The mini fridge is a more portable version of the full-size fridge. However, users often have to consider buying a mini refrigerator because of its noise. Are the mini fridges loud? This article will answer and give you the reasons that cause this phenomenon.
What is a Decibel?
Decibel – abbreviated as dB – is a unit of logarithmic function, measuring sound based on the properties of the human ear. The equivalent sound level of inaudibility would be 0 dB, the unbearable level would be about 140 dB.
We can consider 0 dB as the lowest threshold, and the highest level that can be heard as the jarring level, about 140 dB. However, some people have the threshold of 85 dB, others at 115 dB.
Safe & Unsafe Decibels
Human hearing range is from 0 to 125 dB. Below 40 dB, hearing is difficult. When it’s above 105 dB, the ear will be painful, and above 115 dB for a long time will cause permanent deafness. If it is above 130 dB, the brain will almost die.
According to The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, for a 115 decibel (dB) sound, the exposure limit is just 28 seconds.
The hearing will be damaged if exposed to noise louder than EPA (the Environmental Protection Agency) safe noise level of 70 dB over 24 hours.
Decibels of common sounds
0 dB No sound at all
10 dB Our breath
20 dB The sound of falling leaves
30 dB The sound of rustling leaves
40 dB Whisper, refrigerator
50 dB Moderate rainfall
60 dB Normal talk
70 dB Noisy office, supermarket, street noise
80 dB Noisy hall, printing house
90 dB Factory
110 dB Rock Music
130 dB Airplane take off, fire truck siren
Are the mini fridges noisy? How many decibels count as noise?
On the market, mini fridges have many size variations. They also have plenty of different features, like some of them are portable, some have a freezer, some have two separate sections, etc. That’s why the mini fridge s popularity has rapidly increased over time.
But mini fridges also have several drawbacks. For example, you might find them a little bit noisy.
Generally, a standard fridge makes a 30 to 47 decibels (dB) noise. So, mini fridges are not loud unless there is a problem or damage when the noise is over 50 dB. As the standard noise is still so low that you may not notice the sound. However, if the noise is more than 50 dB, you will hear the noise. It will be loud if the noise is more than 50 dB. Sometimes, the noise level might exceed 60 dB, which is pretty loud. In this case, a mini fridge has noise problems like compressor problems. This much noise can affect your living environment. So, if the mini fridge has a problem, the noise might be thunderous.
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The causes of loud noise
The compressor problem is the most common reason for the mini fridge to be loud. Besides, the fridge can make a thunderous noise if dirt and dust get into the electronic parts like defrost timer, evaporator fan, condenser, etc.
But sometimes, the reason might not be related to the fridge’s problem. If the mini fridge is not placed well on the floor, it can make an uncomfortable noise as well.
There are several reasons for your mini fridge to be too loud. Each cause will need a different method to resolve the issue:
- When the mini fridge is placed on an unbalanced floor, the cabinet will be tilted and slightly collide with the floor, making noise or vibration.
- Mini fridge noise may be caused by the mini fridge compressor being too old, used continuously for a long time, or damaged. In addition, a damaged relay that will not be able to defrost also causes the mini fridge to make unusually loud noises.
- If the mini fridge makes unusual noises coming from the freezer as the engine starts, it is most likely caused by a dried impeller motor.
- The wastewater pan is usually mounted on a foam rubber layer located directly below the mini fridge to store the wastewater in the cabinet. During use, the pan may make noise below due to deflection or touching the radiator wire, the cooling line of the cabinet.
- One of the reasons the mini fridge vibrates and makes thunderous noises is the magnets decorated on the fridge. Objects placed on the top of the fridge or the mini fridge cover are loose, creating sounds during operation.
Different types of noise
There are many types of noise that can make mini fridges loud. If you want to repair a loud mini fridge, firstly, you have to identify the type of sound and where the sound comes from.
A loud humming noise
If your fridge makes a low humming noise, it may not be a problem. The fridge’s condenser might be trying to cool down. But if the noise is too loud, the condenser fan might have a problem.
Sometimes, dust and dirt on the fan might make a loud humming noise. Another reason can be related to the compressor. Sometimes, the compressor gets too dirty and makes a humming noise.
What to do:
You need to clean the compressor and condenser fan motor frequently. Ensure the compressor and condenser fan don’t get too dirty. You can also add acoustic foam to the back of the fridge to prevent loud noise. But if the methods mentioned above don’t work, repair the mini fridge by a local mini fridge repair person. Besides, make sure the mini fridge is adequately placed on the floor. You can adjust the position and notice whether the noise is reduced or not.
A popping noise
When the compressor is overloaded, your mini fridge might make a popping noise. It can also make a popping noise if there is a thermal expansion on the mini fridge. Otherwise, the water valve, evaporator coil, compressor vibration, etc., can be responsible for creating a popping sound.
If the problem is with the valve, you will have to replace it. And if the compressor is overloaded, you have to contact a service center for professional help.
Further reading: How to Choose the Best Mini Fridge for Bedroom?
A buzzing noise
Buzzing noise in a mini fridge can be very annoying. Buzzing noise might come from a dirty compressor or an evaporator fan. Sometimes the compressor gets dust and dirt that makes the buzzing noise. Moreover, an imbalanced mini fridge on the floor can make a buzzing noise. Sometimes, an empty fridge can make a more buzzing sound. In that case, try to fill the mini fridge with food or a water bottle to reduce the buzzing.
You have to identify the noise source to solve the buzzing problem. You can review the floor whether your mini fridge is set on the smooth floor or not. Besides, you should clean your mini fridge’s evaporator fan and compressor. Moreover, you can fill the mini fridge with food to avoid making empty noise. You can also use acoustic foam or soundproofing materials for the fridge.
A rattling noise
If your mini fridge makes a rattling noise, it might have a loose drain tray. If the compressor or evaporator fan is dirty, it can also cause a rattling noise.
How to solve the problem:
If you want to fix the rattling noise of your mini fridge, you have to make sure the drain tray of the fridge is well set. When the tray is loose, it might cause a rattling noise. Moreover, regularly cleaning the compressor or evaporator fan will help. Also, you should clean the inside of the mini fridge. But remember to make sure to unplug your fridge before cleaning.
A gurgling or bubbling noise
If there is an issue with the water supply, the mini fridge might make gurgling or bubbling noise. Also, your mini fridge might make bubbling or gurgling noise when the compressor runs because the compressor has water in it. This is normal. But if the noise is thunderous, there might be a problem with the compressor. Moreover, air bubbles in the drain tube or melted water flowing into the drain might make a bubbling or gurgling noise. Generally, bubbling or gurgling noise is often expected. Besides, if you open the door frequently, the compressor has to work more, making more sound.
What to do:
But if the issue is with leakage on the water supply line, you have to fix the pipe.
A sound like running water
If you see your mini fridge sounds like running water, the explanation is simple. Occasionally, water flows on the drain tube, or water flows from defrosting. These are all expected. But if you catch running water sound with water leakage from the mini fridge, maybe the electronic devices of the mini fridge might not work correctly.
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How to deal with it:
If the problem is defrosting or draining tube water, you won’t have to fix it. These are entirely normal. But if the sounds come with water leakage from the mini fridge, you shall need a professional.
Mini fridges making loud noise is one phenomenon that often appears during use. We hope this article will help you determine what causes the mini fridge to vibrate, make unusual noises, and fix it most effectively.