Do you have a loud generator? Perhaps it’s a portable generator for RV and camping. And placing it near your RV ruins the experience of peace and quiet you were hoping for? Or maybe you’re keeping it in-doors in your home.
Either way, you’ll love the information I’m about to share with you. These are the best ways to quiet a noisy generator.
I’m sure you’ll find at least one or two that can be helpful in your situation:
1. Increase the distance between yourself and the generator
Moving the generator as far away as possible will reduce the noise. Doubling the distance can reduce the noise by up to 6 dB. This isn’t always possible, but if you have a large area to play with, use it to your advantage.
2. Place an anti-vibration mat under the generator
If the generator is sitting on a hard concrete floor, it could lead to kidney problems later in life. And my ex told me I had a bad sense of humor. Who’s laughing now Jessica!!
Okay, okay, let’s be serious again. You know that a generator or any other machine vibrating on a hard surface will create tons of noise. This noise can be completely eliminated by placing some soft and thick material underneath.
Thick anti-vibration pads are the best option because they’re designed exactly for this project. As a general rule, the thicker they are the better noise absorption they can provide. This 0.4 inch thick anti-vibration pad is the thickest one I could find and it’s getting great customer reviews as well.
3. Insulate the engine housing
Vibration dampening material is already present in the engine housing. To further reduce the noise, you can double the material yourself. Locate the screws that secure the engine to the frame. You’ll probably find that there is some rubber material between the frame and the screws. S
Place more material between them if possible. In most cases the screws will be too short to add any more material in-between. In that case, replacing them with longer screws that fit in will allow you to place more vibration dampening material.
4. Surround the generator with cinder blocks
Any additional noise barrier between yourself and the generator will come in handy. If you don’t plan on moving the generator any time soon, building a wall from cinder blocks is a good way to reduce noise.
Simply stack cinder blocks together around the generator. Make sure that they’re higher than the generator for extra noise protection. The higher the sound enclosure is, the better results will be.
Some alternatives to cinder blocks can be sand bags (often used by the military around generators) and also cement/concrete blocks.
In either case, leave at least 5 inches between the wall and the generator. This will ensure that there’s enough air flow around the generator and that it doesn’t overheat. It will also allow some of the vibration noise to dissipate.
To further reduce the impact noise from vibrations, cover the inside of the walls with soft material. Acoustic foam and thick blankets (heaviest one available) are a good option.
Especially because you can easily place them and remove them from the wall and use for some other soundproofing project when necessary. Such as insulating a door or a window.
5. Soundproof a fence with MLV
If you’re worried about the generator noise bothering your neighbors, soundproofing a fence can be a good solution.
The best material for doing that is mass loaded vinyl (MLV). It’s heavy and flexible, and these two traits allow it to block airborne and impact noise equally well. Cover the entire fence with it by securing it with nails/screws or a spray adhesive. As long as the fence is of a normal height, you can expect great results.
To learn how to do this properly, here’s my 6-step guide for soundproofing a fence with MLV.
6. Build a soundproof generator box
A soundproof generator box is a wooden box that completely encloses the generator, leaving only a few gaps for cords and to prevent over-heating. The box is made by using thick wooden panels. Plywood and MDF panels are the preferred options.
Once the box is built, it’s further soundproofed by covering the inside with mass loaded vinyl or other strong soundproofing material. This project requires some DIY work, but it’s actually pretty simple.
If you’re interested in making one, check out my article on how to make a soundproof generator box.
7. Use a motorcycle muffler
Attaching an exhaust muffler to any machine can make it quieter. They’re commonly used for vehicles, but the same method can be applied to generators.
Motorcycle mufflers are most commonly used. However, there’s no guarantee that it will fit perfectly on your generator. You may have to use additional pipes in order to attach it properly.
While some people claim it works really well, others have experienced weak results. For example, this guy had almost zero noise reduction. So it’s something to consider as an additional option, if you can’t try the other methods for some reason or another.
8. Buy a quieter inverter generator
Buying a quieter generator can make your entire problem go away. Inverter generators are much quieter than traditional ones.
That’s because they can adjust easily to the required power output. Traditional generators will produce equal output regardless of the current needs, which makes them more expensive in the long run, and louder than is necessary.
But not all inverter generators are equally quiet either. Their decibel range can depend on the insulation, engine housing, power and much more.
I’ve recently reviewed the quietest portable generators on the market. So you may find these top 5 quite portable generator reviews and the accompanying buyer’s guide useful if you plan on purchasing one in the near future.
Final word: How to minimize generator noise
It’s not possible to completely soundproof a generator because you can’t seal it hermetically. There has to be some passage of air available to prevent overheating.
But creating a sound enclosure or reinforcing the current one can make a huge difference. Furthermore, strategically placing vibration dampening material under the generator and on the housing can further educe noise.
So I’m sure you’ll find a couple of these tips helpful because they can be applied to any generator on the market.
If you have any further questions or helpful tips, feel free to leave them in the comment section below.