Why Does My Refrigerator Make a Popping Noise?

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Popping noises coming from your refrigerator can be unsettling to hear. However, before you call a mechanic, try to identify the source of the noise.

Occasional noises are part of a refrigerator’s normal operations as the refrigerant moves around the appliance or during thermal expansion. However, in some instances, popping noises could indicate something is wrong with your appliance.

Keep reading to find potential causes for a popping refrigerator.

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.

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 appliance noise causes.

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, if you notice your defrost heater turning on more often, check if there are any issues. The timer could be wrong, or you have too much frost buildup.

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 ice maker or water dispenser is broken.

Issues With the Condenser Coil

The condenser coil is a part at the back of your refrigerator with many coiled wires that moves 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.

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 and call a technician if you find that something is wrong.