Normal Sounds and Noises a Refrigerator Makes

The normal operation of your refrigerator will cause some sound. The following list contains sounds that are normal.

  • A Chirping/barking/woof/howl sound can sometimes be heard as the damper door opens/closes.
  • A change in fan speed as the refrigerator responds to changes in temperature due to door opening.
  • A clicking/tic tock noise can be heard when the defrost timer switches on and off.
  • A click can be heard when the temperature control unit turns the unit on and off.
  • A boiling, gurgling, or knocking sound can be heard when the unit is running. This is caused by the circulation of refrigerant.
  • Gurgling sound in the door. This sound can be heard just after the door is closed because of the water in drain tube trap area. It can last several seconds.
  • A drip may be heard when defrost water is dripping into the pan beneath the refrigerator.
  • The icemaker will make a loud noise when cubes are dropped into the bucket.
  • A hum or click can be heard when the icemaker fills with water. This sound may be heard once or multiple times.
  • A cracking or popping sound can be heard when evaporator coils on Top Mount No Frost models are cooling after defrost.
  • Buzzing noises can be heard after getting water from the door dispenser. The noise should not last longer than 7 seconds.
  • Buzzing noise not related to dispensing water (above), The icemaker will make a buzzing sound when it's trying to fill with water. If the buzzing noise can be heard approximately every 15 minutes, check and make sure the water is turned on to the icemaker.
  • A snapping sound will be heard about 4 seconds after removing a glass from a dispenser. This is the sound of the dispenser chute closing.
  • A clicking noise may be heard after a power shortage. This stems from the compressor trying to re-start itself. The noise could last for 3 to 5 minutes.
  • A hissing, sizzling, buzzing, or arching noise may be heard on self-defrost models. This is produced when water drips on defrost heaters.
  • On new refrigerators it is not unusual for the door to whistle or squeak. This occurs because the gasket (rubber material around inner perimeter of the door) is sealing very tightly.  This noise will stop in a few days once the gasket becomes more pliable.
  • Water lines supplying the refrigerator may make a loud bang due to a condition called "water hammer".  Water hammer is a knocking or banging noise in a water line that occurs when the water valve opens and closes.  This is caused by high water pressure from the house going into the refrigerator. 
  • A rattle or vibration noise will be heard if the icemaker is on but water is not supplied to it.  It is recommended that when the unit is not hooked up to water that the icemaker is turned off.
  • Refrigerators with the Keurig® K-Cup Brewing System can make various noises and sounds related to the Keurig and Hot Water system. Keurig® Brewing System Sounds
  • For additional troubleshooting, see: Refrigerator Noisy Operation


For unusual noises on older refrigerators: Refrigerator Unusual Noises

To view a short video about normal bottom freezer refrigerator sounds:


To view a short video about normal top freezer refrigerator sounds:

Any other sounds may require a service technician for diagnosis. To schedule a service appointment, contact GE Appliance Service at 1-800-432-2737 or schedule a service appointment online.