Refrigerators are one of the best inventions. They give us the gift of ice-cool beverages and can extend the lifespan of our food.
They are reliable machines that require very little maintenance. We’re used to the comforting hum of a refrigerator in the background, keeping our snacks and drinks nice and cool.
But you shouldn’t be used to hearing a rattling noise from the fridge. The rattling will not only be annoying to listen to but may indicate a bigger problem.
If you hear rattling, it’s essential to investigate the issue because it may be harmless, but it could be a bigger problem, and your fridge may stop working. If your refrigerator is making noise from the bottom, it’s most probable that your drain pan is making the noise.
Whereas, if the noise comes from the back of the unit, there may be an issue with the compressor, defrost timer, or condenser fan. If the inside of your fridge is rattling, the problem may be a faulty evaporator fan.
There may be affiliate links in this article. You can read more about this in my disclosure.
6 Reasons Why Your Fridge Is Making a Rattling Noise
If your refrigerator is making an odd noise, the best thing to do is listen to where it’s coming from. Is it coming from on top, the bottom, the back, or the inside of the refrigerator?
Figuring out where it’s coming from is the first step is locating and solving the problem.
Reason 1: Objects on top of the Fridge
Okay, this may sound silly, but your refrigerator may not be broken at all. Instead, if you store crockery or food on top of your fridge, they may gently rattle away and make an annoying sound.
As simple as this reason is, it is the cheapest problem to fix! Simply move the items off your fridge, or place a vibration-absorbing matt underneath your crockery.
Reason 2: Drain Pan
The drain pan, otherwise known as a water tray, is located near the bottom of the fridge. Its function is to catch all the condensation drips in the fridge, stopping the water from overflowings out of the fridge and onto the floor.
However, the supports of the drain pan may be damaged, and the pan may rattle as the drips fall and as the refrigerator gently reverberates. To fix this, locate the pan at the bottom of the refrigerator.
You may need to remove the front grill to access it. Empty the pan, and inspect the tracks that it sits on for damage.
Reason 3: Dirty Condenser Fan Blades
The condenser fan blades are essential elements for the fridge to function. They work by sucking in air to cool the condenser coils and compressor.
The fan blades are near the ground and can suck dirt and dust into the machine. If the fan becomes covered in debris, you may hear a rattling or buzzing noise.
You will need to clean the fan and coils to fix this issue. To access and clean the fan, follow these steps:
- Unplug the refrigerator.
- You may need to pull the fridge away from the wall or remove a panel from the back of the fridge.
- If your fridge has coils, you will be able to see them at the back, and you will need to remove them to access the fan.
- Vacuum or brush away the debris from the fan blades. And clean the blade with a damp cloth.
- Check for damage- if there is any, you will need to replace the blades. Make sure the blades turn easily, aren’t scraping against anything, and make sure they aren’t rattling.
Deep cleaning of refrigerators is an essential part of maintenance. It would be best if you cleaned the machine every six to twelve months to ensure proper functioning.
Vacuuming the floor near the fan blades will prevent excess debris from getting taken in by the refrigerator.
Reason 4: Faulty Defrost Timer Motor
You may not have heard of a defrost timer, but it is a useful and inexpensive tool that can save you a bunch of time and effort.
The defrost timer turns the electrical current to the compressor and evaporator fan when the fridge is defrosting. The compressor and fan motors should not be running when the fridge defrosts, so this little gadget does the work for you.
However, the defrost timer is liable to break and may result in an irritating rattling sound. For example, the motor may break due to a fault, or it may rattle due to the buildup of frost.
To fix this problem, you will need to locate, assess, and potentially replace the timer. Follow these steps:
- Disconnect the refrigerator from the power.
- Locate the timer. The timer will be located in different areas of the refrigerator, depending on the make and model.
- Refer to the user manual that came with the refrigerator, or search your fridge model online to find a guide. You may need to go behind the control panel or remove a kick plate to access the timer.
- Check that the timer has no defects and looks okay.
- Once you find it, turn the fridge back on, and check that sufficient power is getting to the timer using a multimeter. Warning: do not investigate electrical issues unless you have adequate knowledge to do so safely.
- If sufficient power is getting to the timer, it will probably work fine. If not, you may need to replace it.
Multimeters cost between $10 and $30 and can be extremely useful in diagnosing any electrical issues you have in your home.
Reason 5: Defective Compressor
The compressor is another essential element of the refrigerator. It pumps refrigerant through the coils and keeps things cool.
If the refrigerator’s compressor is broken, you may need to buy a new refrigerator. Unfortunately, it’s an expensive fix, so getting a new fridge might be a better option.
If your refrigerator is 10 – 15 years old, it’s likely that you will need to replace the compressor or the fridge around then anyway. However, just because the compressor is rattling, it doesn’t mean it has stopped working.
Fortunately, the compressor may keep working for a little while after it starts making odd noises. But it will stop eventually, and you’ll have to put up with the noise until then.
Reason 6: Evaporator Fan
The evaporator fan sits inside the fridge and circulates cool air through the fridge and freezer. Push the light switch in the freezer to check whether it is the issue.
If the fan is the issue, the noise will get louder. You can also visually inspect the fan to check for external damage.
First, switch off the fridge and unplug it from the wall. You can access the evaporator fan from the inside of the refrigerator.
The fan sits inside the freezer, behind a panel, held in by screws of clips. With the fridge turned off, spin the fan blade by hand to see if it moves properly and smoothly.
You can also check the wires, grommets, and other components for signs of wear and tear. If the fan blade doesn’t move smoothly or appears to have other issues with it, it may need to be replaced.
If your fridge is making suspicious and irritating noises, it’s a good idea to investigate sooner rather than later. There are several reasons your fridge could be making a rattling noise, most of which you can diagnose yourself.
First, check there is nothing on top or next to the refrigerator that could be shaking and causing the noise. Then, check the drain pan, fan blades, defrost timer, compressor and evaporator fan for faults or signs of wear.
Hopefully you can fix the problem yourself with a little cleaning and TLC, or you can hire a professional.
Last update on 2023-09-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API