Refrigerator noise

Seriously guys, how do you deal with it? My fridge is in the vicinity of my living room with all my equipment. It's pretty old machine, and the compressor is making noise almost half the time it's on ( seems to me pretty unusual, when I go to see my friends I never hear anything). I even set the level lower, but to no avail. Anybody with a similar problem? How can you check noise of a new fridge in a fairly loud environment of big store? Any recommendation (brand names)? No ice boxes please... :-)
when i beak in power cords, i often plug the cords into a refrigerator and then into one of my isoclean filter boxes. it is amazing how much colder and quieter the frige gets. buy a good 15 amp filter box for the frige.
Brands like Liebherr, Bosch and Miele have very quiet compressors and have a dB rating.
You mention that the current refigerator is old, so why not buy a newer one ?

Not sure if they have any scratch & dent stores in your area, but if they do, you can get a new fridge for very little as long as you dont mind the imperfections it might have.
I've never really investigated this much, but propane-powered refrigerators are dead silent. unfortunately, I was told that they're not legal in non-mobile homes, but who knows?
Try cleaning all around the compressor. You'd be amazed how much crap builds up in there, especially if you have pets. If the compressor is covered in crap it runs harder and longer.
Agree the frig is old and you should try the cleaning and other things, but also in a previous post someone also mentioned "LG" brand refrigerators are also pretty quiet.
I live in an apartment and my frig is also noisy.. but I'm not gonna buy my own!! But I WILL try cleaning the back, and I can stick a AC cleaner back there, as I have several extra ones of various brands laying around.
My wife and I are sensitive to fridge noise, and we're shopping for a new one.

Here's a website that discusses quiet appliances.

Based on the info there, and on customer reviews, we are purchasing an LG brand fridge.
My thoughts are the same as Winoguy17's. Remove the front grill and the easy to remove cardboard covers from the rear and vacuum all the dust you can. About a month ago our 20 year old fridge was beginning to get noticably louder to the point that I was pretty sure it was going to require replacement. I cleaned it as thoroughly as I could with a shop vac, and it is much quieter now.
Are you using just a stock power cord on the fridge? Have you considered a power conditioner on the fridge? Another option might be acoustic treatments - try sorbothane pads around the compressor or place the fridge on a Svelte Shelf.
Tvad: Before you buy LG, you might consider checking the various non-Consumer-Reports sites that provide comments on appliances. Based on reports from consumers who have bought them, their reliability seems to be awful.
Jimjoyce25, thanks.

I've been researching refrigerators for three months, and I've read customer reports and other reports from many sources.

FWIW, if you read comments from actual owners of the top rated Consumer Reports refrigerators, you will find that most people disagree with Consumer Reports' top ranked refrigerators. Owners' comments are available via Consumer Reports online.

As a result, Consumer Reports refrigerator rankings carried little weight in our decision.

In fact, after reading dozens of owners' comments from half a dozen websites, I found that almost *no* model or make of refrigerator has consistently positive owners' remarks. Someone almost always reports a dismal ownership experience. I found only positive comments regarding the specific model LG fridge we intend to purchase.

We are comfortable with our decision to by an LG.
Does you compressor use a fan to cool down the condencer section or is there a coil on the back of the frig?
You can put a sound jacket over the compressor. Just make sure it is only over the compressor and does not block air flow if you have a fan assist condencer. If you have the coil on the back of the frig just cover the compressor and there is no air flow to worry about. You can use most anything you want. Try an old childs jacket. Do not block you drain pan either.
Tvad, we recently bought an LG refrigerator, and though it doesn't hold as much volume as one might expect, the layout further compromises capacity, and the quality of plastic is not up to the job at hand, it is indeed very, very quiet.
Unsound, having waded deep into the appliance quagmire, I am convinced there isn't a single model or brand of fridge that doesn't have its detractors.

The particular LG model we have identified fulfills most of our needs, including counter depth, no water dispenser, and quiet operation. Having more online reviews from satisfied owners than dissatisfied owners, it gets our vote.

It's unfortunate that your are apparently unsatisfied with your purchase.

However, I'm open to suggestions...
Are there any devices to plug between the refrigerator and the wall that prevent motor noise from entering the whole AC system?
An apartment dweller most of my life, I gave up and unplugged the 'fridge during serious listening.

Freeze a gallon water jug and place in main compartment
to keep things cool.

Yes, occasionally I forget to re-plug (oops!).
There is no way other than a sound blanket to lower the noise coming from a refrigerator. The compressor is a pump and makes noise as it runs and the hotter the air around it gets the louder it will get. Make sure it is on level ground also. This is what I do for a living trust me you cannot stop the noise no matter what you do short of remoting the compressor and condencer, very costly. Also with the new freons they seem to be getting louder especially when they startup.
yes you can simply unplug the fridge. Or you can buy a RF remote power outlet and hit a button to shut down the ice box, and hit it again to turn it back on.

Avoiding the sliding in & out of the ice box.

If replacing, the box entirely, check to see if the condenser is attached to the back of the fridge or if everything is contained underneath it behind the paper shroud.

Generally speaking, those with non exposed condensers are quieter... but not always.

The bigger the box the louder, usually. Amana's, Sub Zeero's used to be very quiet and long lasting. I've had a few others like GE, Fridgedare, & Kelvinator.

They all make noise. The larger ones make more... try the RF outletn approach... and a new box. Pocket doors might be an option to close off the kitchen from the listening area... That's what I did in the end, though it was not aimed at lessening ice box noise.
Tvad, I'm not completely "unsatisfied". It is quiet and it does do the most important job of all i.e., maintaining proper temperture, quite well. And yes, the design, (french doors w/o water dispenser) size and color worked in to our plans as well. The lay out, silly ice maker design, and perhaps more of an issue, the quality of plastic is dissapointing though. After all, 4 different broken broken pieces(including the same all important door latch, twice, for a total of 5 pieces), in very light use, in less than 2 years, is disturbing.
Unsound, I agree the ice maker design and placement is not good. I appreciate your comments. Discussing flaws is very helpful.

Hopefully, the latch issue has been corrected in the two years since you purchased yours. Otherwise, an extended warranty seems to be in our future.

The only other option appears to be a KitchenAid model, which also has some issues.

In retrospect, what other fridge would you have purchased?

you would be well served to find out who's making who's refridgerator these days.

There's lots of names but not that many makers.

Kelvinator, Westinghouse, Fridgidare, Tappan, and Gibson were all a part of White consolidated Industries, in Illinois. Apart form esthetics they were almost identical. Gibson steered away and made a better product overall of those.

GE & Hotpoint, same thing. Kenmore & Whirlpool, same there too... get the Kenmore and save $$$.

magic Chef, Norge, & Admiral, again, same. maytag doesn't even make their own stuff entirely any more.

Unless it's all about cosmetics, getting one made in USA with local maker service, not 'authorized' is usually best.

Better still are those made by whose name is on them.

LG is Korean isn't it? I wonder who is making their boxes for them in the US?

Amana, Gibson, Thermadore, and SubZero have always made a quality product and provided great build and service. Bosch may bare looking into now.

Otherwise, despite the names, they are more alike than not... so you can go with price alone for the most part with the mainstream 'mass fi' names.
I'm astonished to read in G_m_c's post that an Isoclean "filter box" makes his fridge quieter--and a bit surprised too that he even tried it--but hey, I love it. I would get one for my fridge immediately but A) I'm not sure which model to go for, B) my own very pricey 6-outlet Isoclean power bar isn't actually a "filter", although it does an amazing job. If I have to go up the line I'll wind up paying more than the fridge cost. :(

How about an isolation transformer for the fridge? That would be more appropriate pricewise. Anyone tried one of those?
Blindjim, I'm am aware of the all the points you raised.
Tvad, only for asthetic reasons, we considered a Maytag, but the extra cost wasn't worth it to us. Honestly, I do my research, I make my purchases and I move on. I don't second guess myself after it's over. Best of luck with your purchase.
I have a business where we design and contract for creating residential interior living spaces, particularly kitchens. I suggest looking into Amana, JennAir (built by Amana now), Kitchen Aid. The true ultimate refrigerator in the WORLD is Sub Zero but your investment will be considerably more. Look into the bottom freezer models and forget about the ice and water in the door. Forget LG, Viking, Bosch, Dacor, Maytag, Fridgidare,Whirlpool, Samsung, and probably GE (although the Monogram series is quite good but is being discontinued).

If you wait to make your purchase in the late fall I understand the Fed is going to offer a credit for purchases of new appliances that have the Energy Star certification.
How about contacting Custom Kitchen Deliveries...they could help move that refrigerator!
08-20-09: Sit
The true ultimate refrigerator in the WORLD is Sub Zero.

According to Consumer Reports, SubZero has the most dismal reliability record of nearly any refrigerator.

Here in LaLa land, SubZero is quite popular as a status symbol, and reports of bad experiences are plentiful.

We have yet to find a KitchenAid or Jenn Air french door fridge that does not have a water dispenser. We do not want ice or water dispensers, since these are the most common items to fail.
Well good luck with your choice Tvad. I'm sure it will suit.

I've found Consumer Reports, by and large, not to be tthe last word on if an item is a quality made one however. here, I used the years of exp the companies I worked for had, and that of my own to determine at least one thing... if it is built and is as important as are ice boxes, good service is so important to have about, and those who build their own do fare better as a rule.

For the OP... that $20 RF remote should be a consideration to attenuate noise during playback. Either that or learning to live with higher volume levels that will drown out the fridge..
How does the RF remote work? I'm assuming I plug it into a power outlet and plug the fridge power cord into it. And then I can turn on/off the fridge with a remote?
I better not forget to turn it back on :-)
Could you put an electronic timer on the fridge's AC circuit? Then you wouldn't have to remember to turn the power back on...
How would you do that?
BTW I meant the hood from a child’s winter coat. Unplug the refrigerator and place it over the compressor. Get some silver metal tape, tape it to the compressor or use straps and make sure it is snug but not overly tight. This is similar to the cover some people put on their water heaters to keep costs lower, just a lot smaller. Silver tape is heat resistant and should not peal off like duct or other types of tape will because of the heat from the compressor. You will be surprised at how well this works and it will not hurt the compressor either. I added one to my mother in-law’s outside a/c compressor because of a neighbor’s complaint of the noise level at night.

Blindjim is correct: there are only about 5 makers of residential refrigerators. Just the names are been changed to protect the innocent.

08-20-09: Branislav
How would you do that?

You could use a simple electronic appliance timer, but you'd probably need an extension cord to get the timer to an accessible location from behind the fridge, where most outlets are located.

exactly. Fridge plugs into it. Google for remote outlet or the like. Amazon sells them, Plenty of others too. some come in pairs, triples, singles. Etc.

Place the power outlet remote right by the amp, which I assume is not remote controled. When you go to turn off the amp last as should be, turn on the fridge!

I'd caution against covering a compressor with anything. It is more than fortunate that a previous exp of covering one proved to be a positive one. Compressors get terribly hot. Hot enough to burn your skin by simply touching them sometimes.

The apparent noise is coming from both the fan and the compressor. When a compressor begins to rattle or become more audible, it's on it's way out. Bearraings usually are the reason.

Fridges cycle too. They turn themselves off to defrost everyday. This cycle might have, over a period of time, shifted somewhat.

I'm near positive this defrost period can be reset so it occurs in the wee hours so as not to disturb. I'll get back as to the how of it.

Intermatic as well as some other switch makers produce timers for appliances like water heaters as was suggested above.

these are hard wired products most often and a possible need here. A mechanical one won't do. you could inquire at the Adult Toy Store, (Lowes, Home Depot) for acquiring one and with enough room mount it to the wall outlet feeding the ice box.

Then all you have to do is listen at exactly those times and no others. remember? You and it are then on a timer!

...hence the note on the remote (memory) controlled device.

If one can not relocate the ice box... can't or wont' buy a quieter one... can't or won't close off the kitchen area from the listening area... turning off TEMPORARILY & easily, the box seems the solution. Sheeessssshhhhh!

this ain't rocket science or room treatments! The latter appearing now, the simpler task. lol
Re: Consumer Reports: According to them BOSE is as good as it gets....
Tvad- You are misinformed about Sub Zero. Consumer Reports refuses to acknowledge the fact that a SubZero has a 12-year warranty while the most other refrigeration units have is 12 MONTHS. Of course one would expect more service issues! That is only one of several discrepancies in C.S. analysis. Consumer Reports should be read with care not only for appliances but also automobiles and several other important categories. My graduate degree is in marketing research. Some of the analysis developed by COnsumer Reports is based upon insufficient data. THAT IS A FACT.
FWIW I'm with Sit on the insufficient data CR collects.

The Gibson ice box came with a 10 year compressor wtty. as std fare.

one of the rental - retail chains I ran an outlet for and was the appliance buyer for as well, put out the Gibson's in their rental department for years. Thereafter Kelvinator. Thereafter as needs were, others were used to supply the rental population.

Durability, longevity, as much trouble free operation as is possible is the PRIME concern in that industry. Service was/is always a consideration.

of all the brands used in that corporations history Gibson & Kelvinator fared best having the lowest incident numbers. Those numnbers were reflecting, shuffling them out to the customer, upstairs and down, picking up said items by default, or merely relocating them for the customer. Lots of moving about... lots of different ware and tare from several owners during the lifespan of the appliance, and we guaranteed 100% zero cost to the customer for ANY repair issue, providing in the case of fridges, same day replacement or repair.

it was incumbent on us to select as worthy and well built a product as was possible at the time. Those two did best then. They were available for retail too.

it always amused me that people routinely came in with CR under their arm to get the best deal.

Times have changed and so it goes for appliance makers. things have sure, uh, cheapend up. on shore and off.

Wanna know what might be a good path to go appliance wise?

Call your local rent to own outlet and ask what they're putting out on rent these days... and what causes them the least issues.

Call a few different ones in fact. I assure you, they'll know. It's a larege part of how they stay in the black.

I don't think CR polls them though.
This subject has been of interest to my wife & I as well. We researched as well as we could, considering Bosch, LG, GE & Samsung. We cook a lot & make dinner from scratch every night, so it had to function well from a utility standpoint as well as being quiet. Tvad is right, every brand has it's detractors. Remember the old trusim, an unhappy customer tells ten people, a satisfied customer tells one. In the end, we bought a 24 cu. ft. Samsung, rated @ 44 db., which is competitive with all the brands that actively promote quietness as a feature. After replacing the fridge with the same model after only four months because Samsung couldn't provide repair parts for a loud, ratcheting ice maker, I can tell you there are substantial differences from one fridge to the next. The second one is less quiet than the original. Still generally quiet, but it's quite annoying considering the first one was inaudible from eight feet away and the replacement can be heard from 16 feet away. If my experience is applicable on a broader scale, I can easily see how experiences are so variable. Regarding reliability, I would also urge consideration of WHO you buy from as a warranty is no better than the company administering it. My experience with appliance repair through major large retailers is abysmal. I'd always try to buy from smaller local retailers than have more responsive and nimble warranty service departments. FWIW, Audiocircle has had an active thread on this subject for some time now as well.
I had a Sub Zero 550, over/under refrigerator/freezer for 3 years in my previous home. It was wonderful but we sold it along with the house. When we bought this house, I purchased a 601R which is a refrigerator only unit. It's 20 cubic feet of very useful space, runs quietly and has given us very little trouble.
When we had the evaporator replaced a couple of weeks ago, the part was furnished under warranty, the labor came to $450, and I received a check today from Sub Zero for $115. The stub said it was a warranty reimbursement for labor. Considering the age of the unit, I think that was very generous of them.
They also make a 601F freezer to match if you have the space and funds. I have neither so I bought a small GE upright freezer for the garage.

If quality is important to you, there is no alternative. They are not silent but the noise is less obtrusive than most.
Did some warranty research. The sections below in quotations are copied and pasted from the manufacturer's warranty statements.

From years 6-12, Sub Zero's warranty is limited, and "covers all parts that prove to be defective in materials or workmanship in the sealed system (parts only). The sealed system consists of the compressor, condenser, evaporator, drier and all connecting tubing."

Kitchen Aid's limited warranty for years 6-10 is similar to Sub-Zero's sealed system limited warranty..."covers all parts that prove to be defective in materials or workmanship in the sealed system (parts only). The sealed system consists of the compressor, condenser, evaporator, drier and all connecting tubing."

Jenn-Air's limited sealed system warranty is for years 2-5.

LG's warranty for years 2-4 covers only the compressor.

I appreciate the discussion. I have no dog in this hunt. I'm only looking for a good, reliable fridge. I do believe it's beneficial to discuss facts and avoid generalities, so I posted the details as I read them from the manufacturer's warranty statements.
Tvad - Your findings concerning Sub Zero warranty are consistent with the terms in my owner's manual.

The big difference between a Sub Zero and more conventional products lies in the fact that the Sub will meet it's original specs long after most other refrigerators have been replaced.

By the way, they claim my refrigerator uses less juice than a 100 watt light bulb.

I bought a Samsung over/under combo fridge/freezer for one of my rentals last year and it seems very nice and user friendly for the $900 and change that I paid. I haven't lived with it at all though so I'm not sure whether or not it gets any points for quiet operation.
I agree with cleaning around the compressor. The unit will run quieter and more efficiently - meaning that it will be "off" and silent for longer periods of time.

However, ambient noise is ambient noise. A couple of years ago, there was a power outage in my neighborhood. It was the first time that I experience true silence at home.

I am a big fan of SubZero refrigerators. The house that my parents built in the mid 50s had one that was still going strong when they sold the house 30 years later. Their second house also had a SubZero as did my first house; both of these units were trouble-free until the houses were sold more than 15 years later. My current SubZero is 15 years old. About 3 years ago, I needed to have the condenser replaced. Even though it was out of warranty, the company paid half of the cost of new unit plus labor. I have heard that the newest units are quieter and use less energy than my 15 year old refrigerator.
Due to the interest of this oh-so-lame thread I will be starting a new site -FridgeoGon.

I cant believe I read the whole thing....