Mini-Fridge Keeps Popping or Clicking? The Reasons Why


Does your mini-fridge make popping or clicking sounds? Find out what these sounds mean, why they happen, and if you need to do anything about it in this article.

Reasons why a mini-fridge pops:

  1. Thermal expansion
  2. The water valve
  3. The fan

These are normal operating noises.

Reasons why a mini-fridge clicks:

  1. Start relay
  2. Overload cut out

If the mini-fridge struggles to cool it may need repairing or replacing.

Popping and clicking noises coming from a mini-fridge can mean different things. Take a read of what’s coming up next to find out more about what you should do when you hear certain noises.

3 Reasons Why Your Mini-Fridge Is Popping

Mini-fridges are noisy appliances. They are always rattling, bubbling, crackling, and humming. But more often than not, these are normal operational noises. These occur as the fridge goes through different cycles.

But what about a popping noise? Unless there is a teeny-tiny microwave popcorn maker in the back of your mini-fridge you might feel concerned when you hear a popping sound.

In the following section, we will take a look at the 3 main causes of a popping sound. We will also discuss whether this sound is anything that you should worry about.

Reason #1 Thermal Expansion

The temperature inside a mini-fridge is constantly changing. This is because the cooling cycle turns itself on and off at intervals.

The cooling cycle turns itself on and off when the environment of the mini-fridge changes. It also turns itself on and off according to the state of the evaporator coils. When the cooling cycles off,  the evaporator coils can relieve themselves of any frost that has built upon them.

As the temperature around the evaporator coils changes, the plastic in the mini-fridge expands and contracts. This may be the cause of the popping sound that you are hearing.

Should you feel worried about it? Not at all! Hearing a popping sound around the evaporator coils is just a normal operating sound. This, in fact, lets you know that the fridge is ticking over just fine.

Reason #2 The Water Valve

Does your mini-fridge have an ice maker or water dispenser? Another reason why mini-fridges make popping noises is because of the water valve. As the inlet valve opens to let water into the ice maker it makes a popping sound.

Is this anything you should feel concerned about? No. It is normal to hear popping noises from time to time. The popping might increase however if the water supply to the ice maker is interrupted. Make sure the water supply is working properly to minimize the noise.

But what should you do if the popping sound disturbs you? Then you could consider turning the water dispenser or ice maker off. When off, the water valve will stop allowing water to flow into the mini-fridge. This should silence the popping sound. You should only do this, however, if you are not using the ice maker or the water dispenser.

water filter in fridge
A mini-fridge with an ice maker or water dispenser makes occasional popping noises

Reason #3 The Fan

Mini-fridges fluctuate in temperature throughout the day. This means that its fan has to constantly change speeds in order to keep up with these variations. The change in speed of the fan as it slows down and speeds up can make a popping sound.

But is this something that should concern you? No, the fan will change speeds many times throughout the day. It might make a popping sound every time it does so. This is perfectly normal.  

2 Reasons Why Your Mini-Fridge Is Clicking

Okay, so we’ve spoken quite a lot about popping sounds. But what about clicking sounds?

Does your mini-fridge sound as if someone was constantly clicking on a computer mouse pad? Or does it sound like someone was fidgeting and irritably clicking the top of their pen? Then let’s find out what that might mean and what you should do about it.

Reason #1 Start Relay

Can you hear a clicking sound coming from your mini-fridge every couple of minutes? Then this could be the start relay as it clicks to try to come on and begin the cooling cycle.

Should you worry about this noise? Only if you notice something strange about the operation of your mini-fridge. If the appliance isn’t cooling properly, then the clicking is something to be concerned about.

If the start relay on your mini-fridge is not working properly, then it will click every couple of minutes. It will click every time it tries but fails to come on. If the start relay is faulty, it will not be able to cool the fridge.

A problematic start relay is simple to fix. It is also inexpensive. You shouldn’t have to spend more than $15 to complete this job. The only tools you will need are a replacement start relay and a flathead screwdriver. Once you have those to hand, follow these steps.

  1. Unplug the mini-fridge
  2. Turn the mini-fridge around
  3. Take the clip off of the cover to the start relay
  4. Remove the cover to the start relay
  5. Use a flat head screwdriver to wedge the start relay from the back of the mini-fridge
  6. Disconnect the old start relay and attach the new one
  7. Push the start relay back in place
  8. Return the cover and clip to the start relay
  9. Plug in the mini-fridge
mini fridge with door open
A clicking noise could indicate that there is a problem with the start relay

Reason #2 Overload Cut Out

Another reason why your mini-fridge is clicking could be to do with an overload cut out.

Is this something to worry about? A mini-fridge will have an overload cut out when the compressor overheats. This could happen for one of the following reasons.

  • The condenser coils are dirty
  • The condenser fan has failed
  • The compressor is faulty
Cleaning fridge condenser coils
Clean your fridge’s condenser coils to see if the issue gets solved.

These problems need sorting for the mini-fridge to start working properly again. However, condenser coil and compressor problems are difficult to fix. It often works out more economical to buy a new mini-fridge than it does the replacement parts.

When You Should Be Concerned About Popping and Clicking Noises

As you have seen in this article, there are some mini-fridge noises that do not warrant even the bat of an eyelid. However, there are some sounds that could show that your mini-fridge is not working as it should.

So when should you be concerned about popping and clicking noises? Here are some tell-tale signs to look out for.

  • The popping or clicking noises are very loud. Every mini-fridge makes noise as it goes through different cooling cycles every day. But these sounds shouldn’t be any more than background noise. If the popping or clicking noise is so loud that it is disturbing you, you should call a technician.
  • The mini-fridge isn’t working properly. Does your mini-fridge have trouble cooling properly, making ice, or dispensing water? Then there is something wrong. If these issues are combined with a new and persistent popping or clicking noise, you should call a technician.
  • The mini-fridge suddenly begins to make popping or clicking noises. The sudden onset of popping and clicking sounds could show that something is wrong. Unplug the fridge and reset it to see if the problem persists. If it does, you should call a technician.


Does your mini-fridge make a popping or a clicking noise? A mini-fridge makes a bunch of different noises throughout the day and some might sound a little strange. I am sure the guide in this article has helped you to decipher which noises are harmless. It has no doubt also helped you see which noises warrant calling a technician to review.

Has this article been helpful to you? Then why not take a look at some of our other articles and free guides on our website? You could even sign up to our email list.

Have a great day!


I've been helping homeowners with appliance repair since 2016. Starting out as an enthusiastic amateur, I've since worked with many Appliance, HVAC, and DIY experts over the last 7+ years. My mission is to help fix your appliances and prevent future issues - saving you stress, time, and money. Visit my author page to learn more! Read more