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My fridge has started to make a dripping noise. I can only hear it when it’s really quiet. My fridge does not have an ice maker or a water/ice station on the outside. Recently the freezer has had poor performance. It can freeze ice but ice cream is always soft and the ice eventually fuses together. What could this dripping noise be and how to fix it? I took an audio recording of it if that would help with the diagnosis… Thanks!

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It is probably a problem with the defrost cycle.

Yes you fridge has one of those.

It is fully automated and you have noting to do.

It goes on every 8 hours or so to defrost the compressor lines. It will not defrost your fridge.

Every opening and closing of the doors allows air from the room to enter. Cold surfaces inside the freezer will cause moisture in the air to condense and form frost on the food items and cooling coils. Putting hot food in the fridge is a crime. A defrost problem is confirmed if the cooling coils are covered with ice.

Normally you would not notice it working, but if the ice build up is high it can drip water for a while.

A fancy thermometer will not help you. What will help is to move the food and let the fridge defrost (with open doors) for a day or two.

Knowing that Ice is actually a thermal insulator (just ask Eskimos who build huts (igloo) out of ice to keep it warm inside, it will block the cooling from the compressor lines.

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A useful diagnostic is a thermometer. For example, after some power problems where I was concerned about refrigerator temperatures, I picked up a couple of these Accurite thermometers from Amazon:

Accurite

so I could keep tabs on both refrigerator and freezer temperatures.

In your case, you already know your freezer is having issues. The dripping is likely water that condenses and freezes and then melts and drips. Together with bad ice and ice cream, there is no doubt it is getting too warm. What you don't know - because most people are bad judges of temperature - is whether everything is too warm (freezer at 25 and sometimes higher, refrigerator at 50, etc.) or if the freezer is too warm but the refrigerator is staying cold (32 - 40). Once you know that, you can narrow down the cause.

This could be a bad thermostat. It could be bad airflow (depending on design, some refrigerator/freezers rely on air flowing between the two compartments to get everything to the right temperature). It could be something else. You can even have ice blocking something to the point where something else gets too warm!

Need more details - make/model/type (side-by-side vs top/bottom makes a big difference), temperature readings, etc. to give a more specific answer.

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    Thank you for the detailed answer. I’ll do the investigations you mention!
    – bikertech
    Oct 27, 2023 at 20:15

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