Here’s Why Your Fridge/Refrigerator Is Making a Loud Popping Noise

If you’ve noticed that your fridge makes a popping noise and you’re suspicious of it, this guide will help! Refrigerators often make popping noises that don’t mean anything’s wrong, they just mean the appliance is working. Other times, a refrigerator popping noise could be a sign of trouble.

As such, it’s important to understand what fridge noises are normal. It’s also essential to learn how to do basic troubleshooting. This will allow you to determine if there’s an issue to be worried about in the first place. 

In case your refrigerator is making a knocking noise, we have got that covered too.

More often than not, the issues that lead to a refrigerator making a loud popping noise are easy to handle. However, if you don’t feel like you’re up to the task, there’s no shame in calling a professional. But more on that later! First, let’s understand the causes. 

Refrigerator/fridge noise

Causes of Fridge/Refrigerator or Mini-Fridge Loud Popping Noise and How to Fix It

Overall, a fridge making a popping noise can be quite normal. It could be due to thermal expansion, components turning on and off, or refrigerant circulation. However, it could also be due to a damaged water valve, an unlevel refrigerator, and other issues that are easy to solve. Continue reading to learn the difference!

Thermal Expansion

One of the most common causes for a refrigerator popping noise, by far, is thermal expansion. As you know, refrigerators are cold, but they have a cooling cycle. 

That cycle turns on and off, so temperatures change throughout the day. When that happens, the materials inside the fridge will expand and contract. That’s just the physics of the appliance. 

As materials such as plastic, rubber, and metal expand and contract, they will pop and make noises. If you spend a lot of time in the kitchen or have an open floor plan, you will hear the fridge making a popping noise quite often. Thermal expansion is usually the reason why. 

A refrigerator popping noise related to thermal expansion is simply a part of the appliance’s workings. The temperature inside the fridge is not uniform throughout the day. That’s how everything inside is kept at a consistent temperature. 

Fridge popping sounds are more noticeable during a defrost cycle or whenever you change the temperature. Overall, it’s not a cause for alarm unless there’s another sign of malfunction or damage!

Normal Vibration

If your refrigerator is making a loud popping noise, it could be due to vibration. Vibration is to be expected from an appliance such as this one. The fridge’s compressor motor is powerful enough to cause vibrations while it’s working. 

That means that the shelves and containers may tap together, making a popping sound. Usually, a refrigerator popping sound related to vibration is not concerning. If there’s something else wrong besides the vibration, that could mean there’s an issue. 

If the fridge is uneven, that may also cause vibrations, which will lead to a popping sound. Check to see if that’s the case. If it is, it’s best to rebalance the fridge to avoid issues down the road. 

You want to use a bubble level to see if the fridge is balanced. So, unplug the appliance and place the bubble level on top. If it’s not level, you’ll see how far off it is. The first thing you want to do is remove the front and back covers. You can either snap them off or unscrew them, depending on your model. 

Once you do that, you will be able to adjust the leveling feet on the refrigerator. You’ll find four of them, one in each corner. So, adjust them as needed. You can do that by turning a bolt or screw on the leveling foot in question. 

Continuously check the bubble level to see if you’re on the right track. When your fridge is perfectly level, put the covers back on and plug the appliance. If you need a visual aid, this video guide can be quite helpful. 

If the refrigerator loud popping noise was caused by a combination of bad leveling and vibrations, this will fix it. If it was only caused by vibrations, you will hear a fridge popping noise every once in a while. It’s normal and there’s no need to do any repairs. 

Condenser Coil Problems

The condenser coils in your refrigerator are responsible for moving the coolant around. Because they handle hot coolant, it can lead to a refrigerator popping sound. This is a part of the normal operation of a fridge, which means you shouldn’t worry about it. 

However, it is important to keep up with maintenance. This will keep the fridge popping noise from becoming a huge nuisance. The condenser coils should be cleaned once a year. This way, they will remain efficient and they will last longer. 

Usually, condenser coils are right at the bottom of the fridge. You will be able to access them with the back panel. If the refrigerator popping noise is constant and it’s coming from the bottom, the condenser coils could be the issue. One of the best things you can do is keep them clean.

Because they’re located at the bottom of the fridge, it’s normal for them to collect dust, dirt, and debris. The dirtier the condenser coils are, the harder they’ll have to work. 

That will lead to your refrigerator making a loud popping noise. So, make sure to keep up with basic maintenance. This video guide will show you how to clean the condenser coils.

Doing this will only take a few minutes and it’s super easy. So, make sure you keep up with basic maintenance. 

Defrost Heater

Your refrigerator features a component design that’s meant to heat the appliance. It’s called a defrost heater and its job is to remove frost build-up. When the defrost heater is in action, it’s not uncommon to hear a refrigerator popping noise. 

The defrost heater kicks in about four times a day. However, sometimes it will turn on more or less often than that. A sudden or consistent change in defrost heater action could be a sign of trouble. So, pay attention and take note. 

When the defrost heater turns on, it will make a popping sound. This shouldn’t be concerning as long as the noise is not too disrupting. However, if the defrost heater is constantly turning on and off, there could be an issue. Now, there are a few causes for this. 

For one, it could mean the defrost timer is damaged. If that’s the case, the defrost heater will work willy nilly. Another common reason is excessive ice build-up. 

When that happens, the defrost heater has to work harder and turn on more often. In that case, here’s a guide to help you remove ice build-up and a guide to help you prevent ice build-up

However, if you suspect that the defrost heater is damaged, you should call a repairman. This is one of the largest components on a fridge and it’s not super safe to work with. That’s why it’s one of the few that require the help of an expert. So, make sure to call a professional and have it checked out. 

Refrigerant Circulation

Refrigerant circulation is another common reason for a fridge popping sound. This is yet another normal thing your fridge does, so it doesn’t mean there’s something wrong. There’s a large quantity of coolant constantly moving through your fridge. 

The coolant is what helps the fridge perform temperature regulation. So, as the refrigerant moves around the fridge, it’s constantly changing temperature. That may cause your fridge to make a popping noise. It’s also not uncommon to hear a gurgling kind of noise. 

These kinds of noises are normal and they’re nothing to worry about. However, if the popping noise is super loud and your fridge is losing temperature control, it can be a sign of trouble. If that’s the case, make sure to call a professional to diagnose your fridge and take action. 

Water Valve Issues

Last but not least, a refrigerator popping noise could be a sign of water valve issues. Normally, you will hear a popping sound when the water inlet valve opens to fill the ice maker or water dispenser. That doesn’t mean there’s an issue at all, it’s just the workings of the fridge. 

However, if the popping noise is constant, you need to check the water valve for interrupted water supply. If the valve is not providing water, your refrigerator will make a loud popping noise over and over. This, coupled with ice maker or water dispenser issues can be a sign of a damaged water valve. 

The good news is you can change it if you’re up for it. If not, you can hire a professional to do this for you. If you want to DIY this, the first thing you need to do is unplug the fridge. 

Then, find the water valve, which is on the lower back of your refrigerator. Place a towel under it and take off the back cover. Shut off the water supply and loosen the compression nut with a wrench. After this, take out the waterline. 

The next step is to unscrew the water valve from the housing. Then, detach the wire harness from the water valve and the lines for the ice market and water dispenser. Tale your new water valve and attach the lines and wire harness to it before you screw it into the housing. 

Finally, you need to attach the water supply line to the new water valve. Make sure to tighten the compression nut well before you turn on the water supply. If there’s a leak, tighten the compression nut some more. Put the back cover back on and plug the fridge again. 

If you need a little visual aid, this video guide will help.

Familiarize yourself with the process before you get started and gather your tools. This is a very simple repair, you just have to make sure you find the right water valve replacement. 

It Sounds Like a Refrigerator Popping Noise But It’s Not

It’s important to note that certain sounds may seem like a popping noise, but they’re not. As mentioned before, popping sounds are not uncommon. However, there are distinct noises that can trick you into thinking there’s something wrong. Such as:

  • Ice maker. When your ice market is harvesting ice or settling, it can make a sound that’s similar to a popping noise. However, it doesn’t mean anything at all, it’s just the ice maker doing its thing. 
  • Door seal. The door seal is responsible for keeping the cold air in and maintaining a steady temperature. Whenever you open the doors, you may hear a popping sound. It’s very easy to think it’s coming from somewhere else, though. 
  • Noisy fans. The fridge features a few fans in the system and they can make popping-like noises. That doesn’t mean there’s an issue. However, if you hear clicking or scraping noises coming from the fans, it could mean they’re damaged. In that case, make sure to get check them out or get them diagnosed by a professional. 

When to Find a Professional Repair Service

If you can’t find the cause of the refrigerator popping noise, you should find a professional repair service. If you can’t make sense of it and you’ve checked everything we’ve mentioned today, you need an expert eye. Popping sounds can be caused by many different things. Though it’s not always a sign of trouble, it’s always important to get to the bottom of it. 

If you can’t do that on your own, calling a professional is the right thing to do. They will check everything, diagnose the fridge, and do whatever needs to be done. You should also call a professional repair service whenever the solution requires expertise.

For example, if the evaporator coils are faulty or the defrost heater is damaged, that’s not something we recommend you solve on your own. Those are more complex repairs and it’s best to hire a professional!

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