Water pumps are glorious pieces of machinery. They can help you manage pools, gardens, or your home's water supply.
However, they also come with noise levels that can cause headaches not only for your household but also to your neighbors.
Worn-out parts, improper installation, and contaminated coolant are common reasons why water pumps make noise. If left unsolved, the sounds and vibrations can keep you from concentrating on tasks or having a good night's sleep.
The good news is that insulation, replacement of some components, and maintenance can effectively cut the noise.
Without further ado, let's look into why water pumps make noise, and of course, the best ways to fix a noisy water pump.
Once you learn how to soundproof a water pump, you can use it without hearing ear-splitting sounds.
reason & Sources of Water Pump Noise
There are several interrelated reasons why water pumps make grinding or squeaking noises.
From components to contamination, sometimes you won't notice it, not unless you know how to identify it. Thus, let's take a closer look into why water pumps get noisy.
1: Worn-Out Bearings
If your water pump makes groaning or rattling sounds, it's most likely because of worn-out bearings.
Bearings enable the drive shaft to pass through the pump housing and link to the impeller.
When the shaft doesn't rotate smoothly, the bearings will receive the damage.
Hence, when the sounds shift to clicking or squeaking noise, that's a warning sign of bearings on the verge of breaking.
2: Faulty Pump Pulley
A water pump will also make grinding or groaning noise when there's a cracked or warped pulley, which will wobble as it turns.
Driven by the V-belt or serpentine, the pulley rotates the water pump.
The common signs of faulty pulley include an overheated engine, worn belt edges, and physical damage to the pulley.
If you see side-to-side wobbling, this means there's a problem with the pulley.
If there's improper tension around the V-belt, it can also impact the pulley's performance.
3: Broken Impeller
Water pumps also emit loud noise due to improper belt tension, which affects the impeller shafts.
If there's a broken impeller shaft, it's possible that mixing coolants damaged the water pump seals, and subsequently, caused the impeller shaft to fail early.
Additionally, debris like sand or dirt can enter the pump housing. In effect, the debris damages the impeller, causing the pump to make more noise than usual when pumping water.
6: Loose Belt
In relation to bearings, pulley, and impeller, a loose drive belt can also emit groaning or whining sounds.
Over-tightened or improperly-sized belts can likewise damage pulleys. Such factors can cause the water pump not to turn as fast as it should, making the engine overheat.
7: Contaminated Coolant
A bad or wrong coolant with improper chemistry may result in corrosion, seal failures, and more.
When impurities like engine oils and abrasive particles wreak havoc in the water pump, the components tend to wear out, causing them to make noise over time.
Worse, a contaminated coolant can scratch the dynamic seal surface, resulting in premature pump failure.
8: Improper Installation
When you check the components, you may see that the bearings still look good, or there's no dirt surrounding the impeller.
So, you wonder, why on earth does your water pump continue to make you suffer?
Surprise, surprise— poorly fitted pumps also tend to produce loud noises. When you choose to install one in an enclosed area, you'll surely magnify the otherwise normal sound. This is something we always explain when it comes to soundproofing, vibrations will come from the spot where you installed a machine.
How To Fix Noisy Water Pump
After learning why water pumps make noise, it will now be easier for you to find the perfect solution.
From using acoustic materials, building a soundproof box, or correcting the installation— you can definitely eliminate the noise and prevent it from coming back.
1: Replace Bearings
All bearings will wear over time due to regular use, so getting new bearings is inevitable.
When you replace worn bearings immediately, you can cut the noise, and consequently, prevent further damage to related internal components.
First, you need to disassemble the access to bearings. Note that this depends on the brand or manufacturer, so make sure to check the owner's manual for proper replacement part numbers.
In general, however, you can use a screwdriver to push the tin bearing retainer out of the way.
This should allow you to pull the retainer out. Next, push all the bearings off to one side and remove the inner race.
After pulling the bearings out, all there's left to do is a quick yank on the outer bearing. Put new bearings in the old positions and give the water pump a check.
2: Build a Soundproof Box
Creating a soundproof box is an easy and cheap way to fix a noisy water pump. Soundproofed boxes are typically used to cut airborne noises, which move through airwaves.
Since water pumps also produce airborne noise, you can build a soundproof box to trap or deflect noise from a water pump.
Note that the effectiveness depends on the thickness. If you make a thinner box, the water pump noise will find a way to escape easily.
It would be best to use fiberglass material or plywood because they are much stronger sound-reducing materials than a regular card box. However, you can always use two boxes and add insulation materials inside.
Since we want to avoid spending too much money, here's how you can build a soundproof box using common home materials:
- 1Use a measuring tape to measure the water pump's dimensions. Add a few inches to each side so that the pump won't touch any side of the box.
- 2Cut a furring stripboard to create a frame and panels for the box. Leave the bottom side open.
- 3Cut up some blocks from the furring stripboard. Screw them onto each side of the center of each leg.
- 4Screw together each pair of legs with a top plate so that the side panels can hold the box together.
- 5Measure the distance between the frames of the legs.
- 6Cut the inner and outer panels according to the measurements of the frame.
- 7Screw the outer panels to the frame.
- 8Add small blocks to screw on the inner panels onto them.
- 9Put insulating materials to stuff the space between the inner and outer panels.
- 10Add furring strip boards to the bottom-side up of the box.
- 11Use heat-resistant spray paint to color the box.
- 12Wait for the paint to dry before installing a handle.
- 13Screw a small block of the furring stripboard on the top panel.
- 14Screw on the handle from the outside.
3: Insulation of pump
One of the best ways to fix a noisy water pump is by limiting the transmission of sound.
Even if you enclose the water pump, you can still hear the noise if you won't use the right type of insulation material.
Sound waves from the water pump travel through the air, which may hit walls, windows, and doors to produce vibrations.
Even if you're using a soundproofing box, there's still a chance that the vibrations can resonate through the walls.
Therefore, you need to create some form of soundproofing barriers to combat the sound vibrations.
For a water pump, you can use sound deaders and acoustic panels that can minimize internal noise from getting out.
When you line insulating materials inside a soundproof box, you can significantly minimize the amount of noise coming through the box. With several layers of defense, you can even end the noise.
A sound deadener is a must-have for every soundproofing-loving person out there. This is something you can add inside the soundproof box to reinforce its ability to contain the water pump's noise.
Sound deadeners make use of thick materials that can effectively insulate the insides of a soundproof box.
Acoustic Materials or Panels
To reduce airborne noise, try to use acoustic mats that can absorb noise and vibration once you operate the water pump.
If you fill a soundproof box with acoustic mats, you can decrease the sound reflection from boundary surfaces.
There are acoustic mats that can effectively block a sound, while others can also absorb an echo within an enclosed area.
4: Water Pump Maintenance
Among the easiest solutions to fix a noisy water pump is through regular maintenance and servicing.
The maintenance may involve tightening loose parts, replacing worn-out components, and lubricating parts.
Make it a habit to check the machine's pumping speed. Due to constant use, the speed can result in friction, which then causes wear and tear or leakages.
Here are simple ways on how you can do maintenance by yourself:
You need to check the following internal components for any damage, leakage, insulation failure, as well as signs of wearing out or overheating:
- Mounting points
Lubrication may depend on your model, so make sure to read the manufacturer's guidelines first.
In any case, what's common is that you must lubricate the motor and pump bearing.
If you don't, the pump will develop rust in some areas, causing the machine to continue making squeaking or squealing sounds.
Aside from that, there may be dirt or dust on the motor vents, which may result in leaks. To solve this, use a rubber lubricant to stop any leaks and sips.
The bottom line— lubricate all components that can corrode to prevent elements from urging your pump to make noise.
When you use an improper filter on the intake side of the pump, debris can enter the pump housing.
If the impeller looks corroded, the only way to solve this is by flushing and refilling the cooling system.
In some cases, you can disassemble the pump to remove all debris inside the housing.
But if you want to avoid disassembling, you can always flush out the cooling system.
In fact, this is something every water pump owner should be doing regularly, especially if you're bringing the water pump out of winter storage.
Flushing is both a prevention and a cure. To properly flush the water pump, simply follow these steps:
- 1Turn off the electrical power to the pump at the breaker panel.
- 2Inspect the system for cracked or damaged fittings.
- 3Ensure that all nuts, belts, pulleys, and fasteners are in place and tightened properly.
- 4Prepare a hose that you can link to an independent water source.
- 5Open any relief valves on the pump system to keep pressure from building up.
- 6Connect the hose in the plumbing fixture.
- 7Turn on the water to the hose and wait for the water to enter the tank.
- 8Once you see water coming out the opposite end of the hose, turn off the water to the hose.
- 9Restore power to the pump and turn on the pump system.
- 10Wait for the pump to finish its cycle. If it turns off naturally, then you've successfully completed the flushing process. If not, try turning the water on at the recipient source.
- 11There are times when you need to do the process more than twice.
5: Change the Coolant
The rule of thumb is to change the coolant every five years to avoid cavitation issues.
The problem with coolants is that they tend to become more acidic over time, damaging the pump and causing the machine to make noise.
Moreover, a bizarre phenomenon called cavitation happens, in which tiny air bubbles pop and impact internal components.
The air bubbles contain super-hot vapor that can erode metal and crack plastic. If the machine is overheating or there are hole leaks, it's possible that there are imploding air bubbles inside.
To solve this problem, part of the solution is flushing, which you discovered earlier. Then, you can also drain the coolant and replace it with a fresh one.
It would be best if you will choose a coolant that contains lubricants, corrosion inhibitors, and anti-rust agents.
6: Position the Water Pump Correctly
Water pump owners tend to overlook placement even if this plays a crucial role in soundproofing. In most cases, an irregular pump position only causes more noise.
When there are no insulation or soundproofing materials available, try to relocate the machine on a flat, concrete surface to make it steadier.
If you can't make a soundproof box, you can place isolation strips between the machine and the surface to stop the vibrations from traveling. The idea is to prevent the pump from touching the floor or walls.
7: Choose a New Quiet Water Pump
Residential water pumps have a life expectancy of 10 to 15 years. If flushing, replacing parts, or lubricating aren't working anymore, your last resort is to buy a new one.
While purchasing a new water pump can be expensive, opting for a better model might just be the best long-term solution.
When looking for a replacement water pump, check the noise level specifications in the product features.
8: Combine Two or More Soundproofing Techniques
There are times when replacing components alone won't suffice. Based on the tips we've shared, it would be best if you combine soundproofing techniques by:
- Checking internal parts for damage or general wear and tear.
- Replace worn-out components.
- Do regular flushing, lubricate, and change the coolant.
- Build a soundproof box and put insulating materials inside like acoustic panels or sound deadeners.
- Place the water pump in a flat, concrete surface.
As you can see, you don't have to buy a new one immediately. Sometimes, combining several proven soundproofing techniques can enhance your capacity to fix a noisy water pump.
Eliminating water pump noise doesn't have to be exhausting. With simple soundproofing tips, you can keep the machine from making unnecessary sounds while saving your sanity at the same time.
The best part about soundproofing is that you get to keep the water pump running for as long as possible.
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.