Your fridge and freezer are two of the appliances in your home which need to be on constantly. If you are after a peaceful, calm household, the last thing you want is a noisy fridge freezer which you can hear at all hours of the day.
The World Health Organisation states that we need the appliances in our home to be quiet, as environmental noise acts as a stress factor through disturbing our sleep at night and annoying us during the day. It is second only to air pollution, and 3% of deaths every year can be aggravated by noise annoyance.
Entirely silent fridges and freezers don’t exist just yet. But manufacturers are trying to develop them to be quieter than ever. Companies worldwide are prioritising noise reduction when designing everyday machines and appliances, to find solutions to noise problems.
Thanks to this, there is a wide selection now available which keep sound at a minimum, so your everyday life is unaffected.
What causes a noisy fridge freezer?
A noisy fridge freezer can be caused by several elements, some mechanical and some due to advanced technology. Most sound will be completely natural, but despite this, it can still be annoying if it is loud.
One natural noise is the slight humming you can constantly hear from your fridge. This is from the compressor circulating coolant around the appliance. This is an essential part of your refrigerator maintenance, and often the most apparent sound.
Your compressor may have to work harder if the energy rating of your appliance is low, as it won’t be as efficient in its mechanical workings. If you have just stocked your fridge freezer with new food which needs to be brought down in temperature, this can cause it to be overworked too.
Older refrigerator models may emit a sound as the compressor turns on and off. But newer types can adjust their power levels to suit how much the temperature has to change. This means that noise levels can vary throughout the day. Modern fridge freezers are generally quieter as they have more natural insulation, though.
If you have an in-built ice or water maker within your appliance, there will be noise caused by the production of these. But this should only be temporary and sporadic. The same goes for any alarms which may alert you to the door being left open for too long, or the fridge being too hot.
You may hear other sounds from time to time, such as creaking. This is often caused by the appliance adjusting to the internal and external temperature and is nothing to be alarmed about.
How do I know if my fridge freezer is noisy?
Noise levels are given in the form of decibels. The number often refers to the constant humming of the compressor fan but can take the other factors listed above into consideration as well, to create an average level.
The usual decibel level range in refrigerators and freezers is between 32-47 dB. Anything under 40 is categorised as quiet.
To put this in perspective:
- 30 dB is the sound of whispering
- The average library or household runs at an average noise level of 40 dB
- 50 dB is the level of a car driving past
- An ordinary conversation is 60 dB
Even if you have a fridge freezer labelled as quiet, noise won’t always be kept at a minimum. If the compressor needs to work particularly hard to reduce the temperature, such as in warm weather or if the door has been left open for a little while, the sound may increase.
Similarly, your fridge freezer may be quieter than usual if the stock is low and it doesn’t have to work as much to keep the contents cool.
Decibel levels may change slightly to those advertised under certain conditions or over time, but not on such a degree that it is noticeable.
How can I find a quiet fridge freezer?
- Decibel Rating
The main specification to look at before you buy is the decibel sound level. The lower this is, the quieter the fridge freezer when running on standard capacity and under optimum conditions. Anything under 40 dB is recommended, but there are options available which are as low as 32 dB.
- Energy Efficiency Rating
If you are after the quietest fridge freezer on the market, there is more to look at than just the dB level. Look at the energy efficiency rating to see how well it can cope with maintaining the perfect temperatures and how fast it can cool down the new stock.
A product with an efficiency rating of A+ can keep the temperature more regular with less effort that one with an energy rating of D. The latter may have to work extra hard (and therefore produce more noise than advertised).
- Room and Fridge Freezer Size
It is worth bearing in mind that what is quiet to one person may not be to somebody else. Other factors, such as the size of your kitchen/house and how empty the room is, may also affect how loud the fridge seems.
Larger fridge freezers may also have more mechanical workings as they have more to do, so a bit more noise is natural compared to the noise of a mini fridge, for example.
Before you buy the best quiet fridge freezer for you, compare a few alongside each other to see how the specifications will affect the overall noise performance.
All of the fridges, freezers and fridge freezers we have reviewed are 40 dB and under and have a high energy efficiency rating, to make your choice easier. For more information, visit the official Quiet Mark site.