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furpants

Sub-Zero refrigerator is very LOUD, beware

Stardust + Gravity
7 years ago
last modified: 7 years ago

Does anyone know if Sub-Zero fridges are known to be loud, and if Liebherr is a quieter brand?

In my recent kitchen remodel I upgraded all the appliances. I wanted a Sub-Zero integrated refrigerator and freezer that would fit into the existing cabinet cavity, so I searched for and purchased a 700TCI Sub-Zero from a dealer. It was a demo unit as Sub-Zero no longer makes brand new units that fit an 80"h cabinet. But it was still under warranty and looked great, no dings or anything.

Once the unit was in the cabinet cavity we realized it was about twice as loud as the old unit (which I rarely noticed making any sound at all). Note, we didn't install the ice-maker because we thought that would be even louder and we already had a problem. I tested the Sub-Zero at 55-60 decibels. I can hear it from the second floor. I called Sub-Zero for service. Their tech came out and said the sound was coming from the defrosting motor and that it was normal.

I had my contractor line the cabinet cavity with a layer of soundproofing foam/vinyl and put the front panels on, hoping to dampen the sound. It didn't work, that Sub-Zero fridge is still getting a 55db reading (no ice-maker).

I had the Sub-Zero tech out again. He said that is how it's supposed to sound, but if I was unhappy I should call Sub-Zero and see if they could make a quieter motor. Called Sub-Zero (on hold for over 20 minutes) then got a lot of attitude as if it must be some problem with my house or me. No, Sub-Zero, I had a quiet fridge, then I bought one of your overpriced crap boxes, and now I hear that motor for 20 minutes out of every hour no matter what room I'm in. They said I might be able to return the fridge to the dealer, although so far the dealer has not responded to my messages about this.

It looks like I will need to get another unit that fits the new layout, which means a Liebherr. Has anyone else had similar problems with Sub-Zero fridges being loud? What did you do? If you have a Liebherr, how loud is it?

Comments (55)

  • dadoes
    7 years ago

    Mystery to me what's a "defrosting motor."

  • kaseki
    7 years ago

    Hmmm. My SZ 632 purchased at the end of 2007 near the end of the model type's lifetime is extremely quiet in the kitchen, even very late at night. I can more easily tell when it is running by listening for it in the bathroom sharing a common wall with the 632's back. It is perhaps worth noting, though, that my SZ is built-in and paneled, hence essentially surrounded by wood, so there might be some modest damping in play.

    My SZ and Miele dishwasher compete to be difficult to hear at all under normal use.

    A defrosting motor is a new one on me, too.

    I am unaware of any technology retardation of the '90s that would require the 700 series to be noisy. What is the date of manufacture? Is it possible that it has lost some refrigerant in a compressor loop making the compressor louder?

    You can try to find whether the noise is amplified by vibration induced in a metal panel, and then damp the panel rather than the cavity by using heavy stick-on damping sheets such as are used for automotive sound suppression.

    Stiffening the floor from underneath may also help if the floor is resonating at a frequency produced by the unit.

    kas

    Stardust + Gravity thanked kaseki
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  • PRO
    Joe Henderson
    7 years ago

    The age of the unit is irrelevant. If it's as loud as you say (55-60db is LOUD) then there is more than likely something wrong with the unit. I have been around hundreds of sub zeros in showrooms and the field. You may be aware thag it is running but 55db is loud for ANY appliance.

    My best suggestion would be to take a video with the meter of the sound and contact sub zero corporate. They are a wonderful company and may have a solution.

    Stardust + Gravity thanked Joe Henderson
  • Jakvis
    7 years ago

    If you are measuring sound make sure you are doing it from 4-5 feet away, then 10 feet away, from the appliance otherwise the manufacturer will tell you your measurements are no good.

    Stardust + Gravity thanked Jakvis
  • PRO
    Stardust + Gravity
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    I meant to say the Evaporator Fan Motor, not called the defroster motor (though it defrosts the freezer).

    Joe Henderson, it does seem to me that what they are telling me is "normal" is not in fact normal and that's really why I'm so angry. It's not like I decided it's a lot of fun to call up appliance companies and complain. They are acting like it's not a problem of the unit, but a problem of my tolerance. I'd be just as annoyed if a 20 year old Frigidaire made this much noise, but the fact that it's a new Sub-Zero makes it unacceptable.

    To clarify, the unit was installed into a solid mahogany cabinet and the front was paneled with mahogany plywood. The cavity of the cabinet was fully lined with a layer of sound absorbing acoustic foam and vinyl. The floor was covered with an appliance mat material. All the edges of these materials overlapped. The toe kick panel was applied as directed. The process to do all this planning and lining took a full day of labor.

  • plllog
    7 years ago

    I hear and understand your frustration. Part of the problem is likely that the techs aren't finding anything that isn't working right, and are therefore saying "normal" rather than focusing on the sound, which is what your problem is. They're not trained in that, however, so are probably just looking at the repairable systems and not finding anything they know how to fix.

    I used to have a watch that I could only hear ticking when I put my wrist up to my ear. When I put it on the far nightstand, however, it ticked so loudly I couldn't sleep. It wasn't actually the watch that was loud. The wood nightstand amplified the sound and transmitted it through the wood bedframe to my pillow, which had it ticking in my ear. That was an easy solve, since it was obviously a clock or metronome, and there wasn't a metronome in the room, and the only new clock was the watch being on the nightstand instead of my wrist. I think just putting it on a stack of books fixed the problem.

    This is what Kas and I have been talking about regarding your floor. It may be resonating and the dampening material might not be sufficient to prevent it. Especially considering how much the sound travels, I think that's likely. You should be able to use your dB meter to see if that's the issue, and to track the way the sound travels through the house.

    If it is actually the fridge, then it's not normal, and I agree with Joe about talking to SubZero. No company is perfect and sometimes weird stuff just happens. They should be able to send an advanced level technician to check it out, or replace the unit if need be. When you have a weird case, you have to advocate for yourself. Talk to your dealer and get him/her to talk to the reps. Talk to corporate. Send a letter to the president. Do whatever you need to to get their attention and get this solved.

    Stardust + Gravity thanked plllog
  • kaseki
    7 years ago

    Ah! The evaporator fan motor. Now I have a clue. How long has that fan been running in a showroom -- since the '90s? As pillog points out, the tech may see that the fan works, hence it is OK, but not notice that the bearings have become loud, or that the isolators between the fan and the evaporator frame (or however it is mounted) have become hard, or that some other related aging problem is present. Even the cleanliness of the fan blades from dust accumulation could cause a fan unbalance inducing vibration into the unit housing. I found quite a lot of dust and lint when I cleaned my evaporator and its fan a few months ago for the first time after about 5 years of operation.

    55 dbA (I assume your measurement is A-weighted) is about three doublings (X8 in sound pressure level) above the 45 dBA that Miele once asserted for the Optima, and 60 dBA is five doublings (32X in pressure). Since my SZ loudness is about the same as the Miele, I have to postulate that 55 - 60 dBA is significantly louder than the 700 series was intended to be. (This all assumes, of course, that your measurement distance was the same as Miele used for their PR values.)

    kas

    Stardust + Gravity thanked kaseki
  • dadoes
    7 years ago

    I don't know the details of Sub-Zero's design but an evaporator fan doesn't usually run during defrost. Defrost is typically by way of a heating element positioned under the cooling coil (evaporator). The fan shuts off during defrost to keep the heat concentrated at the coil, otherwise heated air would circulate onto the food. That is not to say the fan couldn't be noisy during a normal cooling operation.

    Stardust + Gravity thanked dadoes
  • PRO
    Stardust + Gravity
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    I am not a sound professional. I downloaded a decibel reader app on my iPhone and held it up to the fridge. I don't feel like I can come across as a DB expert, I simply was trying to get a gauge on just how freaking loud is this thing anyhow?

    Since I've owned this house I've had 2 previous refrigerator/freezers in the same kitchen, in the same cabinet, and neither one was noticeably noisy. My new refrigerator, a top-of-the-line, supposedly best refrigerator you can buy Sub-Zero, is inferior to a basic 25 year old GE when it comes to noise.

    So Sub-Zero's argument that the problem is the cabinet, not the appliance, is ignoring the idea that maybe despite all the high priced marketing, they make noisy fridges.


  • plllog
    7 years ago

    No. What they're saying, and what we have been saying, is that there is probably a harmonic resonance. If your other fridges had different frequencies, that didn't hit the surrounds just right to travel and amplify, it wouldn't have happened with them. But I'm not the physics expert. See my post about the wristwatch. Other watches didn't do amplification thing. That still might not be the answer, however.

    Kas's point about the demo model not being the same as right out of the box is a good one. You're not going to get us to agree that your troubles mean that all SubZero fridges have this problem. You've had another owner of a similar model contradict it directly. We do agree that there is a problem, and we want you to get it fixed, but we can't come to your house and advocate for you. Your best advocate is yourself, followed by your pushy sister-in-law (or similar friend or relative who feels righteous indignation on your behalf and is eager to see it through to the end, using sticktoitivity tempered by diplomacy).

    Kas named some places where the problem could be. Those are ideas you can suggest (sweetly) to the tech. Or hire an independent senior professional installer/repairman to go over it. Talk to the store you bought it from about the issue and ask if they have someone who can fix it. If you're out of pocket, send the detailed receipt (keeping a copy for yourself) to SubZero with a demand letter if the work done is covered by your warranty. Otherwise, figure it's part of the price of getting a bargain on a demo unit and be glad to have it fixed.

    The fact is, however, yours is not a common complaint, and dinging the whole company and all their products for what's wrong with one previously installed and handled unit that they don't even make anymore isn't going to get you a lot of agreement.

  • PRO
    Stardust + Gravity
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    The fact is that there's no way to know how common of a complaint this might be as there are no published statistics of any customer complaints, no decibel level information available for potential customers to review, and no way to hear and compare working refrigerators in a showroom (as they are kept in demo mode, which is essentially just plugged in, not cooling).

    I bought this Sub-Zero from a dealer as a demo unit, not used, not refurbished, but demo, with a warranty at a discounted price but certainly not what I would call cheap since it still cost 4X what I paid for my last refrigerator. I would have bought new if they still made this size.

    Anytime a company responds as if the products are so flawless that a customer complaint must be the fault of the customer, that company is going to make that customer really, really angry. Part of what I paid for was customer service, and I expect a company like Sub-Zero to take my problem seriously and do what they can to make it right.

  • sjhockeyfan325
    7 years ago

    The problem is that you assume the SubZ is not running according to manufacturing specs. If it's not, of course, you're right, they should fix it. But if it is, whether that's louder than other fridges in the abstract is a matter of having researched it first, and whether it's louder in your particular setup (whether or not it's louder than your previous fridges were in the same setup) is an issue you have to solve - it's not a manufacturing defect covered by a warranty.

  • PRO
    Stardust + Gravity
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Manufacturing specs are whatever Sub-Zero says they are, they have no standardized information available as to what a customer can reasonably expect the noise level to be on these very expensive refrigerators. Manufacturing specs sounds like an awfully convenient term to get out of dealing with anything they don't want to.

  • plllog
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    So you deny all possibility that it could be one of the wear issues that Kas mentioned could happen to a demo unit, to the point where you'd rather complain to us than find someone with the expertise to help you? If so, your complaints have been heard. The only way you're going to prove that SZ were in the wrong, however, is to find out what's wrong and get it fixed.

    You might be happier selling the SZ as is, and getting a fridge like your old one again.

  • dixiedarlin10
    7 years ago

    In a previous new construction home, we had a 700TCI and we too felt it was loud. Eventually, we more or less grew accustomed to noise. You have no choice as these tall machines are a unique 27" width. Anyway, the local service technician showed us; that the freezer and refrigerator compressors are right behind the non sound insulated sheet metal ventilation panel up front below the freezer drawer.

    Hence the noisy operation as the compressors cycle on and off independently as needed. I seem to recall the tech stating that the all freezer or all refrigerator units only have one compressor and were somewhat less noisy.


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  • btnfood
    7 years ago

    I've been living with a 700TCI since 1999. I moved in 2006 and specified the same unit as I liked it a lot. Both of my apartments have been totally "open plan" mini lofts, yet I haven't had any noise problems.

    i'm pretty sensitive to noise and I understand how this loud unit you got would drive someone crazy.

    I've found Sub Zero to be a great company that makes things right for their clients. Please don't give up on working with them and finding the right contact there. I hope your dealer can help you with this.

    Good luck



    Stardust + Gravity thanked btnfood
  • PRO
    Stardust + Gravity
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    @dixiedarlin10 the compressors are a bit louder than the old units but those aren't the problem. It's specifically the evaporator motor that is towards the back of the unit.

    @plllog I am getting a tech out again for the third time. I didn't originally come here to complain so much as to warn other people who are considering these refrigerators that I found mine to be quite noisy. I've had a Sub-Zero tech out twice already for the noise, and he said he understood that we thought it was loud, but that he considered it a normal level of loud for a Sub-Zero. I contacted the showroom to see if they would take it back, they haven't returned my calls or emails. I contacted Sub-Zero, who said if the tech said it was normal, then that's all they had to say about it, maybe I should return it.

    So based on my experience so far, I would not recommend Sub-Zero as a brand. You seem unusually vested in trying to get me to accept that Sub-Zero did nothing wrong... I suspect you work for them or something but if you haven't been upfront about that yet, you wouldn't come forward now.

    @kas made some totally unfounded comments about the unit being from the 90s, implying that I should take what I can get, which is not the situation here. The salesperson I bought from said the unit had been a demo for less than a year and was removed once this particular model was discontinued. They sold it with a warranty.

    Meanwhile, this thing is getting louder and sounds like a toy plane is flying around my house and the tech will come again this week. So, if anyone is reading this and considering buying a Sub-Zero, draw your own conclusions.

    If anyone is reading this and has a Liebherr, I'm still interested in learning if they've experienced noise problems with that brand.

  • plllog
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I don't work for SubZero, or anywhere in the industry. (I'm an artist). It would be completely against the rules here if I were any kind of appliance pro and did not disclose it, I am not a pro, and lack of disclosure is because I am not one, and should not be taken as evidence of cheating. Your accusation that I would be lying about it whether or not I responded to you is more evidence of your unwillingness to give people a chance. Your assumption about me means more to you than the truth.

    I do like high end fridges, but I don't like appliances that don't perform as expected. That is the sum of my bias in this case. I think that SZ makes a good product in general, and I do believe you that yours is problematic.

    What I do want is for you to continue to address your problems rather than just saying how bad SZ is. A blanket statement, such as you've made in at least one other thread, is not productive. It may feel good to say it, but it doesn't advance a solution. When the new tech comes, make sure it's a supervisor or master or someone similar who has sufficient knowledge and experience to go beyond what's in the training manual. Ask questions about the potential failure points that have been pointed out to you. Ask about the vibrations in the floor. Ask about other techs who can better help you. Bug SubZero. Write a paper letter to the president and copy customer service. Get the unit fixed, or sell it on and get something else. You shouldn't have to live with it as it is.

  • diggity14
    7 years ago

    Subzero offers warranties even on old display units - it's not as extensive as the standard warranty, but older display models still come with a warranty to help dealers sell them. The warranty itself is not necessarily an indicator of the unit's age, so kas's comments are not unfounded. Most recent specs I can find on a 700TCI are dated 2011 - just because it was demoed less then a year doesn't mean the dealer didn't have it longer.

    These particular units in the very least haven't been for sale new for two or more years, as Subzero did away with that model numbering system awhile ago, so at minimum I'd peg the unit as no newer than at least 2-2 1/2 years old - possibly longer depending on when the 700's were disco'd, and it's been waiting for a buyer ever since. If you want to find out for sure, check the sticker - Subzero products have a manufactured date listed on every model, and that's how they determine the associated warranty with display units. Should be just a month and a year somewhere on the sticker that has the model information.

  • kaseki
    7 years ago

    furpants wrote "@kas made some totally unfounded comments about the unit being from the
    90s, implying that I should take what I can get, which is not the
    situation here." I think that there is a reading comprehension difficulty here. One commenter (dosexx22) noted that the model was designed in the 90s and I commented that I didn't know of any particular reason, refrigeration technology wise, why it would necessarily be louder due to being designed in that time period.

  • PRO
    Stardust + Gravity
    Original Author
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I think SZ scans these boards because suddenly they got a lot more polite and helpful! Sub-Zero sent out a different tech who replaced the noisy motor. Unfortunately, the new motor, while slightly less loud, is still LOUDER than the 46 db dishwasher.

    Meanwhile I finally heard back from the dealer. They will take the unit back if we pay a 25% restocking fee and we pay freight to pack and ship it to them. So that will end up costing us $3,000. I'm also losing the $2,500 spent on soundproofing and the custom panels which will all have to be redone to fit a new unit. That's $5500 spent with nothing to show for it other than a lot of wasted time and stress, and some disrespectful treatment from SZ customer service.

    There is no consumer information showing that the newer units are any quieter than the old ones. My conclusion is that Sub-Zero is not functional for open concept layouts. I would not recommend them if you need a quiet appliance. And although eventually they did at least replace the motor the initial response to my problem was arrogant, suspicious and not sympathetic to me as a customer who paid a high price expecting a superior performance. I also feel that they are less than transparent about their products. They know this is a problem but refuse to get their engineering team to fix it, instead expecting customers to 'deal with' a loud unit at an $8000 investment.

  • Sue N/A
    7 years ago

    We have a 48" non-dispenser Sub-Zero refrigerator in our home, built in 2011. We have a large, open kitchen/great room combo that also has limestone tile floors. We spend probably 80% of our waking hours in that area. It's where we cook, eat, watch TV, do homework, etc. We've never had a single issue with noise from our Sub-Zero. In fact, I only hear it if I'm listening for it, or I happen to get up for a drink of water at 4 AM and the house is dead silent.

    We also have a Wolf range, warming drawer and a small Sub wine fridge. We've only had to have a small thing fixed on the range, but the service we've received has been amazing. All our appliances are used daily; they are not just for show and purchasing such expensive brand names was NOT something we went into lightly, so I definitely relate to that cost-to-value concern.

    I'm not trying to dispute anyone else's experience, and I'm sorry you're so displeased with your new fridge, but I saw this thread title when here to post about my own issues with Gaggenau, and it just stood out to me, since my husband and I are currently wishing we'd bought all Wolf appliances and not gone with the Gaggenau steam oven. (When we were appliance shopping, Wolf had not yet released their combi-steam, if I recall correctly.)

    For us, the experience in dealing with the two manufacturers has been night and day. Now perhaps, that's because we have only one Gaggenau appliance and many Wolf-Sub, but we purchased them all from the same retailer, at the same time, so I'm not fully convinced that's the case.

    Stardust + Gravity thanked Sue N/A
  • Daniel Buckingham
    7 years ago

    We bought a 42 inch sub zero at the start of the year and have no issues with it what so ever. It is whisper quiet. So whilst I cannot comment about the older models, their newer ones are fine.

  • PRO
    Stardust + Gravity
    Original Author
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Here is what it sounds like. I found this video on YouTube (not my video but this is the same sound). Obviously lots of other Sub-Zero owners have had the same problem so why can't they fix it? Been waiting for a tech to schedule a third appointment for over a week now... this noise is making us insane, it's now going off for hours at a time.

    https://youtu.be/z2DK2ujzgHM

  • sjhockeyfan325
    7 years ago

    OK, that would drive me insane too!

  • Sue N/A
    7 years ago

    Wow. Yeah. My Sub-Zero fridge sounds nothing like that.

  • kaseki
    7 years ago

    So, we ask ourselves, what shuts off whenever the freezer compartment is opened? (Or maybe first we ask, is it only the sound that is similar, or is the OP's sound also anti-correlated with the freezer door opening as in the video?)

    If freezer related, then perhaps an air circulation fan for the freezer, or perhaps an evaporator fan used only for the freezer. It sounded bearing like, or perhaps unbalanced, or some insulation has drifted into its air path and is fluttering in the breeze. Access to the freezer side air ducting would seem to be called for.

    kas

  • Jakvis
    7 years ago

    If it is exactly the same as in the video you have an out of balance fan blade.

    When the tech replaced the motor they probably put the same fan blade back on. As Kaseki mentions only the evaporator fan motor shuts off when the freezer is opened and it starts right back up when the door/drawer is closed.

    An out of balance fan blade will create awful vibration noises exactly the same as in the video.

    You can open the door and trigger the fan switch manually to test it. Have the tech come out and remove the fan blade then test the motor. Then install a new balanced fan blade and test.

  • PRO
    Stardust + Gravity
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    I agree it's the fan and so did the 2 techs who've been out so far, and I don't understand why they won't fully fix the problem - possibly a flaw in the engineering on some units. It seems like it's something they've encountered before (obviously Sub-Zero has, that video I posted has over 6,000 views), and yet, after 2 visits and several weeks, it's still happening.

  • lapsangtea
    7 years ago

    that is a maddening sound! Yowza. I have a 13 year old Liebherr that is sometimes now louder than it once was (a bit of a quiet buzziness/hum from time to time that it didn't used to have), but literally NOTHING like that! Liebherr is pretty quiet in my experience.

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  • PRO
    Stardust + Gravity
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Sub-Zero eventually decided to buy this unit back from us but didn't admit there was anything wrong with the unit. Throughout this process, they have never once admitted there was anything wrong with the unit. This lack of accountability on their part is what made me angry to start with, and I'm still angry about it. I suppose they can't admit they built a faulty product because then all the other people they sold these units would start asking for their money back.

    While I'm pleased to be reimbursed for the cost of the unit I'm still out about $3000 in custom cabinets and soundproofing material and labor.

    Meanwhile, we pulled that faulty Sub-Zero fridge out of the kitchen. The day that thing was turned off was amazing! Finally, some peace and quiet in the house. We replaced it with a LIEBHERR HBC 1560 which is absolutely quiet. I'm also finding the interior design is more useful and holds more food.

  • cpartist
    7 years ago

    That noise would have driven me to drink and I can see why you were so frustrated. I'm glad you got satisfaction finally but sorry to hear it still cost you.

    I'm thrilled to hear you're happy with your Liebherr as I'm considering getting one for my new build.

  • practigal
    7 years ago

    They yanked the fridge rather than fix the fan? That has to hurt their bottom line. Glad you like the new fridge....

  • PRO
    Stardust + Gravity
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Note: when they finally removed the Sub-Zero there was a puddle of water underneath it. No water feed was ever connected as the ice maker was not installed so this water had come from the unit from some sort of condensation. So in addition to being loud it was also ruining the wood floors underneath and would have caused serious damage if left in place.

  • Sammy
    7 years ago

    "...so this water had come from the unit from some sort of condensation." In most, if not ALL units, this is completely NORMAL! As the owner of a 48" Sub-Zero 632F, with a build date of February 2000, I suspect the puddle of water you found is a result of the drip pan either being knocked out of alignment or damaged when all of those crazy sound dampening modifications were being done.


    But you can't blame that one on Sub-Zero. :)

  • Adam G.
    7 years ago

    Mine is SO loud and I got the same sort of answer from SZ - it's ridiculous. I am now looking at spending an additional $5K to get a technician to move the compressor into the basement mechanical room (which happens to be right below the kitchen). I KNOW 100% something is wrong with the unit because I listened to it in the showroom, but SZ's local technicians won't admit it.....sucks.

  • teresale2013
    7 years ago

    Glad you finally got a good refrigerator.

    Some of the comments you received were not helpful

    IMO

  • slm214
    6 years ago

    I have a new undercounted refrigerator from SubZero and it is extremely noisy. Much louder than my 23 year old U-Line. There is no ice maker and it can be heard thru the entire family room and kitchen areas. Trying to return it now. It runs at least 30 minutes an hour.

  • Courtney
    6 years ago

    Hi,

    Yes I have a new Sub-Zero (French door/bottom freezer) and I find it very loud. As loud or even more than my previous Sub-Zero. Unbelievable that at their crazy prices, they couldn't work to make it quieter. I would not buy another Sub-Zero again, totally not worth it, as nice as they are in certain ways.


    Liebherr is known for it's quietness, yes. I may well try one next time around.


  • maire_cate
    6 years ago

    We installed a 42" French door/bottom freezer 2 months ago in our new home and we don't find it noisy at all. It's quieter that the 501F and 501R that we had in our previous home.


  • Nicholas
    6 years ago

    Did you ever find a fix for this? We have a sub zero 700TF and 736TR in a home we purchased that are super noisy. The first issue was the evaporator fans seem to go bad in these.. not to where they fail, but they start to drone loudly. I've replaced the freezer evaporator fan and will likely need to replace the two fridge evaporator fans here in short order. The main issue I have is the freezer condenser fan is really loud and runs all of the time (by design per sub zero)... I've swapped out the condenser fan motor, but it hasn't helped the noise level any. Any suggestions would be appreciated..

  • tamstraubing
    5 years ago
    Just bought a 2018 SZ. Very loud. I have had if for a couple weeks and had a tech look at it and he said it was normal to sound that way. I can’t tell you how sick that makes me. My old SZ never sounded that way. I have a feeling this is going to be the first of many problems. My 20 year old Kenmore at my cottage does not sound like this.
  • j_hall112
    5 years ago

    tamstraubing, any updates on the noise? Maybe I don't want the SZ after all. :'(


  • Stephen Fleschler
    5 years ago

    I just bought a 30 year old home with a 3 year old Liebherr freezer and a 30 year old SZ 501R. The Liebherr is 100% silent so far, absolutely silent. The SZ 501R is only silent when the motor or compressor is not running; otherwise, it is also above 55 DB Unfortunately, the refrigerator stays on for a considerable amount of time and can be heard in the adjacent living room and family room to an annoying manner and through most of the 5200 sq ft 1 story home. I am going to contact a service tech for cleaning the condensor, checking on the fan blades, the fan motor and the compressor. It just hums very loudly. 3 years ago I purchased a KitchenAid 29 cuft frig/freezer. It made all sorts of noises for 4 or 5 months (breaking in, refrigerant, etc). It has been virtually silent since then. That is why I suspect that there is a problem with the SZ. If it can't be repaired to my satisfaction (like under 45 DB) I'll move in my older KitchenAid. Five people from brokers to an appliance repairman (for the stove and dishwasher) told me how superior the 501R is. Not if it's this loud.

  • Adam G.
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    I have the exact same problem - and I have been going back and forth with sub zero customer service for months. They do their best like help find a tech and give a small manufacturer credit for the service call (though I still pay the lions share). They try to stand behind their products but it’s a C at best. Caveat being that I suspect a lot of it is in installers and dealers fault for which sub-zero can’t necessarily take all the blame. But honestly at the end of the day; I’m stuck with a 5500 unit that has now had a few expensive $$ service calls which can be heard throughout an open plan house AND even from outside the front door. The techs always say the same thing when they come to the house - that’s how it’s supposed to sound. I get between 52-58db at 10‘ distance from the unit. I have 2 friends with these units and they are silent so I guess I got unlucky - just wish sub zero would even sell me one at their cost - I’d pay for the install. I’d say buyer beware/find a really good dealer before taking the plunge. My sub zero fridge is silent (though has trouble with the air filter system) and my wolf stove’s control module failed after about 150 uses. So I haven’t had great luck with them.

  • Stephen Fleschler
    3 years ago

    After rebuilding the SubZero with a new compressor, condenser, fan motor, electronics for the light to go out even if the fridge door is open, the result was that the door had altered the original sealing door gasket and caused the fridge to stop operating. Door replacement gasket solved all of my problems with noise and operation. It has been about eight months now and the fridge is now very quiet and it has not failed to close properly since.

  • HU-650766773
    2 years ago

    We have a 35-year-old SZ 561 and find the compressor very loud. The SZ-authorized repairman advised us that if we got a SZ replacement the compressor would be even louder.


    The freezer is no longer keeping items hard. he adbised gettimg a new fridge as it did not make sense to fix ours.


    When we go to their showroom, i will ask that the decibel level be tested. we alos hope to see Liebherr and Miele units. Has any other SZ owner bought those? if so, can you offer comoarison as to noise?

  • Katherine
    11 months ago

    i have a Subzero integrated model with the mechanics on the bottom. it was great for 6.5 years and for the past 6 months it has been a nuisance. I can hear it 40 feet away it runs constantly and it viibrates. The certified repair changed the circut board and fan motor now its worse than ever after $1,300. They were here several times trying to tell me thats normal…for who?! I’ve involved Subzero…along with the certified repair. I hope they can figure ut out because I can’t take much more.

  • M L Bartoletti
    9 months ago

    We bought an under counter sub-zero in 2021. It is one of the few that has a small freezer in addition to a refrigerator, and we were willing to pay for higher quality. However, the noise is an issue. When the compressor runs, it starts at 56 decibels and peaks at 76 decibels on a cycle that lasts about 10 minutes before stopping for an hour or more. We had it checked while still under warranty and learned that the sound is normal. It doesn’t bother us, but since it is in our guest suite, we have to turn it off overnight so that it doesn’t awaken our guests.

  • HU-824892336
    9 months ago

    I just insalled a 36 inch side by side Sub Zero refrigerator with ice/water dispenser we have a new home and made a rookie mistake Frig adjoins main bedroom The noise from the frig is terrible!! my old GE was fine i agree with the original post My Sub Zero is noisy Plus i have a beverage frig and there is not one minute of quiet in my kitchen Make sure to install adequate sound proofing if you go with Sub Zero and do not locate on any walls that connect with bedrooms