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Kelly
Kelly, Appliance Technician
Category: Appliance
Satisfied Customers: 22846
Experience:  Highly accurate diagnostician with over 30 years experience!
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My refrigerator started making a knocking noise last night

Customer Question

my refrigerator started making a knocking noise last night (it's in my garage
JA: What's the make and model of the fridge? And can you guesstimate how old is it?
Customer: it's a Kenmore freezer on the bottom, it's probably 10 years old? maybe? where would i find the model?
JA: Do you plan on doing the work yourself?
Customer: yes
JA: Anything else we should know to help you best?
Customer: elite
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Appliance
Expert:  Kelly replied 1 year ago.

Thanks for counting on us to help with your appliance problem. My name is ***** ***** I look forward to helping you!

Expert:  Kelly replied 1 year ago.

The model tag should be in the refrigerator section, usually on the ceiling or high on a side wall.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
795.77579600
Expert:  Kelly replied 1 year ago.

Thank you! Is the knock at the compressor when the unit comes on or goes off?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I'm not sure, I woke up to the knocking sound last night, went to the garage after about the 3rd time hearing it and realized it was my refrigerator...it happened about every 1/2 hour to every hour or so
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I just got home, so wanted to fix it so I can sleep tonight
Expert:  Kelly replied 1 year ago.

Okay, so that is likely the compressor. Is it pretty loud, kind of a loud knock and maybe a couple shudders after?

Expert:  Kelly replied 1 year ago.

If it is running, just shut it off and see if the noise occurs.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
it knocks about 4 or five times and stops
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
unplug the refrigerator? it hasn't knocked since i've been home
Expert:  Kelly replied 1 year ago.

That is probably the compressor piston. It is mounted on three springs inside the compressor shell and if one spring breaks, the piston will hit the side of the compressor. Can you shut it off and see if that seems to be the case, please?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
OK, it's unplugged
Expert:  Kelly replied 1 year ago.

Was the compressor running? Did it knock when you unplugged it?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
no noise
Expert:  Kelly replied 1 year ago.

The compressor was probably not running. Can you plug it in and open the doors until the compressor comes on, please?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
sure
Expert:  Kelly replied 1 year ago.

Once the compressor starts, allow about a minute and then unplug it and see if you hear it make that noise.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
started banging as soon as i closed the doors, hadn't even unplugged it yet, now it's doing it again
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
has knocked a few times since closing the doors, hadn't unplugged yet, still want me to do that?
Expert:  Kelly replied 1 year ago.

Without being plugged in?? Where is the noise coming from, can you tell? Low in the back?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
sounds low back
Expert:  Kelly replied 1 year ago.

Okay, as odd as it sounds, can you shake the cabinet a bit and see if it sounds like it is banging in the compressor area?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
is the compressor area in the lower back?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
the fridge is too big and heavy, can't shake it...want me to open up the back?
Expert:  Kelly replied 1 year ago.

If you can, there is a cover at the bottom. I just want to make sure I give you the most accurate information.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
OK, bottom back is off...i was having some leaking earlier (prior to the knocking)...not sure if that could have anything to do with it?
Expert:  Kelly replied 1 year ago.

Is the compressor running now?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
it's quiet, not sure, opened the doors again, hoping it would start the knocking, it didn't
Expert:  Kelly replied 1 year ago.

Is the compressor vibrating if you set your hand on it?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
the compressor the part with all of the coils?
Expert:  Kelly replied 1 year ago.

No, the large black ball looking thing.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
or the black barrel looking thing?
Expert:  Kelly replied 1 year ago.

Yes, that part.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
no not vibrating
Expert:  Kelly replied 1 year ago.

Okay, leave the fridge door open until it starts vibrating, please.

Expert:  Kelly replied 1 year ago.

Of course, it will need to be plugged in.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
it's plugged in and doors open..
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
OK, it's vibrating
Expert:  Kelly replied 1 year ago.

Let it run for about a minute then unplug and see if it knocks.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
oh, i was able to jiggle the compressor and it made that knocking noise
Expert:  Kelly replied 1 year ago.

Nice work! Please allow me just a few minutes to prepare some information for you, thank you!

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
OK, even after unplugging, no knocking, but I guess you know what it is with the compressor being jiggled and knocking??
Expert:  Kelly replied 1 year ago.

The compressor is broken internally. It will continue to cool fine like that and may last for a long time, but it will be noisy like that. The compressor will need to be replaced, that is a major job. It is something you need to have professionally done, requiring specialized tools and training. It will cost about $400 + parts to have it fixed. I would use it ias it is or replace it, considering the age.

Please know I am here if you have follow up questions!

You deserve 5 star service! I hope I have earned your 5 star rating using the stars at the top of the page! Please let me know if you have additional questions, I am here to help! Thank you so much!

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
OK, the knocking sounds like it's coming from higher up and to the right of the fridge (looking at the back)...does that sound right?
Expert:  Kelly replied 1 year ago.

But at the compressor when you shook it?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
when i shook the compressor it knocked, but when the fridge is knocking the noise is definitely higher
Expert:  Kelly replied 1 year ago.

See the picture at the link below.

CLICK HERE

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
when looking at the back of the fridge, the compressor is on the bottom left, the noise is on the right about 2 - 2 1/2 feet up
Expert:  Kelly replied 1 year ago.

Does it seem to be louder inside the cabinet than outside?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Expert:  Kelly replied 1 year ago.

Hmm, maybe a fan rattling in the freezer?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
maybe??
Expert:  Kelly replied 1 year ago.

I am not sure how jiggling the compressor would make it sound, though. Can you jiggle it some more and follow the noise?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I can jiggle the compressor and it will make a knock, but the knocking that I have been hearing is the other one (probably in the freezer)...when I jiggle the compressor, it's not the same knocking...I was hopeful when it knocked, but when the actual fridge did the original knocking it was up higher and the right...when I jiggle the compressor, it doesn't set off the other knocking
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
there is ice around the area inside the freezer (that may be holding the fan)?
Expert:  Kelly replied 1 year ago.

How are the temperatures?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
not sure, seems like freezer could be cooler?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
looks like the whole top wrack is frozen, can't even pull it out
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
the fridge says ER IF
Expert:  Kelly replied 1 year ago.

Hmm, that could cause the fan blade to hit on frost and make noise but that would not usually be too loud. What I would do is allow a complete thaw. The IF error means there is an issue with the fan, so it is probably related to it hitting on frost. I would thaw it totally out and see if the noise goes away.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
OK, thanks!!
Expert:  Kelly replied 1 year ago.

You bet, keep me posted!

Please know I am here if you have follow up questions!

You deserve 5 star service! I hope I have earned your 5 star rating using the stars at the top of the page! Please let me know if you have additional questions, I am here to help! Thank you so much!