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I have an old shower pump which is getting even noisier. It seems like the bearings are going (nasty whining/grinding noise). Obviously it will want replacing sooner or later.

My question is whether I can just leave it until it finally stops working, or if there is a significant risk that the final failure will involve an expensive water leak?

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The failure mode on a shower pump should be that it simply stops working if the bearings go, ie grind to a halt or just not turn on. There should be safeties that prevent overheating and it is unlikely it will leak. However, unlikely is not a guarantee nothing bad will happen, and if you know it's going I'd take action to fix it or replace it before you have a chance to find out.

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I would be looking to grease / oil the bearings now. You may be able to save the pump. If the bearings are bad a new set of bearings now before the rotor starts hitting the stator will be much cheaper than a new pump. I have a 30hp water pump for field irrigation that the replacement bearings and new seal was only 145.00$ a new pump is over 2k$ Your shower pump is probably much smaller and the bearings and seal will be less than 25$.

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