Generators are often regarded as a savior during power outages and situations where electricity is not available. However, despite their usefulness as they’re not perfect and can create a significant amount of noise, which can be bothersome to those in the surrounding area. Many people wonder “why are generators are so loud and what causes them to make so much noise”.
There are several reasons why generators can be incredibly loud but fortunately, there are several ways to make a generator quiet. In this article, we will discuss some effective strategies to reduce the noise produced by generators.
Why Are Generators So Loud?
Before we get into the solution of lowering the voice of the generators to keep your environment peaceful, we shall understand what causes a generator to be so loud.
- Firstly, the internal combustion engine that powers the generator produces a lot of noise. As the engine burns fuel to create energy, it generates vibrations that can cause the generator to shake and create noise. The sound of the engine is amplified by the metal casing of the generator, which acts as a resonator, increasing the volume of the noise.
- The type of fuel used to power the generator can also affect the amount of noise it produces. Gasoline-powered generators tend to be the loudest, with noise levels ranging from 65 to 90 decibels. Diesel-powered generators tend to be quieter, with noise levels ranging from 60 to 75 decibels. Natural gas-powered generators are even quieter, with noise levels ranging from 55 to 65 decibels.
- Another factor is their size and power output. Larger generators tend to be louder than smaller ones, as they have more powerful engines that produce more noise. High-powered generators can also be louder, as they need to burn more fuel to generate more electricity.
- The design of the generator also plays a significant role in its noise level. Traditional generators are designed with an open frame, which allows air to flow through the engine to keep it cool. However, this design can also allow noise to escape, making the generator louder. Inverter generators, on the other hand, are designed with a closed frame, which helps to reduce noise levels.
- The location: The positioning of the generator is another key factor that can influence its noise emissions. In enclosed areas like garages or sheds, the sound waves tend to reflect off the walls and bounce back, muting the noise. Conversely, when positioned in open areas like backyards or fields, the sound waves can disperse more freely, thereby reducing the overall noise level.
Finally, it’s important to note that there are regulations in place to limit the amount of noise that generators can produce. In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established noise regulations for generators that vary based on the size and type of generator. These regulations are designed to protect people from excessive noise levels and ensure that generators are not a nuisance to those in the surrounding area.
How To Make a Generator Quiet?
- Use a Generator Silencer
One of the most effective ways to reduce the noise produced by a generator is to install a silencer. A generator silencer is a device that attaches to the exhaust of the generator and reduces the noise produced by the engine. The silencer works by creating a baffle that redirects the sound waves and reduces the noise level. Generator silencers are available in various sizes and shapes, and you can easily find one that fits your generator.
- Install a Soundproof Enclosure
Another way to reduce the noise produced by a generator is to install a soundproof enclosure. A soundproof enclosure is a box or a canopy that surrounds the generator and reduces the noise level. The enclosure is made of sound-absorbing materials that trap the sound waves and prevent them from escaping. This method is particularly useful for larger generators that produce a lot of noise.
- Use Rubber Feet
Generators can produce a lot of vibration, which can contribute to the noise level. To reduce the vibration, you can install rubber feet on the generator. Rubber feet absorb the vibration and prevent it from transferring to the ground, which can significantly reduce the noise level.
- Use a Longer Exhaust Pipe
The exhaust pipe of a generator can also contribute to the noise level. By installing a longer exhaust pipe, you can redirect the noise away from your location. The longer the exhaust pipe, the farther the noise will travel, which can help reduce the noise level.
- Place the Generator on a Soundproof Mat or Vibration Pad
Another effective way to reduce the noise produced by a generator is to place it on a soundproof mat. A soundproof mat is a material that absorbs sound waves and prevents them from reflecting off hard surfaces. By placing the generator on a soundproof mat, you can reduce the noise level significantly.
- Use Plywood for Sound Deflecting
If you don’t want to build a soundproof enclosure for your generator, you can still use acoustic plywood to reduce its noise. By placing pieces of plywood around the generator, you can achieve a soundproof effect that can reduce the generator’s noise by up to 10 decibels. This method is particularly useful for RVers because plywood can be stacked flat, requiring less space than a built enclosure.
However, it’s important to be cautious around the exhaust pipe when using plywood for sound deflection. To avoid the risk of fire, you should keep wood or any other flammable material away from the exhaust, and consider using a non-flammable material like sheetrock on the exhaust side. Also, make sure to keep a good angle on the plywood to ensure proper airflow around the generator.
- Set the Generator Away from Your Home
To reduce the noise from a generator, it’s best to keep some distance between you and the source of the noise. If you live in a rural area, this may be easier to accomplish, since homes are generally more spread out than in urban areas. Typically, generators produce between 70 and 80 decibels of noise from a distance of 20 feet. This can be quite loud and disruptive if you’re in close proximity.
One way to reduce the noise is to use a long extension cord to move the generator further away from your home. This can be especially effective if you have a detached garage or storage shed where you can place the generator. If your extension cord is long enough to allow for this, you should notice a significant reduction in noise levels.
- Wrap in a Soundproof Blanket
Wrapping a generator in soundproof blankets is a simple and effective way to reduce its noise levels. Soundproof blankets are made of heavy-duty materials that are designed to absorb and reduce sound waves. By wrapping the generator in these blankets, the sound waves are absorbed and dampened, resulting in a significant reduction in noise. There are various types of soundproof blankets available on the market, ranging from basic blankets to more advanced options with additional sound-blocking layers.
Here are the steps for wrapping a generator in soundproof blankets
- Measure the dimensions of your generator and purchase enough soundproof blankets to cover it completely.
- Choose soundproof blankets made of heavy-duty materials that are designed to absorb and reduce sound waves.
- Wrap the blankets tightly around the generator, ensuring that there are no gaps or spaces for sound to escape.
- Use duct tape or other fasteners to secure the blankets in place, making sure not to cover any exhaust vents or other important areas.
- Ensure that the generator is properly ventilated to prevent overheating.
- Test the generator to ensure that it is still functioning properly and not overheating after being wrapped in soundproof blankets
Is There a Generator That is Not Noisy?
One of the biggest drawbacks of generators is that they can be incredibly noisy, which can be a significant annoyance for anyone in the area. This leads to the question: Is there a generator that is not noisy?
It depends on the type of generator you choose. There are several different types of generators on the market, and each one has its own noise level. In general, portable generators tend to be the noisiest, while inverter generators are the quietest.
Portable generators are designed to be taken on the go, which means they’re typically smaller and less powerful than other types of generators. However, they are also the loudest, with noise levels that can range from 65 decibels to over 90 decibels. This is equivalent to the noise level of a chainsaw or a rock concert, which can be incredibly disruptive to those around you.
On the other hand, inverter generators are designed to be more compact and lightweight than traditional generators, making them easy to transport. They are also much quieter than other types of generators, with noise levels that range from 50 decibels to 65 decibels. This is equivalent to the noise level of a normal conversation, which is much more tolerable for most people.
Other Factors Which can Affect the Noise of The Generator
In addition to the type of generator there are also other factors that can affect the noise level.
The size of the generator can make a big difference. A larger generator will typically be louder than a smaller one, so if you’re looking for a quiet generator, it’s best to choose one that is as small as possible.
The location of the generator can also make a big difference in the amount of noise it produces. If you place the generator far away from your house or campsite, you will hear much less noise than if it’s right next to you. Additionally, placing the generator on a soft surface, such as grass or dirt, can help to absorb some of the sound and reduce the overall noise level.
- Try other brands
There are also some specific brands and models of generators that are known for being quieter than others. For example, Honda is known for producing some of the quietest generators on the market, with noise levels as low as 49 decibels. Other brands, such as Yamaha and Generac, also produce generators with low noise levels.
If you’re looking for a generator that is not noisy, it’s important to do your research and choose a generator that is designed to be as quiet as possible. While inverter generators are generally the quietest, there are also other factors that can affect the noise level, such as the size and location of the generator. By choosing the right generator and taking steps to reduce noise, you can enjoy the benefits of portable power without disturbing those around you.
How to Make a Generator Quiet Final Words
There are several steps that can be taken to make a generator quiet. Firstly, choosing the right location for the generator is crucial as it can help reduce the noise level. Secondly, installing an acoustic enclosure or building a soundproof room can significantly reduce the noise level of the generator.
Additionally, using vibration pads or mounting the generator on a solid base can help to reduce vibrations and, therefore, the noise level. Regular maintenance and servicing of the generator can also ensure that it runs smoothly and quietly. By implementing these measures, it is possible to make a generator quiet and minimize the disturbance caused by its operation.