quality pledge is designed to help consumers who aren’t happy with their purchase.

While it’s unlikely you’ll get a refund, you may be able to get a replacement or spare parts. Of course, you’d still be responsible for shipping costs. They also don’t cover anything related to the poor maintenance of the refrigerator on your end.

Upgraded Home Team

We are a team of homeowners and home improvement enthusiasts who enjoy sharing decorating, gardening, home improvement, and housekeeping tips with other homeowners! Whether you're looking for advice on furnishing your living room or the next outdoor DIY project, we've got you covered.

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