Why Is My Pool Pump So Loud?

Trust us when we say, everyone (and their neighbors) hates a loud swimming pool pump. Depending on where you place your pump, the screeching of the bearings can actually become unbearable and possibly cause a rift between you and your neighbors (we’ve seen it before). If your pump is running loud, the first thing you want to do is simply listen to it to determine if the noise is coming from the wet end of the pump or the motor.

Pump Noise

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Some pumps naturally make a lot of noise, while others are produced by manufacturers who have made extra efforts to design quieter pumps (such as the Pentair Whisperflo). There could be several reasons why your pump is making a loud noise. What kind of sound is the pump making? If it sounds like there are small rocks in it, this can be from the pump vibrating on the pad it sits on, or it could be cavitation.

Impeller damaged by cavitation.
Impeller damaged by cavitation.


Cavitation happens when the pump cannot get enough water fast enough, or the pump is starved for water. The pump impeller is spinning a lot faster with not enough water and it begins to beat the air molecules out of the water. Over time, as the pump sucks in air, the pump can lose its prime. Once this happens, the pump will run dry and the water that is left in the volute will boil and steam.

Once the water starts to steam, you have to worry about the rest of the pump functioning correctly. The steam will rise up and potentially cause the shaft seal inside the pump to fail. When this happens, the suction side fitting in your pump can also start to melt and become loose.

If the pump runs too long, the impeller will start to get really hot. Inside the impeller shaft is a brass insert that will separate when the impeller shaft gets hot enough. Once this happens, the impeller will start to rattle around inside the pump, causing a loud, uncomfortable noise

Internal Blockage 

A blocked impeller.

Another area in the pump you should pay close attention to is an internal blockage. Sometimes debris will get pulled into the pump that will cause it to make a grinding noise. Also, there are some pumps that if the impeller is touching the face of the volute, it will cause a grinding sound.

Motor Noise

Now, if your pump sounds like a small litter of cats are screaming at you (and your neighbors), then the culprit is probably the motor. Typically, this indicates the bearings on the motor are starting to go bad. Bearings are mounted onto the pool motor to help reduce the friction as the electromagnets make the motor shaft spin. This is high wear and tear item within the motor. Although bearings are relatively cheap to replace, the labor is intensive. Most motors have two different sized bearings and usually require a special bearing puller to remove them.

Don't be THIS guy.
Don’t be THIS guy.

The first thing you should know is you cannot lubricate the motor bearings. You will either have to change the bearings or replace the entire motor. Keep in mind, your motor comes with a one year manufacturer’s warranty but it will not cover damage due to seal failure.

There is something you can try before running out to a repair shop. You can grab a regular hammer and forcefully tap the top of the motor casing a few times. Sometimes jarring the pump motor a few times will knock off surface rust between the motor’s armature and the motor windings. This does not always work, but it’s worth a shot.

If you feel you cannot change the bearings yourself, you can take the motor to a local small motor repair shop or simply purchase a brand new motor. INYOpools.com offers low, competitive pricing and free shipping on replacement motors. Feel free to give us a call at 877-372-6038 and we can price a new motor and shaft seal for you.

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57 thoughts on “Why Is My Pool Pump So Loud?

  1. I’m assuming the answer is bearings, but just to be sure: my motor (not the wet end) is making a terrible high pitch squeal, goes away for a bit if I shut the pump off, comes back eventually. Sounds like almost a dog whistle range.

    Bearings? My pump is only 3 years old. Struggling right now to figure out if I mess with it now or the spring. Was closing it next weekend.

    1. My pool motor is very loud, doesnt seem to make a bumping sound. Got very cold here last night and my pool guy said ok to leave it off. pool had ice in it this am. sound sounds almost like high pitched metal scraping. pump is only 2 years old. seems like excessive amount of water in pump basket too. I try to backwash and nothing happens

  2. Hi. I have a small Intex sand filter pump for an above-ground pool and it makes a lot of noise. When I start the pump, I burp the pump basket a little and the pump basket is full of water at the first 30 seconds. Then as the pump runs, the water in the basket goes to 1/2 full. Is that normal? It seems to get noisier as the water level in the basket goes down. So I turn it off.
    Does it matter if the very top of the filter valve is above the top of the pool water? The basket and pump are below the top of the pool water. I cannot move the pump/filter so everything is below the top of the pool water level because of an adjacent concrete patio. Thank you for any advice.

  3. Hi I recently purchased from private seller last year a Pentair Challenger 3HP High Pressure Pool Pump 3-Phase. 1st time running since purchase impeller was froze and after few shots wd40 it came lose. Now it’s making a loud whining sound. Not sure if it’s just rust still sediment on impeller shaft of if the pump itself is just supposed to be loud.

  4. My pump seems to operate normally until changing floor cleaning zones and it makes a loud whooshing sound until the zone change is over. What is causing the noise?

    1. If the sound goes away after the cleaner is done switching zones, and it operates normally afterward, it is likely just a noise of the pump clearing lin of air. If the heads are working fine, and there are no leaks, I would not think too much of it.

  5. We replaced our above ground pool 4 years ago. The pool we replaced was 4’x18′ round, bought used and lasted 15 years(Johnny Weissmuller) pump was a Hayward 1HP. Purchased pool package. 54″ x 18′ round. Filter Hayward Extreme series model SW150MDOVPAKS, pump model# 7-193554-01. I kinda thought the 2hp was to much but didn’t question at the time. Pump sounds just like the one in your video. I have no problem with replacing I just want to check in with you guys about matching motor HP to filter. Located in Chicago area. Thinking of waiting till end of season but the pump is quite loud, neighbors haven’t said anything yet (at least to me). What do you think and thank you for your time

  6. My pump seems alot noisier and the pressure has dropped down approximately 6 psi from where it normally runs. Should I replace my pump?

  7. My pool pump makes a loud growling sound – similar to a dry gargling sound (no water involved). What do u think is the problem – and the solution, pls?

  8. My pool pump makes a loud growling sound. A bit like if I would “dry gargle” – no water noise involved.

    What do u think the problem is, and what would be the solution?

  9. Ok Folks, after 35 years in this business and having worked on everything from 1/3 hp to 40 hp, every motor is simply the drive that turns the impeller. Couple of things to note and I’ll try to get it all.

    Hydraulics> Pipe size, velocity of water, dynamic head pressure, gpm, gph all go hand in hand. The #1 thing people goof up is going bigger to make it work better. While that may be true, you have to consider if the the system needs to be changed also. As a prime example just increasing horsepower and not considering if the gph rate of the plumbing or filter can handle the new pump, then you’ve just wasted a lot of money. You can also put undue loads on the motor and cause other issues that will show up later such as loud bearings.

    A pump wants water and wants to move it through the system quickly, so consider what you’re doing before you just increase horsepower.

    Motor> Unfortunately made in America doesn’t mean what it used to. Warranty’s have went from 10 years to 1 year. They are also protected by the pump seal. When the seal fails then the chlorinated water from pool sprays the front bearing and dries out the grease inside the bearing. I stop recommending bearing changes 15 years ago because it just buys you time before the next motor anyway. I strongly recommend that the seal be changed every 3 years if you really want your motor to last longer. Most pool companies won’t tell you that because….Well…..$$$$. The seal fails because most times you aren’t paying attention or think …well it’s not fully primed but it’s running. The seal has a ceramic face which will crack when it gets hot from lack of water in the pump or from captivation. When the ceramic cracks, the seal allows a fine mist of water to spray your front bearing. The pump seal is not a universal part, you must buy the right seal for your pump.

    Pump> Or wet end as it’s commonly known. The actual portion that moves the water. FYI, the pump actually slings water and does not suck water from your pool. This is why your pump basket AND skimmer basket are important to be in perfect shape. If debris get past the baskets then they can lodge or clog your impeller. If the debris has any weight to it, it can cause issues with respect to damaging your impeller, impeding water flow and making your pump noisy.

    I think I’ve seen it all but you folks keep surprising me. Basically you need to pay attention or then someone like me shows up in your yard and makes you mad when I tell how much this is going to cost.

    It’s really very simple.

    1) don’t modify the design
    2) pay attention
    3) maintenance
    4) avoid the latest and greatest ideas from these pool companies till it’s right. Let them use someone else’s pool as a proving ground. Your pool will be just fine while they fight over market share.

    If you can consider that no matter how big or small the body of water, the right equipment works the best.

    S K…..Certified Pool Operator, ASME /ISO/NSPI/NSP and a host of other titles

    1. Well Sir,you have written a very good article. I would love to have your info ,if in close enough range “I”would definitely send my pump to you before “I”destroy it. Very good info .

    2. Thank you! My pool pump always has water around it. My pool tech said this is normal, but none of my neighbors with pools have water so does not sound right.

      1. Unless it just rained or you opened a piece of equipment, the pump pad should be just as dry at the rest of the deck/patio/backyard. Pool plumbing should be water and airtight; you might need a new pool tech.

  10. I have a 16,000 gallon inground pool w/spa & a Jandy Stealth 2.0hp pump. I just replaced the diffuser & impeller. The carbon seal that came with the new piece looked different than the one on the old impeller so I put the old seal back on. It worked great for the 1st day or 2 but starting yesterday it was making a loud noise but no water leaking from the pump. Now it will make this noise intermittently & at the same time lose suction for maybe 5-10seconds.

  11. The motor getting hot and stopped working after 15 minutes
    After one hour shooting off & getting cold ,the problems is continued .

  12. In the Louisville area, specifically Bardstown, Boones Electric Motor Service is the BEST place to get your pumps repaired; bearings, seals etc.. Quick turnaround time and the lowest price anywhere! Much, much Che than buying a new pump, and a one year warranty just like a new pump!

  13. Occasionally on start up I hear a high pitched noise for about two seconds then it clears up. If I stop and start the pump again, no noise at all. There is no motor vibration and with a stethoscope the bearing are very quiet. I replaced the seal and the impeller is new. I should have noted that the new seal and impeller did not correct the problem.

    1. Your pump is printing itself on the first startup, that’s why you don’t hear it when you stop and start again. You’re losing prime for some reason, probably an air leak in the line.

  14. My pump occasionally starts up very noisily and does not suck. If I turn it off and then on again, it usually starts properly and ater sucks properly (I can see the sand filter container blow up a little). The pump has over heated now a few times because of this, but it comes back on when the temperature drops. What is the problem??

  15. Hi there, got a question.. just had my filter cartridge replaced w a sand filter , salt cell was replaced.
    However my pool it’s not clearing, when we back washed it the water was clear and clean. I have had 2 companies come on here to try to figure it out but no one can seem to have a resolution meanwhile the pool continues to get greener and greener. I also think to pump making a loud noise well at least louder than usual. We have shocked the sheheezy out of it, & its not it even clearing … Thoughts/help

    1. Yes, when we say a seal has failed, there means water has started to leak past it. When a shaft seal fails, that water works its way into the motor and directly to the bearings.

      1. I spotted a PB4 booster pump leak and I decided to replace the seals with a tune-up kit. While I waited for that to arrive I ran the pump and while the leak remained, a loud grinding sound started. Question… Can I try to change the seals/o-ring to solve both the leak and change in sound? OR is the sound here for good and I need to just get a new pump? It’s old so I would not mess with the bearings.

  16. I purchase this replacement pump from you fall of last heat. A two speed pump as spec. Currently at high speed it is very loud. What can I do.???

  17. My pump is making a really loud noise, tried everything above except changing the motor bearings. What else do you recommend?

  18. Motor is making a very loud noise and pump will not rinse. Heat advisory next two days. Do I leave it off? We just got back from vacation pool needs to be vacuumed and chlorine adjusted. Help..

    1. If the pump is still working, and the filter is able to filter, I would go about business as usual. If the rinse is not working, it will mean you will have some residual dirt enter the pool after backwashing but that can be vacuumed easily.

      The loud noise is likely the bearings. When they do quit, you’ll have to replace the motor or replace the bearings.

  19. What causes it to have a steady loud high tone pitch (just below high c on a piano) is it just a loud ass pump and is supposed to sound this way or is something wrong with it as it hasnt always been this annoying although it seems to run at least 22 hours a day and night . Its an airbnb house but i can contact the owner

    1. Unfortunately, I do not have perfect pitch so I had to youtube what a high C sounds like. The only clear one I found was for a single note played for about two seconds, so I it wasn’t the best example. it may just be the sound of an older motor. Over time, a motor’s mild hum may mature into something louder. This progression is not usually a sound of concern.

  20. Maybe the solution is to use a variable speed pump and a flow meter and set it at a compromise between low power consumption, moderate flow and low noise.

  21. My pump has always cavitated if I adjust the valves so that the cleaner functions. IMO none of these pool builders know how to read a pump curve or select the appropriate pump for a specific installation

  22. My parents have a pool and they asked my to take a look at their pump. I’m not an expert, but I am pretty handy with home repairs. It is interesting how similar the pump in that picture looks to the type I use in my aquarium. If they work the same way, I’m sure I’ll be able to diagnose the cause of their noisy pump.

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