My freezer has been making an intermittent grinding noise recently, and it seems like it is getting progressively worse. It seems that the noise gets really bad, with the grinding events occurring very close together late at night when the freezer has gone a long time without being opened.

It seems to go away for a few minutes once I open up the freezer door for a few seconds.

Here is an audio clip of the noise: Frigidaire freezer making intermittent grinding noise

Any insights here would be appreciated!


A grinding noise audible in the cold compartment of a freezer or refrigerator is usually caused by ice buildup on the recirculator fan. The ice can be removed by removing the food and leaving the appliance off for 24 hours with the doors open. If the ice comes back inconveniently often then a door seal may be failing and allowing too much outside air to enter the compartments.

However the noise in your video could also be caused by a worn bearing in the recirculator fan. You'll know which problem you have once you have removed the ice. Of course the only cure for the bad bearing is to replace the fan.

  • Thanks for taking the time to leave an answer! Would you say that the intermittent nature of the grinding noise (that only happened maybe 3 or 4 times in the video) is more likely an issue with the recirculator fan? Or is it possible that the ice build up could cause the intermittent sound as well? – Lizza Oct 28 '17 at 20:34
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    Very intermittent rattling is more likely ice buildup interfering with the blades of the fan. These fans usually have a lot of end-play, that is the rotating part of the fan can move back and forth in the direction of its axle. It hits the ice and bounces away, then gradually slides back to hit the ice again. - The noise of a bad bearing tends to go on longer, and to occur mostly when the fan starts or stops. – A. I. Breveleri Oct 28 '17 at 20:45

I recently purchased a brand new GE refrigerator and it was making a terrible noise about once an hour that sounded like a metal fan hitting something. Turned out it was because the ice maker was in the on position and the waterline hadn't been hooked up yet. However even when I called the store they didn't seem to know that would be why I was getting that noise.


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