Tracking down a noisy evaporator fan is simple. Open the refrigerator door and listen for the noise. Then close the door and open the freezer door. If the noise is noticeably louder with the freezer door open, a faulty evaporator motor is the likely culprit.
Remove food from the refrigerator to spot the covering or housing for the evaporator fan. You’ll identify it easily through the sound and cool air coming from the fan. Remove the cover from the evaporator fan. It could snap off or require removing screws, depending on the model. With the cover off, the grating or grinding sound should be even louder, allowing you to assume that the evaporator fan is faulty.
Evaporator fans sometimes fail because of overheated bearings in the fan's motor. Once the bearings become faulty, the evaporator fan could become noisier. Some evaporator fans work only when the freezer door is closed. If the noise stops when you open the door, push the door switch in the freezer compartment to make the evaporator fan start running again. The door switch should be on the side wall of the door. It is automatically depressed when the door closes.
An evaporator fan motor replacement is a simple task for a repair person. Some people who are handy with tools also consider it an easy do-it-yourself project. Before deciding what to do, determine if the refrigerator is still under warranty. If is not, contact the manufacturer to find the price of an evaporator fan motor. At the time of publication, the motors were available online for less than $100. Then contact a repair person to ask for an estimate for replacing the part. Make your decision after considering cost savings vs. the hassle of doing it yourself.
One advantage of using a repair person is that the technician can review other components in your refrigerator to confirm that they are working properly. Using a repair person also could be faster than waiting for a part to arrive. Spend extra money on a technician if you have doubts about your ability to do the job.