Refrigerator makes rattling noise? Read this

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Should you be worried if your refrigerator makes rattling noise?

In our previous article, we learnt how to troubleshot and fix a refrigerator that is making clicking noise.

As a follow up, we shall be looking at how to fix a refrigerator that is making rattling noises in today’s article.

Before we start, perhaps I should mention that some refrigerator rattling noises are normal whereas others point to a problem that will require your attention.

Below is all what you need to know -and do- if your refrigerator is making a rattling noise

Refrigerator makes rattling noise – what causes it and what you should do to stop the noise

We shall divide this article into parts, depending on where the rattling noise is coming from.

Refrigerator makes rattling noise from the back – potential causes and repairs

Let me ask you: Does your refrigerator have an ice maker or water dispenser?

If yes, it could be that the water line is rattling against the wall.

Now, this is pretty normal and you shouldn’t be worried.

That said, if you want to eliminate the rattling, simply move the fridge out an inch or so from the wall and see if the rattling stops.

Moving on…

If you are hearing the rattling noise only when the refrigerator is running, you are likely hearing the refrigerant flowing through your refrigerator.

Yes, you heard that right.

In some models (more so the older models), the refrigerant will rattle as it flows through its tubes.

Again this is normal(for the most part) and you shouldn’t fret about it.


Alternative causes

Most models usually have a condenser pan/drip tray at the back bottom.

I’m not sure that you know that this tray is responsible for collecting the water from the thawed ice before it evaporates.

Here is the thing: It could be that this tray has worked itself loose over the years from the constant vibration of the unit.

If this is the case, the drip pan will rattle every time the fridge runs.

Also, it could be that a family of mice has decided to call it home.

If so, it could result in a rattle any time the mice decide to play hide-and-seek or catch me if you can inside the pan.

So be sure to inspect the drip tray for any creatures that might be living there.

And while at it, confirm that the drip pan is properly held in place.


Rattling noise coming from inside of refrigerator

This is typically an indication that something is wrong with the evaporator fan/ice room fan.

This is especially so if you note that the refrigerator is rattling about 80% of the time and the noise goes away for the other 20%.

Now, the 20% time that the noise is gone is when the refrigerator is defrosting- and that is because the evaporator fan is normally turned off during defrosting.

Here is what you should know: The rattling noise is mostly due to worn-out bearings inside the fan motor(It is these bad bearings that are responsible for the rattle as the fan motor runs).

In some cases, smacking the back metal of your refrigerator may even stop the rattling for some time.

Keep in mind that in most models, this fan is usually located inside the freezer behind the vent hole.

Quick Tip: For model-specific instructions on how to access the fan, be sure to search for YouTube videos(using your model number).

Side Note: Also check for ice build-up around the evaporator fan.


Recommended solution

First, defrost the refrigerator.

The easiest way to go about this is by disconnecting it from the power outlet and letting it sit overnight.

Alternatively, you can manually defrost it.

If you want to go that way, be sure to read our other article: How to manually defrost a refrigerator (It will help you do it right)

Now, if this does not get rid of the rattle, you will probably need to replace the evaporator coil fan motor as there is no way to fix the bearings on their own.

To point you in the right direction, we have compiled a list of OEM evaporator fan motors for some refrigerator brands:

Refrigerator brand Evaporator fan motor replacement
GE Get it on Amazon
Whirlpool Get it on Amazon
Samsung Get it on Amazon
LG Get it on Amazon
Frigidaire Get it on Amazon
Maytag, Kenmore Get it on Amazon

Quick Tip: While you wait for the new fan motor to arrive, you can improvise by connecting one or two PC fans to keep things cool.


Rattling noise coming from bottom of refrigerator

Is your refrigerator rattling from the bottom before it stops running?

If yes, you do not need to worry as this is again pretty normal.

You see, as the compressor turns off, it might shake a bit and this will cause the evaporator coil to rattle a bit- This is typical and the noise may even not be that loud.

But be sure to confirm that the compressor and evaporator coil are tightly secured to the refrigerator’s frame – the screws securing them should be tight.

Alternative causes

Does your model use a linear compressor?

If yes, chances are that the compressor might have been jarred as it was running.

Again don’t worry-The rattling sound tends to be triggered only for a few seconds and then stops(it is very normal).

Other than that…

It could be that the refrigerator is not resting solidly on the floor.

This can be due to a weak or uneven floor.

Consequently, you will need to level out your refrigerator by adjusting the leveling legs.

For proper leveling of your refrigerator, be sure to check out your owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommendations(these instructions vary by model number and manufacturer).


Refrigerator making rattling noise from the top

This could be an indication that you have something light such as a coin at the top of your refrigerator.

So, as the refrigerator runs, its vibrations will lead to the item being bounced off the surface of the unit, resulting in continuous rattling noises coming from the top.

To check if this is the case, simply stand on a chair and inspect the top of the refrigerator for any light objects.


Brand new fridge making rattling noise

Your new fridge could make rattling noises due to the following factors:

  • The water lines are rattling against the wall as the fridge runs.
  • Your refrigerator’s linear compressor might be jarred.
  • As the compressor shuts down, it might rattle the evaporator coil.
  • The refrigerator might not be resting solidly on the floor or the floor is weak/uneven.
  • There is a small metallic object (such as a coin) on top of the refrigerator that is bouncing off as the fridge runs.

To eliminate the rattling noise,  go back to the steps that we have just covered above.


Fridge making rattling noise when door is closed

A fridge that rattles even when the door is closed can be due to the following reasons/causes:

  • In old models, it could simply be the refrigerant flowing through the coils.
  • The evaporator fan motor bearings might be worn out.
  • The water line might be rattling against the wall as the refrigerator runs.
  • For models that have a linear compressor, it might be jarred.
  • As the compressor shuts down, it might rattle the evaporator coils more so if they are not properly held in place.
  • There could be rodents in the drip tray.

Basically, all the reasons we have seen above will cause your fridge to rattle even when the door is closed.

Again try the troubleshooting steps that we have looked at above if you want to put a stop to the annoying noise.


Refrigerator making rattling noise – frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Why is my fridge rattling?

Usually, a fridge will rattle due to the following reasons:

  • The linear compressor is jarred.
  • The water line is rattling against the wall at the back of your refrigerator.
  • The evaporator coil fan motor bearings are worn out.
  • In older models, it might just be the refrigerant as it flows through the coils.
  • If the evaporator coil is loose, it might rattle when the compressor putters to a stop.
  • There might be rodents in the condenser pan or the pan has worked itself loose.

For a detailed guide on how to eliminate the rattling, refer to our guide above for each of the causes.


Refrigerator makes rattling noise – final words

A refrigerator that rattles as it runs can be normal and at the same time, it could be acting up. It all comes down to where the rattling noise is coming from and what might be causing it.

Some steps (such as replacing the evaporator fan motor) will call for a part replacement.

In such a scenario, be sure to get an OEM part for your model.

Also, be sure to search for and watch the numerous instructional videos on YouTube while replacing the parts- it will help you do everything right.


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