Generators are great for supplying backup power when you need it but they can be really noisy. You can't get rid of the generator noise completely but there are a few ways to make a generator quieter.
Here are a few easy generator noise reduction tips you can try right now.
Some of the solutions include DIY methods such as building a soundproof generator box or a baffle box, or modifying your generator with rubber feet, mufflers, and sound deflectors.
Even the position of your generator can make a difference, such as putting some distance between your house and your generator and angling the exhaust away from your property.
To be able to know how to make a generator quieter we first need to know where the noise is coming from.
Why Do Generators Make so much Noise?
While clamping your hands over your ears to drown out the buzz of your generator, you’ve probably wondered why it’s so noisy in the first place.
Well, there’s a few reasons why a generator can be so noisy.
Technology is a big factor, and some generators are definitely noisier than others. Quieter generators often use inverter technology.
This is becoming more common in new generators that use advanced electronics and specialized magnets to produce power. The design of inverter generators also makes them quieter than generators who don’t use inverter technology.
But what exactly makes them so quiet? Well, generators with inverter technology reduce mechanical noise in three stages. First, they produce AC, which is converted into DC and then back to AC again. This alternates the speed of the engine accordingly and reduces noise.
Quieter generators also supply a steady flow of power, tend to be more compact, and are considered more efficient and reliable than traditional generators. Also, modern generators tend to already have additional mufflers and noise reducing features, cutting out the added expense of adding these soundproofing features to a traditional generator.
However, inverter generators are unable to reach the same power output as conventional generators, which also tend to be larger.
The design of the generator is also important when it comes to noise reduction, and some brands have a design and construction that reduces noise without sacrificing on power.
Overall, while inverter generators and generators with extra soundproofing features will reduce noise, the general rule is that the larger and more powerful your generator is, the noisier it will be.
How To Make A Generator Quieter
Building A Soundproof Generator Box
Building a soundproof generator box is probably the most effective way to make your generator less noisy.
However, if you plan on moving your generator a lot (for example, if you use your generator for camping trips), this method may not be suitable as the soundproof box makes your generator heavier and difficult to maneuver.
You can find instructions in our article on how to build a generator quiet box.
Build A Baffle Box
If you’re familiar with soundproofing, then you probably already know what a baffle is. A baffle box is similar to the soundproof box above, and a baffle is designed to reduce overall airborne noise.
A baffle box is so similar to the soundproof box above that you can use the same instructions to make one. The only difference is that a baffle box does not have a bottom. You also don’t need to add hinges to the lid, as the box can simply be placed over the generator.
However, a baffle box isn’t as effective as a soundproof box in making your generator quieter, as there is more space for sound to escape from. But it will still make a noticeable difference to the noise your generator produces.
Increase The Size of Your Muffler
In the same way that a quiet performance muffler on a car reduces engine noise, a genrator muffler makes a generator quieter. If the muffler on your generator isn’t quite doing the job, replacing it with a bigger muffler might help.
While the muffler doesn’t have a huge effect on the noise of the generator (as a lot of the noise a generator makes comes from the exhaust), combined with a few other tweaks it should make a difference.
Install Sound Deflectors
Sound deflectors can actually make a huge difference to the noise pollution caused by your generator, especially if your generator is mainly kept in an enclosed space and isn’t moved around a lot.
However, it’s important to note that sound deflectors do not soundproof your generator.
They merely deflect sound, meaning that if your generator is kept in an outhouse or shed with sound deflectors installed, you’re less likely to hear it.
Sound deflectors are readily available in most stores, and are a good temporary solution to your noisy generator problem while you plan a more permanent solution.
Like installing a bigger muffler, sound deflectors are most effective when combined with other modifications.
Use Water to Quiet Exhaust Noise
We know what you’re thinking, water and electricity are not a good combination. However, using water to reduce the noise from your generator’s exhaust can be effective.
All you need is a bucket of water and a hose pipe.
Then you just need to fix the hose to the end of the generator’s exhaust and put the other end in the bucket.
The sound will then be muffled by the water, reducing the noise massively.
However, if you’re concerned about water getting into the generator you can make a small pinprick in the hose which will stop the pressure from building up.
Increase The Distance Between You and Your Generator
Setting your generator up a considerable distance from your house or campsite is one of the easiest ways to make sure you and others are not disturbed by the noise your generator produces. Doubling the distance between you and the generator will make the generator sound 4 times quieter.
Again, this method is especially effective when combined with other methods such as a baffle box.
Put The Exhaust At The Right Angle
We’ve already mentioned that most of the noise a generator produces comes from the exhaust.
This is another simple solution, as turning your exhaust away from your house and campsite can make a big difference to the overall noise you’ll hear your generator make.
Place Your Generator On A Soft Surface
Placing your generator on a soft surface, particularly a soundproof mat or anti-vibration pad, will help to reduce the vibrations of your generator, which has an impact on the overall noise. Rubber feet can also help to reduce vibration.
As you may have noticed, making your generator quieter needn’t be difficult. You can get creative by covering your generator in a baffle box, or encasing it in a soundproof box, or you can simply invest in a bigger muffler, rubber feet, or soundproof mats.
However you decide to reduce the noise of your generator, let’s take a look at a few extra tips to make your generator quiet and effective.
- While soundproofing your generator involves blocking holes, it’s important to not be too literal and not go overboard. Generators need good air flow in order to operate safely. Improper air flow can lead to your generator catching fire.
- No method will ensure your generator is completely soundproof, so it’s important to be realistic about how much quietness you can achieve. For example, if you use your generator whilst camping, set it up far enough away that the noise doesn’t disturb you, but also be mindful of how close it is to others around you.
- Your generator may also be making noise because it’s broken. Before you consider employing any of our tips, get your generator serviced to make sure it’s performing well.
Can You Put a Silencer On a Generator?
Yes, you can put a silencer on a generator. In fact, muffler silencers can reduce about 15-20 decibels of sound which can make a big difference.
This will help to muffle the noise created by the exhaust. You can make your own silencer or buy one. They are often lightweight and simple to install.
Which Is Quieter? Propane Generators Or Gas Generators?
Quiet propane generators are usually quieter than generators powered by gasoline, and are in fact becoming more popular than their gas counterparts for a variety of reasons.
Propane is cheaper than gasoline, can be stored for a longer period of time (for example, gasoline tends to degrade after 12 months), and is a bit safer than gasoline.
Gasoline can be dangerous when inhaled, and can lead to accidents if mishandled. Propane, however, can evaporate quickly if spilled.
Gasoline stations also require electricity to fill the tanks of the generator, but this is not the case with propane. In a power outage, propane definitely has the advantage.
However, propane is a bit less efficient than gasoline and is ineffective at temperatures below 20-degrees Fahrenheit. Also, if you opt for the inverter type gas generator there are some very quiet portable generator models to choose from.
When it comes to making your generator quieter, the most effective method is adding mass, such as adding a baffle box or a soundproof box.
Adding extra layers of MLV also reduces noise significantly.
While your generator will never be fully soundproof, even simply moving your generator further away from your home can make a big difference to how much noise you’ll hear.