A sump pump can be a homeowner’s saving grace during a heavy rainstorm. This unassuming device quietly toils away in the basement, safeguarding your home from potential flooding and water damage.
Unfortunately, a sump pump can also be an unexpected source of noise pollution in our otherwise tranquil abodes. Have you ever wondered how I make the damn sump pump quieter?
1. Identify the Type of Noises the Sump Pump is Making
Your sump pump will make different noises, and it’s possible to diagnose the potential cause of these noises. These noises can include sounds from the motor, pipes or hoses, and water itself. Each noise can signal a different problem, so it’s essential to figure out what noise you’re hearing.
Some of these sounds might be banging, clanking, or slurping.
- When water flows through the system’s pipes, you might notice a clanging sound when the pipe strikes against the pump’s basin.
- Gurgling sounds commonly occur when water reverses its flow down the discharge pipe once the pump has completed its cycle.
2. Wrapping insulation around the system’s Piping
If you’re dealing with bothersome vibration noises, the first thing to check is your discharge pipe. Water rushes through the discharge pipe and can create vibrations against the nearby wall or the pump basin.
To reduce these vibrations, a practical solution is to wrap the discharge pipe with acoustic insulation. Ensure that you also insulate the joint where the pipe meets the floor. When the pipe directly touches the floor, it produces loud vibrations. Alternatively, you can consider using sound-dampening materials around the flooring to reduce noise.
- Reducing noise levels can be achieved by insulating the pipe to mitigate sound when it touches the basin or wall.
- To address vibration issues stemming from the pipe hitting the inside of the pump, consider lining the underside of the sump pump lid or covering it with rubber grommets. These grommets effectively diminish both the noise from vibrations and motor rattling.
- If your discharge line has too many angles and joints, it can lead to clanging and vibration. In contrast, straight discharge pipes enable water to flow smoothly and silently. If necessary, contact a certified plumber for assistance rerouting your discharge line.
3. Upgrade to a Spring-Loaded Swing Check Valve
A swing check valve is a type of mechanical valve used in piping systems to control the flow of fluids, such as liquids or gases, in one direction. It consists of a hinged disc, often called a “swing,” that swings open to allow flow in one direction and then closes to prevent backflow in the opposite direction. This valve operates automatically in response to the pressure of the fluid, making it a simple and effective way to ensure one-way flow in pipelines.
Consider replacing your conventional swing check valve with a spring-loaded check valve to minimize gurgling.
Spring-loaded check valves incorporate a spring mechanism that adds resistance against backflow. This spring force keeps the valve closed until the fluid pressure in the desired direction is sufficient to overcome it, allowing for more precise flow control.
This variant effectively reduces gurgling by promoting a smoother and more uniform water flow through the plumbing system.
4. Adjust the Sump Pump Switch
Now, let’s focus on the pump switch. Make some adjustments to it so that it turns off before the basin becomes empty.
If your pump runs in a dry basin, it can create a siphoning effect. This siphon action produces those gurgling noises, similar to the sounds you’d hear when sipping air and water through a nearly empty straw, resulting in distinctive slurping noises.
To resolve this issue, you only need to ensure a small amount of water is left in the pump. This prevents the pump from drawing in air and, as a result, eliminates the gurgling caused by the siphoning effect.
5. Cover Your Pump Basin
Consider covering the pump basin to minimize noise and enhance your sump pump’s performance. While newer pump models often come with built-in plastic covers to keep noise levels down, you can take steps to address older models with exposed basins. Here’s how:
Newer Pump Models: If you have a newer sump pump, it likely has a plastic cover to keep noise levels in check. In such cases, you may not need additional covering unless you want to further reduce noise or improve aesthetics.
Older Pump Models: You can fashion a cover using a piece of plywood for older sump pumps with exposed basins. Make sure the plywood is large enough to completely cover the basin opening. Secure it to the surrounding floor using a rubber gasket to create a tight seal.
By doing this, you accomplish two essential goals:
Noise Reduction: The cover, whether the plastic cover for newer models or plywood for older ones, acts as a noise barrier, muffling the sounds produced by the pump.
Vibration Dampening: The rubber gasket creates a seal and helps absorb vibrations. This minimizes the transfer of vibrations to the floor, further reducing noise and preventing potential disturbances.
Besides noise control, you get these additional benefits:
- Safety Enhancement: A covered pump basin is safer if you have children or pets in your home. It prevents accidental falls into the pit and deters curious hands or paws from interfering with the pump’s operation.
- Contaminant Prevention: A sealed pump basin prevents dirt, debris, and other contaminants from entering the system. This helps maintain the pump’s efficiency and prolongs its lifespan by reducing the risk of clogs or damage caused by foreign objects.
6. Get Rid of Excessive angles and joints.
In the world of plumbing and fluid systems, simplicity often reigns supreme. One way to optimize your system’s performance and minimize potential issues is by reducing excessive angles and joints. Excessive angles and joints can lead to clanging noises and disruptive vibrations. Conversely, straight discharge pipes can facilitate smoother and quieter water flow. Here’s a deeper dive into this important aspect of system design:
Clanging Noises: When water rushes through a convoluted path with numerous angles and joints, it can create turbulence and sudden changes in pressure. These disturbances often manifest as clanging noises, resembling the jarring sounds of metal striking metal.
Vibration: The abrupt redirection of water caused by excessive angles and joints can also generate vibrations. These vibrations can travel through the pipes and surrounding structures, potentially causing disruption and noise.
When you implement a straight discharge piping system for your sump pump, you get the following benefits:
- Unrestricted Flow: Straight discharge pipes provide an unobstructed pathway for water to travel. This reduces turbulence and minimizes abrupt changes in velocity, allowing water to flow more freely and quietly.
- Reduced Noise: With fewer disturbances, water can move through straight pipes without generating clanging noises or disruptive vibrations. This leads to a quieter and more peaceful plumbing system.
7. Use Rubber Grommets
If your sump pump produces excessive vibration sounds, which can lead to motor rattling, there’s a practical solution at your disposal. You can enhance your sump pump’s performance and comfort by lining the underside of the sump pump lid or cover with rubber grommets.
Rubber grommets are small, cylindrical pieces made of rubber or similar materials. They are designed to cushion and insulate against vibrations and shocks.
These grommets play a pivotal role in minimizing noise and ensuring your system’s longevity.
By installing rubber grommets to the underside of your sump pump lid or cover, you create a buffer between the moving parts of the pump and the rigid lid. This effectively dampens vibrations and noise.
- Dual Benefits: Rubber grommets serve a dual purpose. They reduce the noise resulting from vibrations and contribute to the overall well-being of your sump pump system. By minimizing the wear and tear caused by constant vibrations, they can extend the life of your pump.
8. Build a Soundproof Sump Pump Box
You can build a soundproof sump pump box to mitigate the noise while ensuring effective basement protection. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to construct one.
Materials You’ll Need:
- Plywood or MDF Sheets: These will form the walls and lid of the box.
- Soundproofing Material: Acoustic foam panels or mass-loaded vinyl (MLV) are effective choices.
- Green Glue: A sound-dampening compound that adheres to the walls’ acoustic material.
- Screws and Nails: For securing the box together.
- Hinges and Latch: For the lid.
Measure the dimensions of your sump pump and determine the box size needed. Ensure there’s enough space for the pump, discharge pipe, and any necessary access for maintenance.
Cut the plywood or MDF sheets into pieces for the box’s walls, base, and lid according to your measurements. You’ll need six panels: four for the walls, one for the base, and one for the lid.
Apply a layer of soundproofing material (acoustic foam panels or MLV) to the interior surfaces of the box’s walls. Use green glue to adhere the material securely. This step helps reduce noise transmission.
Assemble the walls to form a rectangular box, leaving one side open to access the sump pump. Use screws or nails to secure the panels together.
Attach the base to the bottom of the box using screws or nails. Ensure it is securely fastened.
Attach hinges to the back edge of the lid and then secure the lid to the box. Add a latch to keep the lid closed.
Create an access panel in one of the walls for easy pump maintenance. Attach it with hinges or make it removable by securing it with screws.
Ensure there’s proper ventilation for the sump pump. You may need to add vents or holes to the box to allow heat dissipation and prevent pump overheating.
The noise level of your sump pump can be a critical factor in your home’s comfort. Typically, sump pumps constructed from PVC or plastic generate more noise than their cast-iron counterparts. Fortunately, advancements in pump technology have introduced quieter options, making your choice more critical than ever. Here’s a comprehensive guide to selecting a sump pump system that not only effectively manages water but also operates with minimal noise:
- Plastic vs. Cast-Iron: Sump pumps constructed from PVC or plastic materials tend to produce more noise during operation. In contrast, cast-iron systems dampen vibrations and reduce noise levels, providing a quieter solution.
- Self-Lubricating Motors: Newer sump pump models come equipped with self-lubricating motors. These motors improve efficiency and run considerably quieter, contributing to a quieter home environment.
- Motor Placement: When selecting a replacement sump pump, consider models that allow the motor to rest below the sump basin. This design reduces noise transmission to the living areas of your home.
- Insulated Lid or Covering: Choose a replacement system with a fully insulated lid or covering. This additional insulation significantly lowers noise levels and contributes to a quieter home environment.
10. Regular Sump Pump Maintenance
Keeping your sump pump in optimal condition is crucial for its noise reduction capabilities and primary function of preventing basement flooding. Regular sump pump inspections should be part of your home maintenance routine. Plan to inspect it at least twice a year, preferably before the rainy seasons or periods of heavy water infiltration.
Begin by visually examining the sump pump. Look for any visible signs of wear, damage, or corrosion on the pump’s components, including the motor, float switch, and discharge pipe.
During the inspection, listen carefully for any unusual or increased noise levels while the pump runs. Unusual noises can indicate issues that require attention.
- Cleaning: If you notice dust, dirt, or debris on or around the pump, clean it thoroughly. A clean pump operates more efficiently and quietly.
- Replace Worn Parts: Promptly replace any worn or damaged components you discover during your inspection. This includes seals, gaskets, impellers, or any part that may compromise the pump’s performance or noise reduction.
- Professional Assistance: If you encounter issues beyond your expertise or the pump makes unusual noises despite maintenance efforts, consider consulting a professional plumber or technician for a thorough assessment and any necessary repairs.
We often overlook the humble sump pump in the quest for a peaceful and quiet home. Yet, this unassuming device can be a significant noise source, especially during heavy rains or flooding. Fortunately, by implementing some practical strategies and regular maintenance, you can transform your sump pump from a noisy nuisance into a silent guardian of your basement.
By implementing these methods, you can enjoy a tranquil living environment without compromising the essential protection your sump pump provides.
Meet Mike O’Connor, (a DIY enthusiast), living in Cincinnati, a city ranked as the noisiest in the USA.
As a work from home dad, I have a first hand experience of how noise can truly affect your well being.
Soundproofing isn’t something that should be taken as a hobby, it should be a skill that every homeowner should be equipped with.
Most of the work documented on this blog comes from purely first hand experience, and the products recommended work as indicated.