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Why Is My iRobot Roomba So Loud? Causes and Fixes

Why Is My iRobot Roomba So Loud? Causes and Fixes

Robot vacuums are meant to keep the house clean without intruding. They’re the tiny but reliable servants that silently slave away, leaving your floors miraculously clean. 

With this in mind, I can understand why you would be so annoyed if you had a noisy iRobot Roomba. The silent helper will no longer be discrete and will even turn annoying.

Are Roombas Supposed to Be Loud?

Roombas are reasonably quiet. Other house noises like the fridge, TV, and people conversing can easily drown out its hum. 

However, you will notice it if it runs at night – especially before you sleep. It is not loud enough to interrupt your sleep or wake up the kids, but you might have difficulty falling asleep with the Roomba running.

Most people classify it as loud but bearable.

Anything louder than this indicates a problem with your iRobot Roomba. It is an issue if you notice that the robot vacuum is louder than it used to be before.

Different iRobot Roomba Noises

Even though the motor’s most common noise is increased whirring as it cleans tougher spots or the filters clog up, other novel noises hint at different and perhaps more serious problems.

We will begin by looking at different Roomba noises and their meanings. Some unique noises hint at different problems that shouldn’t occur. 

A Thumping or Clicking Sound

A clicking sound from a running Roomba means the brush extractor isn’t turning. Note that this only applies if your Roomba has a brush extractor since not every model has one. The Roomba 600 series uses brush extractors, making it prone to this problem.

The clicking sound means the rubber extractors are clogged by too much dirt and debris. Cleaning them should fix the problem.

If you recently cleaned them, the clicking could mean you did not position them properly during reinstallation. You can fix this by uninstalling and reinstalling them properly.

A Griding Noise

Grinding sounds like two hard objects are rolling or brushing over each other. Such noise in your Roomba indicates that some dirt or debris is trapped between moving parts. These could be the wheels if it is rolling or the brush and extractor if it is cleaning.

It could also happen when the extractors in Roomba 800 and above models rub against each other. You won’t experience the problem if your Roomba has cylindrical brushes.

Sometimes, if it has been long since you cleaned your iRobot’s cleaning head, it could also make a grinding noise. Cleaning the head should fix the problem.

Beeping Noises

Those high-pitched noises from your iRobot Roomba are its way of communicating. Different numbers of beeps mean something. Fixing the situation should get rid of the beeps. Please don’t ignore them, as they alert you when your little robotic helper needs some assistance from its overlord.

Here is a list of Roomba robot vacuum beeps and their meanings

Beep CountMeaning
One BeepRoomba stuck or wheels not making contact with the ground
Two BeepsPrimary brushes are not turning
Five BeepsSide wheel is stuck
Six Beeps– Cliff sensor is clogged The Roomba is trapped The Roomba is dangling over a ‘cliff’ It is stuck on a dark surface
Nine BeepsBumpers are crushed The bumper sensor is filthy
Eleven BeepsBumper not detecting any impediments, could mean the vacuum is stuck in one location

A Ticking Noise When Charging

If you notice a steady but slight tapping noise every time you dock the Roomba to charge, it could mean a problem with the charging station.

  • Try switching power outlets where the dock is connected
  • Allow the Roomba to dock with the dirt container slightly pulled out

If the ticking noise persists, the charging station might be damaged and needs replacing. A faulty charging system could also cause high-pitched noises when the Roomba is charging.

Squeaking Noises During Operation

Squeaks will happen when there’s friction between metal pieces or plastic pieces in the robot vacuum. 

You can fix the problem by applying some silicon-based lubricant to moving part joints but not the actual moving parts that need friction to operate. Steer clear of the wheel surfaces and brushes, and the lubricant will ruin their efficiency.

Why is My Roomba Robot Vacuum So Loud?

Many problems can lead to loud noises from your iRobot Roomba. Most of them don’t your vacuum is damaged. Some simple maintenance or change of use could remedy the problem and bring the noise back to an acceptable level.

A Dirty Roomba

Since Roomba vacuums are small and compact, any gunk and debris stuck between moving parts will rub against each other. It will also constrict suction paths in the vacuum, making it run harder to pull in the dirt.

This will, in turn, make the unit noisier. Luckily the solution is cleaning everything every now and then. The most important parts that need cleaning to keep your robot vacuum as silent as possible include:

  • The extractor
  • Cleaning head
  • Vacuum impellers
  • Brushes

However, the main brushes are the most obvious culprit. Here’s a quick look at how to clean them.

Cleaning Roomba Main Brushes

Follow these steps if you own a model 400, 500, 600 and 700

  • Detach the brush protector from your brush
  • Open the yellow brush guard
  • Remove the flexible beater brush and the bristle brush from the head module
  • Clean out the area around the brush bearings to get rid of any hair accumulated there
  • If you have the Roomba cleaning tool, pull it over the bristle brush to remove any hair from it
  • Reassemble everything
  • Close your Roomba’s brush guard

How to Clean the Roomba Rubber Brushes

The following models have rubber brushes: 800,900, i Series, e Series, and the s Series.

  • Open your brush guard and remove the rubber brushes from the Roomba
  • Detach the gray brush bearings from the brush and clean them
  • It would help if you also cleaned the brush shafts
  • You won’t find a lot of hair on the rubber brushes as they’re great at repelling it, but you should still clean them.
  • Reassemble the entire Roomba and get it working again

You Have Wrongly Placed Extractors

The extractors on your Roomba’s cleaner head can make much noise if they’re not in the correct position. Since they are next to a constantly moving part during cleaning, any slight rubbing will translate to perceivable noise. 

To fix this:

  • Disassemble your iRobot Roomba
  • Remove the extractors
  • Clean them while at it before reinstalling them properly
  • Reassemble the iRobot 

You Have a Faulty Impeller

A bad impeller will also make your robot vacuum considerably loud. You can solve the problem by first cleaning the impeller. If it is still loud after a thorough cleaning, call customer service for further assistance and make sure you tell them you’ve already cleaned it.

Here is a quick guide on how to clean your vacuum impeller.

  • Disassemble the Roomba so that you can access the motor shaft
  • Remove the suction impeller from the motor shaft
  • Clean out any dust, hair, and debris from the entire area
  • Apply some bit of silicon oil to the rotating parts of the impeller
  • Reassemble the unit, ensuring that any moving parts move freely

Rubbing Noises from Newly Installed Extractors

If you recently got new extractors to replace the old ones in your Roomba, they could make some noise if they are a bit bigger than stock. Theoretically, the Roomba could accept a slightly larger diameter extractor only that they will rub during the first few runs.

The noise should reduce and ebb as the extractors rub and wear down to size. You can avoid the problem by getting the exact replacement extractor for your Roomba vacuum model.

If the friction is too much and the extractors cannot turn, the grinding noise will increase, making your robot vacuum noisier and less efficient.

Your Brushes or Filters are Worn out

The filters and brushes on your vacuum don’t last forever. As they age, they get more inefficient, making the entire unit less efficient and noisier. 

How to Change Your iRobot Roomba Side Brush

  • Use a screwdriver to loosen the side brush screw
  • Remove the side brush from the vacuum
  • Install the new brush and press it firmly into place
  • Reattach the screw and tighten it sufficiently. Don’t overtighten it.

How to Clean the Roomba Filter

You could clean the filter if you feel it is just gummed up but not due for replacement. Here is what to do:

  • Remove the vacuum bin from the bin and empty it
  • Press the tab on the filter door and open it
  • Remove the filter by grabbing the tab and pulling it out
  • Tap the filter against a trash can to shake out any gunk and debris
  • You can use compressed air to blow it clean outdoors or use another vacuum to suck off the debris
  • If you have a replacement filter, install it instead of the old filter 
  • Otherwise, reinstall the cleaned filter and reassemble the robot vacuum

How Do I Make My iRobot Roomba Quieter?

You can only make your iRobot Roomba quieter if it is noisier than factory spec. If it is new and working optimally, you can’t do much to push the noise levels lower.

Here are some things you can do to keep the noises low:

  • Go for the latest Roomba models and search reviews for units with lower operating noises.
  • Clean your robot vacuum constantly to get rid of any gunk that will make parts grind off, making the unit exert to get the job done
  • Select quiet cleaning settings. Though less thorough, they will save you noise, and you can run the unit more often for better cleaning results.
  • The Roomba gets noisier when running over fluffy surfaces like carpets. You can program the robot to clean carpeted areas while running other appliances that will drone out the noise.
  • Avoid running the robot vacuum at night when everything else is silent, as the Roomba will seem louder.
  • Program the Roomba to vacuum rooms furthest from your activity so you won’t hear it as much. For instance, let it clean the bedroom when you are showering or clean the living room when you are in the backyard getting the bbq going.

Roomba Quiet Mode Meaning

Quiet mode or Quiet Drive is a feature that reduces how much noise the Roomba makes when in operation. It is only available in some of the latest vacuum series.

The setting will either reduce the unit’s suction power and cleaning aggressiveness or shut the cleaning system until the robot vacuum gets to a designated cleaning spot.

You can use this when the vacuum crosses places closer to where you will hear it the most or when it is crossing over a fluffy carpet that it is not good at cleaning.

Check this too: Neato Vacuum Troubleshooting & How-to Guide

It will also make it silent when navigating back to its dock after cleaning the house. 

Bottom Line

Though not silent, your iRobot Roomba shouldn’t be noisier than most of the appliances in your house. If you keep it clean and maintain it well, you won’t have any issues when running it.

For less noise perception, schedule it to run with other appliances like the dishwasher, laundry machine, or even your TV running. These, coupled with running it at daytime when the ambient noise is considerably higher, make it harder to notice the constant whirr and hum of the robot vacuum.