Do you love spending hot summer days swimming in your pool? Thanks to a pool pump, you can enjoy the clean and refreshing water.
But wait, you're hearing some humming noises that are ruining your relaxation.
While it's normal for a pool pump motor to make noise as it operates, you may hear excessive sounds due to worn-out bearings, cavitation, and clogged pumps. If you don't clean the motor impeller, replace damaged parts, or put insulation materials, the machine will disturb your pool times and neighbors.
If you're tired of hearing your noisy pool pump, you're not alone. To guide you on your way to peaceful pool afternoons, you must first understand why pool pumps are so loud.
Then, we're going to discuss some practical solutions to fix a noisy pool pump.
Why Is My Pool Pump So Noisy?
A pool pump's primary function is to pump the water from the pool through the filter.
In this way, the pump's filter purifies the water from any unwanted germs and debris before pumping the water back into the pool.
Keep in mind that it's normal for a pool pump to make noise during operation.
However, if the sounds get too loud that you can't even stand being near a pool, the following are the major culprits why you hear maddening noises.
Worn-Out Motor Bearings
A pool pump has two shaft bearings: a front bearing and rear bearing. These two ensure the rotor's smooth operation inside the stator.
Over time, the lubricants inside the sealed bearing will degrade, causing changes for the ball bearings.
When the lubricants grow thin, the motor will produce grinding and screeching sounds.
While a motor runs a pool pump, it causes a vibration that can amplify if the machine isn't securely or evenly mounted.
This is why it's ideal to place a pool pump on concrete, not on wooden surfaces that can magnify vibrations and noise.
Aside from that, vibration can cause mounting bolts to loosen, which paves the way for the machine to make more noise.
Pool Pump Cavitation
Another common reason why pool pumps get noisy is due to cavitation. If your pump is not getting enough water for any reason, cavitation may occur around the impeller.
Bubbles will form at the impeller's eye, shifting fluid conditions as they carry over to the machine's discharge side and implode against the impeller's face.
Aside from low water levels, any blockage in the line that prevents water from reaching the pump can cause cavitation.
In some cases, the water left will heat to a boil and then steam. This steam can melt components, especially the inner lining.
When a pool pump runs dry for an extended time, the impeller suffers from heat the most.
A rise in temperature can detach the brass insert in the impeller shaft, creating a loud rattle in the process.
Eventually, the pump may overheat and ruin the motor. What's more, you end up with a failing shaft seal or damaged impellers.
When this happens, the impeller will rattle inside the pump, giving you noise headaches.
Blocked or Clogged Pump
Pools collect a lot of debris like litter, insects, twigs, leaves, and so much more. While cleaners and baskets attempt to remove debris from reaching the pool pump, some can still sneak their way inside the machine.
When this happens, debris can easily clog the pump's impeller, forcing the component to work harder and noisier.
A clogged impeller can create a loud grinding sound. Worse, it may stop the pump from working efficiently.
When there's a blockage in the system or a clogged pump, the machine won't get enough water, resulting in cavitation and further noise.
How to Fix a Noisy Pool Pump: Methods and Steps
Now that we've discovered the reasons why pool pumps make noise, it will be easier to find the best methods on how to solve the issue.
Depending on the cause and type of sound, there are several ways for you to make a noisy pool pump quieter and more efficient.
Raise Pool Water Level
Pool pump cavitation is rather common, so might as well learn how to combat it.
Since this problem usually happens due to low water levels, the most logical thing to do is raise the water level.
Make sure that the water in the pool reaches the openings on the skimming baskets. In this way, the water makes it into the pump system, which also prevents overheating.
Remember, if the water level falls below halfway on the skimmer faceplate, the pump may also suck in air.
Consequently, the pool pump will work harder and louder. With enough water, you can purge all excess air.
Empty the Pump Basket
While the pool has a skimmer basket, the pump also has its version of the basket to prevent debris from getting directly into the machine.
However, if debris clogs the pump basket, dirt and insects can travel toward the pump.
If this happens, such elements can clog the impeller, which will make noise during operation.
This is why cleaning out the pool pump filter basket is equally essential as emptying skimmer baskets.
If there is foliage near your pool, you'll have to empty the pump basket on a regular basis.
Besides, the more you keep the pool pump system clean, the quieter and longer the machine will run.
To do this, make sure to turn off the pool pump before taking off the basket's lid.
Next, take out the basket, and remove all unwanted debris. Once there's no dirt left, put back the basket in place, fill the pump with water, and return the lid. Lastly, turn the pump back on and let air flow out of the filter.
Clean Out Skimmer Baskets
A pool features skimmer baskets that collect debris and prevent it from reaching the pool pump or staying in the pool.
If the skimmer baskets are full or clogged, water won't reach the pump and may cause cavitation problems.
Hence, you need to go around the pool and empty each of the skimmer baskets to restore water flow.
Make it a habit to clean out skimmer baskets once or twice a week so that you won't face clogging issues in the future.
- Take off the clear lid from the pump motor by removing the two screws holding it to the pump body. You can also rotate the two knobs on the lid's side to release it.
- Pull out the lid to expose the motor's skimmer basket.
- Detach the pump motor basket from the machine and clean any debris inside it.
- Use a rag to wipe the edge of the lid, as well as the edge of the motor where the lid attaches.
- Apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly around the lid's edge and opening in the pump. This guarantees a watertight seal between the pump body and the lid.
- Put the clear cover on the pump body and fasten it with the screws or turn the knobs in place.
Keep the Pool Pump Impeller Clean
Since the impeller is the spinning blade that pushes water into the housing, it filters and forces water back to the pool.
Over time, it will collect debris and dirt due to constant operation. To prevent it from noise and system failure, clean the pool pump impeller using these simple steps:
Pull out the pump basket and reach down through the tube between the impeller and basket. Feel the impeller if it's wobbly or clogged. If yes, it will make noise.
Use a hose to fill up the pump strainer basket. Observe how long it takes to empty the basket while the pump is running. If it's too slow, then there's a clogged impeller.
If there's a clogged impeller, use a pair of pliers to bend a stiff piece of wire into a hook shape. Use the hook to scrape off the debris. Adjust the impeller if it's still wobbly.
If the impeller is wobbly, you’ll need to have it adjusted or replaced.
Clean the Motor Impeller
The motor impeller can also gather leaves. If litter remains there, it can hamper operation and make screeching noise in the process.
To avoid this, clean out the motor impeller with these steps:
- Turn the motor off and disconnect the electricity to it.
- Depending on the pump's installation, you may only need to unplug it or turn off the circuit breaker to the pump.
- Remove the clear lid from the pump body. Lift the strainer basket from the pump motor.
- Use pliers to make some kind of hook about 12 inches long. Insert the hook into the impeller opening on the pump motor located inside the area that holds the strainer basket.
- Use the hook to fish out any debris inside the impeller.
- Replace the strainer basket and clear lid onto the pump motor as before.
- Restore power to the pump motor.
Level the Filter and Pool Pump
If the pool pump isn't installed evenly, it will likely vibrate much more than it should be, resulting in excessive noise as well.
The simplest solution is to unbolt the pool pump from its current position and then reinstall it evenly.
Tighten the Bolts and Mounting Screws
Another reason why you have a noisy pool pump is due to loose hardware. Over time, bolts and mounting screws loosen up due to constant friction and vibration from running for several hours each day.
In this case, you can solve the problem without spending on anything. First, turn off the motor.
Then, find the bolts that are holding the pool pump motor in place. The bolts typically have a straight head that you can tighten using a screwdriver, or a bolt head that needs a socket.
Using the appropriate tool, simply tighten the screws and bolts. Securing the hardware should prevent future vibration and noise issues.
It's normal for the bolts to loosen up again after several months. Remember, constant operation causes this.
Having said that, make it a habit to check the hardware from time to time, then tighten up everything that requires fixing.
The bolts can loosen up again after a few more months or years of use, so if your pump starts making noise once more, you may want to check that these bolts are still tight.
Replace Worn-Out Bearings or Rebuild Pump Motor
A pool pump has two essential bearings inside that enable the rotor to turn. With force and constant operation, bearings lose their lubrication, causing them to wear out.
Bearings usually come as part of a pool pump rebuild kit, which also includes a new shaft seal.
While bearings are cheap parts to buy, the labor cost of replacing them into the pump motor says otherwise; unless you know how to do it yourself.
If you're not the handy type, you may not have special bearing pullers at home.
Besides, bearing replacement is too tricky that one wrong move can cause more significant damage.
Thus, if the problem lies with the bearings, it's wise to hire a professional to fix the bearings or replace the pool pump motor.
Place the Filter System Far Away From the Pool
If you're building a new pool, try to position the filter system at least 20 feet away from the pool.
Likewise, consider if the position is near your home or neighbors. However, this may not work if the pool is already finished.
Nevertheless, keep in mind that the farther the pool pump is, the less noise you can hear. If it's close to the pool and your house, the distance will magnify vibrations and noise.
Balance the Pump and Housing
The right position isn't enough; you still have to ensure you've placed the pool pump on an even base.
The straightforward solution is to level the pump out the ground and keep it in a perfect balance.
Uneven surfaces will drive the pool pump's filter and motor to vibrate, causing noises in the process. What's more, an imbalance pool pump can cause overheating or bad bearings.
Shift to a Cartridge Filter
Traditional sand-filled pool filters pass the water through a port before it reaches the filter.
The movements produce extra noise, which is a common cause of why pool pumps seem so loud.
One of the best ways to fix a noisy pool pump is to remove the sand-filled filters and install cartridge filters.
With a cartridge filter, the small-contained unit makes less noise by design. Additionally, most cartridge filters are double insulated for quiet operation and durability.
Put Vibration Pads
The steps we've previously discussed should stop a pool pump motor from making loud noises.
However, if you still can't control the vibration, you can mitigate the issue by placing an anti-vibration pad beneath the pump motor to dampen a lot of sounds.
Anti-vibration pads contain thick rubber that can block vibrations from transferring and resonating into your deck or pool base.
Here are simple steps to install an anti-vibration pad in your pool pump:
- Monitor the pool pump motor during operation. Look for movement and vibrations along the pump's base.
- Unbolt the pool pump motor, so that you can lift it from the surface it's connected to.
- Slide the anti-vibration pad into place beneath the engine and set the motor on top.
- Reinstall the bolts all the way around, and the pool pump should make far less vibration sounds. Make sure to use an adjustable wrench to tighten the bolts and secure the pump to the concrete pad beneath it.
Place a Pool Pump Cover
Another simple solution to make a pool pump quieter is to put a cover on it and bolt the cover down for safekeeping.
The cover should dampen vibrations and sounds, so that they will not spread out to your home and neighbors.
In addition, a cover serves as the pool pump's protection from environmental elements.
Don't worry because most pool pump covers also offer ventilation so that the machine can run at full capacity while drowning a lot of noise.
Construct a Shed or Soundproof Enclosure
Earlier, you discovered how positioning the pool filter system away from your pool and home can reduce the noise. You can further reinforce this by building a shed for the pump and filter.
Kind of similar to a pump cover, an enclosure also protects the machine from harmful elements, thereby increasing the pump's lifespan.
When constructing a noise containment shed, make sure to use thick material like ¾-inch plywood to help drown the noise.
Likewise, you can utilize soundproofing products like acoustic foam panels for the inside of the shed to enhance the shed's sound absorption qualities.
Don't forget to put plenty of ventilation for the pump. It's important to create a vent to ensure airflow without compromising the enclosure's sound reduction qualities.
Place a Barrier
Another good method to deal with noise is to construct a small wall between the pump and the pool. Like water, sound can travel and move toward specific areas.
While plants and bushes can help diffuse sounds, a solid wall or low fence is best for deflecting noise.
Hence, build walls that can direct the sound in one direction only, then add a hinged roof for the best results.
Stucco or concrete walls are better than steel or wood, as they resonate much less.
Invest in a Quieter Pool Pump
This should be your final option, especially if your pool pump is relatively new.
Although, if your machine is nearing its expected lifespan, which is eight to 10 years, it's more practical to invest in a quieter pool pump.
Besides, if you have an old model, it may never have been very quiet, to begin with.
Remember, technology improves over time, which means newer models can quiet operation without sacrificing performance.
However, this may be the most expensive solution to your pool pump problems.
Although if you choose this move, you can save time from doing several DIY soundproofing methods.
When looking for a quieter model, look for a pool pump with variable speeds. Traditionally, pool pumps only have two choices: on and off.
With newer models, they can run at lower speeds, while also having the option to change speeds when necessary.
As a result, pumps with variable speeds are much quieter since they don't always run at maximum speed and volume.
Aside from that, they consume less electricity, saving you money in the long run.
Keep in mind that there's always a reason why pool pumps make noise. Sometimes, this indicates an underlying issue that needs your attention.
If left unchecked, they can cause excessive sounds and more severe problems.
While there are quick fixes like DIY solutions, also consider investing in a quieter model to remove all your woes.
Whatever solution you choose, we hope you can make your noisy pool pump quieter and achieve the peace and relaxation you deserve.
Jessica is a Acoustical Engineer, currently based in the San Francisco Bay Area in California. After graduating from her degree in Master of Engineering degree in Acoustics from Solent University in 2014, Jessica worked for a few companies before She will be blogging about her past and current experiences in the studio and sharing her journey as she pursues her career goals. She enjoy the balance of work inside and out of the office, solving practical problems on a daily basis as every project is different and requires a different solution, the variety of work (sound insulation testing, background noise survey, mechanical plant commissioning, external plant assessment, plant room breakout assessments) and the mix of independent and team work.