How to Make a Refrigerator Quieter: 9 Easy Tips to Reduce the Noise

Written by Michael Harris
Last updated

Do you have a noisy refrigerator? You’re not alone. In fact, according to the Consumer Reports National Research Center, more than 60 percent of U.S. households complain about their refrigerator being too loud. That can be frustrating for anyone who lives in an apartment or other small space and needs to keep the noise level down at night and during sleeping hours.

Luckily, there are some easy ways to make your fridge quieter that are cheap or won’t cost you anything and in this post, we’ll cover 9 ways to reduce the noise. Let’s get started.

Diagnosing Where the Noise is Coming From

The first thing to do when trying to reduce the noise of your refrigerator is to know exactly where the noise is coming from.

This may seem obvious, but diagnosing what’s causing the noise will help you put together a plan to solve the problem and get it fixed or put things in place to minimize the noise.

Humming Sounds

Is your refrigerator humming? The motors in most refrigerator compressors are designed to hum when they’re running so this is totally normal and it’s more of a problem if you don’t hear your fridge humming from time to time.

But, every brand and model of refrigerator is different and depending on the age of your unit it might be louder than it should be. We’ll cover some ways to help minimize the annoying hum of your fridge in our step by step later.

If it is considerably louder than it should be you might need to get in a qualified service technician to check it out.

Vibrations or Buzzing Noises

Another common issue of excess noise could be due to vibrations and buzzing sounds. This can be caused by a number of things like your fridge not being level, being too close to another item or wall, or your refrigerator’s condenser motor or fan being loose, unbalanced or just worn out causing it to vibrate and buzz.

Have a close listen to your fridge and especially the back of it to really diagnose what is causing the sounds.

Dripping Water

Is your fridge making a dripping noise? As annoying as it is to hear your refrigerator dripping, it is totally normal.

Most refrigerators drip water into a tray or container to catch the excess water that can accumulate as a result of the freezing process.

Each freezer has its own routine for when and how much water will drip out. Because the frequency of this noise can change depending on how full your fridge is, it’s not going to be something you’ll want to fix by doing something specific.

You might need to empty the water tray though so have a look at your fridge’s manual to see how to do this.

Easy Steps to Quiet a Noisy Refrigerator

Now that you hopefully have a better idea of what is causing the noise, you can begin to put together a plan to reduce the noise or hopefully completely eliminate it.

Here are some tips and tricks that should help you out and are worth trying.

1. Clean the Compressor and Fans

If you think it could be a noisy refrigerator compressor that’s causing the noise, it might be time to give it a clean.

Despite keeping things cold, fridges can get hot, and unfortunately, things like dust, dirt, and pet hair can end up in hard-to-reach areas. This means that your fridge is having to work harder to keep things cool and therefore will be noisier than it needs to be.

Make sure to turn off your refrigerator and unplug it from the wall before cleaning any of the moving parts at the back. It’s good practice to schedule regular cleans to the rear of your refrigerator as it will help make your fridge operate more efficiently which is always a good thing.

2. Level Your Fridge

For a number of reasons, it’s really important to ensure that your fridge is completely level. Not only will this help extend the life of your unit, it will also help your fridge maintain a consistent temperature and can be an easy way to quiet a noisy refrigerator.

Fridges are designed to be completely flat so they can drain water to the rear. If your fridge isn’t level, it could be causing water to pool which could be causing your refrigerator to be louder due to excess vibration.

If you can’t tell if your refrigerator is level by looking at it, use a spirit level. Check underneath each end of the refrigerator (top and bottom) and adjust the legs accordingly until it’s completely flat.

3. Use Anti-Vibration Pads or a Mat

If your fridge is vibrating and it’s traveling through the floor then a cheap and easy way to fix it is by placing it on anti-vibration pads.

It’s worth getting some as they’re very inexpensive, especially if you have hardwood floors or laminate in your kitchen.

Anti-vibration mats go underneath appliances that vibrate such as your oven, dishwasher, washing machine, and dryer. We recommend these ones here but there are lots of good options.

4. Move the Fridge to a Different Location

While it’s not always possible in small spaces, the position of your fridge can make a big difference to the amount of sound you hear from it.

Place your refrigerator away from other appliances which can cause vibrations including washing machines and dryers, dishwashers, ovens. Also, avoid placing your fridge near heat sources such as stoves or radiators.

Fridges should be placed away from walls, especially the rear, and shouldn’t have anything touching them both to keep them cool and prevent them vibrating and making excess noise.

But, ideally, putting the fridge in an alcove is best as this causes the soundwaves it creates to be trapped and hopefully will have less chance of bouncing off walls to your ears.

5. Soundproof the Wall Behind the Refrigerator 

If you can’t move your fridge then one easy way to reduce the noise is to soundproof the wall behind it.

Treating the wall behind your fridge will help deaden or absorb the sound coming from it and can make it considerably quieter.

There are lots of low-cost and easy ways to soundproof a wall but we’d recommend getting some foam acoustic panels like these ones here which are cheap, easy to put up, and will help to absorb the noise.

6. Keep Your Fridge Well Stocked

Believe it or not, the more things you have inside your fridge the more efficient it will be at keeping food cold.

The reason is that the less air there is inside your refrigerator – because of food taking up space – the less air the refrigerator has to cool. As a result, it uses less energy to maintain the desired temperature than if there were fewer items in your fridge.

So try to keep things stocked up inside (and not on top of!) your refrigerator whenever you can both to use less energy but also that your fridge doesn’t have to work as hard (which will mean it’s quieter).

7. Build a Wooden Case Around the Fridge

As with all soundproofing, the more “stuff” you can put between your ears and the source of the sound the better. One solution when it comes to soundproofing a fridge is to build a wooden case around it. This is especially good if you don’t have an alcove to put the fridge in as you can essentially make your own.

For good results, you want to build a cabinet that completely surrounds your refrigerator on all sides except the front. Being sure to leave space on the sides and back with enough room for airflow between them and the surface of your refrigerator.

You could even treat the insides of your cabinet with acoustic panels or mass-loaded vinyl to soundproof it even more.

8. Hire an Expert to Repair it

If the above methods haven’t worked for you, and your refrigerator is still making more noise than it should then clearly the problem is bigger than we anticipated and it might be time to call in an expert.

Check if your refrigerator is still under warranty and if it is, give the manufacturer a call to see how much they’ll charge you to come out and fix the problem.

It can get expensive though and sometimes can cost more to repair a fridge than to buy a new one.

9. Buy a Quieter Refrigerator

If all else fails, and you can’t seem to get the noise level down, then it might be time to consider buying a new, quieter refrigerator.

While it can be expensive, newer refrigerators are designed to be less noisy than older models and may be worth looking into especially if you’ve had your fridge for a long time now.

Check out our post here about the quietest fridges to help you choose a good one.

Summing up How to Reduce Refrigerator Noise

As you can see, there are lots of ways to reduce the noise coming from your refrigerator.

It can be a good idea to employ more than one method as you can then prevent any one thing causing the problem, for example, if your fridge is on wooden floors that will soak up some of the vibrations so it won’t be as loud but also try and keep things stocked inside it.

There are also plenty of other appliances which can make quite a lot of noise in the kitchen such as dishwashers and washing machines, so check out our posts here about how to quiet them down too.

Good luck and get in touch if you have any other tips for how to quiet a noisy refrigerator.

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About The Author

Hey I'm Michael and I run this website. I'm a professional voiceover artist and in my search to create a silent studio I've become obsessed with soundproofing and things being quiet. Thanks for visiting and if you have any question get in touch.