During its operation, a refrigerator will make a variety of noises. One such sound that you might hear is a gurgling or bubbling noise. You might think that it is so out of the ordinary that you’ll begin to question whether it’s still part of the daily operation sounds of your fridge, or if it’s already a sign of mechanical failure.
Fortunately, the gurgling noise that is emanating from your refrigerator is completely normal. The noise you’re hearing is coming from the refrigerator’s Freon, and it should be no cause for concern.
In this article, we will discuss why a refrigerator makes this noise, and why you shouldn’t lose sleep over it.
Why a refrigerator makes a gurgling noise
A refrigerator works by harnessing the power of the evaporation process to cool down its compartments. It does this by continuously evaporating and condensing a refrigerant gas (Freon) that runs through copper tubes inside the refrigerator.
The Freon initially starts as a liquid, but after the compressor pumps it into the refrigerator’s expansion valve, its boiling point is greatly reduced. This boiling liquid eventually turns into gas, and this evaporation process is responsible for the cooling effect in the refrigerator.
As you may have surmised by now, the gurgling and bubbling noise is coming from the boiling Freon during the normal operation of your refrigerator.
Fun fact: While the Freon is “boiling”, it’s not actually that hot. R-134a, one of the most common refrigerant gases for fridges, boils at a temperature of -26°C; way colder than water’s boiling point of 100°C.
Other things that can make a gurgling noise in your refrigerator
Apart from the usual boiling Freon, there are other things that can cause your refrigerator to make a gurgling noise. Luckily, they are harmless as well.
Water making contact with the defrost heater (no frost models)
No frost refrigerators have a heating element tucked inside the walls of their freezer to melt the frost away. When water drips into the heating element, it can make a hissing, sizzling, or gurgling sound. This is normal.
Water in the drainpipe
Refrigerators have a drain pipe that leads the melted frost out of the fridge. Sometimes, the water that comes rushing out of the drain hole will make a weird bubbling and gurgling noise. This is normal as well.
In summary: the cracking noise your refrigerator makes is a completely normal part of its operation. You shouldn’t be worried about it at all!
- GE Appliances. (n.d.). Refrigerator – Normal Sounds and Noises Made. https://products.geappliances.com/appliance/gea-support-search-content?contentId=15901
- International Labour Organization (ILO) & World Health Organization (WHO). (1998, March). ICSC 1281 – 1,1,1,2-TETRAFLUOROETHANE. International Labour Organization (ILO). https://www.ilo.org/dyn/icsc/showcard.display?p_lang=en&p_card_id=1281&p_version=2
Miguel Mores worked for 5 years as a member of the product management team for a home appliance company in the Philippines. He started 101appliance to answer the most common customer questions that he has encountered during his time in the industry. He now works in the digital marketing field and manages a small online bookstore on the side.