Does Your Fridge Keep Making Clicking Noises? 6 Easy Fixes

Got a fridge that just won’t stop making a clicking noise? That could either be normal operations or a sign that your fridge is about to break.

Fixing that clicking noise that keeps coming from your fridge is about more than just convenience. This can also be an early sign that there is a serious issue that can cause your fridge to break down. Here’s how you can fix a fridge that’s making a clicking noise.

Clicking noises within a refrigerator can be normal operation sounds. However, if the refrigerator clicking noise has become excessive, loud, or happens with other issues, it could indicate a serious issue. Normal clicking can come from condenser coils, the condenser fan, fan blades hitting ice build up, fan motors with failed bearings, compressor issues, compressor relays, ice makers and more!

Are you looking to learn more, diagnose, and maybe even fix the problem? Then let’s get started!

What You’ll Need

Fridge repair is actually really easy. In fact, you’ve probably already got all the tools you’ll need. Here’s a list. 

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

How to Stop Your Fridge from Clicking

Let’s stop that clicking noise once and for all! Here’s how to fix a fridge that won’t stop clicking. 

#1 It Might Be Normal 

Clicking sounds aren’t always the sign of a fridge that’s on its last legs. Your fridge and start making clicking noises for perfectly normal reasons. In fact, a few clicking noises are signs of a fridge that’s actually in proper working condition.

There are a few common causes of clicking noises in refrigerators that are actually perfectly normal. The evaporator coils can start to make clicking noises when they enter into a defrost cycle.

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

There are also several internal switches inside your fridge that can make clicking noises throughout the day. The main board inside your fridge can also make clicking noises as can some of the ventilation and fan systems.

Those clicking noises that you’re hearing might just be the sign that your fridge is working normally. If the clicking noises are accompanied by any loss and functionality, they get distractingly loud, or they just won’t stop, then your fridge might be due for repairs.

Let’s take a look at a few of the more common reasons why your fridge can be clicking—and why that could be something other than normal operations. 

#2 Compressor Start Relay Troubles

One of the biggest causes for a bothersome clicking sound coming from your refrigerator is issues with the compressor. We’re going to start with some of the more simple compressor related problems and then work our way up into more complicated fixes.

The compressor relay delivers voltage from the control board or timer when it’s time for the compressor to turn on. The relay distributes voltage to either the start winding or the run winding of the compressor.

If the compressor start relay is breaking, it’s going to make that clicking noise far too much. This will also be accompanied by problems keeping things cool.

testing a compressor relay with a multimeter
You can check the starter relay with a multimeter to determine whether it’s working or not

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

Here’s how to switch it out.

  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 

#3 Dirty Condenser Coils

Roll up your sleeves because it’s time to do some cleaning. One of the most common causes for a refrigerator that the overload relay won’t stop clicking – which is caused by dirty condenser coils. Many homeowners never clean their condenser coils until it’s too late. Dirty coils can cause aging compressors to fail due to running the compressor full time, as it tries to maintain temperature inside the fridge.

Your condenser coils are those winding tubes that either appear on the back of your refrigerator or on the bottom of behind an access panel. Because they’re out of sight, and out of mind, many people go years if not longer without cleaning their condenser coils. However, this is one of the most common causes of a wide range of refrigerator problems.

Condenser coils can become covered with dust and debris. The condenser coils job is to dissipate the heat that builds up in the coolant. If your condenser coils are covered with lint, they won’t be able to dissipate heat as effectively and your refrigerator’s refrigerant will over time retain heat that it’s trying to remove from inside the refrigerator/freezer section. Imagine wearing a heavy winter coat during the summer-time. It’s the same concept here.

This causes a clicking noise by forcing your refrigerator to constantly cycle refrigerant as well as causing your refrigerator to be abnormally hot due to not being able to radiate the excess heat collected from inside the fridge/freezer cabinet.

The fix is simple. All you need to do is unplug your refrigerator and gently wipe down your condenser coils. We recommend just giving them a light dusting. You don’t want to risk damaging the condenser coils by cleaning them with caustic cleaning solutions or other compounds.

Refrigerator Condenser Coils
Condenser coils are easily cleaned with a light brushing.

You can get the best results by cleaning your condenser coils once every year. Just throw this one in with the rest of your spring cleaning and you’ll be fine. 

#4 A Busted Condenser Fan

Did you know that your fridge actually contains several fans?

Your fridge has a few fans built into it. These fans cool down several different components to make sure that it runs properly. One of the most important fans is tasked with keeping the refrigerant cool. The refrigerant that keeps your refrigerator cold actually gets very hot when it’s cycling through its use. There’s a fan at the base of your fridge that is designed to blow cool air over your condensers to make sure that your fridge gets colder faster.

There’s a few reasons why this fan could start clicking. The fan could become damaged or jammed over time. This will cause the motor that operates the fan to click as it rotates. The electronics that control the fan can also degrade. This can lead to a similar-sounding clicking noise.

You can tell that it’s a problem related to your evaporator fan if the clicking noises are rapid. The faster the clicks are, the more likely it is that the problem is coming from your fans hitting debris or ice.

Want to know how to change out a broken fan in your refrigerator? It’s actually really easy. Your fans are located in the same place as your compressor start relay. Here’s how you can change them out.

  1. Unplug your fridge 
  2. Open the back access panel
  3. Locate your fan or fans
  4. Remove the fans from their mountings. They 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 

Your fridge’s ice maker can be a source of the clicking noise

Does your fridge have an ice maker? Well, there’s a good chance that this household convenience can actually be the source of nuisance noises.

There are several components in the ice maker that could lead to a constant clicking noise. There’s the water inlet valve, the arm, as well as the ice itself. If other solutions on this list haven’t worked, you should consider inspecting your freezer’s ice maker.

Ice maker clicking noises typically come with other problems. One of the most problematic of these is that your freezer does not stop producing ice. Other issues could be a shortage of ice or liquid water in the ice bin. Ice makers are typically very easy to repair and all you usually need to do is find replacement parts that match the make and model of your fridge. Most ice makers can be fixed with nothing more than a household screwdriver.

#6 Water Dispenser Woes

The last place to check for clicking noises is in the water dispenser. If your fridge has a water dispenser on one of the doors, then that could be the source of clicking noises.

This is most often the case while you’re actively dispensing water or ice. However, in more serious problems the clicking noises can happen even when you’re not actively filling a glass with water.

These problems are most likely due to clogs or blockages somewhere along the water dispenser’s path. These could be located in the filters or in the tubing and water inlet valve. Some of the more difficult problems have to do with leaks in your water dispenser system. These can not only cause clicking noises, but can also create a difficult to detect leak that can damage your flooring or walls.