Refrigerator Silencing – First attempt – Partial fail

I have an old Norge refrigerator that I bought in the late 90s when I bought my house.  It’s basic but works great.  My only complaint about it is that the evaporator fan (the one inside) is very noisy.  It doesn’t sound like anything is wrong with it like the bearings or anything.  The blades are just spinning so fast it makes the Whooooooooooo sound that can be heard in the living room.  When I am reading and the house is quiet the noise is annoying.  It sounds so nice when it turns off.

I was considering buying a new fridge but that would cost at least $1000.  Sure it would be a little more efficient but my current one uses 2 KWH a day which at 9 cents a KWH only costs me $5.40 per month to run.  That’s not bad so I’m not sure spending $1000 on a new one just because I hate the fan would be cost-effective.

Since it is old I decided I would at least try hacking on it a bit.  My first attempt was to replace the stock fan (on the right in the picture) with a 110V muffin fan I had on hand.  When I tested it externally it seemed to blow quite well but I don’t know what the CFM (cubic feet per minute) rating is.  It felt strong enough so I took the ice maker out and removed the cover on the back wall so I could get to the fan assembly.  After removing a few screws it came out relatively easily.   I removed the stock fan and drilled holes to mount my muffin fan.  It was a perfect fit so I reinstalled the unit in the freezer.

I plugged the fridge back in and everything worked perfectly.  I closed the door and listened.  Much better!  I could live with this!   I opened the door and felt the airflow with my hand and was disappointed.  It was not close to being as powerful as the stock fan.  I let it run for an hour to see what would happen.  The fridge never stopped running.  It was just not going to work out.  Not enough air flow.

I reluctantly reinstalled the original fan.  Back to the drawing board.  There are plenty of muffin fans available on the internet.  I’ve seen a few that are rated at 200 cfm.  I might order one and give it a second try.  They are cheap enough.  If that works out I might try swapping out the condenser fan underneath the fridge and make it even quieter.

Another alternative might be to replace the blades with one from a different brand and model as long as they fit the shaft and turn in the same direction.  There are a wide variety of blade styles so maybe I can find one that makes less noise.

I love modding stuff.  I’m a natural-born hacker.