Home Improvement : Fan Motor Cause of Refrigerator Noise


QUESTION: My Sears Coldspot frostless refrigerator-freezer whistles, wheezes and hisses. Sometimes it sounds almost alive even human. What do these strange sounds indicate? Is the refrigerator about to break down?

ANSWER: Your refrigerator’s strange noises are probably coming from the evaporator fan motor located on the back wall of the freezer compartment. Usually before the evaporator’s motor bearings give out, they will make chirping sounds. As the bearings continue to wear, the motor will produce strange noises similar to the ones you describe. Usually this means the fan motor is about due for replacement. A new fan motor kit can be purchased from any Sears parts store. Your local appliance center may also have a fan motor that would fit.

Test for Radon to See If You Have Problem

Q: I live in a part of the country that has lots of radon gas. Can you help me find information on the air-to-air heat exchanger? It seems to me that if we change the air in the house without losing too much of the desired temperature inside the house, any airborne contaminants would not be a problem.


A: Just because your house is located in a radon belt, doesn’t mean that your house will have a radon problem. Before you install an air-to-air heat exchanger, test your house to determine radon levels. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) advises taking action only if the radon gas occurs at 4 pico curies per liter of air (pCi/L). For more information on radon, contact the EPA’s regional office or your state health department.

The EPA booklet “Radon Reduction Methods--A Homeowner’s Guide” explains several methods to correct a radon problem. An air-to-air heat exchanger (also called a heat recovery ventilator) is one method. It extracts the heat in the air that is being exhausted and uses it to warm the fresh incoming air. If used by itself, it will not reduce radon levels to below 4 pCi/L if the levels start out above 16 pCi/L.

In addition to the heat exchanger, you will need to install duct work. Radon Control Incorporated sells heat exchangers to contractors. To locate an EPA-certified radon control contractor in your area, call the company at (800) 523-2084 or write: RCI, 511 Industrial Drive, Carmel, Ind. 46032.