Reasons Why Your Refrigerator is Making A Clicking Noise and Not Cooling Down

Your refrigerator should keep your food at a constant temperature so that it is safe to eat. Food kept in a warmer environment can grow bacteria that can make you sick. If your refrigerator isn't staying cold or is making an odd noise, it likely has a problem with one of its components. Here is a quick way to locate the source of the problem:

Problem: not cooling properly

Refrigerator making a clicking noise and not cooling? If your refrigerator isn’t cooling, the food inside can spoil because it is not maintaining a constant temperature. Certain foods need a set temperature to keep bacteria like salmonella, e.coli, and botulism from growing.

If it gets too warm inside your refrigerator or freezer, you will end up with bacteria growth. According to the FDA, your refrigerator should keep a constant temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit and your freezer should stay at 0 degrees Fahrenheit for safe food storage. Frozen food that has thawed out should be used as soon as possible or at least within 1 - 2 days.

Temperature Check

Check the temperature of the refrigerator by placing a thermometer inside and leave it for 10 minutes. If the temperature readings are less than the standard temperatures for food safety, you have a problem and will need to do some troubleshooting to find out what it is. Besides not cooling, if you hear a clicking noise coming from the back of your refrigerator it could be the condenser.

Troubleshooting Steps:

  • Check to see that it is plugged in
  • If there is no power, check the breaker or circuit
  • Make sure the dial is on the right setting
  • Look to see if the condenser coils are dirty
  • Test the components with a multimeter

If you have already checked to make sure the setting is right and it is getting power, check the condenser coils near the bottom of the refrigerator. Are they dirty? You can use a small brush to remove any dust or dirt that may have accumulated over time. If that doesn’t solve your problem, then it may be that the compressor is bad or the capacitor is failing.

You can check this with a multimeter. Unplug the refrigerator so there is no current going to any of the components. You can test the components one by one with the multimeter to find the defective part. Touch the tip of the meter to each component and a light will come on. If it shows green, it is working properly. If it is showing red, it is not. The bad part will show red.

The clicking noise means that the compressor is trying to start but isn’t able to. It may be overheating or overloading. In most cases with a refrigerator making clicking noise and not cooling, it is often a faulty capacitor or relay.

Once you have found your defective part, a quick trip to the hardware or appliance repair store will be your next step. If you’re not a do-it-yourself type or don’t have the tools to fix it yourself, you can call an appliance repair technician to make the repairs for you. At least if you know what the problem is you can save him some time in locating the problem.