Is your mini fridge making a clicking noise? It’s perfectly normal to hear clicking noises from your mini fridge now and then. But if the noise happens more often than you’d like and it’s very loud, it might indicate a problem you should check out.
Here’s how to stop your mini fridge from clicking:
- Clean the dirty condenser coils.
- Replace the bad condenser fan.
- Replace the faulty water valve.
- Replace the faulty start relay.
- Check the compressor overload.
In this article, I’ve covered all the points above to help you understand how you can stop your mini fridge from making that annoying clicking noise. I’ve also laid out detailed explanations to help you understand how each of these parts works, why they might produce the clicking noise, and what you can do to make them stop.
1. Clean the Dirty Condenser Coils
The most common reason your mini fridge is making a clicking noise is that the condenser coils have become dirty. As surprising as it may seem, mini fridges (just like regular refrigerators) also come with condenser coils. The main difference is that a panel covers the condenser coils on a mini fridge for better aesthetics, protection, and portability.
The condenser coils dissipate the heat generated from the mini fridge’s cooling process.
During the cooling process, the refrigerant passes through the evaporator coils inside the mini fridge, capturing the heat and (in the process) cooling down the food inside. Next, the refrigerant passes to the condenser coils to release the heat and repeat the process.
So, if the condenser coils are dirty, they won’t be able to release the heat as efficiently. This creates a problem with the overall cooling process, which in turn causes clicking noises.
Now, because the condenser coils are hidden, they don’t get as dirty as regular fridges. But if your mini fridge has been sitting in a dirty corner for months, or if you tend to take it outdoors, the coils will eventually get clogged with dust, lint, and debris. This becomes even more likely if the panel covering the condenser coils is loose or damaged.
As such, I always recommend that mini fridge owners first check for dirty condenser coils if they notice a constant clicking sound.
To do this, all you need to do is remove the back panel covering the coils. If you notice a lot of dirt and debris over the coils, you’ll need to clean them.
I’d recommend using a vacuum cleaner for this job. You can also use an air blower to blow the dirt out of the coils. A duster or brush can also be used to clean the coils, but be careful not to apply too much pressure as that can damage the coils and lead to a refrigerant leak.
After cleaning the coils, run your mini fridge and check if the clicking sound persists. If yes, it might indicate that one of the components is malfunctioning.
2. Replace the Bad Condenser Fan
Some mini fridges have a fan attached to the condenser, which helps to dissipate the heat captured by the refrigerant quickly and more efficiently. Likewise, if the fan becomes faulty or stops working, it’ll compromise the overall cooling process, triggering the clicking noise.
Ideally, the condenser fan should turn on along with the compressor (i.e., the unit in charge of circulating the refrigerant in the mini fridge). Also, you should know that the compressor is the component that makes the clicking sound as it turns on and off.
As such, you should hear a click every once in a while from a normally functioning refrigerator.
However, if the condenser fan is faulty, the refrigerant won’t cool down to a low enough temperature as it follows into the compressor. This will cause problems with how the compressor operates, causing it to turn on and off sporadically, resulting in that annoying clicking sound.
Now, if your mini fridge has a condenser fan, it should be immediately visible — either positioned on the back of the unit or underneath the device. It won’t run all the time, but it should turn on at routine intervals.
If you notice the fan isn’t spinning properly, or it isn’t turning on at all even when the clicking is loud, the fan is likely faulty — possibly an issue with the bearings or the fan motor. In any case, you need to replace a bad condenser fan.
But first, you’ll need a replacement condenser fan that you’ll put in place of the faulty one. I suggest you visit the manufacturer’s website or call your dealer to learn about the specific part you’ll need and where to buy it from.
Once you have the replacement fan in hand, follow the steps below:
- Unplug the mini fridge from the power supply.
- Unthread the screws on the panel covering the condenser fan.
- Disattach the wires connected to the fan.
- The fan should be mounted in place either using clips or screws. Release it from the mount.
- Mount the new condenser fan in its place. Secure it with screws or clips.
- Reattach the wires to the new fan.
- Cover the fan with the panel.
- Plug the mini fridge into the power supply.
3. Replace the Faulty Water Valve
Does your mini fridge have an ice maker or water dispenser? If yes, it might cause the irritating clicking or popping sound you’ve been hearing.
You see, there’s a water inlet valve attached to the ice maker and the water dispenser that lets water into the mechanism. The click or pop happens when water comes in through the valve.
However, if there’s a fault with the water valve (for example, it’s stuck open or close), the water flow will get interrupted, causing a consistent loud popping or clicking.
Now, a faulty water valve will bring a lot more trouble than simple sound effects. For example, if you have an ice maker, you might notice that it’s not producing as much ice as it used to. Likewise, the water dispenser will have limited water coming through.
Luckily, there’s a very simple way to check if the problem is with the water valve. Just turn off the water dispenser or the ice maker and see if that stops the clicking noise. If it does, you can be sure the problem is with the water valve.
You can now choose to keep the ice maker or water dispenser turned off to stop the irritating noise — a workable option for people who don’t use those features. However, it’s better to replace the faulty water valve with a new one just to make sure all your mini fridge’s components are in working condition.
Replacing the water valve is super simple. All you’ll need is a screwdriver and the replacement water valve, for which I recommend contacting the manufacturer’s website or your dealer.
Once you have the replacement part in hand, follow the steps below:
- Unplug your mini fridge from the power source.
- Disconnect the water supply.
- Take out the cover panel hiding the water inlet valve. You can find out its location from the paperwork that came with the mini fridge.
- Unthread the screws holding the water valve assembly in place.
- Disconnect any wire harness attached to the assembly.
- Take out the faulty water valve assembly and put the new one in the same way as the old one.
- Mount it in place using the screws.
- Reattach all the wire harnesses to the assembly.
- Reinstall the cover panel.
- Plug your mini fridge into a power source and connect it to a water supply.
4. Replace the Faulty Start Relay
Is your mini fridge making a clicking sound every five minutes or so? Has its cooling capability degraded from what it used to be? If you answered yes to both of these questions, the problem might be with the start relay.
The start relay is a small device plugged into the compressor and sits right beside it. The device is tasked with starting the compressor to begin the refrigerant cycling process.
Now, if the start relay isn’t working, it’ll make a clicking sound, indicating that it’s trying to start the compressor but failing to do so. If the start relay fails to turn on the compressor, it’ll try to start it again after a few minutes, which will create the regular clicking sound.
However, to know for sure if the clicking sound is coming from the faulty start relay, I recommend following these steps:
- Unplug the mini fridge from the power outlet.
- Disattach the wires connected to the start relay.
- Unmount the start relay from its position.
- Gently shake the start relay and listen for a rattling noise.
If you notice a rattling noise, the start relay is faulty, and you’ll need to replace it. However, if you can’t tell, a more accurate method would be running a continuity test.
Here’s a 4-min YouTube video showcasing how to test a fridge start relaying using a multimeter and other related topics:
Now, if you find the start relay is bad, you’ll need to replace it with a new one.
Contact the mini fridge’s manufacturer or a dealer to know what type of replacement start relay will work with your model.
Once you have the new start relay, screw it in place of the old one, connect all the wires, and you should be good to go.
5. Check the Compressor Overload
The compressor overload is a switch that turns off the compressor when it gets too hot. Now, when the overload switch turns off (or on) the compressor, it makes a clicking sound. As such, if it repeatedly turns on and off the compressor, it can create an annoying clicking sound.
But why would the compressor overload switch behave like this?
Well, you see, the compressor is like the heart of your mini fridge. It’s the device that keeps refrigerant routinely flowing through all the refrigeration system components so your food and drinks stay nice and cold.
As the refrigerant cycles through the mini fridge, it captures the heat from inside the fridge chamber. As a result, it transforms from a liquid state to a gaseous state. The compressor is tasked with compressing the gaseous refrigerant into its liquid form and then sending it off to cycle through the fridge again.
Now, this compression process raises the pressure inside the compressor assembly and also generates a lot of heat. If the head pressure gets too high or the temperature rises to a certain point, the compressor overload will kick in and turn off the compressor.
So, if your fridge is overheating, that can cause a repeated clicking sound. As such, if you can fix the overheating issue, it should stop that annoying sound.
Here’s a 9-min YouTube video on how to troubleshoot a fridge that’s too warm:
It’s also possible that the compressor overload switch is busted. In that case, you’ll need to replace it.
Get in touch with a technician or your mini fridge’s manufacturer website to buy the replacement compressor overload switch. With that in hand, follow the steps below:
- Unplug the mini fridge from the power outlet.
- Unscrew the panel covering the compressor.
- Disattach any wires connected to the compressor overload switch.
- Unthread the screws mounting the compressor overload and take it out.
- Put the new compressor overload switch in its place and mount it into position.
- Connect the wires.
- Reattach the panel.
- Plug your mini fridge into the power source.
If you hear a frequent or loud clicking sound coming from your mini fridge, it’s likely because of dirty condenser coils, which you’ll need to clean. Malfunctioning water valves and condenser fans can also create a clicking sound, in which case you’ll need to replace them.
However, if the clicking sound persists, the problem is clicking with the compressor assembly — specifically, the start relay and the compressor overload. Replacing the faulty part with a new one should stop the clicking sound.