Generators have become an indispensable thing nowadays. They run on gasoline, propane and other fuels, and can be seen everywhere from our shops, industries to our homes. Their irreplaceability to such an extent is due to the fact that they provide great help during various problems like supplying power to run the various appliances like heater, lamp, television, etc. during outages. Though if you have one at your home, office or any other place where you spend your time I am pretty sure you will be able to relate the fact how loud they are. Wanna know how to quiet a generator?
The intolerable noise that these devices make can be very disturbing on many times. If you haven’t actually bought one then you can jump directly to the bottom of this article and know what options you have and get to know a thing or two about them. And even if you have already got one generator at home or are running a little tight on budget to buy the ones that will require fewer additions to reduce the noise then you are not completely screwed, and you don’t have to worry as there is a lot you can do to reduce the amount of noise coming from them.
Before diving deep into how to quiet a generator, you should know that the whispers are of sound rating of 15 dBA, normal conversation between two humans is around 60 dBA and noise above 70 dBA over a prolonged period of time can damage a person’s hearing, and those above 120 dBA can cause immediate damage. The quieter ones can run at about 50 dBA, they deliver power between 1600 watts to 2000 watts. Most portable generators that are common have noise levels ranging between 70-100 dBA at 23 feet.
On the basis of the noise levels, the generators are divided into 3 categories :
- Soundproof generators
- Generators with noise level less than 75 dBA
- Generators with a noise level ranging between 75-120 dBA
Now coming down the actual points, given are the ways by which you’ll get to know how to quiet a generator down.
1. Adjusting the exhaust pipes of your generators to a vertical position
The generators work on the principle of electromagnetic induction which was given by Michael Faraday. In nutshell, it is a process in which mechanical energy is converted into electrical energy. The mechanical energy in generators is provided by various fuels like gasoline, propane, diesel, etc.
The basic function of these pipes is to release carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and other remaining gases that are harmful to the environment and cause various problems like global warming, poisoning. These pipes on almost all the generators are generally fixed horizontally. All the gases along with the noise will be emitted in the same direction.
So, the best thing to dissipate the smoke and the annoying noise is to point these exhaust pipes in a vertically upward or any other way. The whole point is to direct the pipes into a different direction other than the one in which you are as this will give the sound a different path to follow. Now, this may not be a complete solution as the sound waves will still travel horizontally but it will be able to reduce the intensity by a few units for sure.
2. Location of the generator
It is quite obvious that as the distance between the sources of sound increases the strength of the sound decreases. The audibility decreases with the increase in the distance. This is no different in case of generators, meaning, to dampen the sound of the generator it is advised to keep the generators as far as you can from yourself.
The place where you keep your generator should also be practical too. Don’t keep it near other places that belong to the other people, neighbors or anyone cause if you do so will be the ones who’ll have to bear the angelic sounds coming from your generator.
Another thing to keep in mind is to not keep the generator on a wobbly floor or any wooden surface cause instead of absorbing the noise it will just amplify the whole thing and thus increase the intensity by a few decibels.
The last thing to consider if you are thinking to give this a shot is to buy enough electrical cable so that you can actually power the appliances which are away from the generators.
3. Sound deflectors
“Third time’s a charm”. This phrase has to be the most appropriate for the present time. Especially, for some reason, if you can’t or were not able to do what was described in the two points mentioned above. The reason being anything, even if you are tight on money. I will not judge you, as this third piece of advice that I’m about to share will be a savior of yours.
Sound deflectors as the name suggests, deflect the sound produced. Yes, it does that instead of damping it. Well, whatever and however the job is done, I can guarantee the intensity of the angelic sounds coming from your generators will be reduced. Even though this wouldn’t technically make the generator quieter, there will be a significant reduction in the noise in the surrounding by masking the device from one side.
These can be anything from the room dividers to other partitions available online. These can reduce the total sound by 10dB. But wait, there is no need to reach out to your pocket and look for money cause like I said this works even if you are tight on budget. Again, no one is judging you.
In other words, things you already have in your possession can serve the purpose that you are looking for here. These include curtains and blankets which can act as a barrier.
Now before you go on using these out of excitement, I must warn you that you don’t and you should never put these blankets or curtains directly over the generators in hope that it will reduce the noise. I mean they will reduce them since the material will absorb the noise but overheating can cause serious damage to the engine and the cost of repairing will exceed the price of the generators itself.
I’m pretty sure that’s something you don’t want to try out because if you are reading this you are probably are not willing to risk money. Truth be told, I don’t know if the generator explodes or what but if you try the covering thing and you make it as in you still are alive after the blast or whatever then feel free to report us back cause I’m a little light on this information.
4. Getting a muffler for the generator
The engine and the exhaust system of a generator are the loudest parts of all the parts used in the making. Now, let’s call a spade a spade, assuming you are average Joe, having little knowledge about the work, not a lot can be done to muffle the noise coming from the engine itself however changes can be made to the exhaust.
Muffler, just like in a car does perform the same function or reducing the overall noise which is produced. The muffler contains a large number of tubes that are perforated along the area and are
designed to reflect the sound and minimize the noise leaving as a whole.
Buying and fixing a muffler in your generator even though isn’t easy, is a great alteration to the whole system. You may even need a specialized mechanic to install but once it’s all set you can look forward to a total reduction of the sound escaping by 15 dBA sound.
Another thing to keep in mind is getting a big muffler in addition to dampening the total noise of the exhaust, which will decrease the pitch of the noises made and yes, and we all know low pitched noises will be less annoying than the high pitched sounds of the generator in general.
5. Using water to reduce the sound
Yes, I know! The thing about waters and generators, right? Something doesn’t add up as the two words don’t really sound okay when used together. But rest assured, as the tip that I’m about to give you is another one that will baffle the noise coming out of your exhaust.
Let’s say you are gone camping. In theory, the soundproofing boxes and all that other stuff we have mentioned and will mention as this progresses will be great at serving the purpose but practically in such a case these all won’t help cause let’s face it. Like, what if you will go camping, would you seriously consider taking the other extra stuff when you should be going light on the packing?
I’ll take the liberty of answering this for you. A big fat, NO! As you can’t carry this stuff around wherever you want. So yes, the water trick is here to your rescue. Whether you are in your home or are elsewhere, you will have water with you or available in the surroundings, obviously.
And believe me when I say this will save you lots of trouble. All you have to do is to get a bucket of volume more than 5 gallons and a hose pipe. Now connect one end of the pipe to the exhaust and add the rest of the pipe to the bucket full of water. You have to make sure that the water doesn’t enter into the generator itself.
For that one thing, you should do is to keep the generator at a higher level than the bucket. The second thing is to find the highest point on the hose and cut a hole just a little before the connection to the exhaust so that if, the water starts to rise there is an outlet for it before it enters the generator. If everything is done correctly, this way will work as the sound will get muffled in the water itself
6. Generators silencer
Silencers serve the function of reducing the noise and exhaust emissions from the combustion which helps in the conversion of mechanical energy to electrical energy. Just like the mufflers, you must have sufficient knowledge to buy and install silencer unless the exhaust system or the generators will be blocked completely. When the whole setup is installed correctly, you will be looking forward to a total noise reduction between 12-18 dB.
7. Enclosing and soundproofing the generator
This step is kind of like the barrier method and works on the same principle as the sound deflectors work. That is, minimizing the total audibility of the sound produced by the generators by damping them with the help of other materials which will decrease the sound escaping.
However, unlike what we suggested before, this will require a bit more work and will be specific to your generator only as this will be an enclosure which will decrease the sound escaping from multiple sides which dividers aren’t capable of doing. But I promise once you are done with it you’ll see that the extra work will be worth it.
If you want to make this yourself then here’s a link for the DIY project.
Just a few important things you should take care of are:
- Taking proper measurements
- Installing insulation which is heat resistant so they don’t catch fire
- Install venting duct proper ventilation and clean them to ensure there aren’t any blockages.
- Cutting a hole for exhaust outlet which is pretty self-explanatory.
- Using the soundproofing material to dampen the sound.
Another thing you can also add here is a rubber flap by using a hinge mechanism if you are considering to get or buy one of these boxes because it’s pretty obvious you’ll probably not want to remove the whole box to control the whole generator, look at the meter and tweak things every now and then.
In addition to this, you may also want to consider installing an extra space into the whole structure to add a cooling fan to keep the generator cool and at operational temperatures at all times.
8. Placement of generators
Vibration between any two hard surfaces can produce sound. Trust me, don’t keep your generators on any surface which is wobbly or loose like a wooden surface cause all that will do is amplify the sound and increase the total sounds you’ll hear.
You should rather place them on a floor which is made up of rubber, foam or any other surface that will absorb and dampen the sound. There are various materials available online which you can insert between the base of your generator and the floor which will work fine in reducing the noise to some degree.
9. The power of the generator
The power which is supplied by the generator is directly proportional to the sound which is produced by the generator. That means the greater is the output of your generator the louder will be the sound and lesser the output of your generator, the less audible will be the noise which is produced.
So yes, the noise given by the more powerful generators is greater in strength than the less powerful generators. Hence, if you wanna be at peace then you may wanna have to power your generator down so there is less work that is there to do for it. Even though, the sound produced will be less only a few appliances that work on less power will work when you power it down.
10. Investing in a quieter generator
Yes, there are such generators available online which you can buy. The power provided by this generator may be less than the other generators in some cases but let’s not forget these generators are very quiet and won’t produce the sounds that will get on your nerves that much. Plus you won’t have to worry about all these soundproofing them, making baffle boxes, sound deflectors or even that water trick or anything if you are considering to go for these.
You will be all set to power your appliances and there will be no need to tweak anything, run them right away without any alterations without getting your neighborhood disturbed. The sound produced by them is around 50 dB which is even less than sounds range produced by humans in a normal conversation.
Some of the picks :
Honda EU2200i – Super Quiet
Noise Level – 48 to 57 dBA
Noise Level – 51 dBA
Noise Level – 58 dBA
Noise Level – 53 dBA
Briggs and Stratton 30545 P3000 Power start
Noise Level – 52 dBA
Noise Level – 56 dBA
Another thing that you might want to take into account with these is that even though they are quiet there is a reading given with them which shows distances in meters or feet. For example, let’s say a generator has a noise rating of 57dB and the other distance is given to be 7 meters.
If you see such a case then you should know that it means that the noise coming from them is 57dB from a distance of 7 meters. But yes, these will be far less audible to you than those other power generators which make lots of noise.
So, in this article, we have come across many ways in which you can reduce the annoying buzzing sound of your generators. You have to try out these methods on your own and see what helps you out as what works for other people may or may not work for you.
And another thing to consider is even if you find the method to dampen the noise which is being produced by your generator, expecting it to reduce the strength of the sound by lots of units won’t be good. However, if you manage to get the sound deflectors, install a muffler, soundproof the generators and do all the other things mentioned in a proper way, then it will definitely reduce the overall noise and take you a step closer to not being annoyed by them.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the quietest generator?
After researching and reviewing for a long while we have come across some of the generators who are the best when it comes to the amount of sound they produce. But, the one which stands out from all is Honda EU2200i. Not just this generator is extremely quiet with 53 decibels of volume level, it is amazingly fuel-efficient too.
How do you sound a generator muffle?
One cool trick is to place your generator on top of a padded cushion which will help to lessen the noise level from vibrations and also from all the shaking. So, buy a padded cushion which is usually made out of cushioning wrap and poly foam from your nearby store and try out this! Another thing you can do is place your generator a good distance from your house if you don’t have any neighbors.
Why are Honda generators so quiet?
One of the special things about Honda generators is that they feature an Eco-Throttle System. Now, what’s that? In simple terms it allows the engine of your generator to automatically adjust its engine speed so that it produces power only when there is an application in use.
The conventional generators have to run at 3600 RPM to produce 60 hertz of electricity. But generators with Eco-Throttle system are capable of running at much slower RPMs while also maintaining frequency and power for the requested load. It automatically adjusts the engine speed to the optimum level.
Are generators loud?
This question can’t be answered in a straight yes or no. Since there are so many different types and brands of generators available in the market various factors play a key role in deciding how loud a generator is going to be. Some of them can be loud and some of them produce much less noise.
The cool thing is generators are now labeled with the volume level (in dBA) reading they produce, so you can decide which one to choose. The one with the lower readings is going to be far less loud than the ones with higher readings. For instance, a generator that runs at 60 decibels is going to be almost ten times as loud as a generator that runs at 50 decibels.
Usually, inverter generators with their special Quiet Technology are much less quiet as compared to the conventional generators. They typically range between 50 dBA to 60 dBA and include various noise-reducing features.
How do you stop a generator from vibrating?
Using Anti-vibration mounts is one of the best ways to stop your generator from vibrating. They provide high vibration isolation by limiting the noise at the source. You can place these anti-vibration mounts beneath the generator to isolate vibrations and reduce noise transmission.
How loud is 60 DBA?
The unit for measuring sound loudness in decibels (dBA). Higher the number of decibels, the louder would be the sound. 60 DBA is almost equal to the sound of a normal conversation, which isn’t too loud or harsh for the ears. The generators in this range of noise level tend to be much quiet than the ones with 70 or above 70 dBA. We can’t call them to be the quietest as the ones with a sound range of 50-55 dBA are also available in the market which is obviously going to be quieter.