How to Sound Proof a Noisy Refrigerator

When we moved into this house we had three problems with the fridge that was here: 1) It was a side-by-side. If you can’t fit a pizza box in it, what is the point of a fridge? 2) The handles were broken, and being held on by some sort of makeshift wire system. 3) It made a very high pitch ringing sound. You know what, though … it worked, and with our big kitchen reno, a working fridge was one less thing we needed to spend money on.

However, one thing that no one will tell you about open kitchens is that if any of your appliances make noise, you will be able to hear them a lot more when there are no walls boxing them in. What started as a high-pitch noise that was kind of annoying while in our old tiny kitchen became a constant threat of me going insane and/or losing my hearing WHY IS IT ALWAYS MAKING THAT NOISE!?!?

Anyway, that, added to the two other issues, meant it was time to buy a new fridge. We got a counter-depth french door refrigerator with freezer on the bottom (pizza box fits!), installed it, and … the noise was still there. The high pitch noise that I’m sure was going to be the end of me was coming from this fridge too!

After doing a little research it turns out that many fridges make this noise. It’s actually the compressor, and when the compressor is running at high speeds to keep everything running, it can cause this sound. I even read that on some fridges this will go away over time and it’s an issue with NEW compressors, so the new fridge guarantees this sound will be around longer. I needed to find a fix. I did a little research and came up with an idea: sound-dampening panels.

I’ve played in enough bands to see sound-dampening panels in practice spaces and recording studios, and I thought, “Hey if they work for that, they might work for the fridge!” I ended up buying twelve, one foot by one foot foam panels for super cheap on Amazon. I then put as many as I could on the wall behind the fridge (disclaimer — the following photos are real blurry for some reason and I apologize):

On the bottom of the cabinets above the fridge:

And on top of the fridge:

After that we slid the fridge back into place and the sound was a little better, but still there. I wanted to see if I could get it even quieter. Plus, the fridge was about 5 inches shorter than the cabinets, so there was a gap there that I wanted to fill in with a piece of filler we had left over from the renovation.

Getting it in was kind of tricky. I had to attach a piece of wood to the back of the filler piece, and then I used a Kregg jig to screw the piece up to the bottom of the cabinets above. With that, the fridge looked even more built in. And good news: the sound was gone!

Not totally gone, to be honest. I still hear the high-pitch noise every once in a while. Kerry says she never hears it, but if the TV is off and both kids are sleeping, I can still hear it (and let’s be honest, when is it ever that quiet in our house?!). If there is any other noise going on in the house, the sound is completely drowned out.

I’m not 100% sure which step did the trick: the sound-dampening panels, the filler piece boxing the fridge in even more, or a combo of the two. Whatever it is, it worked enough to not bother me. I haven’t discovered a way to completely get rid of the noise (if you know of one, hit us up in the comments), but this was a big step in the right direction.

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