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4 Reasons Your Sub-Zero Refrigerator Makes Noise When the Door is Closed

One of the hallmarks of Sub-Zero technology is near-silent operation. So, what does it mean if your Sub-Zero refrigerator makes noise when the door is closed? It could be due to ice buildup on the evaporator fan. Manually defrost the refrigerator to melt the ice and silence the sound. Troubleshoot why your Sub-Zero refrigerator makes noise to pinpoint the problem and determine a solution.

Silencing the Sound When Your Sub-Zero Refrigerator Makes Noise

When your Sub-Zero refrigerator makes noise, part malfunctions typically require a professional solution. We’ll discuss 4 likely causes to determine if a DIY fix or expert repair is needed.

1) Fan Blade Not Working Properly

The refrigerator evaporator fan keeps air flowing over the evaporator coils so the refrigerant can heat and cool properly. However, if one of the blades is damaged or obstructed, you may hear your Sub-Zero refrigerator making knocking noise from the freezer. This usually means the blade is struggling to rotate or hitting an obstruction. 

Follow these steps to evaluate the refrigerator’s evaporator fan blades:

  • The fan is located behind a rear panel in the freezer compartment. Consult your user manual to determine how to best remove the panel to access the fan.
  • Test the blades to see if they can rotate easily by hand.
  • Remove any visible obstructions.
  • If the blades are damaged or don’t rotate easily, they require professional repair.

2) Ice Buildup on Fan

A Sub-Zero gurgling noise often results from icy buildup on the evaporator fan. If you notice ice on the fan after removing the rear panel, the freezer may have to be manually defrosted to melt the ice.

Check your user manual to determine how to manually defrost your model refrigerator. Some have the option of only defrosting specific sections so that some freezer functions can be maintained.

sub-zero-refrigerator-odor
Photo Credit: Sub-Zero

3) Flawed Evaporator Fan Motor

Are you still finding that your Sub-Zero refrigerator makes noise even if the evaporator fan blades function properly? It’s possible the evaporator fan motor is failing. This noise usually gets louder when a refrigerator door is opened.

A failing fan motor typically can’t be repaired and requires replacement. A professional service can best evaluate and replace the motor

4) Compressor or Condenser Issue

A refrigerator compressor helps constrict refrigerant vapor so it can pass through the condenser coils. The condenser fan cools the refrigerant as it flows through the coils to help maintain the refrigerator’s temperature.

There are several compressor or condenser issues that can be responsible when your Sub-Zero refrigerator makes noise:

  • Compressor is failing: A loud Sub-Zero humming noise often results as the compressor is malfunctioning. While the compressor can operate for a long time while failing, it should be evaluated and replaced by a professional service.
  • Condenser fan or motor malfunction: The condenser coils also utilize a fan to cool refrigerant, and they’re subject to the same malfunctions as the evaporator fan blades and motor. However, these components are not as accessible and should be evaluated by a professional service.
  • Dirty condenser coils: If the condenser coils are covered in dust and debris, they won’t be able to cool the refrigerant properly, making the condenser work harder and produce more noise. Refer to your user manual to determine how to best clean the coils on your model refrigerator. Most can be accessed behind a top grille and vacuumed with a narrow hose vacuum attachment.

The team at DeserTech Appliance Service are the Coachella Valley Sub-Zero experts. Call us if your Sub-Zero refrigerator makes noise or for any question or concern.

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