Fridge making popping sounds

emmi331November 16, 2011

I had to sympathize with the earlier post about the noisy fridge. I have a Frigidaire Gallery refrigerator that's less than a year old. I like it, though it can be noisy at times. Recently I've been hearing popping sounds emanating from it now and then. This REALLY concerns me because the same sounds came from my water heater before it died at about 14 years old. I believe it was due to mineral build-up. How could this happen in a fridge? Should I have someone look at it? It's still under warranty, which is why I need to know if this is a normal sound or not. Thanks....

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I can't say for sure about your unit without examining it ... but refrigerators have parts that may expand or contract due to temperature changes, which can bring about snap or pop noises.

Popping sounds may also emanate from an ice maker during the harvest or dump cycle, when the ejector or harvest arm breaks the cubes loose and scoops them from the mold. My GE Profile Arctica SxS often makes a pop noise at that moment.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 12:30PM
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Your manual very likely has a paragraph or two about "normal" sounds. From your description, I'd bet on the ice-maker and would consider such sounds normal.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 2:33PM
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Emmi331, can you narrow down whether these sounds are emanating from the ice maker or elsewhere in your fridge?

If its the ice maker, these sounds may be normal, as asolo says (your manual should help there). But they could also signal that a clump of ice cubes melted together and aren't moving through the ice maker as expected, "popping" when the machine tries to get the clump to move along. Of course, that implies that you're probably not getting ice. If so, this should be obvious when you look inside (breaking up the clump should fix that).

    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 3:41PM
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Thanks, everyone. Actually, though the fridge has ice-making capability, I never "enabled" it, so ice is not being made. I consulted the manual (as our teachers always told us, "When all else fails, read the directions"), and it said there may be popping sounds at the end of the auto-defrost cycle. It just concerned me because I don't recall hearing this noise for the first months. Chac, it sounds like the popping is coming from somewhere in the back of the refrigerator. It could be perfectly okay, but I can't tell you the number of times I've had things break down within a month after the warranty ends, and I don't want to go through that again!

    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 4:10PM
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Well, that's interesting. If it's not the ice-maker and doesn't appear to correspond with anything in manual's "normal noises" section I, too, would be concerned. Do you have a more experienced "ear" available to you?

    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 6:04PM
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If the icemaker can be eliminated as a cause (that was the first thing I thought of, nylon gears trying to drive a seized component) then perhaps it is related to the auto defrost. There is a heating element behind the rear wall of the freezer that is energized periodically to defrost the evaporator coils. If water drips on this hot element, you will hear hissing/popping. But I am not clear as to what sort of sound it is you are hearing.

If the sound is mechanical, like solid parts hitting each other, I would be looking at the fresh foods circulator fan, or maybe something buckling and unbuckling due to heat, swollen thermostat, perhaps a defrost timer if your machine is older.

What we need is gardenweb diagnostics video on youtube! That would make it a lot easier if we could actually hear the sound you are hearing!

    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 6:21PM
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asolo, the manual said to expect popping due to auto-defrost. The fridge is very new - I bought it in Feb. of this year. And it IS a popping sound, like ping-pong balls being hit. My concern is that it didn't start up until recently, and I hear it a couple of times a day. I should probably call someone, but there's not a doubt in my mind that once an expert arrives, there will be NO popping sounds while s/he's here!!

    Bookmark   November 17, 2011 at 4:21PM
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It would not surprise me to hear a 'popping' sound during defrost as the defrost heater expands and heats the coils. Could also be the solid foam insulation popping as it warms up.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2011 at 5:16PM
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Emmi331, try to tape record the sound. You might also log when this happens and for how long; its a long shot, but could help predict a good time for repair to show up.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2011 at 5:22PM
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If the sound is the same as water hitting a hot pan, popping with a little sizzle, it's normal, typically of Frigidaire. It is condensation dripping down onto a hot coil.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2011 at 7:22PM
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I just had a frigidaire gallery model dropped off today and am hearing the same exact noise. The "ping pong ball" description is dead on. I've shut the ice off and read the manual, but the noise continues. Did you ever find out what the issue was?

    Bookmark   August 3, 2013 at 11:51PM
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I have a 22 yr old Amana Fridge with Freezer on top, and there is no ice maker nor door water/ice cube function. It was a really great, quiet unit for many years until about one year ago. Started to make loud popping sounds once in a while, but know it's many times during the day and night, sometimes really loud. Seems like they come from the back of the unit. The sound is kind of like an electrical pop. My Freezer is no longer maintaining it's temp, as I find some items, like ice cream, have melted a little. I know my old unit is dying, and needs to be replaced. But that costs money. My concern is - if the sound is due to something electrical, can the unit malfunction and cause a fire??

    Bookmark   February 12, 2014 at 3:54AM
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Hi, Elkies....I'd almost forgotten about starting this thread until I got an e-mail notification about your post! Anywho - 22 years!! That's a pretty grand old age for a fridge, though this may trigger posters telling me about their 30-year old fridges or whatever. My Frigidaire is now 4 years old and runs great, popping and all. I have to figure it's something benign. In fact, the fridge makes quite a few odd noises but there are no problems with it - maybe it's just "conversational". I recommend your starting a new thread for your question - and good luck!

    Bookmark   February 12, 2014 at 1:31PM
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I know EXACTLY what you are describing. I have a Kitchen Aid fridge (model also avail under GE brand). Owned since 2009. A year ago it started making the "ping pong" sound (exactly how I describe it too). BUT only when the house temperature lowers. We thought for sure our fridge would bite the dust during the winter when it started in '13, but then as the weather and house warmed, the sound went away. Just this week 9/2014, temperatures lowered into the 50s-60s and, viola! It started again. I have had no luck determining the problem either. We've had no other issues with the appliance. My husband is a mechanic and he is stumped. I even put a video recorder at the bottom of the fridge last December to capture the noise when I wasn't home. Seemed to happen almost ever half hour. But no one can tell me anything. Sorry I'm no help. But it might help to know you are not crazy!!!

    Bookmark   September 13, 2014 at 3:42PM
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Thanks bagcoupons! Now that you mention it, I have not heard the popping sounds this summer at all, so maybe it does have something to do with temperature. I'll see what happens when the temps begin to drop this year. Thanks for bringing this to my attention!

    Bookmark   September 13, 2014 at 5:27PM
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