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Knocking Noise From a Kenmore Refrigerator

Meredith Jameson
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A knocking sound in a Kenmore refrigerator could be one of several issues. The compressor is the common culprit; noise coming from it is generally normal. Cleaning the coils in the back of the fridge, once the power is disconnected, can help.

Knocking Noise From a Kenmore Refrigerator

Many refrigerators make a knocking sound during operation. While this unsettling sound is usually caused by the compressor, it's not the only reason why refrigerators might make an unusual noise. Some noises and vibration are less serious than compressor problems, but still worth investigating.

Compressor Issues

As the metal parts within the refrigerator expand and contract when the compressor turns on and off, a popping, cracking or knocking sound may result. This sound generally should be pretty quiet, shouldn’t last long and is most likely in older model refrigerators. The knocking is not necessarily a problem unless the sound is very loud, lasts for a long time or there are other issues, such as poor cooling. If these conditions exist, contact Kenmore for service assistance. Kenmore's customer service webpage offers information on warranty coverage and how to submit questions or schedule a service call.

Vibration Noises

Luckily for some owners, the knocking problem might not come from the compressor or other refrigerator components at all. Instead, the refrigerator may simply be in contact with a wall, making noises when the refrigerator vibrates during normal use. This knocking sound can be resolved by allowing a space of 2 to 4 inches between the refrigerator and any other surface.

Condenser Coils

The condenser, which is partially responsible for cooling in the refrigerator, frequently gets covered in dust or dirt and starts to lose effectiveness. When this happens, the refrigerator or freezer may not be as cold as it used to be. There may be a knocking sound due to reduced air flow over the condenser. Disconnect power to the Kenmore refrigerator and use a soft brush or vacuum brush attachment to clean off the condenser, which looks like a bunch of black coils along the back of the refrigerator.

Condenser Fan

Along with the condenser, the condenser fan helps cool the refrigerator and can start to make noise if dirty or obstructed. While cleaning the condenser, use the brush or vacuum brush attachment to clean the condenser fan as well. Sometimes the condenser fan has a thin cover over it for added protection. Remove it with a screwdriver, if necessary. Unplug the refrigerator first.

Water and Ice Issues

Refrigerators outfitted with ice makers and water dispensers can also make knocking noises. The water lines leading to the refrigerator may make banging or knocking sounds as they fill with water, due to high water pressure. Ice cubes can also make noise as they are being dispensed by the cube-making portion of the freezer as the cubes are dispensed into the ice holder. The ice-cube maker can even make noise if not hooked up to a water line. In this case, turn the cube maker off so it doesn't attempt to make ice.