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Why Does My Refrigerator Make a Popping Noise?

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It can be unsettling to hear noises coming from your refrigerator. However, is it something to worry about if your refrigerator is making a popping noise?

Occasional noises are part of a refrigerators’ normal function as the refrigerant moves around the appliance. However, in some instances, popping noises could indicate something is wrong.

Keep reading to find the potential causes.


Why Does My Refrigerator Make a Popping Noise?

The most common cause of popping noises in your refrigerator is that your fridge is working as it should. 

However, there are plenty of moving parts in a refrigerator, which means there’s more potential for things to go wrong. Your fridge needs to circulate refrigerant, go through the thermal expansion cycle, defrost, make ice, and more. As all these processes occur, the different fluids and gasses moving through your fridge cause various noises, including popping.

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Other Reasons for a Refrigerator Making a Popping Noise

There are a few other common causes for a popping noise coming out of your refrigerator, some of which could indicate that something isn’t working as it should.

Let’s get into the most common causes of appliance noises.

Thermal Expansion

Your fridge cycles through several different temperatures throughout the day, depending on the external heat or defrost cycle. As things heat up, they expand, including the parts of your fridge. During the thermal expansion cycle, as your fridge heats up, the different parts of your fridge will slightly change shape and cause noise.

Thermal expansion happens to metals, plastics, and rubbers as they change shape; these materials make up a good deal of your fridge. Some noise is normal if your fridge just went through a defrost cycle or you adjusted the temperature.

The Defrost Heater

While most of your fridge’s mechanics work towards cooling it down, the defrost heater brings the temperature up during the defrost cycle to prevent too much ice from building up. You’ll hear a pop when your defrost heater turns on, usually a few times a day.

However, check for any issues if you notice your defrost heater turning on more often. The timer could be wrong, or you have too much frost build up.

Water Valve Problems

Some quiet popping noises are part of your fridge’s regular operations. However, loud popping noises usually indicate that the water valve that brings water to your water dispenser or ice maker is broken.

Issues With the Condenser Coil

The condenser coil is at the back of your refrigerator, with many coiled wires that move coolant around. This part also distributes hot coolant before it cools down, which causes occasional popping noises due to thermal expansion.

However, if you hear popping noises consistently from the back of the fridge, that could signal something is wrong with the condenser coil. Usually, cleaning your condenser coils will solve the problem.

fixing refrigerator condenser coils

Refrigerant Circulation

As mentioned above, regular popping noises are a normal part of your fridge’s operation. As liquid coolant moves through the condenser coil and the rest of the appliance, it makes noise, such as gurgling and popping, as it changes temperature.


Popping noises from your refrigerator may seem scary, but they are a regular part of your refrigerator’s functioning.

As liquid moves through the fridge, and the different parts expand and contract due to temperature changes, they make noise.

If you notice louder or more frequent popping sounds. Check the condenser coil, water valve, or defrost heater or call a qualified technician.

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