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Troubleshoot a Refrigerator Compressor's Noise [2011-06-29]

Your refrigerator has a Refrigerator Compressor that circulates coolant throughout the system and removes heat from the interior of the unit. The compressor motor and compressor fan do make a small amount of noise during operation, but loud grinding sounds or vibrating that sounds like metal shaking against metal may indicate an issue. Proper maintenance and cleaning of the machine may reduce the sound, but if these actions fail to make a difference, proper troubleshooting may be required.
1.Check the refrigerator alignment. Place a spirit level on top of the refrigerator with two quarters underneath the end of the level facing to the back of the refrigeration unit. A refrigerator that is not level may make noise. Adjust the height of the front portion of the unit by removing the foot cover according to the manual instructions and turning the screws that raise or lower it.
2.Pull the refrigerator out from the wall and unplug the unit. Allow the coils to cool before vacuuming off any dust and debris.
3.Remove the back panel from the lower portion of the fridge, underneath the condenser coils. Locate the compressor motor to the left.
4.Remove the terminal cover box by pressing in the retaining clip and pulling off the cover.
5.Pull out the compressor relay. Inspect the relay for corrosion. Pull the wire off the terminal side of the relay and inspect it for corrosion also. Replace if necessary. A faulty relay may make the Refrigeration Compressor run erratically.
6.Inspect the compressor mounts at the base of the compressor motor. Inspect the rubber washers under the bolts. If they are old or disintegrated they may need replacing. Remove the nuts and take the Fridge Compressor mounts to a hardware store for replacement.