Refrigerator keeps making noise- I need help to know what to do

susanlynn2012December 25, 2006

I first posted this post on the Kitchen Forum and Appliance Forum (forums I just found out existed). I have not gotten a response yet which could be because it is Christmas day (by the way Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays). I was reading some posts there thinking maybe I will see what other people are buying and I saw a refridgerator that was recommended so I looked it up on the Internet and it costs upwards to $15,000 so I thought I better post on this forum that will understand my needs better and maybe have refridgerators that make noise also. :)

My refrigerator keeps making noises all day. I was in the family room all day so I heard it go off and on with this noise that I had always thought was a self-defrost noise. I am not usually in that room for more than two hours at a time to watch a show but today I was there for several hours so maybe I never noticed how often the noise kept repeating at intervals? I had bad cramps today so I stayed home since I could not drive 6 hours round trip to see my family being so sick so I went through old magazines and threw out 3 big garbage bag fulls! I must not keep saving everything so I have room again.

Do automatic defrost refrigerators make a lot of noise off and on every 20 minutes or so?

The refrigerator is a little over 17 years of age and came with my townhouse when I bought the townhouse and moved here a little over 9 years ago. I never bought a refrigerator before since I rented before buying and those refrigerators were not self defrost.

The refrigerator is a Whirlpool in an almond color with the freezer door on top. My friend heard the noise last week and he told me he felt my refrigerator was on its last legs and I should be researching for a new one.

If I need a new one what brands and models are recommended? What color should I buy if my counter and dishwasher is almond colored while my microwave, toaster over and blender are stainless steal with the refrigerator open to the family room that has taupe/beige leather furniture and glass tables?

If I do not need a new one yet, how often do refrigerators last?

I have been painting my place and buying all new blinds and two years ago I just bought a new washer and dryer (everything has been falling apart all of a sudden) so expenses are high right now. I know the water heater and heating/air conditioning units are about to die soon since so many of the other townhouse units had to buy new ones.

I do not want my refrigerator to die on me and have everything go bad that I have in it but I only want to buy a new one if it is necessary right now. I guess I should be looking and know what I want and where to buy it from in case it dies overnight or do I need a new one right now?

Thank you in advance when any of you have some time since I know you are all busy during this holiday season.

P.S. My other friend just called me and asked me if I had an automatic ice maker. The refrigerator says "Equiped for Automatic Ice Maker" but I have nothing in there making ice. I wonder if it came with something and it ws not left with me when I bought the place?

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17 years is a long time for a fridge to last. I do think you would be smart to begin doing some research on a fridge that would meet your needs. Today's fridges are much more energy efficient and will probably lower your electric bill, so there is some savings there you're not getting right now!

All fridges make noise. How noisy is it? If you don't have an automatic ice maker then you would probably hear the hum of the compressor. If your fridge is leaking air and the seal isn't good, the compressor will go on much more than it normally would. I suspect that's what is happening.

You can get a very nice fridge for a few hundred dollars from a place like Sears. Self-defrosting is standard. Freezer-on the bottom is a very nice feature and worth having IMO. There are a lot of other bells and whistles that will cost more, but aren't necessary.

If you have a water line behind your fridge already, you can get a fridge with an icemaker and it's a simple hookup. If you don't, then you would need to get a plumber to install the line and that would be a bit of an expense.

Measure the space for your fridge because you'll need to know that information when you go shopping. A simple replacement fridge is easy to come by, you'll have lots of choices!

Many of the people on this forum are doing high-end remodels, so you will probably hear about a lot of high-end appliances, but that is not your only option.

I hope you're feeling better!

    Bookmark   December 25, 2006 at 10:56PM
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I just wanted to add, I just realized I'm in the Smaller Homes forum, not the Appliances forum, so my comment about the high-end remodels doesn't apply here! Sorry!

And the automatic ice maker makes noise periodically when it fills the ice bin and when it dumps ice. It's pretty easy to identify.

And Merry Christmas!

    Bookmark   December 25, 2006 at 10:58PM
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Hi Lynn. I just did a TON of research on appliance, since we recently purchased new appliances ourselves. Since your other appliances are stainless steel, I think your refrigerator should be so, as well. It's better for resale value, too.

We bought an Amana bottom-freezer refrigerator, in stainless steel, because I tired of having to bend over all the time to rummage around in my old fridge. I love it and would never go back to a top-freezer. We bought the smaller size because it was the only size that would fit the space. It's also an Energy Star, which you need to look for, as well.

We decided not to go with with an icemaker because we drink water only from a Britta filter and I didn't want my ice to be made with unfiltered water. Plus, it's just one more thing to break down--lol. Since we don't have kids and it's just the two of us, it's no big deal having to fill the ice trays.

The model we bought cost about $1400, but we also paid an additional $150 to extend the warranty to five years.

It makes virtually no noise whatsoever--or, at least, not that I notice, anyway.

I can't tell you whether to start looking right away or wait to see what the repair folks tell you. That's up to you. If I were you, I'd immediately start looking for a new fridge (if you can afford it), simply because a new fridge would be so much more energy efficient.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2006 at 11:28PM
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Thank you evaporconti and organic_smallhome so much for your help.

Ok, I measured my refrigerator as well as checked my refrigerator door (I always have food on it so I guess I just never noticed that was where the information was posted about my refrigerator).

I have an 18.1" cubic foot Whirlpool Refrigerator/Freezer model that has 6.25" of room surrounding the refrigerator on the sides but is 4.5" longer than my kitchen counter. I have plenty of room on top of the refrigerator.

I am happy that I was right that the noise is most likely the self defrost cycle. I didn't realize the compressor made extra noise when the refrigerator was getting old but evapoconti thank you for letting me know most likely air is leaking due to age and that is why the compressor is recycling more often.

You are both right that I should start doing research right now to get a more energy efficient model and so I will not be buying a new refrigerator during my busy tax season. I always stock up on food when I shop, so I would hate to waste so much food if my refrigerator would die on me.

I do not have a water line behind the refrigerator so I better skip the ice maker. I have no children and I used filtered water that I will just have to keep manually filling the ice trays with which is not that hard.

Organic_smallhome, your model sounds so quiet efficient and stylish. I will look up your model also when doing research to see if it will fit into my space. I am now looking forward to seeing what is available and at different prices for my size/style needs. Stainless Steel is so nice looking. I know it would have to be an almond color or stainless steel since nothing is white in the kitchen.

Thank you both for the freezer on the bottom idea which I like a lot.

I bought my hepa filter vacuum at Sears and I do have a Sears near me.

I no longer feel overwhelmed and feel it will not be too difficult to find a nice efficient refrigerator for my needs.

Thank you both again.
Happy Holidays.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2006 at 1:04AM
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Hi again. Here's a link to the model we purchased. It's their "Easy Reach" line. They have other models offered in what they call "Bisque," which may coordinate with your almond dishwasher. On the other hand, if your dishwasher is old, as well, and you foresee replacing it sometime in the near future--and if you prefer stainless steel, I'd recommend you go with the stainless steel. I think it would like fine near the furniture you described. It also, in my opinion, has a cleaner look than bisque or almond. White is nice, too, if you simply don't care for stainless steel.

Just my $.02!

Here is a link that might be useful: Amana Easy Reach

    Bookmark   December 26, 2006 at 2:09AM
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Hi organic_smallhome. Thank you for the link. I like the model you got and it may fit. I forgot, I also have a stainless steel trashcan in my kitchen so maybe it is worth the extra money to buy stainless steel. I am sure my dishwasher will not last much longer since that is also over 17 years of age.

I am not feeling well with cramps and paint smell is everywhere since the gloss for the trim is mixed with a conditioning agent that bothers me. The paint itself does not smell much. I am so happy I am taking care of all the painting and appliance problems before my busy season starts.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2006 at 12:25PM
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I agree that 17 years is a good long life for a fridge, and that your electric bills will drop like a ROCK if you got a new Energy Star fridge. It's also likely to be a lot quieter, and your frozen food will keep its quality better if the temperature is not constantly cycling.

We had to buy a new fridge when we moved into this house in '04 because there were mice nests IN the coils and compressor area and the stench inside the fridge was unreal - I don't know how the OPs could stand keeping food in there! I bought a really nice Kenmore (made by Frigidaire) fridge, basic as basic can get except for the "upgrade" to glass shelves, for only $499 at Sears. I don't like icemakers and suchlike, IMO it's one more d@mned thing to break and cost me pots of money in repairman bills not to mention leaking water all over Creation (can you tell I've had such gadgetry go kaput before?), not to mention it takes up a good chunk of freezer space and I always need every cubic inch of that. It's a great fridge, very quiet, keeps its temperature, doesn't slurp electricity in vast amounts. I don't personally like having the freezer on the bottom, we use a good bit of frozen stuff (esp. in winter when we eat the largesse of people's gardens that I froze for later) and so I prefer having it up on eye level so I can see what's on hand before it gets freezerburnt, and getting down there to rummage around just doesn't do it for my creaky bones. So, your mileage may vary depending on how you use you fridge. (If there was one bell-and-whistle that I could have "a la carte" it would be pullout shelves, those are awfully nice.)

I wouldn't go stainless just on the basis of a trash can, no way nohow... SS can be kind of a pain in the patoot to take care of (fingerprint city, and matching across and sometimes even within brands can be a nightmare, for instance, there are complaints on Epinions that Frigidaire's "Easy Care" stainless does NOT match other Frigidaire SS appliances well so you're kind of locked into buying only the "Easy Care" line), you have to really want it bad. You can accessorize with SS quite easily and choose appliances that take less fuss to keep looking nice. Do you have a good stove or is that on its way out too along with the dishwasher? If your stove is good enough that you expect to get a decade or so out of it, and you're cool with the color then by all means get the almond although it may not be easy to match it exactly. But if you'd rather have white get white even if it doesn't match the other things right now; we put up with a white fridge and almond-and-black stove and black-and-white dishwasher for 3 years because we knew we wanted to replace the stove (which I just got for Solstice, yay!) with white. DH just said in a couple of months we'll get a new white range hood to match, double yay. :-) I'm crossing my fingers for the 14yo dishwasher to hold out another year, at which time it'll be replaced with all-white and finally everything will match. :-) It's a process but eventually we'll have all things we're really happy with.

Another thought, if you want to go white with the appliances, I haven't done it myself but people have repainted stoves with high heat enamel spray paint, which is available in many colors in auto parts stores catering to the hot-rod crowd - the range of colors is much bigger than you get in hardware stores and it'll stand up to the heat of car engines. Prep would be the most time-consuming part: clean all surfaces with a greasecutting cleaner and rinse well, then sand all surfaces thoroughly to remove the gloss, wipe thoroughly with microfiber "tack cloth" (regular ones leave a residue), then prime and paint per the directions from the paint company. If you didn't want to DIY, auto-body shops repaint appliances too, although you'd have to pull them out and schlep them over. There are also housecall appliance refinishers, but IIRC they don't do stoves on-site, although it's worth asking - look for "appliance refinishing" in the yellow pages. That would be much cheaper than replacing even with the cheapest appliances, and buy you time to research the dishwasher and stove while waiting for them to kick the bucket. ;-)

I hope your cramps get better soon. Got a heating pad? If you don't, fill an old sock (no holes) with rice and microwave it for a minute or two until it's hot, and cuddle up with that, a good book and a cup of tea.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2006 at 4:34PM
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mari: I agree about the icemaker thing: a pita, for sure, in my opinion!

About the SS: it really isn't a big deal if you don't have kids. About once/month I polish it with a SS cleaner. In-between times, it rarely shows fingerprints since it's just the two of us and we use the handle to open and close it. Also, ours is an Amana and it matches very well with our Bosch appliances. I think it really depends on the brand. To tell you the truth, though, I'm not sure I would notice even if it didn't match--lol. Also, it can be even more difficult matching white or almond.

Just my added $.02

    Bookmark   December 26, 2006 at 7:24PM
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You've gotten great info - I can't add any more. Just wanted to say that we had to buy a new fridge quickly last year because I went to open it and the door fell off, LOL! Anyway, it was an old fridge and our power bill dropped by $40 per month once we got a new one. I couldn't believe the difference in energy usage. It didn't take long to pay off our new fridge. We bought a basic, inexpensive one from Sears. It's much quieter, cheaper, and it is serving it's purpose. No need to go high-end imo.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2006 at 7:38PM
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We went "high-end" primarily for resale value down the line. Plus, we can't afford to renovate our kitchen and wanted to update it as much as possible through the appliances, since this was our only option. Otherwise, I would agree: as long as you get an energy start appliance, one really doesn't "need" more than that. But I have to say: I like the look of the SS in our kitchen, and I'm glad we went with it.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2006 at 7:54PM
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Organic_smallhome, valzone5, Johmari and other recent posts, thank you all for your input which I really do appreciate. I guess it is time for new refrigerator that is also more energy efficient and quieter. I know my dishwasher and oven range will go next due to visiting neighbors tonight and taking to them. My neighbor next door has black but is changing it to stainless steel. My other neighbor just bought the end unit and had it all painted but loved the stainless steel new appliances and new dark cabinets in the kitchen. So far only one neighbor redid her whole kitchen with white appliances but also redid the counter, floors and cabinets.

I am too busy to redo the kitchen right before my busy time but it does need work. The oak cabinets need refinishing or replacing. The floor is not in the best shape that is a beige/taupe design. The counters are an almond/bisque color that matches the aging refrigerator, stove and dishwasher. My microwave, toaster/convection oven, blender, and simple human trashcan are all stainless steel. So I guess it will be either stainless steel or Bisque. I do love the stainless steel look.

I will look at the refrigerators in person at PC Richards, Sears and Best Buys as well as see what my option in the future are for getting near matches with the other aging appliances and then decide if I need to make an investment for resale with the pretty stainless steel or will Bisque look nice and be well liked also with a bottom freezer. I know I had been buying stainless steel small appliances since I thought they were stylish but also they were not that much more than the black and white ones and I love the look so far.

I have no children so the finger marks will not be a problem but I can see it being a problem if I had children. The cost is a factor so I have to see if the extra money is worth the investment and would I get part of it back if I do not stay here that much longer. Who knows, I may be here a long time but I could meet someone who wants to sell both of our places and buy a new place that is ours. I do know going with the sheer horizontal blinds was the right thing to do for my family room since everyone is in love with the new window treatments but I also went with the Shangri-La. I could have saved more money by going with the honeycombs but I wanted that sheer look so I compromised. I am trying to make my place nice. I know both colors would work in stylish designs and I need to see what is available.

I would love to see your kitchen organic_smaller home since you just redid all the appliances. They all seem to need to be repaired at the same time but maybe that is not so bad.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2006 at 11:10PM
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Johnmari, I just checked out the link to your new Refrigerator and it is very nice at a great price. I know I need either Bisque/Almond or Stainless since nothing is white in my kitchen and for now, the almond/bisque counter is staying and my new blinds are not a pure white in either room. But if all the appliances are white and go well with the kitchen decor, that is a very nice look also. I like things when they match or blend nicely with the decor.

Again thanks for sharing.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2006 at 11:15PM
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I ended up buying an LG 22.4 cubic foot French Door bottom drawer refrigerator in Stainless Steel. So far I love it but just wished it did not have the water on the door since I like the look better without it and the fact the water filter is leaking and I must call LG on Monday.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2007 at 1:36AM
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That's great, Lynn! You'll enjoy all that space so much. And water in the door is nice (once you fix the leaking part) because you don't have to have your door open to get water. Your energy bill will probably go down, too!

    Bookmark   January 14, 2007 at 10:26AM
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Thank you for being happy for me. The leaking water ended up being the fact that when the plumber showed me how to change the filter the top of the inside of the refrigerator, he took it out and put it back not knowing the back had sides that must connect to something. Hence, it is fixed now and I LOVE my refrigerator so much. I love he water on the door after all since I give my little doggies water in their dish that is bottled water usually and cold since they love cold water and will not drink water that has been sitting around and will not drink sink water. My doggies LOVE the filtered water so now I do not have to open the door to get water. I love the water for my coffee in the morning so I also do not have to open the door to get water. The ice is so full and my little doggies love the ice! I had to turn it off since it made so much ice and I do not use much ice at all in the winter time. I am not sure what to do with so much ice that it has made. This would be great for going to a party with all that ice but not in my freezer. :)

I love the French Doors with everything in the refrigerator right in front of me and easy to see. I love the bottom drawer also since I am petite and I could never really reach that great in back of a top freezer and I just prefer the bottom freezer set up. I also love the quick freezer bottom for when I just come back from grocery shopping and want to get my food back to being very cold quickly. I love the Stainless Steel color and now I have gotten used to the black sides that were at first too black for me but I see now how well they go with my kitchen's black accents of various appliances (both small and large including the lid on my trash can that is black).

Everything tastes so fresh and is so cold. It is wonderful not hearing the noises my other refrigerator made when it was dying on me. The LG is quiet but I can still hear it.

I wonder if I can get an energy credit from my utility company for buying an energy efficient product?

I am looking to buy the LG dishwasher now that I see from reading so many posts that it is not normal to have to wash the dishes first to make sure they are clean before placing them in the dishwasher. If I do not do this, they come out dirty! Also the dishwasher is 16.5 years old, some parts need to be repaired, it is not energy efficient, and I would hate to waste money on a panel for an appliance about to die on me also since it is not working well and is so noisy.

I will not be able to replace the range that is black and almond that goes with my almond counter so I must make the best of this and maybe since the door is black and the back of the stove is black, just maybe it will not look back. It is not in the best shape but I have just bought blinds for all of my home (all of the other blinds fell apart that were so old also), new Whirlpool Duet washer and dryer 2 years ago, this new refrigerator and I still have some other expenses like needing a new bedroom set or at least a bed since my 15 year old platform bed with the drawers underneath collapsed and I am tired of sleeping in it as the sides are glued and not nailed and keep coming apart and are not in the best condition from all my prior moves before moving to my home as well as the drawers not sliding in and out due to the roller bearings being broken from my last move 9 years ago. Also my cabinets need to be stained since they are wearing away and it does not look great close up. One day I want a new counter (hate the look of my counter now that it is against the pretty stainless steel refrigerator but for now I must live with it),a new faucet for the sink (corroding and is cheap looking and old and only is a one arm simple metal faucet), and a new kitchen floor (the linoleum floor is not in great shape) but that will have to come at a later time I am learning since I have so many expenses already and now I am seeing how much everything costs that I like since I like quality and things that match and work well.

Since I am single, I must work hard during my busy season to slowly fix up one room at a time for my pretty home.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2007 at 12:54AM
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