Refrigerator makes clicking noise? Try this

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My refrigerator makes clicking noise – what can I do?

In today’s article, we shall look at why your refrigerator is making clicking noises. Also, we shall look at how you can go about eliminating these noises.

Let us get started.

Refrigerator makes clicking noise

Usually, a healthy refrigerator makes clicking noises several times during the day. You will hear them as the defrost timer toggles on and off.

You can also hear the clicks as the start relay toggles the compressor on and off.

Nonetheless, a loud click or frequent clicking is an indication that something is not right.

Now, let us look at what might cause these sudden loud/frequent clicks.

Faulty defrost timer

In most models, this part is normally located toward the back of your refrigerator.

Mostly, it is usually a white rectangular unit with four terminals (and it is located inside the center console) as shown:

fridge making clicking noise every few minutes

So, if your refrigerator is making clicking noises that seem to originate from the upper back, chances are that you have a faulty defrost timer.

Another sign that the defrost timer is faulty is if your refrigerator is frosting often as it makes clicking sounds.

This is because the defrost timer is responsible for toggling the defrost process on and off. When it becomes faulty, your refrigerator will experience problems with defrosting.

If you are still unsure if it is faulty, you can perform a continuity test just to be sure (towards the end of this article, I will guide you on how to perform the test on all four terminals).

Luckily, you can easily get a replacement defrost timer for your model and replacing it should take less than ten minutes.

To point you in the right direction, we have compiled a list of OEM defrost timers for a few common refrigerator brands below:  

Refrigerator brand Defrost timer replacement
Frigidaire Get it on Amazon
GE Get it on Amazon
Whirlpool Get it on Amazon
Maytag, Kenmore, KitchenAid Get it on Amazon


Fridge making clicking noise every few minutes – faulty start relay

If the clicking noise seems to originate from the bottom of your refrigerator, chances are that your start relay is faulty.

The start relay is responsible for firing up the compressor. When it does this, you might hear a ‘click’ indicating it has successfully fired up the compressor.

On the other hand, if this relay is faulty, it will be unable to fire up the compressor. This would be followed by the relay trying to fire up the compressor again within a minute or less.

Ordinarily, this will result in your refrigerator experiencing issues in cooling.

Therefore, if you note that your refrigerator is not cooling as it should and it is making a clicking noise, it is an indication that the start relay is faulty.

Additionally, if you need to inspect the relay manually, follow these steps:

  1. Disconnect your refrigerator from the power outlet.
  2. To access and open the rear bottom panel, move the refrigerator away from the wall.
  3. Locate the start relay next to the compressor and gently remove it.
  4. Gently shake the relay. Does it rattle?

If yes, it is faulty and you will need to get a replacement relay for your model.

Refrigerator makes clicking noise – additional fixes

Moving on…

Though not a common cause, it could be that the air damper is at fault.

Let us see how.

Inspect the air damper

Also called the baffle or diffuser, the air damper is responsible for controlling the flow of cold air from the freezer to the fridge.

Now, if you note that the clicking sounds are coming from inside the refrigerator, you will need to inspect the damper.

This is because it might have gone bad hence the clicking sounds as it opens and closes continuously.

While at it, also check to see if the temperature inside your fridge is lower than the set temperature. Another sign of a faulty air damper is food inside your fridge freezing.

In some models, the air damper has a thermostat that controls its opening and closing based on the temperature in the fridge compartment.

It could be that this thermostat has gone bad leading to your air damper valve opening and closing constantly hence the continuous clicking sounds.

Unfortunately, the thermostat is built into the air damper assembly.

Luckily, the air damper assembly is not expensive and you can easily order one depending on your refrigerator model.

Below, we have compiled a list of OEM air dampers for different refrigerator brands:

Refrigerator brand Air damper replacement
Frigidaire Get it on Amazon
GE Get it on Amazon
Samsung Get it on Amazon
Whirlpool, Maytag, Kenmore, KitchenAid Get it on Amazon


Refrigerator making clicking noise after power outage

To begin with, compressors have a safety mechanism that won’t allow them to power up again within a few minutes of them powering down.

So, if the power outage was just for a few minutes, your compressor will not start immediately. In fact, the clicking noise you are hearing is from the start relay trying to turn on the compressor.

In such a scenario, simply unplug your refrigerator for around 15 minutes.

This should give your compressor enough time to equalize (and the noise typically goes away).


Refrigerator makes clicking noise – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do I fix my clicking noise in my refrigerator?

In a refrigerator, clicking noises are an indication that some part is faulty.

And as mentioned earlier, this part may either be the defrost timer, compressor start relay or the air damper.

Consequently, to eliminate the noise, you will need to follow the steps we have outlined above so as to pinpoint the faulty part and replace as necessary.


How often should fridge click?

During the course of the day, you will hear your fridge click several times as the compressor and defrost timer turn on and off.  

However, if you note that the clicking has become too loud or frequent, it might be time to troubleshoot your refrigerator as explained above (since it may point to a potential malfunction).


Refrigerator makes clicking noise – final words

Dirty condenser coils/fans may result in your compressor overheating which will result in its protection mechanism turning it off. In turn, this will result in the start relay trying to start the compressor hence more clicking sounds.

So, be sure to clean the condenser coils and the area around the condenser fan too. A vacuum cleaner should do the trick.

As earlier on promised, you can watch this video –  it will help you test the defrost timer perfectly.

Finally, when replacing parts, remember to buy OEM parts to avoid further problems down the line.



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