Question about Refrigerators

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I have an older sub-zero fridge (241RFD)which runs constantly, never giving us a noise break. It is housed in panels and in adjoining and upstairs rooms the noise is very irritating -- the whole bedroom above the unit hums and vibrates. I had a certified sub-zero appliance person look at it, and he said it is fine. Is there anything that can be done to baffle the noise? The panels are not vibrating and causing the noise. It always seem to be running, loudly. Thank you, Judith My Subzero 241RFD won't shut down no matter how low the setting. If I shut it off it will not come back on for a long time. Thermostat?

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Noise can come from these areas:

The inside of the freezer Self-defrosting refrigerators use a circulating fan to move the air through the freezer and refrigerator compartments. This fan runs whenever the unit is cooling. The fan is located in the freezer, as follows:

  • If the freezer is on top, the fan is on the back wall, near the top or bottom, in the center of the freezer.


  • If the freezer is on the bottom, the fan is on the back wall, near the top of the freezer.


  • If the freezer is on the left, the fan is on the back wall, halfway up or near the top.


Over time, the fan may become noisy--usually making a chirping or squealing sound, though it may make a loud groaning noise instead. 

To find out if the fan is causing the noise, just open the freezer door and push in any fan/light switches. If the noise is louder when the door is open, the evaporator fan motor is the cause. You can't lubricate or repair this motor. You must replace it.

The outside back of the refrigerator There are three components on the outside back of the refrigerator that may become noisy: the compressor, the condenser fan motor (if self-defrosting), or the defrost timer (if self-defrosting). 

  • The compressor is a football-sized case with no apparent moving parts. You can see it on the outside of the refrigerator at the back near the bottom. It is usually black and has black or copper-colored tubes and various colored wires attached to it. If the compressor is the device making noise, there is probably no repair that will reduce the noise. You will have to replace it--which can be quite costly.


  • If the condenser fan is making noise, there may be a build-up of lint or other debris on the fan blade. The fan is located near the back of the machine, sometimes behind a thin panel. To clean it, first unplug the refrigerator, remove the thin panel, and use a soft bristle brush to clean it. If there is no lint build-up or debris on the blade, you will have to replace the motor.


  • The defrost timer is often located at the bottom of the refrigerator, near the front and behind the kick plate. Occasionally the electric motor inside the timer may become noisy. The timer must be replaced to solve this problem.


The bottom of the refrigerator Noises detected at the bottom of the refrigerator almost always originate from the back of the refrigerator. However, sometimes the drain pan under the refrigerator will rattle. You may need to tape the pan in place to stop a rattle. Also see the “Outside back of the refrigerator.”

Posted on Nov 29, 2008

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