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How to Make Your Commercial Refrigerator Quieter

Updated: 3 days ago

Like all appliances, refrigerators make regular noises. Your fridges make noises that are pretty bearable and forgivable, although they may scare the soul out of you at 4 am when it decides to drop a load of ice. However, unlike residential units, commercial refrigeration can be downright loud.

reach-in coolers typical for commercial refrigeration
Reach-in coolers typical for commercial refrigeration

Why are commercial refrigerators so loud?

These machines are giant, especially compared to the palatable residential fridge–they are hulking! The noisiness of these machines can be attributed to the compressor, which functions much louder in these larger refrigerators because they simply do much more work than a residential unit.

In fact, commercial refrigeration should be making a lot of noise–that means that it’s working! Buzzing, whirring, and crackling are all the sounds that a healthy refrigerator should make. You should be more concerned when it’s not making any noise! It’s also important to note that newer models tend to be a bit more quiet, so it should be expected that older commercial refrigeration will typically be a bit more noisy.

What is “too loud”?

The range of normal decibels for a refrigeration unit can range from 30-50 decibels. To put this into perspective, and air conditioning unit will typically run about 60 decibels. If you feel that your commercial refrigeration is going past this threshold, it may be wise to call in a professional to take a look.

As stated above, the compressor is the main culprit of noisiness in any refrigerator as it does the most work to sustain the machine. Because of this, it’s incredibly important to make sure that it’s running properly and that it doesn’t have any obstructions that may strain it, which can ultimately cause damage to the compressor. Do this by making sure that the back of your fridge is clean and clear away any debris or objects. Likewise, it’s always important to make sure that the refrigerator is on an even surface, as uneven surfaces can easily make refrigeration dysfunction and cause damage.

What do the noises mean?

Fridges can make tons of noise, and it’s important to be able to identify them so that we truly know if something’s gone awry. There are a lot of moving parts to these machines, so familiarizing yourself with them and their noises can help a lot in the long run. Below, we’ll explore some parts of the refrigeration system and their typical noises…

Ice maker – if your refrigeration system has a built-in ice maker, you can expect to hear sounds just like cracking, buzzing, and clicking. Nothing to worry about here!

Drip tray – This will make sounds like sizzling, dripping, and gurgling. These are totally normal!

Refrigerator walls – The inside of a refrigerator goes through temperature changes day in and day out, and since they are made of metal, they are made to naturally expand and contract with the temperatures. Because of this, you can expect sounds such as cracking, popping, and creaking. Don’t worry about these!

How do I make it quieter?

If you have safely ruled out any malfunctions or had a professional do it for you, there are several ways in which you can help make your commercial refrigerator work a bit quieter:

Ease its workload – Most commercial fridges are installed in a hot and humid kitchen, which can really make it hard for it to control its inside temperature, which can ultimately cause all parts, including the compressor, to be working hard nonstop, thus causing quite a bit of noise. If the fridge is set to an incredibly low temperature that the contents don’t necessarily need to stay fresh, consider upping the temperature a bit to accommodate.

Level the fridge – fridges need to be level. If you notice that your fridge is set on an uneven surface, do some shimmying or use some furniture levelers to even out the fridge, as it will take some stress off the compressor and make it a bit more quiet.

Add a mat – there are special vibration-reducing mats that you can purchase to go under the fridge that can help dull the sounds of its normal functioning, especially if it’s on a hard surface like tile or concrete, which makes vibration sounds from a giant metal machine that much more grating!

Soundproofing – no, you can’t soundproof the compressor! However, you can try putting soundproofing agents on the walls around the fridge to dull out some of the noises if they seem to be deflecting off of hard walls.

The bottom line

Fridges make a lot of noise–period! However, you are around your commercial refrigeration probably every single day, and you know when it’s more noisy than normal. Calling in the professionals when in doubt can help maintain a healthy machine.

Call us

Have questions about commercial refrigeration or maintenance? Start right here by giving us a call here at Tri-Point Refrigeration and we would be ecstatic in helping you keep your fridges and any other machines in tip-top shape! We’re excited to help you along the way, and with regular servicing, we can keep your equipment running smoothly and healthily, while also extending the reach of your dollar.

For a direct line to any of our employees ready on the line to help you, please call…(512) 651-4565 for our Austin, Texas community (806) 686-0050 for our Lubbock, Texas community. Or check out our website at



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