Does Your Fridge Keep Making Clicking Noises? 8 Easy Fixes

Refrigerator Keeps Clicking

Got a fridge that won’t stop making a clicking noise? The clicking might be completely normal or a sign of trouble!

Fixing the clicking noise that keeps coming from your fridge is about more than just convenience. Sometimes, the clicking can be an early sign that there is a serious issue that can cause your fridge to break down.

Clicking noises within a refrigerator can be normal operation sounds. However, if the refrigerator clicking noise has become excessively loud or happens along with other issues, it means something’s off. Normal clicking can come from condenser coils, the condenser fan, fan blades hitting ice buildup, fan motors with failed bearings, compressor issues, compressor relays, ice makers, and more!

Below, I’ve prepared a list including 8 easy fixes to stop the clicking noise and get your refrigerator back to normal.

Ready? Let’s get started!

Why trust us? This article was written by Craig Anderson and Andy Fulenchek.

Craig has helped thousands of other homeowners repair their appliances since 2016.

Andy is one of our resident appliance repair experts with over a decade of experience. He currently runs his appliance repair company with a team of trusted technicians.

Fixing a Fridge That’s Making Clicking Noises

Before going inside your refrigerator and looking for things that might be failing, it’s critical to determine whether the clicking is normal or a sign of trouble. Let’s hope we don’t get to the point of having to troubleshoot, but if it comes to that, here are the tools you’ll need:

  1. Basic cleaning supplies.
  2. Screwdriver set.
  3. Nut driver. 
  4. Pliers. 
  5. Replacement parts as needed.

Now that you’re all set up, let’s explore some things you must consider.

#1 The Clicking Noise Might Be Normal 

In my experience, a refrigerator making clicking noises isn’t always a sign of trouble. In fact, a few clicking noises are signs of a fridge that’s actually in proper working condition.

A good example is the evaporator coils. The evaporator coils can start to make clicking noises when they enter into a defrost cycle.

Appliance Expert: You’ll often hear cracking, popping, sizzling (i.e., ice melting and water dripping on to a very hot defrost heater), which is normal and happens as needed throughout the day. About 2-4 times daily.

Several internal switches inside your fridge can make clicking noises throughout the day.

That said, if the clicking noises are accompanied by any loss of functionality, are distractingly loud, or won’t stop, your fridge might be due for repairs.

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#2 Compressor Start Relay Troubles

Compressor trouble is one of the biggest causes of a refrigerator making a clicking noise. I’ll start with some of the simpler compressor-related problems and then work my way up to more complicated fixes.

The compressor relay delivers voltage from the control board or timer to the compressor for it to turn on and also has an overload feature that cuts off power when the compressor needs to cool down.

If the compressor start relay is breaking, it’ll make the clicking noise far too often, which will also be accompanied by problems keeping things cool.

Fridge compressor
You can check the starter relay with a multimeter to determine whether it’s working

Each model of refrigerator is different. However, your compressor start relay should be near your compressor’s base. You can find a replacement part by searching online for a compressor start relay that matches your refrigerator’s make and model. 

Here’s how to switch the compressor’s start relay:

  1. Unplug your fridge.
  2. Remove the rear cover at the base of the fridge.
  3. Locate your compressor start relay.
  4. Disconnect the relay from the cable harness. 
  5. Remove the old relay.
  6. Plug the new relay into the cable harness. 
  7. Attach the new relay following your manufacturer’s instructions.
  8. Put the cover back on.
  9. Plug your fridge in. 

If you want to get any replacement part – or see how much one would cost – click to enter your model number in the search bar below. Our partners at AppliancePartsPros stock almost every part with free guides on how to install them.

#3 Dirty Condenser/Evaporator Coils

Dirty condenser/evaporator coils could also explain why your fridge is making a clicking noise. The coils play a key role in keeping your fridge cool, so when they’re dirty, they force your compressor to work harder and longer to maintain low temperatures.

Your condenser coils are the winding tubes at the back or bottom of your refrigerator, behind an access panel. Because the coils are out of sight, many people go years, if not longer, without cleaning them. I find that failing to clean the coils is one of the most common causes of a wide range of refrigerator problems.

Condenser coils can become covered with dust and debris, which makes it harder to dissipate the heat building up from the coolant. Failure to dissipate the coolant properly will cause your refrigerator to retain heat over time.

Dirty condenser coils will cause your refrigerator to make a clicking noise by forcing it to constantly cycle refrigerant, as well as causing the appliance to be abnormally hot.

Cleaning condenser coils
Condenser coils are easily cleaned with a light brushing.

To address the situation, simply unplug your refrigerator and gently wipe down your condenser coils. I recommend giving the coils a light dusting. You don’t want to risk damaging the condenser coils by cleaning them with acidic cleaning solutions or other compounds.

In my opinion, you’ll get the best results by cleaning your condenser coils once per year.

#4 A Busted Condenser Fan

Your fridge has a few fans built into it. The fans cool down several components to ensure the fridge runs properly. One of the most important fans is in charge of keeping the refrigerant cool, as it gets very hot when it’s cycling throughout the day.

There’s a fan at the base of your fridge designed to blow cool air over your condenser coils to ensure your fridge gets colder faster.

A diagram of where a refrigerator's fan is located
The condenser fan works with the condenser coils to keep your food cold

Sometimes, the fan’s motor can start making a clicking noise if it becomes damaged or jammed over time.

If the refrigerator clicking noise you’re hearing is very quick, more often than not, a bad fan motor is to blame either due to wear and tear or to hitting debris and built-up ice.

Your refrigerator fans are located in the same place as your compressor start relay. Here’s how you can change the fans out:

  1. Unplug your fridge. 
  2. Open the back access panel.
  3. Locate your fan or fans.
  4. Remove the fans from their mountings. The fans will either be clipped in place or screwed into a housing. 
  5. Unplug the fans from the cable harness.
  6. Plug the new fans in.
  7. Remount your fans.
  8. Close the access panel and plug your fridge back in. 

#5 Ice Maker Problems 

Another possible reason why your fridge is making a clicking noise is ice maker problems. If your refrigerator has an ice dispenser, some components inside it could be failing.

A woman getting ice from a refrigerator
Your fridge’s ice maker can be a source of the clicking noise

Fridge ice makers have water inlet valves, arms, and ice shelves that are in charge of different functions. When any of the components mentioned above fail, you’ll be left without ice, with water leaks and clicking noises.

The good news is that ice makers are typically very easy to repair. From what I’ve seen over the years, all you usually need to do is find replacement parts that match your fridge’s make and model.

#6 A Faulty Control Board

A faulty control board can also explain why your fridge keeps making clicking noises. The control board inside your appliance is in charge of connecting and communicating with all other components.

When the control board works normally, you have nothing to worry about, but sometimes, the relays inside it can get weak or stop working due to electrical issues causing clicking. Failure with the control board relays is serious, as it can render your refrigerator useless.

#7 A Bad Damper Door

Your refrigerator’s damper door connects the fridge and freezer sections, allowing them to share cold air when needed. The damper door opens and closes as needed. However, when the damper door fails, it might not be able to sense when it’s open or closed, causing the clicking.

In many cases, a clicking damper door will still do its job, but the clicking will get louder and louder as time passes. Provided you can’t stand the noise, you’ll have to repair/replace the damper door.

#8 Water Dispenser Issues

The water dispenser is the last place to check when your refrigerator is making clicking noises. If your fridge has a water dispenser on one of its doors, it could be the source of clicking noises.

It’s normal to have some degree of clicking while you’re getting water from your refrigerator. However, when you’re not filling a glass with chilled water and still hear clicking noises, you know something’s off.

Water dispenser issues are typically due to clogs or blockages somewhere along the dispenser’s path. The clogging could be located in the filters, tubing, and water inlet valve.

How Much Does Component Repair Cost?

Now that you know how much it costs to get your refrigerator back to normal and stop the clicking, you may want to know how much you’ll have to shell out in exchange. Here are the average costs of repairs for each refrigerator component:

ComponentCost of Repairs/Replacement
Control Board$400
Damper Door$300
Compressor Relays$150-$200

Addressing a Refrigerator Making Clicking Noises

When your refrigerator is making clicking noises, a useful appliance can quickly turn into a source of frustration, disrupting your home’s silence.

Luckily, as I hope this piece has helped you better understand, addressing the most common causes behind a fridge that’s making clicking noises can be easy and quick. More often than not, the clicking is normal and can be ignored safely.

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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