Mystery sound in my kitchen. Help ID!

dedtiredSeptember 26, 2012

I keep hearing a sound in my kitchen that sounds exactly the way the toaster oven sounds on the Bake cycle -- when it cycles on and off. I was sure that I had left it on so I went to check it. Nope. Not on. Just to be sure, I unplugged it.

I am still hearing the sound! I unplugged the coffee maker and the coffee grinder. I stuck my ear up against the cabinet with the circuit breakers. That is not it.

It seems to be coming from the general area of the refrigerator, although the fridge is running fine. Everything is cold and the ice cube maker is making ice. I still hear that "electrical" sound (faint buzz) that goes on and off. It stays on for about 6 - 7 seconds. The fridge is a 10 year old Kitchenaid, side by side with ice and water through the door.

The other appliances in the kitchen are an OTR microwave, a GE Profile range and a Bosch dishwasher, all working fine. I presume it's not the garbage disposal.

Any ideas at all as what I am hearing? It's driving me nuts.

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Are your circuit breakers marked with the corresponding outlets/appliances? Turning one breaker off at a time may help you discover from where your mystery sound is coming.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 8:35PM
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Is it the defrost cycle? Or whatever it is that makes modern day freezers frost-free?

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 9:22PM
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I'll check the circuit breakers, but the sound isn't coming from them. They are marked, so that's a good way to check the appliances I can unplug. Thanks.

I am very familiar with the sounds of the fridge after 10 years, and this is a new one. It's driving me nuts.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 10:18PM
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Is the fridge making ice normally? Our fridge used to click like that when the ice maker was trying to fill even though the water line was not hooked up.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 10:19PM
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Circuit breakers don't make any sounds, unless one just happens to be heard at the moment it trips.

How long has the situation been happening? Are you sure the refrigerator is cooling? Repeated clicking will occur if the compressor is trying to start and can't due to being jammed, a bad capacitor (if one is involved), or a bad starting relay. It'll hum for a few seconds, then trip-out on the overload protector (with a faint click). The protector will click again when it cools, the compressor will try again to start (hum), then click-out again. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

Several years ago I happened to be visiting my aunt and heard her refrigerator doing exactly that. Amazingly, the problem had just occurred so the unit was still cold ... and my aunt didn't recognize there was a problem until I brought it to her attention.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 11:39PM
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Nope, the fridge is working just fine, so far. I dumped out the old ice cubes last night and it refilled the ice cube bin overnight. All seems well except for that blasted sound. I do think something is clicking on and off in there, though. That's the only place it could be coming from. I guess time will tell.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 5:39AM
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So unplug the fridge long enough to
verify that is where the sound is coming from.
(or turn off the appropriate breaker.)
Sometimes we hear sounds that have always been
there, but for some reason, they sound new,
or we are just now noticing them. Happens
to me.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 9:43AM
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Our Amana SxS fridge is 12 years old, ice and water thru the door. (Maybe KA made Amana or visa versa....?)

Over the past year, the ice maker is making its age known but it still works fine. Knock on wood. I'll hear a creeeeeaaaaaakinnnng sound coming from it. It can go on for minutes and drives me batty.

Possibly it's your icemaker, although the sound might be different from ours, or else we're hearing the same thing and using different adjectives.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 11:57AM
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My vote is for the auto-defrost system. That is a heater that melts the frost from the freezer. When it runs, it can produce the clicking, snapping, pooping and maybe hissing or maybe sizzling sounds. I like your characterization of them as like what you hear from a toaster oven as it heats up.

My old Maytag has been doing that every once in a while since I bought it 15 years ago. It mostly runs the defrost cycle late at night, but every once in a while, it runs a self-defrost in mid-afternoon or mid-evening.


As an aside, that 12 year-old Amana SxS was made when Amana was owned by Goodman Global (who had acquired Amana at the end of 1997). Maytag bought Amana in 2001. Maytag management had about destroyed both brands by 2006 when Whirlpool (which already owned Kitchenaid) outbid Samsung to acquire the two brands. Whirlpool now owns Kitchenaid, Maytag and Amana. (Sounds like a plot synopsis for an episode of SouthFork or Dallas, doesn't it?)

Anyway, back when your Amana SxS was made. Amana still made good quality products. I've got a 15-year old Maytag that was built to 2001 Energy Star standards. It has been problem free the whole time. The Kill-a-watt meter tells me it is very nearly as efficient as most of the current Energy-Star fridges. (Hard to think of 1997 as "the old days back when they knew how to build things to last!")

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 3:25PM
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How often do you hear it? Every minute? 5 minutes? Hour? Day?

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 3:27PM
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@JWVideo - Thank you for the bio info on the fridge. That was interesting.

It has been a good refrigerator and is the only appliance we are keeping after our major kitchen remodel/makeover. It's counter-depth (maybe one of the few made in 2000?) and I hope it lasts a long time.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 3:33PM
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Hmm, I guess I here it about every 15 minutes. I am beginning to suspect it's the ice maker.

I didn;t know that Whirlpool owns Kitchenaid. My fridge only got mediocre reviews when I bought it, but I bought it anyway because it was so pretty. Good reason, right? That said, it has not needed a repair in 10 years, so I guess it is about due.


    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 9:38PM
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KitchenAid has been a part of Whirlpool for more than 20 years.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 11:49PM
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15 minutes will not be the defroster. And I would think that is a bit often for the ice maker as well.

Does this thing have an 'energy saver' switch on it? if so, how is it set?

I'm thinking that there is a feature where power is run through the gasket to keep it warm in order to reduce/eliminate condensation on the door seals. This might cycle on and off. I've never heard mine but I keep it turned off.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2012 at 3:51PM
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