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I live in a small NYC apartment and my refrigerator is close to the bedroom. When it kicks on, it's makes a loud thunk/click, and can be enough to wake me up. (While running it's pretty quiet.)

I think it's the fan in the freezer. The maintenance folks have replaced it once or twice, but it seems not to change. Anything I can do?

(FWIW, it's Whirlpool.)

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Have you tried cleaning dust and debris out from under and the back of the fridge? while your back there you could also check to make sure there are no screws missing, a missing screw from a fan assembly or compressor bracket could cause things to move around when they turn on/off. – Tester101 Sep 22 '10 at 16:46

Here's an outside the box idea (which assumes that your main problem is that it wakes you up):

Get one of those timer plugs like they have for holiday lights and let it "unplug" your fridge while you sleep. You'll need a beefy one to handle the compressor spike when it kicks on (check the ratings on the timer plugs and compare it to the max rating of your fridge). Since the fridge door won't be opened, your food should be fine, though I'd test it the first night to be sure with a fridge thermometer. If your fridge is still cold in the morning, you might have a solution!

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Nice workaround! I ordered one... – Matt Sherman Sep 22 '10 at 15:25
Hope you get a good night's rest! – yhw42 Sep 22 '10 at 16:09
More details on this method here: kenmankoff.com/data/fridge – mankoff Apr 29 '11 at 16:51
Although it sounds like putting your fridge on a timer could end up costing a lot more - in terms of buying a new fridge: diy.stackexchange.com/questions/5990/… – mankoff Apr 29 '11 at 17:05

It doesn't sound like your case, but ensure the unit is level. If it is out of level, leaning components can make some sounds louder...

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Try replacing the compressor motor mounts and/or make sure the compressor is not bumping something when it starts.

I had a fridge that clunked when it started. It turn out the compressor motor mounts were worn out. I replaced them and the fridge was quiet again.

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