Clunks from a refrigerator
July 17, 2010 3:54 PM   Subscribe

Refrigerator trouble - loud clunks - what should I do?

I have this GE refirgerator: I had power to it cut off for about 5-6 hours and then turned it on forgetting that the instructions say to have it dry when turning on after a long period. That was yesterday. It seems to be working fine since then, but every 2-3 hours there's a pretty loud clunk coming from it. There's about 1" of ice in the freezer section (which is not separated from the main section in this model). A bit of water poured out yesterday after the time it was off. Is it going to break? Should I defrost it or something?
posted by rainy to Home & Garden (4 answers total)
Best answer: Sounds like the compressor is going bad. (Some discussion on a similar issue here and here.) Probably not much you can do about it other than check the external mounts.

I don't know much about fridges, but kind of doubt drying it out will fix the problem. Will be interested to hear from some people with more expertise!
posted by StarmanDXE at 4:05 PM on July 17, 2010

Best answer: Yup, sounds like the compressor is in the process of failing. I have the same situation at my house, which has been going on for six months or so. Fortunately it's a downstairs unit, used only for keeping bottled beverages cold, so if (probably should say "when") it fails, no big deal.

Had an appliance person take a look at it (while doing another job, so there wasn't a separate maintenance call); he did a bunch of things (such as opening the freezer door) to try to see if the refrigerator would make the noise for him. None of them triggered anything. He concluded that it was the compressor, and said that the refrigerator was old enough that it made no sense to have it repaired. So I'm just going to wait until it fails.
posted by WestCoaster at 6:28 PM on July 17, 2010

Best answer: It's probably a broken spring in the compressor. Not worht fixing on a unit of that size unfortunately.

However their is a slight possibility that the ice build up is causing elevated back pressures in the cooling system which is causing the compressor to start or stop harder than the spring can compensate for. Defrost the fridge (this should be done when ever you get a 1/4" of frost in the freezing compartment) and see if the problem is resolved. Easiest defrost is to just unplug it and leave it with the door open. Second easiest but much faster is to take it out side and use your hose to melt the ice. Do not use anything to scrape the ice (risk of puncture) and don't use heat (risk of melting the plastic).
posted by Mitheral at 10:05 PM on July 17, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks so much for the answers. Very glad to hear it might last many years still. Will try defrosting.
posted by rainy at 8:25 AM on July 18, 2010

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