No doubt, a generator comes with a lot of household and campsite benefits. It’s mainly a source of power, especially in cases of emergency.
Although power blackouts rarely happen, owning a standby generator could really come in handy. There’s just one downside. The loud noise could be a major turn-off to some people.
Many believe the noise is something you have to compromise for all the good that comes with the generator. But there are actually a lot of inexpensive solutions on how to make your generator quiet as a cricket!
Keep reading and we’ll show you how you can have your well-deserved standards of tranquility and quietness. But first, let’s understand our problem.
Why Are Generators So Loud?
A generator’s noise comes from six major sources. These are vibrations and noises from its engines, cooling fan, alternator, induction, engine exhaust pipe, and mechanical operations.
Different types of generators also cause different noise levels. A portable generator for example primarily produces engine noise and exhaust noise.
This is a result of its tedious operation designed to provide electricity. The higher the energy level produced, the louder the generator. The heat produced as an effect of its power production needs a cooling system to prevent overheating.
Power generators may be air-cooled, or liquid-cooled. The former is much louder and not as effective. The latter is quieter and more effective, although it will cost you more money to purchase and maintain.
Another cause for generator noise may be a mechanical part that may not be in the best condition anymore.
Generator mufflers, for example, provide a means to reduce the noise level. However, if it no longer functions well, it can create havoc with angry neighbors.
Technology plays a crucial role as well. The effectiveness in reducing sounds when operating is much greater on an inverter generator than an average one. An inverter generator equips sound deflectors and mufflers to make the generator quieter. They are also program-designed to function on eco-mode as needed.
Bottom line: the amount of noise arises simply from its engineering. Engineering though is not the only source of generator noise. We also found out that placing your generator at an ideal spot makes all the difference.
Unstable and hard surfaces like asphalt, metal, wood, and concrete are a big no-no! These surfaces amplify the vibrations and increase the noise level.
Instead, place your generator on a stable soft surface. Flat soil is perfect. But if that is not an option, we have a solution for you later on in this article.
How Loud Are Generators?
How loud can a generator be, you may ask? Well, we measure sound levels in decibels. Ideally, you would want your generator at 60 decibels or less. This is enough to not disrupt a friendly conversation.
A generator’s sound level will range from 60 decibels up to 100 decibels. A more inexpensive generator will most likely be louder. This is a given since built-in quiet technology in any appliance observed in the market costs a whole lot more.
The quietest generators can function as low as 49 decibels and still produce a lot of power. The Honda inverter generators are famous for this.
In some cases, your generator might make more noise pollution than usual. It is best to have a professional check the issue. It might need a repair or replacement.
If a quiet generator is just something off the grid, for now, it’s a great opportunity to give these next tips a try!
10 Ways to Quiet a Generator
If you haven’t bought a generator for your home, or your camping activities yet, off the bat, buy one of the quietest model generators. It’s worth every penny and spares you the hassle!
But, if you’ve already got one, fret not! Here are 10 methods on how to make your generator quiet as a cricket:
- Install Rubber Feet
- Place Generator on a Sound Absorbing Mat
- Enlarge the Mufflers
- Upgrade or Add Exhaust Muffler
- Put up Sound Deflectors
- Build a Baffle Box
- Enclose in a Soundproof Generator Box
- Place Exhaust Pipes Within Water
- Place Generator Away from Home
- Angle the Generator Exhaust Away
1. Install Rubber Feet
Installing some rubber edges on any household appliance is a cheap way to reduce vibrations. Generators are no stranger to this method too.
This will allow your generator to stand securely on all fours. This way, it doesn’t move around as much.
Rubber can surely lessen a large part of the overall noise. But for added soundproofing, a combination of two or more methods will do.
2. Place Generator on a Sound Absorbing Mat
Put a sound-absorbing mat at the bottom of your generator. This works at reducing the vibration as effectively as the rubber feet do.
Sound absorbing mats come in the form of a rubber mat, foam mat, carpets, rugs, or thick and heavy blankets. These are made of fabric and materials that optimize how to make a generator quiet.
3. Enlarge the Mufflers
Most generators already have a muffler in place. A muffler is there to suppress vibrations to some extent. But if it doesn’t make the cut, buy a bigger muffler.
It might not completely make your generator as quiet as a cricket, but it brings it down to a few decibels.
4. Upgrade or Add Exhaust Muffler
If your machine does not have an exhaust muffler yet, go get one. If it’s faulty, replace and upgrade it.
Noise from a generator’s exhaust pipe is trapped inside the muffler’s compact area. It works similarly to your car’s muffler. You might need some skills to put it in place though. But I’m sure it’s worth the effort and will make your generator quiet.
Take note, mufflers come in different shapes and sizes. Make sure to choose one that specifically fits your generator.
5. Put up Sound Deflectors
The purpose of sound deflectors is to divert the path of the noise away from where you avoid it, not soundproof the path itself.
These materials are readily available on the market. They make a great temporary solution. But if you opt for a permanent project, couple this with other suggested solutions.
If you want to make your camping generator quiet as a cricket, bring along 4 plywood sheets and drywall. Make sure your dimensions are just about right. Drywall is a great sound deflector material for your exhaust since it is fire resistant.
At your campsite, set up sheets at an angle for better deflection. We also encourage placing them at a safe distance from your tents for a better sleep experience.
6. Build a Baffle Box
Now this one will need you to do some DIY at home. To make a generator baffle box, make sure you have all the proper measurements.
You want to be certain there is enough space for sound insulation that you will install inside the four walls and ceiling panel of the box. This functions as a sound barrier.
You will also need to consider space for the ventilation duct. Ventilation holes are important to avoid overheating your air compressor.
Mass loaded vinyl is a great soundproofing material. Using mass loaded vinyl is the go-to option when building a generator enclosure. You’ll be able to notice a significant difference with generator noise with this box for sure.
If you are on a tight budget, building your own baffle box is the way to go! But if money is not a problem, you can buy a generator silencer box readily available on the market.
7. Enclose in a Soundproof Generator Box
A soundproof box for generator is a permanent method on how to make a generator quiet. This will, however, make your generator heavy and quite challenging to handle.
You will need foam mats, MDF, a vent duct, acoustic caulk, and MLV.
A generator soundproof box is like your baffle box. It requires the same processes to make one and reduce the noise as effectively.
8. Place Exhaust Pipes Within Water
I know this may sound dangerous. But it actually does a good job being a makeshift generator muffler.
All you will need is a bucket of water and a hosepipe. Fix the hose to the end of the generator’s exhaust and put the other end in the water.
If you’re worried about water getting into your generator, make a small hole in the hose. This will avoid the buildup of pressure.
Water does a good job of muffling the generator noise. This is another one of our cheap tricks to make your generator quiet as a cricket!
9. Place Generator Away from Home
The farther the generator, the less you will hear its noise.
Distancing yourself from your generator will give you the quiet and peace you deserve to enjoy time at home. It works the same way if you were on a camping trip, or on fieldwork.
Use a long extension cord to move your generator the farthest away possible from where you are. If you have a detached garage or storage shed, you can move your generator and mount them behind.
Yet, we acknowledge this might not be possible for generator owners who live in urban areas where homes are close to one another. If so, you will need to settle with a baffle box and some rubber feet.
10. Angle the Generator Exhaust Away
Moving your power generator away from home to reduce noise might be too challenging. Fortunately, this easy trick can make a big difference with your problems with generator noise.
As you can expect, sound waves travel towards the direction it is facing. Thus, we encourage you to angle the generator exhaust pipe away from your house.
It will surely make a significant noise reduction than if you were to point it towards your home.
If you’re going to place the generator in your garage, the sound will still be able to travel across your wall, door, and roof. To make sure you get the best results, it is best to also enclose your power generator in a soundproof box.
Why Are Honda Generators So Quiet?
At this point, we’ve discussed all the possible ways you can quiet a generator. If none of this works for you, your last resort would be to buy a new quiet generator.
Honda inverter generators are the best in the market. Their innovative technology allows it to produce powerful electricity while functioning in the quietest sense possible. This is because they have built-in mufflers in place already.
Its generator enclosure design allows it to soundproof noise from its mechanism efficiently and it’s eco-friendly and fuel-saving. That being said, the Honda 7000 Watts Generator model is worth looking at.
If you’ve got the bucks to spare, you won’t regret getting one of these generators on hand!
Surely, any of these tips and tricks will give you the desired result of a quiet, peaceful camp or home.
We understand how handy a generator could be, especially for charging laptops, and cellphones that we can hardly live without.
A generator’s loud noise should never overshadow all its excellent benefits. That’s exactly why we wanted to share these solutions with you!
If you’re looking for an easier solution, take a look at our review of the 7 Best Quietest Generators to Power Up Your Home. We listed down heavy-duty, quiet, and portable generator options too!