26

I'm currently staying in a studio so the fridge is close to the bed. Unfortunately the fridge is quite loud, which is slightly annoying during the day but can make it hard to sleep during the night. I could of course turn off the fridge altogether, but I have food inside that I'd like to keep refrigerated.

How can I deal with this loud fridge while keeping some food on the inside?

Update: a maintenance man took a look and there's nothing wrong with the fridge, it just happens to have a loud compressor out of the box. Therefore I've resorted to turning it off at night.

Update #2: the fridge's compressor ended up breaking down completely a couple of days after, so I've received a replacement fridge which is a lot more quiet. So looks like something was wrong with that fridge after all.

  • 6
    Wax earplugs? (Not even enough for a comment, even less for an answer.) – Willeke Dec 25 '19 at 14:32
  • 7
    @Willeke unfortunately I can't sleep comfortably with earplugs on – JonathanReez Dec 25 '19 at 14:32
  • Have you tried wax ones? They are really comfy and do not put pressure on the ears. – Willeke Dec 25 '19 at 14:33
  • 5
    Can you move it to the bathroom? – MonkeyZeus Dec 26 '19 at 13:09
  • 1
    JR, if this is AirBNB. (Or indeed any other system.). You should be sure too politely yet very firmly complain about this. It's totally, completely, unacceptable, and they literally must replace the unit. You hurt other customers by not making it a substantive issue - go for it ! Politeness be damned. – Fattie Dec 27 '19 at 22:26
39

When faced with a noisy fridge in a hotel room, I unplug it when I go to bed. If unopened during the night, my experience is the fridge will stay sufficiently cool inside to preserve food overnight.

Take note of @PLL's comment below about food safety. In part:

...[O]ne should be careful with foods that spoil particularly quickly e.g. raw fish, or unpasteurised/lightly-pasteurised milk. E.g. I would trust typical US supermarket milk for a few nights like this, but not farm-bought milk or UK supermarket milk.

And @Matt comments: Another to watch out with is raw chicken.

  • 7
    You can also crank up the fridge (lower the thermostat) during the day when you're out to get it a little colder before turning it off for the night - though in my experience hotel fridges in particular don't ever get very cold – A C Dec 26 '19 at 2:35
  • 38
    Also good is to fill the otherwise unused space in the fridge with containers of water. Water has a very high heat capacity. With large amounts of water in the fridge, the interior will stay cooler for a much longer period while the power is off. – Makyen Dec 26 '19 at 6:39
  • 10
    I do exactly this in probably 50% of the hotels I stay in. Thankfully to date I've yet to find one that the hotel had placed raw fish in, so it hasn't been a problem yet. – Doc Dec 26 '19 at 7:09
  • 5
    @Makyen, preferably put the water in already cold, or at the time of day you're least bothered by the compressor noise... – Lamar Latrell Dec 26 '19 at 8:35
  • 3
    Another to watch out with is raw chicken. – Mast Dec 26 '19 at 11:23
18

There's no perfect solution, but some ideas:

  1. Tweak the fridge thermostat to make it warmer. This will reduce the number of times the noisy fridge motor/compressor needs to run.
  2. During the day, place perishable items in the freezer compartment to freeze them solid. At night, when you go to bed, disconnect the fridge power. You'll get a quiet night, and your frozen food should still be cool in the morning. Obvious caveats: not everything freezes well, and defrosted items should never be refrozen. You may also need to deal with condensation/melted water , so a strategically placed towel may help.
  3. As a variant of the above, place perishable items in a cooler bag with some ice parks or other frozen items, then turn off power. The fridge will slowly warm up, but the cooler bag contents should stay cool until morning.
  • 26
    Freeze alot of water in the freezer section, and move it including its container to the fridge section during the night, it keeps the cold longer without risking freezing damage to items – Ferrybig Dec 25 '19 at 23:53
  • 1. is completely wrong. It's actually easier to sleep with a monotone noise sounding all the time than with it going on and off repeatedly. You will be startled out of your sleep when the fridge goes on, and quite often when it goes off too. Also many electrical motors go through resonances as they spin up/down, momentarily being louder than during continuous operation. – Szczepan Hołyszewski Dec 28 '19 at 19:21
11

Hotels

In a pay/per/night kind of establishment like a hotel, go to the front desk and complain. They should be able to accommodate you (either by moving you to a new room or by swapping the fridge or by reimbursing you some amount).

In the future, be sure to specify that your room be not noisy — away from elevators and the like — when booking it. This will ideally prevent the desk clerk from shrugging and saying, sorry, tough beans.

Apartments

In a landlord kind of establishment like an apartment, inform your landlord. Unless stated otherwise in your contract (US only, IDK about other countries), the landlord is responsible for the general working upkeep of appliances in the apartment.

I've been in apartments where the fridge was crap, and I got a better one off of the local paper / exchange / whatever for cheap. The landlord had always approved the swap for a newer, better model. (But make sure you get permission! Because you can lose your deposit, among other, worse, things if you do it without first getting approval.)

Refrigerators

There are only a very few things that will cause a refrigerator to make loud noises:

  • physical damage / bending
  • maintenance / de-icing cycle problems
  • failing compressor
  • something worse that means the fridge is bricked

In the first case, listen to the machine to determine where the noise is coming from. It could simply be that the compressor is causing something to rattle, such as one of the refrigerant lines to knock against the housing. If that is the case, only a very small push or pull to bend the line a little away from the thing it is contacting is all that is needed to quiet it.

(This happens when someone is not careful when transporting the unit. The frame itself can be bent or twisted, or the metal panel around the compressor compartment, or the refrigerant lines themselves — all in ways that are not immediately obvious to the casual observer.)

Fortunately, the lines are very malleable and are designed to bend. Don't be aggressive, though. Just push it only enough to prevent it from striking the frame. If you break it you are liable, and any competent professional who looks at it will know full well that you broke it if you do. And a refrigerant leak is not your friend.

In one case, the compressor was just old and rattling everything. A hard rubber ball from the dollar store jammed between it and the support frame was all that was needed to quiet it down.

De-icing and compressor problems are best fixed by a professional. And a failing refrigerator will be properly diagnosed by one.

In all cases, the owner is responsible for the proper maintenance — he/she just needs to know that maintenance is required.

4

Some ideas:

  1. Move the fridge
  2. Move the bed/mattress
  3. Wear earplugs (e.g., custom silicon earplugs)
  4. Wear earmuffs or noise-cancelling earphones
  5. If outside is cold enough, move food to balcony and shut down fridge
  6. Add sound barrier screens (but that's hard to carry around unless traveling by car)
  7. Add white noise
4

Check the laws of the country you're staying in. A particularly loud fridge that keeps you from sleeping might be a reason for reimbursement of parts of the payment or the contract in total. With that go to the desk and tell them the fridge is too loud they need to replace it otherwise you refuse payment.
By German law this would enable you to reimburse.

Even if not go to the desk. Getting bad ratings is much worse than a missed payment these days.

  • 1
    I've stayed in 4 star hotels in the US with a loud fridge... It's not considered to be an issue for most patrons. Same with air conditioning, unfortunately it's considered acceptable for it to be loud: travel.stackexchange.com/questions/132971/…. If I don't have food I turn it off immediately after checking in. – JonathanReez Dec 26 '19 at 0:22
  • 1
    @JonathanReez USA isn't exactly known for consumer protection laws. I recently skimmed regulations about rent contracts for my country and there are defined thresholds for how loud a refrigerator is allowed to be. – Nobody Dec 26 '19 at 17:38
2

3M earplugs in 50/100 boxes for next to nothing and I wear them every day, it's just a habit. go to bed, forgot earplugs? run and get them, sleep perfectly. I wear them all day sometimes, out in the street, in the car, I don't notice I still have them... For sleep they are especially essential. If it's only a noisy fridge, sell it to someone who will put it in a basement and buy another one with a low Db rating, or keep the old one and switch it back when you leave and sell the new one. if the earplugs get tarnished put them in soap water they work many times, you can even find what oil people put on them because they come impregnated with silicon oil or someting.

You can make a heavy box for the fridge if there isn't a cupboard.

I have a very noisy home, a cascade on one side and diesel engines going uphill on the other and resonating in a narrow street.

1

get a cooler big enough to hold what you need, put ice in it and use it.

Shut off the fridge and turn it back on when you leave.

Very simple and inexpensive.

I do not suggest ear plugs when staying in a rented place(hotel/motel/hostel/B&B) as you do not know the other tenants or employees and their ethics...and I want to be woken up if someone comes in the room or an alarm sounds/gunshots in the hallway, etc...

  • 2
    I'm a lifelong motorcyclist, and wear foam earplugs on the road and while sleeping. They help a lot, perhaps as much as 35db, but they do not block all sounds. I can assure you that you will hear noisy neighbors, much less a gunshot in the hallway. – DavidSupportsMonica Dec 26 '19 at 18:56
  • 1
    David - sounds like you speak from experience ;) – Fattie Dec 27 '19 at 22:24
0

If you do not have much food, it is often possible to put the food on the window shelf from the outer side for the night. and switch the refrigerator off. For the day, when it may be much warmer and you may not like the food to be visible from outside, you can put it back into the fridge. It works better if you have as single plastic box for all food that stands reliable on the shelf and closes well.

-1

Look at the fridge yourself. Don't expect the maintenance men to always do their best and their best is usually medicore anyways.

  1. Try to level it. If everything else fails, paper inserts under it can help.
  2. Look at the compressor and tubing on the rear side. Some noise may be easilly tracked to particular parts bumping each other. These parts can be bent or otherwise neutralized.
  3. Try to move the fridge to a place away from bed (if such place exists).
  4. Break the fridge and have the landlord replace it with a new one (electrical skills required in order to make it look broken by itself and also has a moral implications).
  5. Negotiate with the landlord to replace the fridge yourself (the fridge is probably $50..$150 that may or may not be a big deal for you).
  6. The fridge is probably the simplest possible ones with a single volume and single evaporator. You can supplement it's heat capacity by placing cooling packs or some water in a plastic container in the evaporator and/or just dial the setting to the coolest possible. Then simply unplug it for the night.
  • Damaging the fridge is not good advice. – Willeke Dec 29 '19 at 8:10
  • Sure. I never did something like this myself - and I had a lot of unpleasant landlords. But it is still an option. – fraxinus Dec 30 '19 at 9:41

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.