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A vibrating refrigerator isn't an uncommon thing. It can, however, be a very annoying thing, especially if the noise is becoming louder by the day. So what causes a refrigerator to vibrate? And better yet, how do you stop it? We have researched the main causes for this, and in this post, we will go over how to remedy them.
These are a few of the most common reasons why your refrigerator may vibrate:
- The compressor is bad
- The condenser coils are dirty
- The ice maker needs to be repaired or replaced
- It's an outdated fridge
Sometimes a vibrating refrigerator can be a simple fix, and other times it can signify a bigger issue. Continue reading to learn more about the issues that may cause your fridge to vibrate and how to solve the issue.
Reasons Why Your Refrigerator May Vibrate
The best solution to fix a vibrating fridge depends on the reason why your fridge is vibrating. Here are some of the most common reasons and how to fix them.
The compressor is bad
If you notice a loud hum and vibration coming from your refrigerator, more often than not it's the compressor. While the motors in compressors need to vibrate to function, they shouldn't cause a noticeable vibration in most cases.
If you notice your fridge vibrating harder or becoming louder, chances are that the compressor may need to be inspected. And if you can't replace the compressor right away, consider wrapping it in some type of sound deadening material such as rubber or foam.
Note that you'll need to open up the panel in the back of the fridge to do this. You may need to adjust the compressor's position, but you should be able to wedge a thin material either on the sides or bottom of the compressor.
This will keep it from vibrating against any housing or other components directly around it, which can contribute to noticeable vibration and noises.
The condenser coils are dirty
Condenser coils are also located on the back of the refrigerator and are responsible for transporting coolant to the fridge and freezer. Over time, these coils can become dusty, which can affect how well they transfer the coolant.
This, in turn, can cause the compressor to work harder to perform the same task of cooling the refrigerator and freezer—causing the motor to run harder and longer, often creating a buzzing sound. It's best to have your condenser coils cleaned at least once a year. You can even perform this task yourself.
To do so, grab a handheld vacuum with a hose attachment and go over the condenser coils from top to bottom. You can also wipe them down with a damp cloth. Make sure to power off the refrigerator before cleaning the coils.
The ice maker needs to be repaired or replaced
The ice maker in your refrigerator can also cause the unit to vibrate more than normal. Typically, ice makers will vibrate slightly when they're in the process of making ice (due to the motor).
However, when the ice maker experiences component issues, disconnections, or loose wires, the motor may start to vibrate more than normal. Unfortunately, the location and housing of the ice maker's motor aren't ideal for inserting sound-deadening material. So, in this case, it's best to have the motor serviced or replaced by an experienced technician.
It's an outdated fridge
As mentioned earlier, often, the vibration coming from the refrigerator typically comes from a motorized component such as the ice maker or compressor. And in many cases, it's harmless. But if the fridge is 7-10 years old or more, this vibration may worsen over time.
If you aren't able to quiet or replace the components, or the repair is more than the fridge is worth, it may be best to simply replace the unit altogether. Also, if the unit is vibrating against a wall, you may notice the sound even more. In this case, you may want to attach a foam or rubber pad to the wall (or the back of the fridge).
How do you know if your fridge is dying?
A refrigerator that is dying will often give off signs that it's not in the best condition. Here are a few signs that your refrigerator may display if it is starting to break down.
Food spoils before its expiration
One of the biggest signs that your refrigerator is on the brink of dying is when food expires too soon. An outdated refrigerator will have less coolant flowing through its system, which will cause your food to become warmer than it should be.
A quality refrigerator cooling system should be able to keep interior temperatures at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or cooler. So it's best to take a look at your refrigerator's thermostat if you notice your food going bad sooner than normal.
There is condensation on the refrigerator
Does it look like your refrigerator is sweating? If you notice moisture on the exterior of the refrigerator, especially around the door seal, it could be that the seal is simply faulty or worn. However, if you notice the condensation appearing on the inside of the refrigerator, this could be a sign of a bigger issue.
Often, when this occurs, it's due to a problem with the cooling system. And when the cooling system starts malfunctioning, other issues may soon follow, indicating that the unit is on its last leg.
The fridge is buzzing loudly
This is probably one of the biggest signs that a refrigerator is about to go out. Often, the buzzing is caused by the compressor's motor. And often, by the time this integral component goes out, the refrigerator is typically older and simply not worth the repair.
All refrigerators will emit a soft hum during operation. However, if you find that your refrigerator is starting to create a loud buzz and vibrating more than it normally does, it may be a sign that it is in trouble.
You're repairing it frequently
Notice that your refrigerator's repair costs are adding up? Have you had to fix or replace more than three parts within a year?
If you're spending more money on the refrigerator repair than the unit is worth, chances are that it's best to simply get a new refrigerator. When refrigerators are about 7 to 10 years old or more, they may experience significant component failure before they break down fully.
There is a buildup of frost in the freezer
It's normal for freezers to develop a bit of frost, especially if they haven't been defrosted in a while.
However, if you defrost your freezer and find that the frost builds up relatively quickly in a matter of weeks, chances are that the cooling system has become inefficient. This often happens when refrigerators become outdated and inefficient.
Your energy bills are increasing
An energy bill that's abnormally high can also be a sign that your refrigerator is on the fritz. Older refrigerators will use excessive electricity as they struggle to maintain their inner core temperature.
To determine if this is the case with your refrigerator, consider using an energy usage monitor for a few days and look at the total wattage the refrigerator uses.
You can find these devices online or at your local hardware store for about $20. Take a look at the total wattage that your refrigerator is drawing monthly and use it to estimate your monthly utility cost. If the wattage is higher than the fridge's specifications (which you can find in the unit's user manual), then it may be best to replace it.
What is the average life expectancy of a fridge?
The average refrigerator can last anywhere from 7 to 12 years if well-maintained. This includes getting the refrigerator serviced once a year by an appliance technician and changing any filters and gaskets as needed.
Is it worth it to repair a fridge?
It depends on the age of the refrigerator and the cost of the repair. For example, if your refrigerator is over 7 years old, it may not be worth paying $500 for a repair job and may be best to just buy a new unit.
So paying for a new repair, consider the pros and cons, and determine the overall value of the refrigerator. You'll also want to consider other repairs that the refrigerator has required in the past 12 months. This can give you an idea if the refrigerator is on its way to breaking down completely.
Wrapping things up
We hope this post has helped explain the main reasons why a refrigerator may vibrate and how to get rid of this issue. Remember, it's normal for a refrigerator to vibrate and emit some noise. However, if you notice that your fridge is vibrating more than normal and is becoming louder by the day, you may want to have it checked by a professional.
Before you go, be sure to check out our other posts: