City noise ordinance for swimming pool pumps – it might be closer than you think…

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San Jose California City Noise Ordinance (and surrounding cities) to be aware of for your existing or new pool planning

If you plan on having a pool installed, or if you currently have a pool at your home in San Jose, California, then you will want to pay attention to this blog. Due to a local City noise ordinance, you may and most likely will be required to take extra measures to ensure that your pool equipment is not too loud otherwise your permit will not be approved.

In addition to San Jose city noise ordinances, neighbor disputes have arisen due to noisy pool pumps. Personal satisfaction and enjoyment of your backyard investment is also hindered with a noisy pool pump.

So, what are the maximum tolerated noise levels on a city ordinance level or a personal/neighbor satisfaction level? What can be done if your pump exceeds these levels? Well, we have done the research for you and provide the following information to keep yourself out of trouble with the city or your neighbor dispute.

Exterior Noise Level Standard (dBA)
Farm tractor8240
Farm Equipment6540
Fixed Noise Source ie. Swimming pool pump…5040
Machines, tools or appliances5040
Motor vehicle repairing, rebuilding, modernizing and testing.


Powered model vehicle6040
Sound-producing or amplifying device5040


For the purposes of enforcing the provisions of this table, “daytime” shall be the period from 8:00 a.m. on weekdays, and 9:00 a.m. on weekends and Town Holidays to 7:00 p.m. and “nighttime” shall be the period from 7:00 p.m. to the beginning of “daytime”, Pacific Standard Time or Daylight Saving Time. “Nighttime” shall begin at 10:00 p.m. for Persons and Sound-producing or amplifying devices.

Disturbing the Peace:

San Jose and the surrounding areas describe disturbing the peace rather broadly.  It was developed to prevent the obvious…disturbing the peace.  It is typically defined as an unreasonably loud and disturbing noise or action that disrupts the peace of the neighborhood and its occupants. Basically, anything loud or disturbing can be reported and upheld in the court system. This could mean a noisy pool pump that is chronically disturbing the peace of your neighbor. Most city ordinances cover these types of complaints with or without a specific mention of pool pump noises.

Designation of Disturbing Noises

There are a wide variety of noises that are listed as reportable disturbing noises by the San Jose city ordinance, and quite frankly any city ordinance containing laws of disturbing the peace. These are usually complaints that are very subjective but real and can be acted upon by those filing a complaint. Usually the city requires the offender to rectify the situation at his or her own expense.

Disturbing noises are partially defined in the San Jose ordinance as “disturbing or unreasonably loud shouting or crying of peddlers, hawkers, vendors or newspaper carriers”.  While this specific ordinance description does not mention pool pumps, it is an ordinance such as this that incriminates a chronically loud pump. Unhappy neighbors can and have used this ordinance to bring the pool owner to court in attempt to rectify noise pollution from a loud pool pump.

While many pool manufacturers claim that their pumps use so-called “quiet technology” in an effort to reduce noise, the truth is that most consumers and their neighbors do not agree. The “whisper” of a pump can seem like a loud roar in the back drop of a peaceful evening or summer afternoon. The laws simply do not protect pool owners from the subjective complaints of a neighbor who feels their rights are being infringed by a loud pump.

If you have a pool pump that is exceptionally loud, or perceived to be loud, you may be required to dampen the noise or remove the offending noise completely. In an effort to alleviate the intolerable noise of a pool pump, the engineer of Serene + pool pump cover has come up with the perfect affordable solution. The pool pump cover called “Serene +” made by Premier Innovations Inc. when properly fitted and installed may keep your pump operational and prevent costly upgrades or replacement pump.

The cover was developed and patented by an engineer who just simply wanted to enjoy his own peaceful backyard and dampen the noise of his own pump strategically located by his bedroom window. Soon the noise pollution product has become a well sought out solution by many frustrated home owners and neighbors. Often people, out of frustration, purchase the cover for their neighbors that have the offending pool pump noise.

Serene + cover has become the standard product that many cities that pool builders turn to for solutions. This cover is designed to reduce the offending noise level by 75% to 92%. This is a noticeable detectable noise reduction solution.

Understanding Pool Pump Noise

noisy pool

What is sound?

Sound is what is produced when the eardrums vibrate due to pressure differences in the air. The vibration is transmitted from the eardrum through tiny bones in the middle ear and then through an intricate system in the temporal bone. Here the vibration is transformed into electrical nerve stimulation and communication to the brain where it is translated into the sounds we perceive. We hear multiple tones, pitches and sound strengths based on the frequency of the sound waves.
In the logarithmic sound pressure scale, the intensity of sound depends on the number of sources. For example, two equal noise sources produce a higher intensity than one source by 3 Decibels. Ten sound sources will produce 10 dBs higher, and one hundred, 20 dBs higher. The formula used to measure intensity of sound from several equally strong sources is given below;

Lp (total) = Lp + 10*lg(n)

where (n) is the number of equal sources and Lp is the sound pressure level from a source.

The human ear’s sensitivity to sound varies, for sound travels in different frequencies. The measuring instrument is designed such that it filters its measurements in A-weighted level that matches the sound the human ear experiences. Some degree of sound has a higher frequency, which is measured on a different scale known as decibel branding. The resulting sound level is then stated in dB(A). There is also filtering according to a C-weighted level that is used for high-frequency sounds; the result is then stated as dB(C).

What is decibel?

Sound is measured using an instrument that expresses in Decibels. It is abbreviated as dB. The least audible noise is at 0 dB, from there, every increase of 3 dB represents a doubling of sound intensity, or acoustic power. The ambient noise level is 30 dB.

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What is noise?

The difference between sound and noise is that noise is usually defined as undesirable sound. Such sounds may be perceived as just disturbing and annoying, or they may be directly harmful to hearing. What is sound and what is noise is indeed purely subjective, determined by the attitude toward the noise source. Controlling noise is very important especially in the workplace or around our home, in our backyard that are here to enjoy. Eliminating negative effects around us must be a priority. Noise controlling methods are often seen in highways and railways, and things like sound barrier solutions are often used to reduce levels of noise pollution.

Calculation of noise

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Measuring noise

The Unit for measuring noise is decibels; measured by a Decibel Meter. The decibel meter contains a highly sensitive microphone that detects any sound vibration and converts it into an electrical signal.
There is hand held devices available to purchase or even phone apps that can help in measuring noise. Some trusted devices and phone apps are listed below:

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Swimming pool pumps noise

A typical swimming pool pump runs in the range of 65-90 decibels, almost as loud as riding in a subway car. This can be a detriment to a pools outdoor pleasure. Even a small decrease in this sound can help tremendously. Many people perceive a given sound to be louder than others when they have a measurement difference of 10 decibels. A (-)10 decibels difference represents a decrease in the noise intensity by 90 percent.

Our perception of a peaceful environment is altered with Increased noise. Loud or repetitive noise will have a negative effect on our experience in that environment. We consider swimming pool pumps as one of these intrusive sounds created in our own backyard which should be the place of relaxation and family fun. Most of us would do anything to try and mitigate these unpleasant effects of pool pump noise. This is why we created a solution to overcome a common backyard problem.

If you are looking for a soundproofing product for your pool pump, our Serene + will give you a cost-friendly soundproofing solution for your outdoor haven. Serene+ is the premier pool pump noise silencer. Serene+ products are light, durable, easy to maintain and can fit any commercial or residential pool pump. Select from range of Products to reduce your pool pump noise and begin your backyard pleasure, free from unwanted noise today.

Understanding Pool Pump Motor Operation

Understanding Pool Pump Operations.

Pool Pump Motors

While keeping the pool’s sanitation, free of debris and clean, the pool power pump motor pumps the water from a pool, all the way through the filter and then circulate it back into the pool again.


Pool operations

It is strongly recommended by the pool builders to run your pool pump at least for two cycles per day. This act is essential to keep the water sanitation high. It is important to determine one cycle duration as accurately as possible using the steps outlined below.

Total Head – this is the length of the pipe from the pump to the pool. You will be required to use your tape measure to determine the length or ask for assistance from the pool builder or the pool service technologist. Once you calculate you add 10% to the buffer.

Determine The Pool Water Volume
Pool Volume Calculation

Use Pool Volume calculators

Or The Manual Way

For Constant Depth pools: Rectangular or Square. This is calculated by multiplying the width by the length to give you the surface area of the pool. When multiplying the surface area by the depth, you get the volume in cubic feet. And since you know that there are seven gallons of water in a cubic foot, then by multiplying the pool’s cubic feet by 7.5 you will arrive at the volume of the pool expressed in gallons.

To Determine the Water Flow: this depends on the horsepower of the pump that typically ranges from 60 – 100GPM (Gallons per Minute). You will be required to refer to the manufacturer’s chart.
A common pool holds 18,000 to 20,000 gallons of water. By taking 20,000 gallons and 80 GPM( 4800 gallons per hour, here is the calculation.
20,000 / 4800 – 4.16 hours per cycle and this can be rounded off to 4.5 hours.


Most pool providers recommend that the pump is run for a duration of between 6-8 hours per cycle through experience. This will sound overemphasized if you are trying to save on electricity energy bill, minimize the pool pump noise level for you and your neighbors. Considering the duration mentioned above, you are likely to save almost a half in electric bill and length. To save more money, you will be required to contact the utility company to determine the peak time and avoid them as much as possible.

Ensure to check the pool pH to maintain a proper cycle duration. In uncontrollable conditions like rain will require the pump to run for one extra hour.

Pool Pump Motor Vibrations

1. Closely monitor your pump motor as it runs. Try to look for movements and vibrations along the pump base. If you find loosened bolts on the pump, use an adjustable wrench to tighten them and secure the pump to the concrete pad underlying it for noise reduction.
2. Ensure you place our vibration pads beneath the motor pump base to isolate the concrete pad from the pump is essential for noise reduction.

Clean The Pump’s Basket Motor Skimmer

1. Turn off the pump power
2. Remove the transparent lid to expose the pump motor strainer basket.
3. Pull the strainer basket from the pump and clean it free of any debris and dirt. A small debris inside will cause vibration and increase pool pump noise levels.
4. Replace the lid and fasten it
5. Turn the power pump on.

How To Troubleshoot Noisy Pool Pumps


Some pool pumps are naturally noisy while others, which are manufactured by companies that highly concentrate in engineering and R&D produce quieter pumps. Such top pump manufacturing companies include the Pentair Intelli-Flo and Hayward EcoStar. Note that the installation of the pump and the number of elbows connected to the intake or outtake directly affect the flow of water. That in turn increases the amount of effort that the motor and the impeller require to do, consequently raising the noise level noticeably. One should also remember that every pump installation is unique. Similarly, all swimming pool designers are doing their best under the diverse environmental limitations they encounter in their work and design.

As we all know, pool pump motors circulate water from the swimming pool, to the filter and then back into the pool. That keeps your swimming pool clean, sanitized and free of debris. Most pool pumps emit the small noise when operating. However, under normal conditions, the noise level it emits should not be too loud to distract you or your neighbors. A distinct alteration in the noise produced by the noisy pool pump and an increase of noise signals a problem with the pump motor. You can remedy this by making some little repairs or some adjustments. If your pool pump is noisy, the following noise reduction steps will keep your home serene and probably give your neighbors some peace.


How to troubleshoot if the impeller is the source of the noise and not the motor?

Most pumps are self-primed

1. If you want to achieve noise reduction that is coming from the impeller, first turn off the loud pool pump motor and then disconnect the electrical powering. You may just require unplugging the noisy pool pump or needed to turn off the circuit breaker depending on how the motor is installed. To test successful power disconnection, attempt turning on the pump.

2. Remove the lid from the pump as you do when cleaning the strainer of a loud pool pump motor. Air will penetrate and the water level will lower about ¾ of the way.

3. Screw the lid back in place tightly per manufacturer specifications.

4. Turn power back-on. You will notice that the motor doesn’t make any noise until the water pressure rises and the basket is full again and the flow of water becomes constant. This noise is caused by cavitation.

Pump Cavitation

Most places where cavitation happen are in pumps, propellers or in flowing liquids. As an impeller’s blades flow through fluids, low-pressure areas are created as the fluids accelerate while moving past the blades. The faster the blade pace, the lower the amount of pressure that can be created around it. When it becomes vapor pressure, the fluid vaporizes and ultimately forms small gas bubbles. That is what is known as cavitation. When the bubbles collapse, they cause strong shock waves in the fluid that are audible and capable of even destroying the blades. Therefore, it is important to remedy the condition before it damages your pump.


How to Prevent Pool Pump Cavitation?

Cavitation cannot be rectified on pumps having enclosed impellers. The problem could be as a result of a clogged outlet filter. Regularly open the confined discharge valve inside the pump to check its state. Normally, troubles arise from clogged outlet filter, closed release valve or an over-pressurized header.

Bottom Line

All along, many swimming pool pump manufacturers have been manufacturing robust pumps that apparently apply the “quiet technology”. However, most of them have be proven less resilient thereby leaving many consumers dissatisfied and many neighbors unhappy where mediators or lawyers needed to be contracted. Our patented product, Serene+, offers the ultimate cost-friendly soundproofing solution. You can run to some pool pump dealers and spend hundreds of dollars, but you cannot get 75 percent to 90 percent noise reduction at our price. Serene+ is the premier noise reducer for existing on new pool pumps. The soundproofing covers are light and durable. Serene+ easily fits in commercial or residential pool pumps.