Make your refrigerator or freezer like a treasure chest – Lidia Bastianich
Silence is golden, and when you finally make it home from a long day at the office and just want to relax in a comfortable chair with a good book, there’s nothing worse than having the few precious moments of quiet pleasure that you’re able to seize during the day interrupted by a noisy refrigerator.
It can drive you to distraction and make you feel like you can’t even relax and find a little peace of mind in your own home.
Every fridge regardless of how old it is is going to make some noise as it pumps the refrigerant around and ensures that the temperature inside your fridge stays low enough to keep your soda ice cold and your groceries fresh.
In other words, if it’s working properly, your refrigerator is going to make some noise, but it shouldn’t be loud enough to ruin your day or put any sort of serious dent in the time that you get to spend on your own, far from the madding crowd and the non-stop demands of the nine to five working world.
If your fridge is spoiling your alone time, there’s good news and there’s bad news. The good news is that it’s fairly easy to mute your fridge with a little know-how and some off-the-shelf, everyday sound dampening material.
The bad news is, if your refrigerator has suddenly decided to turn the volume control up to eleven, it could be a sign that there’s something seriously wrong with it and it might be about to give up the ghost and head for the big appliance shop in the sky.
And the even worse news is that you won’t know if it’s just being noisy or it’s on its last legs until you get stuck in and try to make it a little quieter.
Let’s assume that is all is well, and that your refrigerator is just a little noisier than you’d like it to be.
If that’s the case, then you’ve come to the right place as we’re going to guide you through a few simple tricks and fixes that you can use to make your refrigerator quieter and restore a little of the peace and harmony that you’ve been sorely missing.
The Usual Refrigerator Noises
As we’ve already explained, your refrigerator is going to make some noise, and those easily identifiable sounds are just part and parcel of its everyday working life.
That dripping or hissing noise? That’s just the sound of the compressor doing what it’s supposed to be doing and ensuring that there’s enough refrigerant being forced around your fridge to keep everything cool.
That whirring noise? That’s the fan kicking into action to help the cold air from the freezer circulate properly to keep the fridge compartment cold.
It’s just doing what it’s supposed to do, and sometimes it’ll make a little more noise than it usually does and last a little longer than you’re expecting it to, as it won’t stop doing what’s it supposed to do until the thermostat lets it know that all is well and it’s time to stop.
Shaking All Over
If, however, your refrigerator is shaking and vibrating, then that isn’t one of the noises that it should be making and it’s usually caused by your fridge either not being level or the freezer or fridge doors knocking because they’re not secured tightly enough.
Check the doors first and if either of them feels a little loose, use a screwdriver to tighten and secure them in place and the irritating vibration should become a thing of the past when you close them again.
If the vibration isn’t being caused by loose doors, it’s probably due to your refrigerator not being properly leveled, or sitting on an uneven floor.
Try moving it around a little until it looks straight and level, and if you’re still worried that it isn’t, you can always check how even the floor that it’s resting on is by placing a spirit level on top of the refrigerator.
As soon as it’s properly level, your refrigerator should stop vibrating.
Realistically, if your refrigerator is too noisy, then you’re going to need to get behind the fridge to make it a little quieter. And the noisiest element of your fridge is going to be the condenser fan, which is fairly easy to access and quieten.
One of the principal reasons why it might have started to get a little louder is that the fan might be covered in debris, dust, or lint, or there might be an undue amount of it trapped in the fan housing.
In order to check the fan and the housing, unplug your refrigerator, move it out of the recess that is located in or away from the wall it’s standing against, and make sure that you have easy access to the rear of the fridge.
There’s a panel that stands out from the back of the fridge that should be easy enough to remove with a screwdriver.
Once you’ve removed the condenser fan housing, use a cloth to gently wipe the fan clean and then clean the inside of the housing.
After you’ve finished cleaning it, to reduce the amount of noise that the fan makes, it’s always a good idea to line the inside of the panel with a thin layer of mass-loaded vinyl that will further deaden any noise that the fan makes.
Just be careful not to cover any vents that the panel might have, or you could restrict any necessary airflow, and open yourself, and your fridge to a world of potential overheating problems.
Silencing The Compressor
One of the most awkward and expensive components of any refrigerator is the compressor, and almost every engineer will probably tell you the same thing about it that we’re going to.
If the condenser packs in, nine times out of ten, it’s cheaper to buy a new fridge than it is to replace the compressor.
While most compressors, even in full flow won’t exceed ninety decibels, they can still be noisy. But just because they’re noisy, it doesn’t mean that they need to be replaced or that you need to start looking for a new refrigerator.
You don’t, and you can usually reduce the amount of noise that a compressor makes with a purpose-designed set of rubber grommets that are made to reduce their volume, and are easy to fit.
If you’re unsure how to fit them, surf on over to YouTube and spend an hour or so watching one of the hundreds of freely available tutorials on it that’ll teach you everything that you need to know about how, and where to fit the grommets.
It’s also a good idea to line the back of your refrigerator, making sure that you avoid any vented areas and don’t cover any panels that you might need to access in the future with mass-loaded vinyl which will further dampen any noise that the compressor and the condenser fan make.
Maintenance And Noise Reduction
If dust, lint, and everyday debris have built up around and in the condenser fan, its housing, and the compressor, you don’t need to soundproof them. You can just clean them, which should go some considerable way to reducing the amount of noise that your refrigerator is making.
The trouble is, once you start cleaning them, if you want to ensure that your fridge remains quiet, you’ll have to add it to your list of regular chores.
Our best advice is don’t wait for your fridge to start disturbing the peace before you do it, try and clean the fan, its housing, and the condenser once a month, and the noise that used to be a problem, won’t return to plague you.
A Little More Technical
If you’re a little more technically inclined, minded, and able, it’s also worth considering fitting a silencer on the intake of the compressor.
It’ll reduce the amount of noise that the compressor makes, but if it is something that you are considering doing, then before you start trying to figure out how to do it by yourself, it’s a good idea to head to YouTube and familiarize yourself with how to do before you attempt to do it yourself.
Inside As Well As Out
Another tip that we found particularly useful, was insulating the inside of the fridge with the same mass-loaded vinyl that you can use on the back of your refrigerator.
If you are going to attempt to soundproof the inside of your fridge, it’s important to remember not to cover any of the vents that allow the cold air to pass from the freezer to the fridge while you’re fitting it.
And you’ll need to ensure that wherever you do fit the vinyl inside your fridge that it doesn’t impede any of the shelves, or compartments and that you’re easily able to shut the fridge door and that the seal between the door and the fridge isn’t compromised when you do fit it.
If you can’t shut the door properly and it doesn’t seal tightly, your fridge won’t get as cold as it should and could end up drawing air from outside the fridge into it, which in turn can cause ice to build up in the vents between the fridge and freezer and prevent cold air reaching the fridge.
Which, as we almost certainly don’t need to tell you, will mean that you’ll need to defrost your freezer if you want your fridge to work again. So be careful where you place the vinyl and take your time to decide where in your fridge it needs to be.
Location, Location, Location
Where your refrigerator is located in your kitchen could be the problem and the reason why it sounds noisier than it should. If you’ve placed your refrigerator in a recess, it could be creating an echo or amplifying the noise that your refrigerator is making, in which case there are two easy solutions.
You can unplug your fridge, move it out of the recess that it was located in, and having carefully measured the area behind it, use heat-resistant acoustic paneling to line the wall behind your refrigerator before sliding it back into place, plugging it in, and switching it on again.
The paneling will deaden any natural echoes and effectively eliminate any amplified sound that the walls might be causing while absorbing the latent heat that your fridge creates.
It sounds crazy we know, but all refrigerators produce a great deal of heat while they’re cooling down and freezing their contents and interior. Don’t believe us? Slide your hand between the wall and your refrigerator.
Can you feel how hot it is? That’s why you need to fit heat-resistant paneling as it’ll absorb and disperse any and all heat, and noise that your fridge creates, without letting either become a problem.
You’re absolutely right, we did mention a second option, and it’s by far the easiest one to pursue. If your refrigerator is too noisy where it is, simply move it to another location in your kitchen.
Okay, so it isn’t quite that easy, as you’ll need to decide where you want to move it to, and you’ll need to measure the area you want to move it to in order to make sure that there’s enough room for the refrigerator.
But once you’ve done that, all you’ll need to do is unplug it, empty the refrigerator, move it, put everything back in and switch it on again. And hopefully, it won’t make as much noise in its new location as it used to make in its old one.
This should only really be used as an instrument of last resort, but if you’ve tried everything else and your fridge is continuing to make a noise, you could try lining the floor underneath it with heat-resistant acoustic paneling or mass-loaded vinyl.
Both will anchor your refrigerator in place and absorb and deaden any sound that might be emanating from underneath your fridge.
Given the choice between the two, we’d always use the paneling, as it will also absorb any unwanted, or excess heat that is being produced. It’s an efficient and easy way to kill two noisy, hot birds with one soundproof stone.
The Last Quiet Word
We know how disruptive and annoying an unnecessarily noisy refrigerator can be, and that’s why we put this list together so that you can use some or all of these effective methods to finally turn the volume down on your fridge and find the peace and quiet that you so much deserve.