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Last Updated on January 21, 2022
Knowing you have a portable source of backup power for emergencies, power outages, camping or outdoor work can leave you with a tranquil mind. The buzzing sound of a generator, on the other hand, is anything but tranquil.
In fact, the continuous noise of a generator can become a total nuisance and can be a real negative to this otherwise super-useful device!
The noise of a generator is usually between 60 and 100 decibels and comes from a mix of engine vibrations, fan noise, the alternator, the exhaust, and the sound of induction.
And let’s face it, you can’t go without any of these features. However, there are some things you can do to reduce the noise and stop it completely ruining your fun. So whether you are home or away, there is something you can do to quickly reduce the noise.
Check out these ten tips to make your generator as quiet as a cricket.
How to Make your Generator Quiet as a Cricket
1. Place it on mat that absorbs sound
Let’s start with one of the simplest things you can do that can instantly reduce generator noise— get a soundproof mat. This instantly absorbs the vibrations and reduces that annoying buzzing sound significantly.
You can just place it under your generator easily, no mess or difficult installations are needed. It is also portable so this is perfect to pop in the car for camping or to use in the garden. What can you use for a soundproof mat?
Any sound absorbing material will work such as rubber, foam, or even thick carpets or blankets. Mass-loaded vinyl is also a super effective, and easily available soundproofing material which can be used as a mat and is super effective at absorbing those noisy vibrations.
2. Upgrade your muffler
A typical component of any generator is the muffler. This is designed to reduce engine noise and vibrations and help your generator run smoothly. In fact, it works in a similar way to the muffler on your car.
It may be that your muffler is not up to scratch, however. And if that is the case, there are ways of upgrading it.
Firstly, you may simply be able to get a bigger muffler. This will be more effective at reducing vibrations and will instantly reduce the noise levels. If your generator doesn’t have a muffler installed, installing one will make a big difference.
If your muffler is old, upgrading to a more efficient version can also make a difference. Make sure to choose a muffler that will be compatible with your generator and you may need some technical skills to change it out.
3. Make a Baffle Box
This is a great option for any DIY-lovers or people on a budget. It is essentially a homemade box, cover or generator enclosure, that is filled with soundproofing material. It will absorb the vibrations and sound of your generator, vastly improving noise levels.
Mass-loaded vinyl is the most effective and most common option for soundproofing material for a baffle box.
How do you go about making a Baffle Box? Where do you start? Measure your generator and make sure your box will have enough space around the edge for soundproofing materials.
This material will line all four walls and the ceiling of your box. Make sure to also leave ventilation holes and leave a space for the fan. Create a box with drywall or crates and attach your mass-loaded vinyl with green glue to make sure it is totally soundproof.
You will love the effectiveness once it is ready and will leave your generator running quiet as a cricket!
4. Choose strong legs and rubber feet
As we know, the vibrations of the generator cause many annoying sounds. And when the generator is not securely mounted on four strong legs, it can move around and make the noise worse.
If this is happening to you, try using support beams to strengthen the setup of your generator and stop it from moving around.
Once the generator is held more securely in place, you will notice it no longer creates as much noise. It is also highly recommended to place your generator on rubber feet. These, a bit like a soundproof mat, absorb vibrations.
They are a super simple and cost-effective way to reduce noise levels. You can purchase ready-made rubber feet or fashion your own without too much trouble.
5. Buy a soundproof box for your generator
A little bit like the Baffle Box, you can also buy soundproof boxes that can serve as a permanent home for your generator. These might be a good idea for people that don’t want to stretch their DIY muscles.
These boxes can also be pretty heavy, so maybe best if you don’t plan on moving your generator around too much.
They are also more pricey but worth considering. A homemade Baffle Box is easy to move around as it acts as a generator cage/ cover. You can also make a DIY soundproof box in your garden that will be a more permanent fixture for your generator. This can be super effective too and can be made using similar materials.
6. Buy a quiet portable inverter generator
If you have a standard generator and you feel that it makes a lot of noise, you may consider upgrading to a portable, inverter generator. These newer generator models are some of the quietest generators out there and they produce almost no noise.
They don’t make as much power as some larger models, but they can power small and medium appliances and electricals and they are great for camping, tailgating or back up home or garden use. They will not bother you or those around you as they are practically silent!
Inverter generators can be a little pricey but they are totally worth it. They are super lightweight and compact so they are really easy to carry and transport too. They also have really easy interfaces so they are a joy to use. Definitely worth considering if you use a generator on a regular basis.
7. Get some sound deflectors
Another way to stop the sound from reaching you is to deflect it in other directions. Although these won’t stop your generator from being loud, they will reduce the sound that reaches you significantly. They are a great temporary solution and you can purchase these easily on the market.
If your generator has a permanent home you could couple these with a more permanent setup, using sheets of plywood and drywall to deflect the noise which is great soundproofing material. How do you make these as effective as possible? Set them up at an angle for the best deflection.
8. Use water to quiet the exhaust
Perhaps a surprising tip, you can muffle the sound of your generator exhaust using just a hosepipe and some water! And it is actually pretty effective and very cost-effective too.
Fill up a bucket with water and place one end of the hosepipe on the generator exhaust with the other end in the bucket you filled.
You can make a small hole in the hosepipe to make sure pressure doesn’t build up and so you don’t need to worry about getting water in your generator. The water absorbs vibrations and does a great job of muffling the sound of your generator.
And you can do this anywhere, just remember your bucket and hose and make sure you have a water source nearby. Ingenious!
9. Angle the exhaust away
A simple and perhaps obvious trick but one that not everyone will think of. If you don’t know already, much of the noise from your generator comes from the exhaust. Therefore, the closer you are to the exhaust, the louder it will sound.
Try angling the exhaust away from your house, camping spot or wherever you are and it will help to reduce noise levels a little.
10. Place your generator as far away as possible
Finally, similarly to the last option, the further away you are from your generator, the quieter it will sound. Can you set yours up as far away from your home as possible? Or several meters from your camping spot.
It may be obvious but it certainly helps reduce noise, just make sure you are not annoying your neighbors or other campers. Combining this with a baffle box or sound deflectors will also help you get your generator to be quiet as a cricket.
So there you have 10 awesome tips to reduce the noise levels of your generator and get it running as quiet as a cricket. There are loads of different options for you to try so whether you are on a budget, are looking for something portable or permanent and whether you are technically skilled or ready to get stuck into DIY you will find a tip that will work for you.
There are even super-quiet generators on the market if you fancy a total upgrade. Try them out and see which works best but make sure you always have space for airflow and that you don’t block the fan which could be dangerous! On your next trip away, garden party, power outage or garden and outdoor work you will discover how quiet your generator can be.