Diffuser Making A Loud Noise? 3 Common Issues

Diffusers are supposed to be relatively silent machines, so if your diffuser starts making loud noises, it might be pretty alarming. If your diffuser makes a loud noise, something is probably up. 

For starters, disconnect your diffuser from its power supply to avoid damaging the motor.

Check to see if the water reservoir is full. If you notice a build-up of dirt or any debris caught in the diffuser, this could be the cause. If it continues to make loud noises, it is possible that your diffuser is faulty or broken.

When you first hear your diffuser making a loud noise, don’t panic – It might not be broken. 

Most of the time, it is something fairly simple that is causing the problem, which can be resolved in a matter of minutes.

While this is not always the case, a diffuser that is causing a lot of noise can usually be fixed quickly and will be fully up and running in no time.

Normal Diffuser Sounds

While diffusers are not particularly loud, they do generate some sound. Let’s look at some of the common sounds made by diffusers so you can tell them apart from strange or loud sounds that should be a cause for concern.

  • Fan noises – Diffusers come in a variety of styles, but the majority of electric ones include at least one fan and a motor. If your diffuser has these components, you can assume they’re going to create some noise. Because diffusers are typically built to be as quiet as possible, their motors and fans produce very little noise. Nonetheless, they are not completely silent machines, so a faint motor noise or fan humming is normal, and you shouldn’t panic.
  • Disk noises – An ultrasonic disc is the main component in many electric diffusers that combines water and essential oils and turns the liquid to vapor. In essence, it is the component that enables the diffuser to diffuse water and serve its purpose.  While the ultrasonic disc is meant to be as silent as possible, its vibrations produce a little amount of noise. It’s perfectly natural to hear a soft buzzing sound or vibration coming from your diffuser; it’s just the ultrasonic disc doing its thing.
  • Water noises – When your diffuser is working normally, it is constantly moving water and diffusing it into a mist. This moving water generates noise, just like any other moving water. Small splashing noises or the sound of moving water coming from your oil diffuser is totally normal. When you take a closer look at all of the components and pieces that make up a diffuser, you’ll realize just how noisy they can be. They are, however, quite quiet and do not create much noise at all. Their quietness is primarily due to engineering and manufacturing that is done specifically with this in mind.

So, what’s causing all this noise?

Your diffuser should be very quiet most of the time, but if you notice it making unusual or loud noises, it is usually a good idea to check and confirm that nothing is amiss.

1. Not enough water

This is the most typical cause of a loud noise from your essential oil diffuser, and it is easily fixed.

If the water level in your diffuser’s reservoir becomes too low, it will begin to make an irritating noise, but this is one of the quickest problems to resolve.

As you might imagine, the simplest way to determine if this is the source of your problem is to peek into the diffuser’s reservoir and check the water levels.

The design of your essential oil diffuser will determine how simple this is.

Most low-cost models have an easily accessible reservoir, however, a lot of high-end models may need you to go through a few steps in order to get a good look at the reservoir. 

If you see that the reservoir is running low, simply refill it and restart your diffuser.

If the loud noise was caused by a low water level, this should remedy the problem.

Run your diffuser for a few minutes before deciding whether or not the problem has been resolved, as it may take a few minutes for the water in the reservoir to start being used.

If, after five minutes, you notice that your diffuser is still producing too much noise, even with a full water reservoir, unplug it and proceed to the next phase of troubleshooting.

2. Something stuck in the reservoir

Another reason your essential oil diffuser may have begun to make a loud noise is that a piece of debris became lodged inside the diffuser.

Because many diffusers have fans, the air pressure exerted by the fan can sometimes be enough to draw things into the diffuser, causing a problem.

Debris can also form as a result of a buildup of essential oils you’ve used in the past. So don’t presume that something from outside your diffuser is blocking it.

Dealing with this problem is a little more difficult than checking the reservoir, so keep your diffuser’s instruction booklet handy.

Go over the instruction booklet, starting at the end so you can begin disassembling your diffuser.

More inexpensive diffusers should be quite easy to disassemble, as they usually include a simple plastic shell that can be removed by twisting a few of the screws that hold it together.

On the other hand, more expensive essential oil diffusers may have a more difficult disassembly process. You should photograph the dismantling process so you know what goes where when it’s time to reassemble.

After you’ve disassembled your diffuser, take a look at all of the different pieces to see if there’s any debris that could be producing the loud noise.

Examine the area around the fan to check that dust hasn’t managed to block it. This is especially important if you live in a city, where vehicles throw up a lot more dust and pollution.

You could try cleaning it with vinegar if this is the case.

After you’ve finished cleaning and inspecting your diffuser, begin putting it back together. Once you’re finished reassembling the diffuser, refill the reservoir and plug it back in. 

Allow the diffuser to run for a few moments to see if it is still producing too much noise. If clearing the debris out of the diffuser did not solve the problem, proceed to the next step.

3. Mechanical Fault

If you’ve tried to solve your diffuser’s problem using the previous two methods and it’s still making a loud noise, it could be a sign of a more serious problem that you won’t be able to address on your own.

If you have a less expensive essential oil diffuser, you may want to replace it now.

If, on the other hand, you own a high-end diffuser that costs you a great deal of money, you should contact the manufacturer. First, check to determine if your diffuser’s warranty is still in place.

If it is, contact the manufacturer and ask if you can send your diffuser to them for repairs.

Even if your diffuser is no longer under warranty, we recommend contacting the manufacturer. If loud noises are a common problem for other customers, they may even send you a new model that does not have a current warranty.

Having said that, don’t assume this will happen, but it could be a pleasant surprise if it does.

Take note that certain manufacturers will want you to return the faulty diffuser before receiving your replacement.

However, if you are dealing with a widespread problem or provide video evidence of your problem, a replacement may be delivered with no additional action required on your part.

Other faults to watch out for & how to fix them


If the diffusion is weaker than usual

Clean your device and run its cleaning cycle, if it has one.  Be certain that you are only using purified water, tap water, or spring water. Avoid using distilled water because it may interfere with diffusion. 

Check that the water level is right. The problem could be either too much or too little water in the unit.

Because most diffusers vent from the bottom, placing them on a soft surface may limit airflow.

Ensure that the air intake and flow are not impeded. Hair and dust might enter the machine through the air intake over time. So, make sure that this is not blocked.

Use the diffuser only on a level, hard surface. Don’t ever place your diffuser on a towel or any other soft surface that will limit air circulation.

Examine the water level sensor to ensure it is clean and unobstructed. If everything is fine, unplug it for a few minutes, replenish, and resume the diffuser.

We recommend contacting the manufacturer if it is still very weak.

If the water in the reservoir feels hot

Allow the diffuser to cool down after turning it off and unplugging it. If you power some devices continually for extended periods of time, the water temperature will naturally rise, which is normal.

Check that the air intake is not blocked with dust or hair, or that it is not restricted or impeded in any way. 

Make sure the diffuser is on a flat, hard surface. Do not place your diffuser on a towel or any other soft surface, as this will block air movement and cause the unit to overheat.

Clean your device and put it through a cleaning cycle if it has one, refill, and try again. Contact the manufacturer if the water is still hot.

If the light is on but there’s no mist

Make sure the diffuser is on a flat, hard surface. Don’t place your diffuser on a towel or any other soft surface that will hinder air movement. Then, check that your diffusers are not overfilled.

Water should never be allowed to rise above the fill line.

Cleaning your device and putting it through a cleaning cycle if it has one can help.  Unplug the diffuser, replenish if necessary, reconnect, and turn it back on.

Be certain that you are only using filtered water, tap water, or spring water. Avoid using distilled water since it can interfere with diffusion. If it does not restart, contact the manufacturer.

If the light is blinking but there’s no mist

If this occurs, you should start by ensuring that the diffuser is placed on a flat and hard surface. Make sure that it’s not sat on a surface that is soft or hinders the airflow, such as a towel or bedsheet. 

After checking that there’s enough water in the reservoir, run your machine through a cleaning cycle, if it has one. After this, unplug the diffuser to refill it, then plug it back in and switch it on.

Be sure to only fill it with tap water or filtered water. It’s not advisable to use distilled water in essential oil diffusers. If the light is still blinking and no diffusion is taking place, it’s time to contact the manufacturer.

Final Thoughts

While essential oil diffusers are supposed to create some noise while they are running, they are not expected to be annoyingly loud.

We hope this article has helped you in discovering what is wrong with your specific diffuser.