Having a backup generator at home can be very handy especially during blackout emergencies or when you’re trying to live outdoors. However, generators can be loud and disturbing. Some can even get as loud as a garbage truck.
So how can you make your generator as quiet as a cricket? The answer is simple, soundproofing is the best way to make your generator quiet and less noisy.
Don’t know how to make your generator quiet? Well, you’re in luck! You’ll find 11 ways to make your generator quiet as a cricket in this article. Read on to see how you can get some peace and quiet at home even with a generator powering your house.
Why are Generators Noisy?
Generators are great to have at home. They let you get the power and electricity you need during power outages or when you’re living somewhere without a direct power source.
However, owning certain generators can cause a bit of disturbance because of the noise it makes.
Generators make noise because they are technically engines that create power by burning fuel in combustion chambers. When the air and fuel are pressurized, a small explosion happens. It is this explosion that makes the noise that you hear coming out of a generator.
The actual generation of energy is what makes generators noisy most of the time. But there are also other factors that can cause generators to become noisy.
If you want to fix your noisy generator, the first thing you should do is check out the cause of the noise. Here are 5 common causes for noisy generators that you should look into.
5 Common Causes for Noisy Generators
1. The Muffler is Malfunctioning
Generators usually come with a piece of soundproofing material. Generators come with mufflers to muffle the noise.
However, when the generator muffler gets damaged or it is not properly fitted for the generator engine, the generator can become noisier than it should be.
2. The Air Valve is Making Induction Noise
When generators are turned on, air flows into their combustion chamber to produce power. This is where the air valve comes in. To let air into the combustion chamber, the air valve must be opened while the piston is retracted in the combustion chamber.
When the air valve is opened to let the air in the combustion chamber, noise is produced by the generator. On the contrary, the moving air valve doesn’t make that much noise. But it does make noise as long as the generator is turned on.
3. The Type and Age of Generators Affect the Performance
The older a generator gets, the noisier it can be. Older models and types are now viewed as outdated since they didn’t usually come with the soundproofing features that come with newer generators today.
Old generators also tend to have worn-out or loosened parts that can add to the overall noise coming from the generator engine.
4. The Alternator is Causing Noise
The alternator is the part of the generator’s combustion engine that converts mechanical energy into electrical energy.
When the generator runs, the pistons inside the combustion chamber move in a cycle. The piston’s motion is what gets converted into energy by the alternator.
Since the motions inside the combustion chamber are purely mechanical, the moving parts bumping against each other also add to the overall noise of the generator.
5. The Power Produced by the Combustion Chamber
Last but not least is the power produced by the generator. It is common for generators that produce a lot of power to produce more noise.
You can actually observe this more on medium and low-end generator models.
If you want a generator that makes significantly less noise, your best option would be to get an inverter generator with soundproofing features.
How to Make Generators Quiet
Now that you are well aware of the different reasons why generators are noisy let us now get into how you can make generators quiet.
As mentioned earlier, generators usually come with mufflers as a form of soundproofing to make the generator quieter when being used. Unfortunately, not all generators come with effective soundproofing to keep users undisturbed by the noise.
The simplest way to make generators quiet is by adding in a couple of soundproofing accessories that would reduce the vibrations caused by the generator engine.
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The fewer vibrations there are the less noise your generator will make, and the higher the possibility for you to make your generator as quiet as a cricket.
Check out these 11 easy ways you can make your generator as quiet as cricket that you can easily try at home.
11 Ways to Make Your Generator Quiet as A Cricket
1. Get a Generator Muffler Box
One thing you can try to make your generator as quiet as cricket is by building your own generator muffler box.
Though generators have mufflers installed in them, normal mufflers just don’t give you that silencing effect.
If you want to reduce a lot of noise from a generator, a generator muffler box is a way to go. Adding a generator muffler box to your generator can greatly reduce the noise caused by the exhaust pipe.
Tip: You can use an automotive muffler to muffle the noise from your generator. Just make sure that the car muffler you will use will fit your generator engine.
2. Build a Generator Baffle Box
Another ingenious solution for a noisy generator is a generator baffle box. The idea is so simple. Just create a soundproof generator box and put the generator inside it so that noise wouldn’t escape.
Start by getting the dimensions of the generator to ensure that it will fit perfectly inside the generator box. Once you’ve nailed down the specific measurements of your generator, it’s time to go to the store to pick up some wooden pallets to build a box.
When building a generator baffle box, always make sure to cut out a ventilation duct for the exhaust pipe. Doing so will make sure that the engine is well-ventilated and will prevent overheating issues.
On the downside, going with a generator baffle box might not be the most portable solution out there since you’d have to keep your generator within a huge wooden box. So it might be best to apply this solution to larger generator models that don’t need to be moved around.
Tip: For additional soundproofing, fill the inside of the baffle box with enough matting to reduce the vibrations from the generator. It is also good to seal the edges of the box with glue to prevent noise from coming out.
3. Install a Generator Silencer
If you’re not familiar with a generator silencer, it’s pretty much the same as a car silencer. A Generator silencer is applied to the engine to reduce the combustion chamber noise.
You can get a generator silencer at your local hardware stores, or you can also try looking at local automotive repair shops.
Tip: Always check the amount of noise the silencer diffuses before buying to get the perfect silencer for your generator’s engine.
4. Add a Sound Deflector
An alternative solution for noise reduction when it comes to noisy generators is using a sound deflector.
As its name suggests, sound deflectors don’t actually reduce the loud noise coming from the generator itself. Instead, it deflects the sound away from a certain direction.
If you can’t get a new quiet generator or if other soundproofing methods aren’t just cutting it, adding in some sound deflectors may just do the trick.
If you add sound deflectors to your generator enclosure, you are preventing the noise from reaching your position.
Tip: Sound deflectors are not a permanent solution. These are only temporary and should only be considered as an additional way of soundproofing.
5. Reduce Vibrations with Matting
When you turn a generator on, it will constantly vibrate until you turn it off. The vibrations are caused by the movements inside its engine.
The more you are able to reduce the vibration in and around a generator, the more likely you can make your generator sound as quiet as a cricket.
The best way to reduce vibrations is by adding a mass-loaded vinyl mat under a generator to create somewhat of a generator quiet box. Doing so will allow the mat to absorb the vibrations, making it a soundproof box, therefore preventing the generator from creating a loud noise.
If your loud generator is contained in a box, you can also add a soundproof mat to the interior of the quiet generator box so that the sound vibrations can be absorbed by the mat.
Tip: You can also get rubber feet for your generator for added insulation.
6. Use a Water Bucket
Another simple way to keep the noise down from a generator is by doing the water bucket method.
The water bucket method works because the exhaust noise from the exhaust pipe gets filtered by a bucket of water, therefore dampening the overall sound coming from the generator’s exhaust pipe.
To make a water bucket for a generator, all you’ll need is
- 5 gallons of water
- 1 hose pipe
The first thing you’ll need to do is cut out a hole in the high part of the pipe to avoid water getting into the generator.
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The next thing you should do is connect one end of the hose to the generator exhaust and the other end in the bucket of water.
When you turn on the generator, the air from the exhaust will go through the pipe and into the water bucket, making it less noisy because the vibration gets filtered through the water.
7. Switch the Exhaust Direction
Generators make noise because of the exhaust. One effective way to reduce noise from a generator is by turning away the exhaust against your direction.
Simply place the generator’s exhaust in the direction away from your home to direct the noise towards that direction instead.
8. Check the Power Consumption
One of the fastest ways you can lessen the noise from a generator is by dialing down the power.
Generators can consume a lot of power when turned on. And when it does, it can cause louder noise.
You can tone down the noise from a generator by decreasing the power consumption up to the point that the generator can still do its job.
9. Check the Cooling Fan
Generators come with a built-in cooling fan to keep the engine from overheating. Though it doesn’t produce significant noise, the cooling fan can still contribute to the noise coming from a generator.
This is why newer generators are made with liquid cooling technology instead. Generators with liquid cooling features tend to be quieter and better at keeping the generator engine cool and well-ventilated.
10. Move the Generator Away
When you’ve tried all the other soundproofing techniques and yet still find yourself disturbed by the noise coming from your generator, the next best thing you can do is to reposition your generator.
Moving the generator away from your house by as far as 20 feet will be enough to reduce the noise that reaches you.
Tip: Make sure that the generator is placed in a safe generator enclosure where it will not get affected or damaged by the weather.
11. Use a Silent Generator
If you can’t reduce the noise from your generator after trying all the techniques mentioned above, the next best thing you can do is to get yourself a new quieter model.
A new inverter generator can come with liquid cooling features and is made to perform with less noise.
Quiet and portable inverter-type generators are also more energy-efficient, which can help you save on costs if you plan to use your generator for long periods of time.
Tip: If you want to bring a generator with you while camping, a portable silent generator is the best choice to enjoy natural ambient noise outdoors.
Can you cover a generator while it is running?
Yes, you can cover a generator up while it is on. The key here is to make sure that the generator is contained in a well-ventilated container to avoid overheating.
If you want, you can also opt for a liquid-cooled generator. This way, you can add soundproofing or waterproofing protection to your generator without having to worry about overheating.
Do all generators make loud noises?
No. Most generators make loud noises, but not all do. It is common for a standby generator to make noise as loud as a typical conversation or as loud at the garbage disposal.
Why are Honda generators so quiet?
If you’re looking for the quietest generator, Honda is the go-to manufacturer if you want a quiet generator because of its inverter technology.
A Honda generator is also known to have an eco-throttle feature that keeps the generator engine running at lower speeds, making it produce less noise overall.
Now you know how to make your generator as quiet as a cricket. Keep in mind that the best way to keep down the noise a generator makes is by applying a soundproof enclosure for your generator.
It’s also a wise choice to purchase an inverter-type portable generator with liquid cooling features for added reliability without all the disturbing noise.
Well, there you have it, a complete guide on how to get rid of generator noise!
Want to know more about soundproofing your home? Check out all the other articles on our website! You’ll definitely find a lot to learn about soundproofing and more.
Robert is an electronic engineer with more than five years of experience with a solid affinity for helping people reduce noise. He writes about these silent home appliances and easy soundproofing measures to help everyone avoid the negative effect of extended exposure to high noise levels.