Anyone who has used a noisy generator has likely wished there was a way to muffle the sound. If you're willing to put in some elbow grease, there are many options for reducing the noise level of your generator to that of a quiet whisper.
The noise coming from the generator seems to have no obvious source, but if you know how they work then it is clear what you can do.
The noise that generators make is to be expected given that they are essentially large engines. Generators, like other motorized devices, produce noise as a byproduct of energy production.
Most generators rely on gasoline-powered engines to convert mechanical energy into electrical power. All modern ones work on the principle of electromagnetic induction and either directly supply electricity or charge a battery.
Most of the noise that comes from a generator comes from the engine and the exhaust.
The generator engine provides the device's mechanical energy. Using fuel, it drives pistons that are wired to an electrical generator. However, there is little need to elaborate on the intricate workings of a generator engine.
For this article, the most crucial factor is the generator engine's distinctive noise. Due to the kinetic nature of the generator's waste energy, the noise is associated with impacts or vibrations. The vibrations from the generator can be felt or seen then the generator is running.
The generator's exhaust not only makes a lot of noise, but it also emits harmful substances. The noises you hear are caused by pressurized gas within the engine. When it exits the exhaust, it may generate a range of noises similar to a car's exhaust.
The generator's exhaust creates airborne noise, while the engine's vibrations create impact noise.
The exact decibel level produced by a generator will vary depending on a number of factors, but it is usually anywhere between 60 and 100. The noise levels of backup or standby generators are often higher than those of portable generators since they are heavier and bulkier.
Besides dimensions and functionality, you should think about the quality of construction. Even high-end generators produce some noise, and in most cases the noise produced by cheap generators is greater. As a result of their low quality, the parts are more prone to vibration or less money is spent on design.
The generator's power output should also be considered. The bigger the generator the more likely it is to produce more noise, and inverter generators produce less noise than gas generators, which produce less noise than diesel generators on average.
The issue of noise is multifactorial. That is to say, the volume of noise produced by a generator depends on a number of variables. Most importantly, if you notice that your generator is too loud, you should make efforts to lower the volume.
Here are my top tips.
Before you go out and buy a generator, it's important to have a firm grasp on your power needs. Determine your power needs in advance of making a purchase to help sidestep the generator noise problem.
The procedure is simple and quick to complete. The more power your generator can create, the louder it will be. What kind of budget you have, how much noise you can stand, and how much electricity you need are all factors to think about while looking for a generator.
Some campers, though, can't function without access to electricity in order to charge their electronic devices. If you simply need to run a few low-power gadgets, you can get away with a smaller, less powerful generator.
Generators providing only a few hundred watts of power should be sufficient for these low-power tasks.
If you want to run larger items in your camper, like the fridge, microwave, or air conditioner, you'll need a generator with a higher wattage output. These larger items can be powered by generators rated at 2,000 to 5,000 watts.
Some generators are designed to be more silent than others while yet producing the same amount of power. These generators are more expensive because they combine the finest features of several different types.
So there is no point in getting a huge noisy generator to power your laptop, but don't make the mistake of using a generator that too closely matches your needs as you will have to run it at full power for too long.
If relocating the generator away from your house is impractical, there are other ways to lessen the noise it produces. If the noise is coming from the exhaust pipe, you can easily redirect it away from your house or RV.
You can easily picture in your mind that the sound waves created by a loud noise will go away in the direction that the noise is coming from. If the exhaust is pointed at your house, the sound waves will seem louder, but if they are moving away, they will leave your living area and will seem quieter.
Cushion the floor beneath your portable generator with rubber feet to dampen the sound that you can hear. They help dampen noise by soaking up vibrations before they can enter your eardrum
The reasoning behind why rubber shoes are preferable also applies to other damping options like foam matting.
The harder the surface the louder the generator will seem, however, my having a generator on things like concrete but with rubber feet will help mitigate the relationship between having a safe surface and excess noise.
It shouldn't be too loud if you do it on grass or soft ground, as these surfaces reduce the energy of the waves and hence the transmission of sound.
For a quicker and less permanent fix, you may try covering your generator in plywood. You will take precise dimensions using the space around your generator to construct a plywood enclosure that will house it securely.
Plywood planks are great, cheap, and easy to use for reducing the noise of the generator, but they can't compare to constructing a proper soundproof box.
You also need to make sure you allow ventilation still, or the exhaust fumes might become a problem.
One of the next things to think about when trying to figure out how to quiet a generator is the distance between the generator and your campsite or home. When using a generator at your campsite, this is one of the most important things you can do to keep things peaceful.
The maximum safe distance from your campsite that your generator can be placed at will depend on a number of different factors. These will often depend on the rules of the actual campsite.
You should be mindful of your neighbors and of the impact on wildlife. If you move your generator near someone else's tent, it might be good for you but it will not be good for them.
If you are camping in a remote place, the length of your extension cords and your convenience will be the most critical factors to consider. The more away your camp is from the generator, the quieter it will seem to run.
The decibel level that each model of generator produces is often listed by the manufacturer. These decibel readings are typically judged from 6 meters away from a functioning generator. A good rule of thumb is to keep your generator at least 20 feet away from your campground if you want to run at that decibel level.
If you have the room and no other campers are nearby, you can put your generator wherever you wish thanks to some heavy-duty extra-long extension wires.
If you keep your generator at least 20 feet away from your campsite, the noise will be substantially reduced, enabling you to focus on your time in nature.
If you're using an old generator and you notice that it's a lot louder than it used to be, the muffler may be broken. If you think the muffler on your generator needs to be replaced, take it in for a service to see if a new muffler is needed.
If the muffler is malfunctioning, the generator will make more noise than it should even when it's working well. The cost of a new generator might be in the thousands of dollars, therefore it may be more cost-effective to have a few parts changed.
A sound deflector is another type of baffle box that can be used to reduce noise levels. Most commonly used baffle boxes contain barriers that waves can bounce off of to alter their path.
The aim is to break up and redirect the sound waves. Plywood or other cheap, readily accessible lumber might serve as the base, with mass-loaded vinyl or soundproofing mats applied on top and floor.
The objective is to reflect and/or attenuate sound waves so that they can't be heard at your house or campsite. Set them up like a fan or a maze between the generator and your home.
The exhaust fumes are the primary contributor to the annoying noise, as we have already discussed. An exhaust pipe connected to the motor allows the noise to escape into the open air.
Putting the exhaust into a host and then into a bucket of water is a simple and effective way to fix this problem. The water will significantly dampen the sound, however make sure the water doesn't get into the generator.
I have already covered a wide variety of DIY tips, some of which are very effective at what they are designed to do. But you can buy branded silencers also. For example, The GenSilencer is one option.
GenSilencer produces silencers for many different types and sizes of generators and they are readily available on Amazon.
The Gensilencer muzzle mufflers are simple to install and have a sleek, black finish. The 30-day money-back guarantee and 1-year warranty that come with these silencers are a big plus. If you don't notice a change in sound quality after installation, you can send it back.
If you have a garage, shed, or other similar outbuilding on your property, that is where you should keep the generator when it is being used for household purposes.
This uses the same concepts as the soundproof box but doesn't require any additional airflow to function. It's a workaround that requires no more than relocating the generator to the outhouse.
Some outhouses are better than others. As a best case scenario, yours will be made of breezeblocks, but more likely it will be constructed entirely of wood. In general, they will both work better than just having it out in the open.
If your shed echos a lot, you must take measures to reduce echo. Basically adding soundproofing materials.
Overheating shouldn't be too much of a concern in a shed, but fumes are something to keep in mind. If you plan on spending time in the shed, drilling some holes in the wall or keeping the door open is a must.
Your portable generator is a lifesaver in the worst possible situations. No matter if you're pitching a tent in the middle of nowhere or the power goes out in the middle of the night, you can count on it to come to the rescue.
Sometimes you wish there wasn't so much noise going on. It's annoying to you, and it's also a possible source of friction with the neighbors. When camping, you don't want to startle any other campers who could be nearby.
So the noise is a necessary evil, but there are options to reduce it.