How to Fix a Refrigerator Knocking Noise

July 8, 2024
Refrigerator Repair

A knocking noise coming from your refrigerator is not only irritating, but it can also be a sign of a deeper issue that needs to be fixed. If you’ve noticed your refrigerator is a lot noisier than it used to be, it’s time to investigate. Our troubleshooting guide will help you find the root cause of the knocking sound and eradicate it, leaving your home peaceful and quiet once more. Read on to find out how. 

Check Your Refrigerator Is Level

This may sound almost too simple, but a refrigerator that isn’t level can significantly impact performance. It can cause the internal components to vibrate against each other or against the wall, causing knocking or buzzing noises. This can also lead to impaired performance and increased energy use. To fix this:

  • Test to see if this is your issue by manually adjusting how the fridge is standing and seeing if this affects the noise. 
  • Use a level to test if the fridge is sitting flat.
  • The vast majority of fridges have adjustable legs. Check your user manual to find out how to adjust the legs in your specific model. Adjust the legs, checking the level of the fridge as you go until it is sitting perfectly level. Check both the front-to-back and side-to-side balance. 
  • Once the fridge is level, wait to see if the noise recurs. If it does, move on to the next step in this guide. 

Check The Condenser Fan

The condenser fan is responsible for cooling the refrigerator coils. If the fan blades are damaged or obstructed, it can cause a knocking noise as the fan spins around. Here’s what to do:

  • Listen for the source of the knocking noise. If you can hear it coming from the back of your refrigerator, it is likely the condenser fan. 
  • Turn off the power for your safety.
  • Pull the refrigerator away from the wall and remove the back panel to access the condenser fan. 
  • Thoroughly clean the fan blades. Excess dust and debris buildup can partially obstruct the fan’s movement, leading to a knocking noise. 
  • Check if anything is obstructing the fan’s movement, and if so, remove the blockage. 
  • Try moving the fan’s blade by hand to see if it spins freely. If not, it may be damaged and need replacing. 
  • To replace the condenser fan, first order a replacement part that matches the faulty one. Remove the faulty fan, ensuring you take note of how it is installed. Install the new fan following the product’s instructions. 
  • Replace the back panel and restore power to your refrigerator. Listen to check if the knocking has stopped. 

Check the Evaporator Fan

The evaporator fan is locked at the back of the freezer compartment and is responsible for circulating cold air through the fridge’s interior. If it becomes damaged or blocked, it can make a knocking or banging noise. Also a blocked or damaged evaporator fan can impact your fridge’s cooling abilities and lead to spoiled food. Here’s how to fix it:

  • Listen for a knocking sound coming from the back of the freezer compartment. 
  • Unplug your refrigerator and remove the interior back panel of the freezer to access the fan. 
  • Check if the fan is obstructed. Due to its location, sometimes the evaporator fan can become obstructed by ice, leading to impaired movement. 
  • If it’s iced over, use a hairdryer at a low temperature to melt the ice. This should be enough to solve the issue. 
  • If there’s no ice but the fan appears damaged, it will need replacing. Source a replacement part that’s compatible with your model refrigerator, then remove the old part and install the new one. 
  • Replace the back panel, restore power to your fridge, and wait to ensure that the knocking noise doesn’t come back. 

Check the Compressor

The compressor is the most essential part of a refrigerator. It circulates refrigerant and ensures that the fridge stays cold. If it’s faulty, it can cause knocking noises and excessive vibrations. If this is your issue, you’ll likely have noticed cooling issues as well as the knocking noise. 

If you determine the compressor is the source of your issue, it usually means it’s time to purchase a new refrigerator. A failing compressor is a big repair job, and in most cases, it will be more financially sensible to replace the entire appliance, particularly if your fridge is on the older side. 

Because the compressor contains refrigerant, this isn’t a job that is suitable for a DIYer; you need to be licensed to handle and dispose of refrigerant. We recommend calling in a technician to confirm that it is a compressor issue. They’ll also be able to advise you on whether it’s worth repairing or not. 

Check the Ice Maker Assembly

The ice maker assembly produces and dispenses ice. Due to it having a lot of moving parts, a malfunction can lead to a knocking or banging noise, particularly if there’s an issue with the dispenser arm. If you suspect this is the case, check if the knocking noise aligns with when the ice maker tries to dump out the ice cubes. To fix:

  • Carefully inspect the ice maker assembly for damage to any of the parts. If you notice anything is cracked or broken, it will need to be replaced with a new part. 
  • Check to see if any moving parts are iced over, preventing a full range of motion. Use a hairdryer on a medium setting to defrost any ice that shouldn’t be there, then wait to see if the issue is resolved.

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