8 Ways to Expertly Reduce Shower Pump Noise

A shower head

Last updated: April 10, 2021 at 17:27 pm

There’s nothing better to wake you up in the morning than a nice shower. If other members of the house are still asleep, though, then a noisy shower pump can wake them and cause upset. This is a particular problem if you’re trying to get washed and dressed in peace without waking up the smallest members of your family!

As with mechanical pumps, you would expect a shower pump to make a certain amount of noise. However, certain types and volumes of noise are not expected and need to be remedied.

Types of Shower Pump Noise

Vibration/Impact Noise

Usually, this type of noise is because of a poor installation job. Either the pump hasn’t been securely fixed to a suitable surface, or it’s been attached to a wood floor. Shower pumps should never rest on wood floors because they pick up all the vibrations from the pump and amplify them. Inexperienced fitters often make this mistake.

Squealing Noise

This suggests that the pump is damaged. The likely culprits are either the impellers or the bearings. If either of these parts is damaged, the pump struggles to force the water through and makes more noise as it has to work harder to get the water where it is needed. This is something you should fix sooner rather than later. If the pump is having to work extra hard, then as well as increasing the noise you hear, it will also reduce the life of your pump.

Clicking Noise

These sounds occur when there is a blockage somewhere inside the pump, such as the filter or the impeller. The build-up of pressure creates a clicking or sometimes a buzzing sound.

Some of these problems you can fix yourself, some will require a plumber, and in some cases, you’ll have to replace the pump.

8 Ways to Reduce Shower Pump Noise

1. Place a Rubber Mat

A noise-reducing pad or Mass Loaded Vinyl (MLV) under the pump. Any of these items should absorb the vibrations caused when the pump is in use and prevent them from transmitting into the rest of the house.

If your pump is fitted on top of wood floors, it’s recommended you do this even if you also decide to implement some of the other options listed.

2. Enclose the Pump in a Soundproof Box

You need to build a soundproof box that encloses the pump entirely. You can easily make the box using MDF and nails or screws. Once you’ve measured the pump and know what size you’ll need you should be able to get panels pre-cut from your local DIY shop. You should then line it with soundproof materials like MLV, foam or acoustic insulation, which you can either screw in or nail on.

Once you’ve built the box, place it so that it surrounds the pump. Be careful when you’re making your initial measurements, as you’ll lose some space when you fit the soundproof lining into the box. Make sure you leave enough room for this, so your box fits properly over the pump. It won’t stop the noise completely but should decrease it enough that it doesn’t bother you.

You need to be careful not to make the box too tight fitting. The motor inside the pump needs ventilation, or it will overheat. Normally when soundproofing making a solid enclosure with no holes is recommended as any gap can let sound out. In this case, though, it may be advisable to leave a few deliberate gaps for the heat to escape through.

3. Place the Pump on a Breeze Block or Concrete Slab

These items aren’t generally used in soundproofing projects, but they’re solid and thick enough that they should absorb most of the pump’s vibration.

You will notice a huge difference compared to it being on the floorboards. Of your pump is under the bath or in a small airings cupboard this may not be a practical solution though.

4. Check the Pipework Around the Pump

It may not be the pump itself that makes the noise that bothers you. If the pipes aren’t properly fastened in place, they may bang and clank as water passes through them.

Make sure you securely fasten the pipes to the wall using pipe clips and, where possible, wrap insulation or mass loaded vinyl around them to minimise the noise they make.

5. Enclose the Pump in a Soundproof Box

You need to build a box that encloses the pump entirely. You can easily make the box using MDF and nails or screws. Once you’ve measured the pump and know what size you’ll need you should be able to get panels pre-cut from your local DIY shop. You should then line it with soundproof materials like MLV, foam or acoustic insulation, which you can either screw in or nail on.

Once you’ve built the box, place it so that it surrounds the pump. Be careful when you’re making your initial measurements, as you’ll lose some space when you fit the soundproof lining into the box. Make sure you leave enough room for this, so your box fits properly over the pump. It won’t stop the noise completely but should decrease it enough that it doesn’t bother you.

You need to be careful not to make the box too tight fitting. The motor inside the pump needs ventilation, or it will overheat. Normally when soundproofing making a solid enclosure with no holes is recommended as any gap can let sound out. In this case, though, it may be advisable to leave a few deliberate gaps for the heat to escape through.

6. Replace the Pump

If the impellers are damaged impacting water flow, or there is debris caught in the pump causing pressure to build up, it’s possible a plumber may be able to fix it. Depending on the cost of both parts and labour, though, it might be more sensible to replace the pump. A newer pump will always be quieter and work more efficiently. If your old pump was damaged and the new one is in perfect working order, the difference will be even more noticeable.

Top tip:

Before you spend the money buying a new pump, check out the warranty on your existing one. Most pumps come with extended warranties, and if yours does, you should contact your manufacturer. If it is starting to fail, they may agree to send you a replacement or repair the unit free of charge.

7. Soundproof the Cupboard or Bath

The most common locations for the shower pump is either next to the hot water tank in your home or possibly under the bath. In either case, you could add soundproof materials to absorb noise and prevent it from escaping.

If the pump is in a cupboard with your hot water tank, you could either install foam insulation or mass loaded vinyl onto the walls. Sometimes if the noise is just slightly too loud, you may only need to soundproof the wall closest to the room where you can hear it most. If it spreads throughout your home, then you should soundproof all the walls for the maximum benefit.

The pump is also sometimes under the bath, then you can line the bath panel and floor with MLV to contain and block the sound. Whichever method you choose, then please remember that ventilation is always required. If the heat builds up too high, the motor will overheat, trip and eventually break, and you’ll have to replace it.

8. Relocate the Pump

This option is further down as it does involve more work than the others. If your pump is currently in a central location where it can be heard in all the bedrooms, then moving it somewhere else may be the only solution. Please remember, though, that the pump may require maintenance or replacement on the future, so don’t put it somewhere completely inaccessible.

You’ll need to have a plumber help you with this option as it will involve rerouting pipes to the new location, so it may also be a more expensive option. Possible new locations include the attic or garage. The garage is normally far enough away that the noisiest pump won’t bother anyone. If you have an integral garage however then noise may be heard in the room directly above. However, soundproofing the garage is relatively easy to do.

The attic is also a great option but again the room directly below the pump may still hear the sound of it running. As you will only be using the shower in short bursts however extra soundproofing is probably not necessary.

Conclusion

All pumps are going to make some noise, but they should not be overly intrusive or cause too much disruption to your life or your sleep. In general, if your shower pump is loud enough to annoy you, it has either not been fitted properly or it has a fault. It may be necessary to replace the pump (don’t forget to check your warranty!) or relocate it to a more suitable location to restore peace to your home.

If the pump is new, then you should consider the soundproofing options listed above. One, or a combination of them, should successfully reduce the sound coming from the pump to a manageable level. Consider your DIY expertise and your budget upfront, and then experiment to find what works best for you.

Remember that there can be fairly large consequences if plumbing goes awry so if you’re considering moving your pump involve a qualified plumber to ensure the pipes and pump are fitted correctly in their new location. After all if you flood your house then a noisy shower pump will become the least of your worries!

Whichever option you choose take the time to do the job properly and you’ll be amazed by the results.

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About the Author: AJ

Hi, my name's AJ! I write about living a quieter life, soundproofing tips and recommending the best quiet products here on Quiet Living.