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Author Topic: GE Refrigerator - Loud Buzzing Noise - PWE23KSKBSS  (Read 236 times)

Offline sapp4l

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GE Refrigerator - Loud Buzzing Noise - PWE23KSKBSS
« on: March 31, 2021, 08:11:49 AM »

Hope this isn't a repost as my first try seems to have gone off into the "ether'..
I have a GE french door (bottom freezer) refrigerator, model PWE23KSKBSS  circa 2016
The cooling and ice making performance is fine - no problems there.
Woke up this AM to a loud 'buzzing' sound from the refrigerator that was happening continuously, and for many minutes (didn't stop by itself).  The sound was louder when I opened the upper doors, and sounded louder at the upper end of the fridge, but can't be certain as noise travels in strange ways.

Key thing is that I turned off power to the breaker, and after a minute, turned it back on and the noise is gone. I did hear the compressor restart (slowly, as this is an inverter driven machine). Machine is operating normally now.
No error codes or lights flashing on display.
The noise is LOUD, and sounds like a pump, but I don't know of any pumps on this beast. Didn't sound like a fan, but who knows. Low pitched and continuous.

This has happened one or twice before -- maybe several months ago, and the fridge works fine after a power reset. I did take the back cover off last time -- cleaned everything and nothing unusual found.

Any thoughts?  Online advice on noises seems to focus on fans, water valves, compressor start devices (this is an inverter unit), and ice maker components.

I did make a video recording, but don't know of a way to post it to this forum. Would be happy to share this.



Offline sapp4l

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  • Member Since: Mar 2008
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Re: GE Refrigerator - Loud Buzzing Noise - PWE23KSKBSS
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2021, 12:15:13 PM »
After listing to the video several (OK, a lot of times) times, I have to think this is from the compressor. It's too loud to be something 'small', and the 'pump' sound doesn't sound like anything else.

All that said, can't explain the behavior. Would a 'flaky' inverter cause this?... I mean that it has a strange start and then vibrates the compressor rather than rotating it. The next 'start' might work fine.

I'm not too familiar with the failure modes of the inverter.

Any expert thoughts on this thinking?

Not to excited about changing a $160 part without a bit more guidance, but at least the change out looks simple.   

Thanks for any ideas here.

Offline sapp4l

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  • Member Since: Mar 2008
  • Posts: 43
Re: GE Refrigerator - Loud Buzzing Noise - PWE23KSKBSS
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2021, 12:46:04 AM »
Boy was I wrong.   The noise started again. Yes, again in the middle of the night. Isn't this how it always works?

Left the unit running, and emptied the beast.   Time for a good cleaning anyways.

Air was running in the fridge section, but the whole back panel was vibrating. Took the back panel apart, and when I unplugged the evap fan, noise went away.

The evap was not iced over; actually quite clean. However, there was some ice build up around the fan housing, and on the foam evap air channel pieces. Must have been enough ice to unbalance the fan blades, as it is not actually anything hitting the fan blades.

Can't explain why it went away previously, except this must be speed dependent, and when I cycled power previously, it went back on at a much lower speed.

Letting the beast thaw all night, and will reassemble.  The fan motor seems to be operating smoothly, so not going to replace it yet.