Mowing the lawn is noisy business. Some of us love to do it first thing in the morning. But it’s not a happy hour for our family and neighbors or for our ear drums for that matter.
That’s why quieting the lawn mower is so important. It can turn an annoying chore into a meditative experience if you can quiet the engine to a decent decibel range. And the people around you will thank you for it!
So here are 5 ways you can make your lawn mower much quieter:
1. Check the muffler for any defects
Mufflers can get, dirty, worn down and crack after a period of use. It’s no wonder since they have to keep a powerful engine quiet and they also provide back-pressure that increases its horsepower.
Most riding lawn mowers have the muffler installed on the engine exhaust port. Before inspecting it, make sure that it’s cooled down otherwise you can burn yourself. The muffler gets really hot from the engine so wait a few hours before checking it out.
When it’s cooled down, find the muffler and the exhaust pipe. The exhaust pipe runs from the front of the engine and should be easy to locate.
There are usually two bolts holding the exhaust pipe to the engine’s exhaust port. Use a wrench of the correct size to unscrew the bolts and then pull the pipe off and out of the muffler.
Now you can check out the muffler. There may be some rust and cracks from condensation that are visible. If it’s indeed cracked and/or rusted, it’s best to remove it and replace it with a new one.
So peel off the old gasket out of the exhaust port and scrape off any debris. When you’re finished, place the new gasket on the exhaust port.
The final step is sliding the exhaust pipe into the muffler and fixing it back on the exhaust port. When you’re finished, turn your engine and you’ll notice a significant reduction in noise.
If you don’t have a replacement muffler at hand, there are many available on Amazon for a cheap price. Make sure that before buying it’s of the correct dimensions so that it fits in well. Also, longer mufflers are quieter, so getting a longer one if possible will also make a difference.
2. DIY Double Muffler Setup
A long exhaust pipe and muffler will definitely reduce noise, and there’s a very simple way to utilize them. Here’s a video demonstration:
And here’s how this double setup sounds in action:
Of course there is still noise from inside the engine, but that’s to be expected. The guy who made these videos says that he hasn’t noticed any reduction in power, so that’s probably not something worth worrying about. This is such an easy and quick project that it’s definitely worth it even if it produces only a 10% reduction of overall noise.
3. Quiet the deck
Quieting the deck will lessen the vibrations, rock pings and the noise coming from the blades. The best way to do this is to cover the deck with sound deadening materials that are typically used in cars, vans and other vehicles.
The material that I recommend is FatMat. It’s a bit flashy but it’s quite effective so I wouldn’t hold that against it. It’s self-adhesive so you don’t have to use any additional spray adhesive. Simply cut it to size and and cover the deck with the material and you’re done.
There are other auto sound deadeners like Dynamat and Noico, but they cost more for no particular reason and that’s really the only difference between them. But it’s ultimately your choice. The sound reduction will be the same regardless of which of these materials you cover the deck with.
4. Use ear protection
Even if you manage to quiet your lawn mower, it will still produce a substantial amount of noise for the person who’s using it or standing near it.
This is not a good thing for your ear drums. I know way too many people who are half-deaf partially because of loud machinery including lawn mowers. Having conversations with them can be a real pain in the neck!
To prevent blowing your ear drums, use either ear plugs or ear muffs. Ear muffs are better in my opinion because they cover the entire ears and provide greater noise reduction as a result. I also hate having plugs stuck in my ears, and I don’t think it’s healthy either. I felt some pain in my ear after trying to sleep with ear plugs for a few nights in a row.
Anyway, I got these ear muffs a few years ago and I’ve been using them whenever I’m mowing the lawn or doing any loud renovations. They muffle well and they’re pretty tough, so I’m confident in recommending them as a long-term solution.
5. Buy a quieter electric lawn mower
Just like people, some lawn mowers are quieter than others. And while I’m not an expert on people, I do know a few things about lawn mowers.
Electric ones are definitely quieter than those powered by gas. And also, smaller engines are quieter than bigger ones, in case of lawn mowers and generators.
So replacing your loud-mouth generator with a smaller electric one is a final option if the other four methods are not making a big difference.
Two weeks ago my neighbor purchased the Black Decker BEMW482ES Electric Mower and I must admit that it’s much quieter than his old gas-powered mower. He says that it’s working great. He does have a smaller lawn so it might not be powerful enough for yours if you have a lot of space. But in general, it’s worth considering switching to an electric mower if you haven’t already simply due to the noise pollution.
I’m not sure about the decibel level of this electric mower, but I would estimate that it’s around 75 dB, whereas standard gas mowers are around 90 dB. But this is just a subjective estimate so don’t take my word for it. I will use my decibel meter to measure the noise and update this article later when I have the time.
There aren’t many ways to quiet a lawn mower. Basically, it’s either improving the muffler by replacing it with a new one, or elongating it by using the double setup.
For reducing the noise from the blades, covering the deck with soundproofing material. Wearing ear protection is always recommended because any lawn mower produces excessive sound that is not good for your ear drums.
If you’re not finding satisfaction in these DIY projects, buying a smaller electric mower can be a one-in-all solution.
Or you can just hire someone to mow the lawn for you and cover your head with a pillow until its done. If you’re in Louisiana, Rust is available in the afternoons and I’m sure he’d be glad to help out.