I've bought a Klein Tools NCVT-3 non-contact voltage tester and while I was playing with it I've found the tester beeps whenever it touches the frame of the refrigerator. This won't happen with any of our other appliances like the microwave oven or the dishwasher. Is this an expected behavior or does it indicate something is wrong with my refrigerator?

  • 2
    Does it happen anywhere on the frame? Or just some areas? A sensitive enough tester would certainly "see" the wiring behind the case.
    – Grant
    Aug 30, 2015 at 0:30
  • 2
    My non-contact will occasionally false. Try and lay hands on a real multimeter. Test the between the frame and a known ground. If you see voltage, something's wrong and needs more exploration. (Could be the fridge; could be the house wiring...) Aug 30, 2015 at 0:59
  • Does the fridge have automatic defrost? Where specifically on the fridge did you put the meter? Was the fridge running, or does this happen all the time?
    – Tester101
    Aug 30, 2015 at 13:16
  • @Grant: It only happens when it touches the parts of the frame close to the water dispenser. It seems it won't beep on the other side of the frame.
    – derekhh
    Aug 30, 2015 at 23:14
  • As an extra precaution get a multimeter and test the refrigerator housing to a good ground to make sure there is indeed no voltage potential lurking around.
    – Kris
    Sep 1, 2015 at 2:21

1 Answer 1


Since it's only detecting it near the water dispenser, everything is most likely working properly.

The water dispenser will likely have some electrical wiring near it to run motors or valves or what have you, and that is what it is picking up. They are probably run quite close to the surface of the frame. Your meter is designed to detect up to about 2 inches away from the wires. That distance might be different through metal.

Other appliances you tested probably have their wiring further inside the unit, or shielded better. If you tried hard enough, you'd probably see similar behaviour with other appliances near where their motors are.

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