Air pumps play an essential role in providing any hydroponic system with the sufficient oxygen levels that they need. Unfortunately, a lot of them also are too loud that they become a nightmare for any grower who is placing his hydroponic system indoor. I decided to dig a little bit deeper to find out why is the hydroponic air pump too loud?
So, why is the hydroponic air pump too loud? A loud hydroponic air pump is the result of vibrations that are produced due to several reasons. Dirty air stones or obstructed airlines can result in these loud noises. However, you should first identify the noise source before deciding on how are you going to solve this problem.
There are several routes that we could follow in order to solve the loud noise issue of the hydroponic air pumps. We will explore all of them in this article and in the end, you will be fully aware of all the available and safe techniques to silence your hydroponic air pump once and for all.
But before we get deeper into these techniques, you must first ask yourself a critical question, is your current air pump the most suitable for hydroponic use?
Air Pumps Special For Hydroponic Use
The market is currently oversaturated with a lot of cheap air pumps that were most probably made in china. Of course, I am not against Chinese products. There are a lot of well-known brands in the hydroponics industry that manufactures its products in China.
However, factories in china tend to make cheap products with below-average quality and flood the entire US market with it. As a result, you can find air pumps with prices as low as $10 on Amazon. Thousands of growers get hooked up by the extremely cheap prices and buy these products.
The problem is that these cheap air pumps are not made to be used in hydroponics. Most of these products were manufactured for small aquariums with a lower workload.
So, when you use a cheap aquarium air pump in a hydroponic system, the pump faces a higher workload when compared with how much stress it can actually handle. This leads to the pump being too loud and noisy.
On the other hand, hydroponic air pumps are specifically manufactured to withstand higher workloads, which makes them work perfectly fine with no loud noises when compared to other cheap aquarium pumps.
At this point, you should take the decision of whether to buy a new hydroponic pump or to continue with the current one and start fixing it.
How To Fix A Loud Hydroponic Air Pump?
To fix this problem, you have to first identify the source of the loud noises. In general, there are 3 things to check when trying to find the loud noise source.
- The Air Stones
- The Pump’s Contact With The Floor
- The Pump Itself
Air Stones Producing Loud Noises
The air stones might be the original cause of how loud your pump sounds. So often, air stones are too dirty that it gets clogged and result in creating a lot of stress on the pump.
Cleaning your air stones regularly must be a priority for you. The process of cleaning the air stones is not complicated at all. All that you have to do is to rinse them in a solution that is 1/3 bleach and 2/3 water for 24 hours. After that, flush them with water and leave them till they dry.
In deep water culture, air stones can also produce loud sounds when in contact with the floor of the nutrient solution bucket. This contact produces vibrations between the plastic bucket and the floor beneath it, which results in the production of the loud and noisy sounds.
So, you have to make sure that the loud noises are produced from the bucket’s contact with the floor. If it turns out to be so, you can solve it by simply placing a rubber or foam mat beneath the bucket.
Pump Produces Loud Noises
Sometimes, the pump itself becomes the source that produces loud noises. You have to look for the original cause of these noises. It can be a result of several defects. First, you have to make sure that the pump is standing on its 4 legs normally. Defects in any of the four legs will result in producing vibrations between the pump and the floor.
There are a lot of techniques that can be used to solve the issue of a loud hydroponic air pump
Rubber is one of the best materials that can absorb vibrations perfectly. I have advise before on placing a rubber mat under your bucket in order to reduce the noise resulted from the air stone’s vibrations.
This time I recommend using rubber caps for every leg instead of using a whole mat. Rubber caps will stabilize your air pump and absorb as many vibrations as possible. You will instantly notice the difference after placing them
Hanging The Air Pump
This is another cool method that works perfectly fine while in the same time, doesn’t require any additional tools. All that you have to do is simply hang your air pump from the ceiling with a tight and secure rope.
By doing this, you are eliminating any contact with the floor which can result in the production of a lot of loud noises if the pump vibrates vigorously.
Isolate The Air Pump In A Box
You can build an isolating box to silence your hydroponic air pump as much as possible. Isolating an air pump is a dangerous task. Air pumps do produce a lot of heat which can be hazardous when wrapped with isolating materials like Styrofoam sheets for example.
Therefor, you need to follow the next steps, not only to reduce the air pump’s noise, but also to stay safe from any fire hazards that could happen.
Step 1: Bring a plastic box with it’s lid and make sure that it can accommodate your air pump even with it’s lid closed.
Step 2: Cut a square through one side of the box. Place a used computer cooling fan in this square.
Step 3: Drill a hole in the other side of the box to allow the airline to pass outside to reach your hydroponic system.
What is different in this method is that we are using a cooling fan to try and take as much heat as possible away from the pump. On the other hand, other methods do rely on wrapping the pump in any isolating material to reduce the loud noises which can result in fire hazards that are completely avoidable.
Tips To Reduce The Air Pump’s Noise As Much As Possible
You have to understand that that in 80% of the times, your air pump is producing loud noises because it cannot withstand the increasing stresses that were created due to various things.
So, try to maintain the following tips to reduce any stress on the pump as much as you can.
Non Restricted Airlines
Restricted airlines will significantly increase the workload on the pump. As a result, you will find the air pump’s sound increasing dramatically. Non restricted airlines on the other hand, allow the pump to run efficiently without any problem.
Keep Airlines Short
The longer the airlines, the longer the distance that the air need to travel in order to reach the air stones in the hydroponic system. This longer distance will need a larger amount of force to push the air through these longer airlines.
Keeping the airlines as short as possible is a must for any quite hydroponic air pump.
Clean Air stones
As I have mentioned before, air stones can be a major source of loud noises if they are not kept clean daily. Make sure to check on them every time you flush the entire system.
Place The Pump Above The Water Level
Placing the air pump above the water level relief a lot of stress from the pump. Gravity plays a role in this as air will come out of the pump and into the nutrient reservoir efficiently without any resistance.