How to Fix Samsung Refrigerator Fan Noise [SOLVED]

How to Fix Samsung Refrigerator Fan Noise [SOLVED]

Is your Samsung refrigerator making loud, clanking noises? 

In this article, we’ll help you become more familiar with dealing with loud noises coming from your fridge, particularly how to make them go away.

Spoiler alert: you don’t always need to call for service on it. The solution you’re looking for can be as simple as turning off the cooling system for a couple of hours.

So, let’s dive right into fixing the issue!

Why Your Samsung Refrigerator Fan is Making Noise and How to Fix It

Why Your Samsung Refrigerator Fan is Making Noise and How to Fix It

Samsung refrigerator fans make loud noises when their blades are scraping against ice or are frozen or clogged. They also make noises when fan motors are defective.

To fix this, first clear out any ice or dirt buildup around the fan. If any part of the fans is damaged, they must be replaced.

Samsung refrigerators are designed to make a humming noise to indicate that it’s functioning normally as they blow cold air into the compartments.

When this noise escalates into loud rattling or rumbling, this means that one of the fans may be scratching against the ice around it. This is primarily due to excessive frost formation.

The first step to clearing this out is to defrost the unit. However, ice buildup is a natural contingency of the unit’s cooling process, so you’ll eventually have to defrost the fridge every month or so.

But while you can’t avoid ice buildup altogether, it’s still possible to keep the outcome to a manageable amount.

We prepared a short list of what contributes to excessive ice buildup, so you can keep an eye out for them in the future. Read more about them below.

Quick Note:

Your Samsung fridge can regularly make different noises, including buzzing, humming, clicking, and sputtering.

The buzzing and humming usually come from the water line as it fills the ice maker with water. This can get louder if you adjust the water pressure too high.

You may also hear buzzing noises along with soft clicking as the compressor operates. This is normal, and can sometimes be followed by sputtering as the fan turns or slows to a stop.

Why Excessive Ice Buildup Happens

Why Excessive Ice Buildup Happens

Ice can build up every time you open the fridge doors, no matter how long you open it. Open doors bring in warm air from outside, which can mix with the cold air blowing inside the unit.

This produces condensation drops, which turn into ice under the cold temperature settings of the appliance. This means the more you open your fridge, the more ice will form.

But don’t worry — a little frost around the walls is fine and can be easy to clean. Thicker ice comes from moisture that accumulates near your fridge — or even inside it, from the food you store!

To give you more insight, we’ve detailed below where these moistures can come from: 

  • Poorly covered food. Whenever you put a half-opened can of soda in the fridge or a bowl of freshly rinsed fruits, moisture can easily escape these items and get exposed to the cold air.

Moreover, putting hot or warm food inside the fridge is similar to leaving the fridge open for a long period of time. In the same sense, warm air from the food will meet the cold air inside.

To avoid both scenarios, we recommend transferring your food items into tightly sealed containers to prevent moisture from seeping out.

Furthermore, hot or warm foods must be cooled to room temperature before being stored in the fridge.

  • Water clogged in the drain tray. The drain tray is located at the bottom back of your refrigerator and is where melted ice flows when the unit auto-defrosts.

Foreign objects, especially dust, can obstruct this part and prevent water from the melted ice from exiting freely. 

Water stuck in this part can turn to ice and block the drain further and cause leaking inside the appliance.

We recommend cleaning this part once every month along with the rest of the refrigerator.

  • Clogged vents and coils. Your refrigerator’s cooling system absorbs heat from the refrigerants so they can stay cool.

That heat from them leaves through the condenser coils at the back of your refrigerator. But because they’re placed on the exterior of the appliance, they’re susceptible to dust buildup from the surroundings.

The same goes for some models with vents on the bottom of the fridge. Over time, dust collects in either area and blocks the air circulation, so warm air gets trapped inside the compartments.

To clean up any clogging, vacuum the vents and the coils. Similar to the drains, we recommend regularly cleaning these parts once a month.

  • Water in the Cool Select Pantry drawer. Some Samsung refrigerator models use a Cool Select Pantry drawer to store deli foods, large party trays, beverages, and other similar items.

This is typically located on the bottom of the fridge, and as such, liquid from the upper drawers may spill into the drawer.

This part also has a separate temperature control, so depending on what you set it to, ice can form quicker in this area.

A good cleanup once a month can get rid of both ice buildup as well as water accumulation. Clean the drawer as you’d clean the other trays of the refrigerator.

Defrosting the Refrigerator

Samsung refrigerators are equipped with an auto-defrost function that allows them to melt off small amounts of ice buildup that may be forming in regular compartments at any given time of the day.

When the appliance reaches a temperature lower than your initial setting, this will prompt the cooling system to heat the compartments to prevent over-freezing.

It does this as many times as it needs to throughout the day, and an auto-defrost cycle usually lasts about 20 minutes. It can be typical to feel your refrigerator’s temperature fluctuating several times a day.

On the other hand, it can’t always melt thicker ice buildup and occasionally, you’ll need to defrost the unit manually. For this, Samsung has a Force Defrost function you can use!

Force Defrost (Fd) gets rid of frost formation in all of the unit’s compartments, including the ice maker and freezer. This is a more effective method for melting thicker ice.

Here’s how to put your fridge on Force Defrost mode:

  • Step 1: Locate the Power Freeze and Fridge buttons on your model’s control panel. If your model doesn’t carry these buttons, refer to your user manual for confirmation of which buttons can activate Fd.
  • Step 2: Press these two buttons together for at least 8 seconds or until the display goes blank.
  • Step 3: Press any other button until “Fd” appears on the display screen, accompanied by a beep. The defrost cycle will then begin.

Force Defrost cycles can take a minimum of 20 minutes and will depend on the amount and thickness of the ice formation in the compartments.

The unit will continue beeping until the cycle ends. We recommend leaving the door open to speed up the process.

  • Step 4: Once all the ice has melted, unplug the refrigerator to reset it.

After defrosting the refrigerator, give it a few minutes to cool itself to your preferred temperature and listen if any noises occur again.

If they still do, consider the other causes and troubleshooting methods below.

Quick Tip:

We do not recommend using a hairdryer or any other heating device to speed up the defrosting process of the refrigerator. This may harm the plastic material of the appliance, especially in the area near the coils.

Common Causes of Fridge Fan Noise and How to Troubleshoot Them

Common Causes of Fridge Fan Noise and How to Troubleshoot Them

If defrosting the refrigerator doesn’t work, you might be facing a more mechanical issue. The good news is, you don’t have to look much farther than the fan area, so that saves you the trouble of tinkering with other internal components of the appliance.

Additionally, you’ll most likely only need a couple of tools for troubleshooting. Even with basic technical knowledge, you can probably inspect the fans yourself — and here we tell you how to do that.

If it gets complicated, though, don’t hesitate to call for assistance, and remember the golden rule of troubleshooting internal issues: always unplug your refrigerator first!

Frozen Evaporator Fan BladesActivate Force Defrost mode. 

Unscrew the evaporator panel cover and disconnect the wiring on the panels to detach it from the unit.

Leave the panel open as the unit defrosts.

Check the back of the panel for the evaporator fan and inspect its blades for damages or if they can move freely by hand.

If there are any physical damages to the blades, replace them.
Clogged or Damaged Condenser FanUnplug the refrigerator.

Unscrew the condenser panel on the back of the appliance.

Carefully take out the condenser fan for inspection.

Brush the fan to clear any dust buildup on it. Check the blades for any damages or if they can turn freely by hand. 

If there are any, replace the condenser fan.
Defective Fan MotorUnplug your fridge and remove the compartments to access the evaporator panel.

Unscrew the panel cover without dislodging the wire harnesses.

Take a pair of magnets and tape them to wear the door switches on top of your fridge’s door frame are located.

Once the door switches detect the magnets, the interior lights should go off and the evaporator fan will function a few seconds later.

Using a multimeter, test the fan for voltage. Take the black probe and insert it into the electrical plug with the black wire.

Do the same for the red probe and red wire.

Refer to your user manual for the specification of the appropriate voltage reading.

If the voltage reading is within normal levels but the fan has difficulty running, replace the fan motor.
Clogged Vents and CoilsRemove the shelves from the appliance and put it on Force Defrost. 

Unscrew the evaporator panel cover and disconnect the wire harnesses to melt the ice around the area.

Once all the ice has melted, unplug the fridge and carefully wipe it dry, especially the air vents and evaporator coils.

Afterward, unscrew the condenser panel on the back of the appliance and vacuum the condenser coils to rid it of dust buildup.

If your refrigerator has vents on the bottom, vacuum those as well.

Do this once a month.
Wrong Fridge PlacementUsing a level ruler, check if your fridge is standing evenly. If it isn’t, adjust its height via the leveling feet on its front wheels.

Adjust the doors using a C-clip to make sure they’re even.

As another precaution when dealing with parts that heat up such as the evaporator and condenser coils, we suggest letting them cool down for a while before troubleshooting them.

Frozen or Damaged Evaporator Fan Blades

Ice buildup is the root cause of fan noises from your Samsung refrigerator. Moisture accumulation from poorly stored foods or vent cloggings can sometimes form condensation around the fan areas.

A Samsung fridge’s cooling system uses different types of fans: the evaporator fan, the condenser fan, and special fans for the freezer or ice maker compartments.

Of the three of these, only the condenser fan is placed on the exterior of your fridge.

Moreover, the most common area affected by ice buildup is the evaporator fan — which is located at the back of the regular compartment.

Solution: Put the refrigerator on Force Defrost mode. As it’s defrosting, remove the items and shelves in the compartment.

Unscrew the back panel of the fridge and carefully lift it up to disconnect the wiring connecting it to the rest of the unit. Once disconnected, leave the back panel open as the defrost cycle continues.

Remember not to use a hairdryer or any similar devices as they may damage the material of the refrigerator. You can leave the doors open instead.

While defrosting, check the evaporator fan blades for any damage. Try turning them by hand to see if they can move freely.

While this part is securely placed on the evaporator panel, it may get dislodged, misaligned, or get stuck.

If there is any damage to the fan blades, the entire fan needs to be replaced.

Once all the ice has melted, wipe everything down with a dry towel. Make sure to melt and dry the buildup in the evaporator coils too.

If the drain tray below the coils is clogged or blocked, you can use a thick wire to poke and break down the ice, and then push it down the drain. 

You can also pour warm water on it, but be sure to only get the bottom of the evaporator coils.

Once everything is dry, reconnect the wires, reinstall the back panel, and return the shelves and items into the fridge. Give your unit a couple of minutes to cool the temperature and listen if the fan is still making noises.

If the issue lies only in the frozen fan, then defrosting the appliance should be enough to solve this. 

However, if the fan continues making noise despite defrosting, consider other troubleshooting methods below before calling for service.

Clogged or Damaged Condenser Fan

As we’ve mentioned, the condenser fan is a part of your fridge’s cooling system that is located outside of the unit. Similar to the evaporator fan, the condenser fan is placed next to the condenser coils.

The condenser fan is responsible for circulating air past the condenser coils. This keeps them cool as they release the heat absorbed from the refrigerants into the area around the fridge.

This part can get blocked by dust buildup over time. In the worst-case scenario, the fan blades can get damaged from trying to function normally under severe dust formation.

Solution: Unplug your refrigerator. Open the condenser panel on the back of the refrigerator and locate the condenser fan near the coils.

When opening the panel, be careful of the refrigerant lines running below the fan and the coils. Disconnect the electric plug connecting the fan and its motor to the rest of the unit.

Carefully remove the condenser by pulling it gently from its locking tabs and tilting it to the side as you lift it towards you.

Clean any dust buildup on the fan using a brush or vacuum and inspect it for any damage or if it can turn freely in place. If it’s damaged, it needs to be replaced.

Also, inspect the condenser coils for any dust buildup. If there are any, let the coils cool down to room temperature first, then you can also use a vacuum to clean them.

Defective Fan Motor

When the fan blades appear to be intact but the fans are still making grinding noises, then the problem may lie in the fan motor itself.

The fan motor houses the fan blades and is what pushes them in place so that they can circulate air. When this part is damaged, the fan will slow down or won’t be able to move altogether.

Since the fan is in constant motion — only ever stopping when the refrigerator door is opened or when the unit is unplugged — the fan motor is designed so that it won’t be able to exhaust itself unless it applies pressure.

This can happen if the fan blades get frozen or when they slow down due to scraping against ice. The fan motor will then force itself to rotate the fan blades harder, which can cause it to burn out.

The fan motor can also burn out due to short-circuiting, especially after experiencing a power surge. A telltale sign of a burned-out motor is a burnt smell when you open the refrigerator door or the evaporator panel.

Solution: Unplug the refrigerator and check for any lingering burnt smell. You can open the back panel to closely inspect the scent you’re looking for.

If you find any, the fan motor should be replaced immediately. If not, you can run a voltage test on the fan motor to test if it’s defective.

To run a voltage test, you’ll need a multimeter, some tape, and a pair of small magnets. Then, do the following steps:

  • Step 1: Unplug the refrigerator. If there is any ice buildup, defrost the fridge first to let the ice thaw out.
  • Step 2: Remove the items and the shelves to access the evaporator panel.
  • Step 3: Unscrew the panel cover. There are locking tabs on it to guide you where to pull to lift it off.

You don’t need to remove the panel cover completely, as the evaporator fan is placed behind the panel and you’ll need it to be functioning to run a voltage test.

For that, you won’t need to disconnect the wires and remove the panel cover completely.

  • Step 4: Tape the magnets above the door switch placements. This is to bypass the door switch.

A Samsung fridge’s cooling system is designed to pause the fans temporarily while the door is opened to save energy and lessen the risk of frost formation.

The magnets can proxy for the door and signal the door switch that it’s closed. 

You can find two arrows on top of the door frame to indicate where the door switches are.

Once the door switch detects the magnets, it may take about 10 to 60 seconds before the evaporator fan turns on. The interior lights should also turn off.

  • Step 5: Set the multimeter up. If you’re using an auto-ranging model, turn the meter to the DC voltage setting.

If you’re using a manual-ranging model, turn the meter to the lowest setting of 20 or 40.

  • Step 6: The evaporator fan is connected to the unit via three wires of different colors: the red and black wires, which relay power into the fan, and the white wire, which relays the fan speed to the control board.

Take the black probe from the multimeter and insert it into the end of the plug with the black wire. Then, insert the red probe into the end of the plug with the red wire.

  • Step 7: Run a voltage test on the evaporator fan at two different fan speeds. Refer to your user manual for the specifications on appropriate voltage.

For reference, at high speed, the fan motor should be giving a voltage reading from 10 to 12 volts DC. At low speeds, the voltage reading should be about 8 DC.

If you got proper voltage readings but the fan motor isn’t running, it needs to be replaced.

  • Step 8: If you don’t find any faults in the fan motor, you can reinstall the evaporator panel cover and remove the magnets from the door switch.

But if you need to take the fan motor out, keep on reading for the instructions. 

In the event that you need to change the fan motor, the good news is that you’re already a step ahead by having the evaporator panel cover half removed.

Do remember, however, that the fan motor unit varies for every model. You can double-check the model number of the fan motor you need in your user manual.

Once you have the replacement ready, follow these steps to replace the faulty fan motor:

  • Step 1: Unplug the fridge. If you have it connected to a circuit breaker of its own, separate from other appliances that need to be running, you can opt to cut the power at the breaker.
  • Step 2: Remove the items and shelves to access the evaporator panel.
  • Step 3: Unscrew the evaporator panel cover. This time, you have to disconnect the wires to remove the cover completely.
  • Step 4: Lift the cover off and turn it over to access the fan motor. Remove the surrounding wire harnesses from their clips.
  • Step 5: Remove the 4 Philipp screws connecting the plastic housing to the panel cover.
  • Step 6: Once unscrewed, you can remove the fan motor from its housing by gently pushing it off its locking clip.
  • Step 7: Reinstall the new fan motor face down on its housing, with the sticker facing you. The wires should also be placed on the bottom right corner of the housing.
  • Step 8: Once the new fan motor is locked in place, screw the four Phillip screws back in and reinstall the wire harnesses in the clips. Tie them around one of the clips securely.
  • Step 9: Reconnect the panel cover’s wire plugs into the refrigerator, then place the cover back in place. Reinstall it completely with its screws.

Afterward, you can return the shelves and power on the fridge to test out the new fan motor.

Clogged Vents and Coils

You’ve already learned how clogged vents and coils — particularly the condenser coils — can contribute trap heat inside the appliance and contribute to ice buildup, which can then damage the fans.

Aside from these two, the evaporator coils inside the fridge as well as the vents around it can also contribute to poor airflow in the compartments. This can lead to temperature misreadings and overwork the evaporator fan.

Solution: Remove all items and shelves from the appliance, then put it on force defrost mode. Lift the back panel cover a little bit — without disconnecting its wires — to melt the ice around the evaporator coils.

Once the ice has melted, unplug the fridge and wipe it dry. 

Make sure to scrub down the rubber seal around the door too. If there are damages to the seal or if you notice it coming loose, replace it.

Then, unscrew the condenser panel on the back of the fridge to do the same with the coils there. If your refrigerator has vents on the bottom, vacuum them as well.

Once you’ve cleaned everything up, return the shelves and rearrange the items. Leave at least 2 inches (5 centimeters) of space between the back of the fridge to avoid obstructing the coils and the vents.

Space the items out as much as possible to ensure that air can circulate properly inside the compartment.

Regularly clean the appliance once every month.

Wrong Fridge Placement

If you find yourself having to deal with fan noises often, another issue you could be facing is a wrong fridge placement.

It can be easy to overlook this issue, as you would’ve confirmed a proper location for your appliance before you bought it. But Samsung refrigerators can be quite tricky if you’re not paying close attention.

For example, it needs a couple of inches of allowance between its unit body and everything around it. This is to ensure that it gets proper airflow both inside and out.

Moreover, if you placed the fridge on unlevel ground or if the front wheels aren’t raised to the proper height, this can cause the fans to turn at an angle and knock into the parts around it.

Solution: Check if the front wheels of your refrigerator are both touching the ground. If they aren’t, adjust the leveling feet accordingly.

You can further check if your appliance is level by placing a level ruler on top of it. The bubble should be centered between the two vertical lines in the middle.

Use the leveling feet to adjust the height of the fridge. Using a screwdriver, turn the leveling feet to the left to raise the unit; turn it to the right to lower it.

If this makes the doors uneven, you can adjust them using C-clips. Simply lift the door you need to adjust and insert the clip between the door and the hinge.

Now, doesn’t that seem easy? You won’t even need to call in for extra hands!

Dealing with fan noises may require you to replace a couple of the fridge’s internal parts, but ultimately, it’s an issue that’s easily prevented as it is repaired. 

Conveniently, Samsung refrigerators are built with features that can help you do so. It’s a must-have appliance for a reason, after all.

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