It is common for a refrigerator to produce various sounds because even the highest-quality refrigerators in the market are not entirely noiseless. Nonetheless, if you hear a knocking noise emanating from the appliance, it is not typical; rather, it indicates an issue.
When you notice knocking noises originating from your refrigerator, they are probably the result of several potential causes. One possibility is the accumulation of ice around the evaporator fan. Additionally, it could be due to the water pipes behind the fridge making contact with the appliance or the wall, resulting in similar noises.
Another consideration is examining whether there's a jam in the ice maker or if the sounds originate from the refrigerator's plastic components. Lastly, it's worth investigating whether the source of the noise might be the compressor.
This guide will help you to identify the most common reasons for the knocking sounds emanating from your fridge. In many instances, the issue is not serious and can be resolved promptly.
What Does It Mean When Your Refrigerator Is Making A Knocking Noise?
Prior to initiating the troubleshooting process for the knocking sounds originating from your fridge, it's essential to grasp a critical point: not all fridge knocking sounds are identical.
Therefore, there's no immediate cause for alarm when you initially hear this sound. In the majority of instances, it does not indicate a serious issue.
Here are the most probable reasons behind the knocking noise you’re encountering in your fridge:
1. Ice Around Evaporator Fan
The initial factor to consider is the possibility of ice and frost accumulation around the evaporator fan.
Within the refrigerator compartment, the evaporator serves as a vital component of the cooling system. Its role is to absorb heat and release the necessary cold air for refrigeration.
Located alongside the evaporator is a small fan responsible for circulating cold air throughout the refrigerator compartment. This fan consists of a motor and rotating blades, functioning like any typical fan.
Nevertheless, if ice and frost accumulate around these fan blades, they can generate the knocking noise you are attempting to address. This occurs because the rotating fan blades repeatedly come into contact with the ice buildup, resulting in the noise.
A distinctive indicator that this is the underlying cause is the rapid and continuous nature of the knocking sound, especially when the fan is operational.
To resolve this issue, you can eliminate the ice and frost buildup around the evaporator fan blades. However, if the accumulation is extensive and difficult to remove, you may need to defrost the fridge and allow the ice and frost to naturally melt away.
2. Water Pipes
Furthermore, it's crucial to closely listen and discern whether the knocking sound is originating from the water pipes.
Refrigerators equipped with water dispensers and ice makers are typically connected to your home's water supply using pipes and hoses. These pipes and hoses are situated behind the refrigerator, between the appliance and the wall.
The knocking noise you are hearing is likely a result of these water fixtures making contact with the wall or the back of the fridge. This movement occurs when there are significant fluctuations in water pressure within the pipe or hose, or when a water hammer effect is at play.
To address this issue, a bit of plumbing intervention is required. First, confirm that the water connections are securely fastened, as they should be. Then, make sure to firmly affix the hoses and pipes to the wall or the rear of the fridge. When these components are securely mounted to a flat surface, they won't have the freedom to move and strike anything else, resolving the problem.
3. Ice Maker Jam
If your refrigerator includes a built-in ice maker, it's important to include troubleshooting for this component as well.
Generally, ice makers in refrigerators freeze ice cubes and then transfer them to an ice bin. However, depending on the brand and model of your fridge, the ice may also be dispensed outside the refrigerator door.
Knocking noises emanating from this area of the fridge are likely due to an ice cube becoming jammed within the ice maker.
When the moving components of the ice maker encounter resistance from a trapped ice cube, the result is a repetitive knocking sound originating from that part of the appliance.
To address this problem, the solution is relatively straightforward: you need to remove the obstructing ice cube. However, exercise caution, as it can be hazardous to insert your finger or any other object near moving parts to free the cube.
Instead, before attempting to release the stuck ice cube, disconnect the fridge from its power supply. Alternatively, you can also defrost the ice maker, allowing the stuck ice cube to melt away safely.
4. Fridge Plastic Parts
Believe it or not, the knocking noise you hear can also be attributed to the plastic components that line the interior of your fridge compartment.
It's important to bear in mind that your refrigerator contains various plastic panels and parts on the inside, and there's ample space for air to become trapped behind these plastic rear panels and other sections.
Additionally, your fridge doesn't maintain a constant cold temperature all day long. Instead, it undergoes automatic defrost cycles several times a day. During these cycles, a heating element near the evaporator activates to melt any accumulated ice or frost.
As your fridge goes through this process of repeated warming and cooling throughout the day, the air inside expands and contracts. This can occasionally result in a 'pop' sound that may be loud enough to resemble knocking.
In such cases, there's nothing you can do to rectify the issue. These types of noises do not indicate a genuine problem; rather, they are a natural consequence of the wear and tear that occurs in a fridge after many years of use.
5. Worn-Out Compressor
Generally, fridge compressors have a lifespan of over ten years. However, if you hear a knocking sound emanating from it, it indicates that it's deteriorating or there's a faulty component within it.
Regrettably, you cannot troubleshoot or repair the compressor on your own.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that only individuals with the necessary training and certifications can troubleshoot a sealed system like the one found in your refrigerator, which includes the compressor.
In such a situation, your best course of action is to reach out to a qualified and certified technician to diagnose the issue with your compressor. They will likely recommend replacing the faulty compressor with a new one.
Depending on how long you've had your fridge and the extent of the problem, it might be worth considering upgrading to a new refrigerator entirely.
Pros and Cons Of Refrigerator
A knocking sound coming from your refrigerator can be caused by various factors, and it's important to understand both the pros and cons associated with this issue. Here are some potential reasons for the knocking sound and their implications:
- Easy Troubleshooting
- Cost Savings:
- Environmental Impact
- Potential for Expensive Repairs
- Food Safety Concerns
- Energy Efficiency
Differences Between Refrigerators and Dishwashers
Refrigerators require a power outlet for electrical supply and may have water line connections for ice makers and water dispensers (if equipped).
Dishwashers need both electrical and plumbing connections for water supply and drainage. They are usually installed under countertops or within kitchen cabinetry.
Alternative to Refrigerator
An alternative to a traditional refrigerator depends on your specific needs and circumstances. Here are some alternatives to consider:
Cooler or Ice Chest:
For short-term cooling needs or when camping, a cooler or ice chest can be a practical choice. You can store perishable items and ice to keep them cool. However, this is not a long-term solution, as ice will eventually melt.
If you require a smaller cooling solution, a mini-fridge can be a viable alternative. These compact refrigerators are suitable for dorm rooms, offices, or small apartments. They provide a limited storage capacity but can maintain cool temperatures for food and beverages.
Icebox or Icehouse:
In areas with cold climates, an icebox or icehouse can be used as an alternative to a refrigerator. These structures are insulated and help preserve food by utilizing the natural cold temperatures outside.\
when your refrigerator makes a knocking sound, it's essential to investigate the root cause to determine the appropriate course of action.
While there can be both advantages and disadvantages associated with this issue, the key takeaway is that addressing it promptly is crucial to ensure the proper functioning and longevity of your refrigerator.
Whether the problem turns out to be a minor issue you can resolve yourself or a more significant malfunction requiring professional assistance, taking action is essential to maintain food safety, reduce energy consumption, and minimize inconvenience.