What's wrong with my refrigerator?

Okay, you guys were a great help awhile ago when my shower drain was clogged, so here’s another home-related question I hope somebody can help me with.

About a week ago, my refrigerator started making a funny noise. You know the normal low electric hum they intermittently make when they’re running properly? Well, mine started making the same noise only a lot louder. It will do it for maybe 10 seconds and then stop.

I checked inside and the only unusual thing was that it had a little bit of ice around the top part of the freezer–we thought maybe something had prevented it from closing all the way and so condensation formed. I cleared out the ice and thought that might fix the problem, but it’s still making the noise. The refrigerating and freezing capabilities don’t appear to have been affected.

This is a fairly new refrigerator (bought new in August '99). The noise wouldn’t bother me if I knew it was nothing to worry about, but I want to be sure. I figured I’d ask here before calling a repairperson who might laugh at me for being a doofus if it was an obvious thing that’s easily taken care of.

Any ideas? Thanks!

So it just seems to be “humming” a little louder than normal but everything else seems to be fine?

I don’t think I would worry about it.

BTW - What brand of fridge is it? Whirlpools generally are quite reliable as are Frigidaires. Maytag and GE fridges are a little lower down the quality totem pole, though.

It’s a Kenmore, I think (I’m currently not where it is).

The humming isn’t just a little louder–it has a much more “electrical hum” kind of tone than the former “machine working properly” hum.

The compressor could be on it’s way out, or maybe a bearing is shot. If it’s still under any sort of warranty you should have someone come and check it out.
You said it does it for 10 seconds and then stops, how often does it do that? Maybe it’s defrosting. That tends to make a different noise.

I’ll definitely check to see if it’s still under warranty. Thanks!

As for how often it does this–I’d say maybe once every 20 minutes to half an hour. About as often as it used to make the old (normal) noise.

Oh yeah, if its under warranty still definetly check it out. Sears is usually quite good with their warranties too.

There is a small electric motor that drives a compressor in the fridge, it could be that… just a guess.

Kenmore fridges are generally Whirlpool or Frigidaire made. They are usually quite decent. I would be a little suprised if it started to crater at 3 years old.

Since you say it happens at the same time it used to make the old noise we can rethink this hear. It’s not a “new” noise so to speak. It’s most likely the same think that was making the old noise but something is different. Since I can’t acutally hear the noise myself, I would have to guess: bad compressor, bad motor (ie shot bearrings, burning out, over heating), pulley problem, or belt problem (unless it’s direct drive, in which case there would not be a pulley/belt). Hopefully it’s still under warranty!

It could be the compressor is making the noise inside (bad sign) or the compressor is somehow loose or not well held in place and is vibrating. It could also just be a fan. You can probably pull the refrigerator out and take a peek in the back and determine the origin.

My brother does this for a living. I will see him Sunday and ask him what he thinks.

Just to clarify, though…Your frost-free refrigerator, in addition to making a funny noise, also produces frost?

Thanks, everybody, for the suggestions. I’ve been thinking about pulling it out from the wall and taking a look–I’ll try that. The spouse and I aren’t very handy, so if anything’s wrong we’ll probably have to call somebody to fix it.

chique, no, it doesn’t produce frost. I’m not sure why it got these few little chunks of ice at the top of the freezer near the door (it wasn’t frost–it was real ice, like frozen droplets) but now that I’ve cleared it away it hasn’t recurred. I think there was just something stuck in the door.

Doesn’t it have the manf phone number inside or in the manual? You can always call them.