Noisy Fridge Fan: Causes and Solutions


A noisy fridge becomes even more irritating if you don’t know where that hissing or buzzing or vibrating noise is coming from and you can’t repair it. A noisy fridge will make all sorts of noise including hissing, clicking, whirring, pulsating sounds but depending on where the noise is coming from, i.e., the back, bottom or inside of the fridge, the three most common sources of such noises can be:

  • Condenser fan motor
  • Evaporator fan motor
  • A worn-down Evaporator fan motor grommet 

Condenser Fan Motor

A condenser is located at the back of the fridge, if the noise is coming from the back of the refrigerator, a bad condenser fan motor is most likely the reason. Every fridge has a condensing unit which comprises of the compressor, the condenser coil and the condenser fan motor. The condenser fan motor runs continuously to turn the fan blades to blow air across the condenser coil that cools the refrigerant into a liquid from its state of hot gas. 

Location of Condenser Fan Motor

The condenser fan motor is located at the back of the fridge behind a protective panel, and very close to the compressor. If the condenser fan motor is not working to cool the compressor as it should, it will create a bad refrigerator compressor noise which will ultimately cause harm to the compressor.

Note that if your refrigerator have their condenser coils mounted on the back of the fridge will not have a condenser fan motor.

Causes of Sound

Noise from the condenser fan motor may be due to dust accumulating around the fan blades, or it may even be due to overheating issues. Overheating of the condenser fan motor can be due to several reasons:

  • A malfunctioning motor
  • If the installed motor is of incorrect size
  • If the start run capacitor is not correct, it will cause over ramping issues that heat the motor
  • If the fan blades are of incorrect size, they will pose a problem in the normal functioning of the motor
  • Improperly installed fan blades will restrict airflow, thus overheating the motor.

Troubleshooting

To avoid any damage to the fan while it is being uncovered, all power sources must be unplugged from the fridge. Once the protective cover has been removed, check for potential damages to the fan blades and dust or lint buildup around the fan blades. Any dust accumulated must be cleaned via a brush, and if that doesn’t stop the noises, then it is highly likely that the condenser fan motor has gone faulty, which will require a replacement. 

Evaporator fan motor

The purpose of the evaporator fan is to blow air through the evaporator before the cooled air gets circulated through the freezer and refrigerator compartments. If the freezer has stopped cooling, but there are still noises of motor running continuously from the back, then most probably the evaporator fan motor has an issue. The freezer beginning to defrost automatically is a potential signal that the evaporator fan motor is damaged and has stopped working. 

Location of the Evaporator Fan Motor

The location of the evaporator fan motor inside the freezer depends on the location of the freezer itself inside the refrigerator. A freezer at the bottom will have an evaporator fan on the back wall near the top of the freezer whereas a top located freezer will have the fan located on the back wall near the middle of the freezer.

Causes of Sound

High pitched sounds like a squeal or a chirping sound that come and go at times signal that the evaporator fan motor has probably gone bad. There is a possibility that something might be stuck between the fan blades. In most cases, an overfilled freezer can also be the cause of such a fridge compressor noise since the freezer contents may displace the protective cover of the fan, thus inhibiting the free movement of the fan blades. 

Troubleshooting

Open the panel of the freezer protecting the evaporator fan motor and check the fan blades for damages or wear and tear. If there are signs of damage to the fan blades resulting in improper motion of the motor shaft or there is corrosion of the wires, it is best to replace the fan motor.

Evaporator fan motor Grommet

Evaporator fan motor grommets are rubber pieces affixed on each side of the evaporator fan motor to absorb the vibrations made by the motor while it runs. These grommets are placed in the metal brackets that surround the evaporator fan motor for easy installation in the freezer.

Evaporator fan motor grommets are rubber pieces affixed on each side of the evaporator fan motor to absorb the vibrations made by the motor while it runs. These grommets are placed in the metal brackets that surround the evaporator fan motor for easy installation in the freezer.

A damaged or broken evaporator fan grommet will not hold the evaporator fan motor in-place, thus causing a lot of vibrating noises. A broken grommet must be replaced immediately to avoid any damage to the fan motor.

Location

The evaporator fan motor grommets are a part of the evaporator fan motor system. They can be found by removing the panel protecting the evaporator fan motor in the freezer and then taking apart carefully the different parts of the fan motor system. Present on both sides of the motor, these grommets can be removed by opening the screws fixing the motor to the metal brackets. 

Once removed, these grommets must be replaced with new ones to ensure no fridge compressor noise is heard after the repair. 

Conclusion

A refrigerator makes all sorts of different sounds, but it is important to understand which sounds are harmless and which sounds signal potential damage to any particular refrigerator part. Since the compressor is one of the largest and most important parts of the fridge, in most cases any bad noise originates from there. But other parts must not be overlooked, and there must be proper maintenance of the fridge over regular periods to ensure smooth working.

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