Help ID mystery sound in my kitchen

dedtiredSeptember 26, 2012

I also posted this in Appliances, but since you guys are my go-to source for all things, I hope you can help.

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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kathleenca

I believe some refrigerators (all, now?) have heaters that cycle on & off to defrost the freezer & keep ice from forming. I wonder if that could be what you're hearing. You could call KitchenAid or contact them through their Web site to see what they think.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 6:38PM
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lindac

Have you any flourescent lights that may have a ballast going bad?
I sometimes get a "hummmmm" from my refrig for no apparent reason.

Reminding of the weeks a few months back when I thought I was losing my mind!!....I would periodically hear a faint "chirp"...."chirp". Asked everyone to help track it....looked etc etc etc....replaced batteries in smoke detectors and CO2 detector etc etc....
Finally found it...I had bought a mini sized smoke detector on sale a couple of years before...shoved it into a drawer....forgot about it and the battery ran low and it chirped!!
And then there was that alarm....but that's for another thread!! Strange sounds are me!!

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 6:52PM
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denise8101214

My icemaker made weird sounds before it failed.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 7:07PM
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magothyrivergirl

I also had an older Kitchenaid frig that made a strange electrical noise that only I could hear, in the early morning or quiet when I was alone. It turns out, my frig had a lower back panel that was made out of very heavy cardboard.
It was located on the very rear bottom, and painted black. At some point, it had warped......as I recall, when the fan came on, it very gently was hitting that warp cardboard and making a slight noise I could hear only in the quiet. I removed that useless spray painted cardboard and the noise disappeared, and the frig lasted another 10 years -- I loved that frig!
I hope this helps you, because that noise drove me nuts!

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 7:39PM
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mustangs81

I'll keep an "ear" on this thread as my DH keeps telling me about an electrical hummmm in the kitchen. I can't hear it because I have Tinnitus and that's exactly what I hear every second of every day; even above the roar of the airplane when I fly.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 7:44PM
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publickman

My first thought was that it might be batteries that are running low. Do you have a cordless phone in the kitchen? Mine makes a funny sound if I don't keep it charged properly. The smoke alarm also makes a warning sound when the batteries are low.

I hear a strange sound in my yard yesterday, but it was just a lizard climbing along the creeping fig vine that I have on my back yard walls. I've been seeing more lizards lately.

Lars

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 7:46PM
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dedtired

Maybe there is a lizard behind my fridge, but I don't think so.

Yes, I have a cordless phone, but it doesn't sound like that when the batteries go. This is very much a clicking on then clicking off sound, though faint. I think I will turn off the fridge for an hour and see if it stops. I can't unplug it because it's in a cabinet. I can't get to the back of the fridge to see what's there, either.

I used to have a Sears Coldspot fridge that "screamed" when the fan came on. Drove me nuts until it was fixed.

Cathy, are your circuit breakers in the kitchen? Mine are in a box inside a cabinet. Every once in awhile I hear a buzzing sound, like a circuit is overloaded. Maybe that is what he is hearing?

This noise happens about once every half hour.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 8:35PM
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sushipup1

DO you have an ice dispenser? We had a fridge that would jam in the ice compartment every so often, and there was a sound. Ice maker was fine, but there was some sort of ice dam. We don't use a lot of ice, so had to dump the unused ice and empty it out every so often.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 12:38AM
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dedtired

I dumped the ice bin last night because the ice was getting funky. The fridge worked all night and filled the bin again. I really do think something is cycling on and off in the fridge, but it seems to be working just fine. Maybe something will finally break, but I hope not.

I can still hear the damn noise this morning. I am going to end up in the loony bin (rather than the ice bin) from this sound.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 6:00AM
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teresa_nc7

I'm glad you asked this, because I hear a similar mystery sound in my own house. I thought it was in the kitchen - maybe the defrost cyle of the fridge/freezer? But I can also hear it when I'm in bed at night - maybe A/C condenser?

Hope you find the source of the sound!
Teresa

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 10:17AM
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dedtired

I'm sure my house makes all kinds of creaks and groans and noises. The ducts on my ac/furnace go "blam" when the air stops. None of this bothers me and all the noises are very familiar. It's funny to say, but in a way they are comforting because they are a sign that things are humming along.

This, however, is a new noise and I am getting hypersensitive to it! Every time I hear that buzz I want to scream.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 10:25AM
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publickman

I heard sounds in my house in Venice all the time, and they sounded mostly like they were coming from the attic although I never heard them when I was actually in the attic. The sounds were sort of like creaking and were audible to everyone, and they would occur when there was no wind or any other unusual stress on the house. The house had a strange history, and I thought it might be haunted. The previous owner was murdered there, and her son refused to live in that house afterwards. No strange noises where I live now!

Sometimes I think appliances have minds of their own and make decisions on whether they want to be cooperative or not!

Lars

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 11:53AM
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centralcacyclist

Older motors make more noises than new motors, I think. Turn up the music to drown it out?

:)

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 11:59AM
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Olychick

I would bet almost anything it is the fridge/freezer cycling on to evaporate the crystals from the frost free feature. If you can figure out how often it is happening, like if it's a regular time every day, or every 2 hours or something, pay attention to the next time it is due and turn off the refer for an hour or so (won't hurt a thing) and see if you hear it at the expected time. If you don't, you'll know it's the refer for sure.

I'm not good about vacuuming or brushing under my refer, but when I do I am shocked at the accumulation of dust. If you're like me you might want to see if it needs cleaning - the dust can really affect how it's running.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 1:20PM
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dcarch7

Typically in an acoustically reverberant space, such as in a kitchen, it is difficult to identify where the noise is coming from, unless you use a unidirectional microphone to pinpoint the source.

Possible sources for kitchen intermittent noise:

Electric clocks � Wall clocks and some ovens use mechanical timers, which has a synchronous AC motor and gears that can make noise.

Piping inside walls � Hot water pipes expand and contract and the pipes rub on the brackets.

Water movement inside pipes � Water inside pipes can create noise, especially moving at high speed. It can create very loud noises known as "water hammering".

Intercom system � can pick up RFI (Radio Frequency Interference). My intercom system occasionally picks up airport control tower transmissions.

Refrigerator �

1. Noise of refrigerant returning from condenser coil to evaporating coil.
2. Condenser coil cooling fan under the refrigerator is generating noise.
3. Power brown out, voltage dip and the compress struggles to overcome refrigerant back pressure.
4. Compressor motor starter capacitor is weak, causing the motor to stall.
5. Condensing coil is filthy and is not ejecting heat efficiently, causing motor to struggle.

None of the above?

dcarch

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 6:48PM
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dedtired

Jeez, dcarch, I just got rid of my unidirectional microphone. I have had to depend on my unidirectional ears.

I am 99 percent sure it's coming from the fridge, and I am beginning to suspect the ice maker, but would that have a cycle that clicks on and off?

From your list, the only possibility is perhaps the condenser coil cooling fan, which I presume cycles on and off.

I am just wondering if I should have a repairman come and look at it before something really bad happens. I just hate to pay for an hour of his time while he waits to hear the sound.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 7:19PM
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teresa_nc7

I would suspect my icemaker too.....except that I don't have it hooked up to a water source! And I hear the noise if I am in bed, but I don't hear it if I'm in the living room. 'Course, I usually have the TV/DVD on in the living room. And I don't hear it during the day - only at night.

Teresa

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 8:50PM
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