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How to Make a Soundproof Bird Cage (DIY)

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Make a Soundproof Bird Cage (DIY)

Birds can make great pets, but they can be very noisy. If you’re thinking of getting a pet bird but are worried about noise levels, you might be wondering how to make a soundproof bird cage. Here’s a quick answer:

The best method to make a soundproof bird cage is to use animal-friendly plexiglass. The plexiglass should be thick enough to block most of the sound coming from the bird cage, but obviously be sure to leave enough holes for ventilation.

In this article I’ll go over the method for building a soundproof bird cage in more detail. I’ll also look at ways to soundproof an existing bird cage, which is useful if you need to make your current one quieter.

Building a soundproof bird cage

The basics for building a soundproof bird cage are different from other soundproofing methods because you have to take a living animal into account.

Please note, this means you’ll never have a completely soundproof bird cage, as there still needs to be an airflow to keep the bird alive.

Granted, there are some materials you could use that would soundproof a bird cage, but these would prevent light from reaching the bird, which is why I suggest using a transparent material.

Because you’re dealing with a live bird, you’ll need to make some kind of sacrifice in the level of soundproofing you can expect. A 100% soundproof cage would either be pitch black inside or not let any air in. Neither of these conditions is acceptable for keeping a bird.

When choosing the right material, you need something that’ll attenuate, absorb, or block the sound coming from inside the cage. However, as I mentioned, you’re restricted in what products you can use because they either need to be transparent or breathable or both.

Why Plexiglass?

For building a soundproof bird cage from scratch, I’d recommend plexiglass as the best material. This is because it’s very durable, is generally scratch-resistant, and is fairly good at blocking sound. What’s more, acrylic is safe to use around animals, so is a worthwhile option.

Why not normal glass? More than anything, glass is fragile and so isn’t a great option for use around pets. Also, standard glass doesn’t have the best soundproofing properties, as anyone who’s tried to soundproof a window will know.

Finally, it’s much more expensive to buy than acrylic, even high-quality acrylic. Plus, if you’re working with it, acrylic is much easier to cut and stick. Here are the main advantages of using acrylic:

  • Easy to clean. Acrylic is really easy to keep clean compared to cages with bars.
  • Non-toxic. It’ll be almost impossible for your bird to eat some of its cage, but if it does then the acrylic will just pass straight through them.
  • Durable. Acrylic is almost impossible to scratch, both inside and outside.
  • Good at blocking sound. Thick, high quality acrylic is a surprisingly good soundproofing material – better than glass anyway.
  • Unobstructed view. Many bird owners report their birds being happier with the lack of bars in their field of vision.
  • Shatter-resistant. If the cage ever gets dropped, you can be confident it won’t cause any major damage.

As you can see, acrylic/Plexiglass bird cages are a great option, even if you’re not trying to build a soundproof bird cage. What’s more, building your own is fairly easy with a few tools and a bit of knowledge.

How to make a soundproof bird cage

Now that we have a greater understanding of our materials, it’s time to look at the method. This is a fairly straightforward job, but you can obviously customize your bird cage in terms of style and shape.

For this job you’ll need:

  • Plexiglass – enough to build a cage to the size of your choice. Thicker the better
  • Hinges
  • Wood
  • Drill
  • Saw
  • Solvent glue
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil/pen

1. Measure and cut your pieces

The first step in this process is to decide how large you want the cage to be. Ultimately, this is dependent on what birds you have and how much space you have. Remember they’ll need plenty of room to fly.

Here are some approximate sizes to help you get an idea:

  • Finches: 18 x 30 x 18 inches
  • Budgies: 18 x 18 x 24 inches
  • African gray parrot: 24 x 36 x 48 inches
  • Cockatoo: 36 x 48 x 48 inches

Bear in mind that these are minimum sizes based on the size of the bird. If you can go bigger, do, but consider how much this’ll cost in materials. Obviously it can help to cost everything up before you buy.

Measure your acrylic to the correct size and mark it up on the surface. You can cut acrylic with a saw, but this can get a bit smelly. Refer to this guide for more information about working with acrylic.

While you can just build a box out of acrylic, I’ve found it’s much easier to build a wooden frame and attach the acrylic to this. More than anything, this allows you to attach a door and floor, and you can turn it into a stand too.

Finally, drill air holes for ventilation. The more you can add the better, but obviously this’ll reduce the level of soundproofing you’re getting from the cage.

2. Arrange and stick your pieces

Start by building the wooden frame, which should be an upright for each corner, and possibly a floor. You can either nail or screw these together, but secure the joins with some wood glue too.

Next, stick the acrylic to the inside of the wooden frame using solvent glue. This needs to be left to soften the acrylic, and then you should leave it for a few days to harden once stuck in place.

I’d generally avoid screwing the acrylic, as this can cause it to shatter. Instead, apply pressure to the join with a vice and just leave it to dry.

3. Add a door

You’ll need a door to be able to access your birds, but you can make this simply by attaching one piece of acrylic to hinges. However, bear in mind that doors allow sound to leak out, so try and keep it fairly small.

4. Build a stand

It might be worth building a stand for your bird cage, unless it’s going to sit on the furniture. However, you can find a range of cage stands on Amazon, so it shouldn’t be hard to find one that matches your needs.

You might also want to consider lining all the joins with something like Green Glue too, as this will help to reduce the amount of sound that leaks out. Other than that, this job is basically complete.

If you want a better idea of what this’ll look like, watch this video on how to assemble an acrylic cage. You’ll basically be doing the same thing but with your own materials.

How to soundproof an existing bird cage

Bird Cage (DIY)

If building a soundproof bird cage seems like a lot of effort, there are ways you can soundproof an existing bird cage. Obviously these might not have the same results, but they’re worth trying if you don’t want to spend loads of money.

Here are my top suggestions for how to soundproof an existing bird cage:

1. Use a cage cover

Fitting a cover over your bird cage will add an extra layer of noise protection. However, it also tricks the bird into thinking it’s night, and most bird are less likely to make noise when it’s dark.

If you want to go one step further, consider making your own bird cage cover out of a soundproof material, such as these moving blankets from Amazon. They’re fairly heavy and so will help to absorb sound.

Just bear in mind that you can’t leave the cover on all the time. That said, bird noises cause most issues at night, so this is a good way of reducing the problem.

2. Use acoustic panels

In much the same way as you can use a bird cage cover, you could consider making one from acoustic panels. These are fairly thick and dense material that do a good job of absorbing sound.

There are 2 things to consider for this solution:

  1. Don’t use foam panels, as these are for acoustic treatment. You want a product that’ll absorb sound.
  2. Be sure the product is non-toxic. Generally, this means staying away from fiberglass products, but also from some types of foam.

Many brands will state whether their product is non-toxic, so be sure to look out for this. It’s particularly important if your cage is bars, as the bird could reach through and bite off some of the foam.

The easiest way to add this foam to your bird cage is to build wooden frames that you stick the foam inside. You can follow this video for how to build acoustic panels, but obviously just build them to the right size for your cage.

Also, only use them in the evening or at night, as you can’t really keep them on all day. If you want to use them during the day, limit it to no more than an hour or so.

Tricking your bird into thinking it’s night too often can mess with their daily cycle, and could result in them becoming depressed. Therefore if you want constant noise reduction, consider an acrylic cage because this still lets enough light through.

3. Try soundproof curtains

Soundproof curtains certainly won’t deliver the same results as acoustic foam, but they’re a more attractive option. They do offer some level of sound attenuation, so can be worth a try.

There are plenty of options available, but ensure they’re fairly heavy and thick. Anything less and they won’t be any more useful than a normal set of curtains.

You can simply clip them to the bird cage when you want to reduce noise levels, or you could try fitting a curtain rail to make things easier. Using curtains will block out light too, so don’t overuse them.

Check out my recommended soundproof curtains.

4. Move the cage elsewhere

While this isn’t technically soundproofing the cage, sometimes it can be enough to make a difference. Ideally, you should move it to a room far enough away that it’s no longer a distraction.

The other option is to surround the cage with some heavy furniture, as this’ll reduce the amount of noise that travels from the cage. Things like bookcases, armchairs, or sofas work quite well for this.

Of course, if you’re moving the cage somewhere else, make sure it’s a good environment for your bird. This means it needs to have enough light and warmth to keep them happy.

5. Train your bird to make less noise

Another option if you’ve got the patience is to try training your bird to make less noise. This takes commitment, however, and isn’t really possible for all species. It works best with intelligent birds like parrots or cockatoos.

  1. When your bird is next making a lot of noise, simply leave the room.
  2. Only come back in when it’s stopped making noise.
  3. Give it a treat to acknowledge its good behavior. It won’t take long until it associates the treats with being quiet.
  4. Repeat until your bird learns that being quiet is good.

Obviously this won’t work if you need your bird to be quiet all the time, but it can be a useful method if, for example, you need quiet for work meetings or want it to be quiet in the evenings.

Some final thoughts

Hopefully, I’ve shown you some options for how to soundproof a bird cage. Just remember though, you’ll never get it truly soundproof because otherwise, your bird won’t survive!

The bottom line is that birds can be noisy pets, which is why some people like them. If this isn’t the case for you, it might be worth considering a different pet that makes less noise.

How to Muffle a Clarinet Effectively

As an affiliate, I may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page.

Muffle a Clarinet

Practicing the clarinet at home without disturbing anyone can be tricky. And sometimes it can get outright ugly, especially if neighbors are around. Producing almost 114 decibels which can be equated to the sound you hear from a steel mill, this would explain why neighbors lose their cool whenever you play or attempt to play the clarinet.

To muffle a clarinet, try playing in a closet full of hanging clothes, use a muter, play in a noisy area such as a garage or near a washing machine, or play silently. Another option is to soundproof an area in your house.

You should not expect a 100% noise suppression with most of these techniques. Nonetheless, they will work to ensure that you coexist peacefully with your neighbors as you continue to play your clarinet. Read on to find out how you can muffle your clarinet. 

Play Your Clarinet in a Closet Full of Hanging Clothes

This is the oldest trick in the book for clarinet players and other music players. It follows the scientific fact that sound travels in all directions. And as it does, it dissipates as it gets further from the source. In the process, if sound released encounters an object, it causes the object to vibrate. However, if it doesn’t, it disappears due to the lack of a structure to impact.

Now, if we consider that reflection of sound leads to an echo, we get the answer as to how we can dampen or soften the sound produced by a clarinet.

The key is to drape heavy soft fabrics all around the space where you are practicing to absorb the sound. Since soundproofing a room might require more work due to the availability of windows and doors, most people often use a closet.

A closet is small, manageable and you can put your clarinet right in the middle of clothes, thereby muffling the sound it produces. This trick will also work if you travel with your clarinet and feel like practicing in a hotel room. 

Use Rugs and Carpet

If you are practicing your clarinet in a closet and wondering what else you can do to reduce the sound it produces, try installing a sound dampening rug or carpet. For effectiveness, this rug should be over two inches thick and it should contain plenty of fibers or frays to absorb or drown out the sound. A wool rug will be effective for this. 

Soundproof Your House

Studios and other professional buildings rely on expensive soundproofing devices to minimize noise levels.

But since we want to achieve results in the shortest time possible and with readily available equipment, these are the things we can do to create a soundproofing system. All these changes will work in tandem to help you muffle the sound around the room and thus helping you practice your clarinet without worrying that it’s too loud. 

Rearrange the Room

Rule no. 1 of effective soundproofing is that no noise should escape the room.

But what happens if you live in an apartment that has thin walls? Try pushing your closet or bookshelf against that wall.

By doing this, you will be adding more solid mass to the wall and thus preventing any noise from leaving or entering your room. A soundproof wallpaper can also be helpful in lessening the sound heard from a particular room. 

Use Tapestry or Canvas Painting to Decorate Your Room

If you happen to live in a rental apartment, hanging up tapestry is one way to decorate your room and absorb any noise, including the sound from your clarinet. The thicker the material, the better. The objective is to create a soft surface that absorbs sound instead of having hard surfaces that reflect and amplify it. 

Use Towels or Blankets to Cover Any Spaces Between the Door or Window

Old towels and blankets also serve as great acoustic insulators by absorbing sound. They are made of soft and porous material making them a good alternative for soundproofing. The more layers of thick fabric used, the less the sound to escape.

How well your room will absorb sound will be quantified by the effective absorption areas of the walls. This is also known as total absorption area. 

Drape Blankets Over the Entire Room Where You Play the Clarinet

Since sound loves bouncing off hard objects such as hardwood walls and glass, adding blankets will soften the space making it hard for sound waves to escape the room. Doing this will also make a room more quieter, which is an added advantage. 

Use Weatherstripping Tape to Cover the Gaps in Your Window

The key is to get all doors, windows, and vents shut with no possibility of sound escaping. Since getting the gaps between door hinges and windows can be taxing, an easy way is to use weather stripping tape.

If you have a soft draft blocker, like the Fowong 30 Inch Weighted Under Door Draft Stopper (Amazon), you can slide it under your door to prevent the sound from escaping.

Attach Foam Panels on the Ceiling

Acoustic foam is one good way to prevent sound from escaping through the ceiling. Foam panels are a good alternative for absorbing sound and stopping it from bouncing off the walls, which can lead to echoes and other weird sounds. 

Use Mutes

Any instrument player, including violinists, saxophonists, trombone, and clarinet players, will tell that mutes are one way to muffle the sound produced when playing an instrument.

Although not advised since they alter the tone of your instrument, you can use them when you want to practice but cannot find a place to do so without inconveniencing others.

Note that when you play the clarinet, the sound doesn’t come out from the bell only. This means you will need to cover more than just the bell and this will ultimately change the way your instrument sounds.

Many clarinet players use a brass mute to muffle the sound coming out of a clarinet when practicing. 

Noise Masking

A running washing machine or engine in a garage can mask the sound produced from a clarinet. But this can work only if the place is already noisy. Otherwise, use the next tip whenever you want to play your clarinet. 

Play in a Secluded Place

Finding an isolated place where you can play your clarinet will not only guarantee that you do not inconvenience your neighbors, but it will also amp up your confidence and playing technique.

Since you won’t be wary of disturbing anyone, you will have more freedom to play, test out different notes, and no mute will tamper with the tone or quality of sound that comes from your clarinet. You can also play in the park near you. 

DIY Mute for Your Clarinet

Clarinet

If you are ready to put in a little effort, this DIY is fun and easy to do. All the same, it will award you with a mute that you can always use whenever you play the clarinet.

Follow this video to see how you can create a mute for your clarinet:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_iBdXdMDmIE&t=1s

Alternatively, if you are traveling or in a hotel and you want to practice your clarinet, you can use a heavy sweatshirt to make a mute that muffles the sound of your clarinet.

To start:

  • Find a heavy sweatshirt.
  • Sew the bottom.
  • Put one hand through the sleeve so that it settles inside the sweatshirt.
  • Put your clarinet through the neck of your sweatshirt and reach out to it using the hand you pushed through the sweatshirt.
  • Put your other hand through the remaining sleeve, then start playing. 

Conclusion

A clarinet is a beautiful instrument and no doubt, it produces some of the most relaxing tunes if played right. However, it can also be annoying to non-players who may be your neighbors or family members.

Considering that high-level soundproofing can be prohibitively expensive, leverage the above hacks to muffle your clarinet whenever you are practicing.

With all these options, you shouldn’t be wary of disturbing your neighbors. Keep practicing.

Also read: How to Muffle a Tambourine

How to Make a Pellet Stove Quieter

As an affiliate, I may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page.

Make a Pellet Stove Quieter

Generally speaking, pellet stoves are an efficient and eco-friendly way of heating a home. However, they can be quite noisy. So if you’ve ever wondered how to make a pellet stove quieter, here are some options:

  1. Tighten everything up
  2. Make sure the feet are level
  3. Clean and alter the heat exchanger rod
  4. Clean the rest of it too
  5. Use some gasket tape for a quick fix

I’ll explain these solutions in more detail below, but first it’s worth looking at why your pellet stove might be making noise. I’ll also look at some of the best quiet pellet stoves on the market, in case you’re thinking of upgrading.

Why do pellet stoves make noise?

Unlike a traditional wood-burning stove, pellet stoves use small pellets as fuel. These are usually made from sawdust, bark, and other agricultural waste. This makes them a good option because they use existing (and otherwise wasted) materials.

As with any other mechanical device, you can expect some level of noise as standard when a pellet stove is working. That said, they’re generally quite quiet things, and so a lot of noise can be a sign of a bigger issue.

Your 3 main sources of noise from a pellet stove are:

1. The fan

Some pellet stoves have a fan fitted to help them circulate the warm air. Others, however, use natural convection, and so these will always be quieter.

The fan will turn on and off on its own and will always make some kind of noise when in operation. However, under normal conditions, this should be no louder than a refrigerator motor or something similar.

If the system becomes clogged with soot or other debris, it can result in the fan making more noise than usual. Also, some cheaper models won’t have quality components fitted, and so may make more noise anyway.

2. The pellets

As I mentioned, you can always expect some kind of noise from a stove that’s burning. The fuel itself will make noise, whether it’s cracking, spluttering, or the sound of it falling.

While this isn’t necessarily a bad noise (it can be quite relaxing on a cold day), it can be distracting in some situations. Bear in mind though, some level of noise is completely normal when burning fuel.

If the system becomes clogged from improper cleaning, this can result in wheezing or whistling noises because there’s not enough airflow. This is a fairly simple problem to solve, however.

3. The fuel system

Pellet stoves basically contain an automatic fuel dispenser, which can be a big help. This system uses a motor to drop fuel from the hopper into the burning chamber, which supplies a constant source of heat. See the video below.

How a Pellet Stove works
Watch this video on YouTube.

The motor generally isn’t loud because it’s not very powerful, and isn’t on all the time. However, like other moving parts, it can become worn over time, which can result in it becoming louder.

The most obvious solution is to replace it, but you can perform a bit of maintenance work to get it running smoothly again.

How to make a pellet stove quieter

While there are a few almost silent pellet stoves on the market, there isn’t much point in buying a new one when you can make your existing one quieter.

You will find over time that your pellet stove could be making more noise than before. This is because, like anything else, it wears, which can have an impact on its function and efficiency.

So if you think your pellet stove is making a bit too much noise, try some of these solutions. If you have any concerns about noise levels pointing to a bigger problem, however, call in a professional.

1. Tighten everything up

Just like anything else with moving parts, pellet stoves can get looser over time. Another thing worth considering is that the constant heating and cooling of the metal causes it to expand and contract, which can strain the joins.

This is an incredibly easy problem to solve because you just need a screwdriver and/or wrench, depending on the design. Go round and check all the screws and bolts, ensuring everything is tight enough.

It’s possible that the motor is held in place with plastic ties, such as cable ties or something similar. These can be tightened or replaced if necessary, as the motor can wobble itself out of place.

I’d recommend checking everything over once every few months or so to keep it in good order. Loose screws will not only make more noise, but it’ll affect the stove’s efficiency too.

2. Make sure the feet are level

It’s likely that when the stove was set up its feet were leveled out. However, over time the stove could’ve moved itself causing it to not be level any more. While it’s unlikely it’ll wobble itself too much, wonky feet can cause plenty of vibrations.

You could buy something like these workbench feet (Amazon) which should fit fairly easily onto a stove. They have rubber rings on the bottom to reduce movement and vibration transfer.

Alternatively, you could buy some heat resistant foam (Amazon) and make your own feet pads. This is also a good option if your pellet stove has a wide base and sits directly on the floor.

If you’re going to put the stove on a cushioned pad, just be sure the material can withstand the heat. The last thing you want is for it to melt and create a fire hazard!

3. Clean and alter the heat exchanger rod

Pellet stoves use something called a heat exchanger. This is heated up inside the stove by the burnt fuel, and then it transfers the heat into the room. It’s designed like this because it means you don’t end up with a smoky room.

Over time, the heat exchanger can become clogged with debris and ash, meaning you need to clean it. A buildup of debris means less air is circulating inside the stove, which both affects efficiency and can make things much louder.

There are 2 ways to solve this problem:

  • If it’s just ash, brush everything down with a paintbrush to dislodge stuck bits.
  • Go over it with a vacuum cleaner, which can get a bit messy!
  • If you notice a buildup of tar, set the stove to full for around 30 minutes.
  • This should turn the tar into ash, which can then be removed with the above method.

You should clean the inside of your pellet stove regularly, although this will depend on how often you use it. For regular use, check it over once a month or so.

If you only use it in the winter, check it over at the beginning and end of the season, and this should be enough. You can check out this video for more information on how to clean a pellet stove.

Vicenza Pellet Stoves - How to Clean the Heat Exchanger
Watch this video on YouTube.

4. Clean the rest of it too

Although it’s worth focusing on the heat exchanger to begin with, it’s helpful to give everything else a good clean too. As with normal wood-burning stoves, debris can clog the system, resulting in more noise.

Pay attention to areas like the bottom of the fuel pot or the burn grate. Work under the assumption that if it’s hard to reach, it’s likely got a buildup of debris.

You might need something abrasive for this job, such as wire wool. You can use a screwdriver on the grate, but just be careful not to damage the stove. Realistically it’ll be most difficult the first time, but once you clean it regularly it’ll become less of a problem.

While cleaning a pellet stove isn’t difficult, you can find some more information on the best cleaning techniques here.

5. Use some gasket tape for a quick fix

If you’ve tightened up everything you can but notice some vibrations or unnecessary noises, you can try some gasket tape for a quick fix.

Obviously you’ll need a heat resistant gasket tape (Amazon). This one is designed for BBQs and so will work well under these conditions. You could use it for the following things:

  • Apply it to the base to stop vibrations
  • Fix some around the chimney to improve the draw
  • Fill any gaps that might be affecting airflow

However, gasket tape isn’t a long-term solution. Use it to fix a minor problem, but call out a professional if something needs fixing.

The best quiet pellet stoves

Pellet Stove

If you’re in the market for a new pellet stove, why not consider looking for a quiet one? There aren’t many buying factors to consider, as they’re all quite efficient and reasonably priced.

Here are my top picks for the best quiet pellet stoves:

1. Comfortbilt HP22 Pellet Stove

Comfortbilt Pellet Stove HP22- 50,000 BTU
  • 50,000 btu - Heats up to 2,800 sq. feet!
  • Large viewing area - Bay Design - Carbon Black!
  • Powerful Blower, EPA Certified, 110 Volt

While this pellet stove is not massively different in design to many others on the market, it’s certainly much quieter. More than anything, its bay design, and solid walls help to dampen any noise it makes.

It has a large “viewing area”, which refers to how much space it can comfortably heat. This pellet stove can heat up to 2,800 square feet, making it a fairly good choice for almost any household.

The only thing that makes any noise is the fan, but even this runs quietly. This model has fewer moving parts, which means less maintenance and less that could go wrong.

Cleaning is a breeze and the ashtray only needs to be emptied every 6 months, even with regular use. Overall, this is a good pellet stove regardless but is made better by how quiet it is.

2. Wiseway GW1949 Pellet Stove

This model is quite impressive because it doesn’t have any electrical parts. Its fuel hopper works on gravity and its fan works on a simple draft system. Importantly, this eliminates the potential of any loud moving parts.

The stove uses convection to radiate heat and has a viewing area of up to 2,000 square feet. It’s generally more efficient than other models because it doesn’t use electricity, and so doesn’t consume energy at all.

You can find out more about its features in the video below, but this is a good choice for those wanting a quiet stove. What’s more, its unusual appearance makes it a good talking point too!

GW1949 Wiseway Feature
Watch this video on YouTube.

It’s really easy to clean and maintain because there are fewer moving parts. You’ll probably only have to clean it once or twice a year to keep it running smoothly.

3. Harman Absolute 43 Pellet Stove

Along with being one of the quietest on the market, this pellet stove also claims to be the smartest. It’s got a built-in touchscreen that allows you to control the temperature, burn speed, and many more functions.

Importantly for our purposes, it comes with Whisper mode, which massively reduces the amount of noise it makes. Considering it’s quiet in the first place, this makes it almost silent.

It’s got a range of other interesting (but potentially unnecessary) features, such as an illuminated hopper lid, reactive mirrored glass, and multi-directional airflow.

Although these features sound impressive, it does obviously mean more moving parts. These can be made quieter using the whisper mode, but obviously it also means there’s more potential for things to go wrong. It also means there are more parts to clean.

4. Quadra-Fire Castille Pellet Stove

This stove can heat up to 1,700 square feet, which makes it the least impressive on this list. However, it still performs really well and will be perfect for smaller spaces.

More than anything, it’s incredibly quiet and really easy to maintain. It has electrical parts, but fewer than some other models. The feed system and firepot are specially designed for ease of cleaning.

It also uses softer pellets than some other models, meaning it makes less noise when the fuel is burning. Overall this is a good choice for those wanting a simple yet effective pellet stove.

Some final thoughts

Making a pellet stove quieter isn’t the hardest job in the world. Hopefully, I’ve shown you that the easiest way to do this is with regular cleaning and maintenance.

However, if you’re in the market for a new one, consider one of these quiet pellet stoves. You’d be surprised how much difference it can really make.

Also read: How to make a microwave quieter

How to Reduce Noise From a Tankless Water Heater

As an affiliate, I may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page.

Reduce Noise From a Tankless Water Heater

Regardless of what you may have heard, tankless water heaters can get noisy. Even though those noises don’t always indicate a problem with the heater, you should determine the cause of the sound and address any underlying issues.

To reduce noise from a tankless water heater, it typically requires flushing the system with vinegar, tightening any loose parts, or making sure that inlet and outlet valves are fully open. Fortunately, you can perform these maintenance services on your own, eliminating the need for a plumber.

This article will detail the three steps required to reduce the noise from a tankless water heater, followed by a discussion regarding solutions to other common problems associated with these units. 

For reducing noise from regular water heaters, read my guide.

Identify the Source of the Noise

The first thing you are going to want to do is to identify the source of the noise. Identifying the sound’s location will help you determine the next step to take to reduce or eliminate the problem.

Typically, your tankless water heater makes noise for one of five reasons, or a combination thereof. Those reasons include loose parts, restricted water flow, sediment buildup, water pressure fluctuations, or vibrations.

The symptoms for each problem include:

  • Loose parts: Humming or rattling noises from your tankless water heater usually indicate your system has loose parts.
  • Restricted water flow: Screeching sounds are a tell-tale sign that your unit’s water flow has become blocked.
  • Sediment buildup: You will typically hear cracking or hissing noises when you have sediment buildup in your systems. Additionally, in extreme cases, you can hear popping sounds as the sediment begins to break from the heat.
  • Water pressure fluctuations: A ticking sound is the most common noise caused by changing water pressure.
  • Vibrations: A ticking sound is the most common noise caused by changing water pressure.

Each of these problems has its unique solution, as we will discuss below. 

Apply the Proper Corrective Action

Depending on the source of the noise, you will want to employ one of the following corrective actions:

  • Noises caused by loose parts: Tighten any loose pieces you discovered in step one using an appropriate wrench or socket. It is crucial that you accurately identify all loose parts as your system can sustain permanent damage depending on the particular parts affected.
  • Noises caused by restricted water flow: Check to ensure the water inlet and outlet valves are in the fully opened position. If not, rotate the taps counterclockwise until fully engaged. If the sound continues, you may need to have a plumber inspect your water lines and the temperature and pressure relief valve.
  • Noises caused by sediment buildup: Sediment doesn’t go away on its own. You will need to flush the system using vinegar to remove any sediment buildup. In extreme cases, the sediment buildup can bury the heating element inside electric tankless water heating systems. In that instance, you will need to detach the heating element from the unit and clean it using a wire brush and vinegar.
  • Noises caused by water pressure fluctuations: Try to trace the sound’s source and tighten any loose straps holding down your pipes. You can also install spacers between the pipes and the walls to muffle any noises.
  • Noises caused by vibrations: If the system is mounted directly to the wall, you can install a rubber or foam mat between the system and the wall. If the unit is in an enclosed case, you can insulate the inside of the case using audio insulation designed for automobiles. 

Take Preventative Measures to Prevent Future Noises

  • Noises caused by loose parts: Periodically check your tankless water heating system for any parts that may have worked loose over time.
  • Noises caused by restricted water flow: Make sure the inlet and outlet valves are fully opened at all times.
  • Noises caused by sediment buildup: You should flush your water heating system once a year. However, if your local water supply is hard, you might need to flush your system more frequently. A second, more costly option is to install a water softener system between your water supply and the water heater. You still might need to flush your system periodically, but using this makes that task a whole lot easier.
  • Noises caused by water pressure fluctuations: Periodically check for any loose straps on pipes connected to your tankless water heating system. Additionally, you might consider going ahead and installing spacers to the pipes before noise becomes an issue.
  • Noises caused by vibrations: You should consider installing a mat or audio insulation when installing your water heating system instead of waiting until the sound becomes an issue. 

Solutions to Other Tankless Water Heater Problems

Water Heater

You may experience issues with your tankless water heater not related to noise that will need to be addressed as they arise. Some common problems you might encounter with your tankless water heating system include exhaust blockage, ignition failure, overheating, and system overload. 

Exhaust Blockage

If our unit’s control panel displays an error code indicating an obstruction, your unit is experiencing a problem with its venting. Fortunately, fixing this problem is relatively simple.

To begin, you need to check all the vent pipes to make sure they are appropriately connected. Additionally, check to make sure nothing is blocking the exterior vents that aren’t blocked by bird nests, tree branches, or other obstructions. If so, remove those obstructions, making sure nothing falls down the vent pipes. 

Ignition Failure

If your system fails to ignite, make sure your gas and water valves are fully open. If not, rotate the tap handles all the way counterclockwise. Additionally, if your unit uses propane, make sure your tank isn’t empty. Likewise, if your system uses natural gas, make sure that your home’s gas hasn’t been turned off by your provider.

Likewise, if the system is electric, make sure the unit didn’t accidentally become unplugged. If not, check to see if the cord has become disconnected from the heating unit. Likewise, check for any kinks in the electric cable that might indicate internal breakage.

If those steps fail to correct the issue, you may have a problem with the unit’s ignition pack. In that instance, you will probably need to contact a licensed plumber to fix the problem.

Likewise, if you suspect there is a problem with your unit’s gas supply, it is best to contact a licensed professional. Gas is incredibly dangerous, particularly if you don’t have the proper equipment to test the system after making any repairs. 

Overheating

Tankless water heaters are prone to overheating, particularly if multiple hot water sources are used simultaneously. If your system overheats and shuts down, check the temperature setting. Tankless water heaters operate best at 120°F (48.9°C) If it continues overheating, you should contact a licensed plumber to check the system for mechanical problems. 

System Overload

Depending on your unit’s capacity, you may experience a system overload if you are using too many hot water applications at the same time. For example, washing dishes while someone is taking a shower can put too much of a burden on your water heater.

If this happens, you should either reduce the number of simultaneous applications or install a larger unit. Likewise, you might consider installing additional units throughout your home to decrease the load on any single unit. 

The Wrap Up

Tankless water heating systems are an excellent investment for your home. They are energy efficient, save space, and provide a near-endless supply of on-demand hot water.

If you have a tankless water heating system or are considering installing one, you might consider bookmarking this article for future reference. 

Also read: Boiler Making Noise? Here’s what to do

5 Ways to Muffle Hi-Hat Cymbals

As an affiliate, I may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page.

Muffle Hi-Hat Cymbals

Drummers are often at a disadvantage compared to other musicians when it comes to controlling their volume. In many cases, the piano person or the electric guitar player can simply turn down a dial, and the excessive noise issue is resolved.

As a drummer, if your hi-hats sound too loud, you risk drowning out other instruments and producing poor quality music, so what are your options?

How to Muffle Hi-Hat Cymbals

One way to muffle hi-hat cymbals is to attach common household items to them. You can use similar methods to dampen your drum sticks or try different sticks altogether. It’s also possible that your technique just needs work. If these don’t work, you can invest in some low-volume hi-hats.

This article will detail some of the easiest and most accessible ways to quiet your instruments, as well as discuss a couple of low volume cymbals to try. If you want to learn how to improve the sound of your hi-hats, keep on reading. 

Also read : How to soundproof electric drums

1. Dampen Your Hi-Hats With Household Items

The first and easiest thing you can do is to use common materials around your house (or that can be purchased from Amazon) to moderate the sound of your hi-hats. Here are a couple of things you could try: 

Tape

You can put tape across your hi-hats to make them a bit quieter. 

Materials Needed

  • Scissors
  • Tape – gaffer tape is the best option, as it will leave little to no residue on your hi-hats when you peel it off. Try this Gaffer Power Premium Grade Tape from Amazon. Duct tape will also work well but be prepared for leftover glue. 

What to Do

The placement of the tape can be tricky; it depends on what you are trying to accomplish. For example, if you just want to dull the sound, put a few strips of gaffer tape on the top side of your cymbal, at the very edge. If your goal is to diminish the ringing sound of the bell, experiment with placing the tape on different parts of the underside of your cymbal.

Just be careful not to put excessive amounts of tape on, or else you can completely ruin the resonance of your instrument. 

Elastic Band

You can create an elastic band to fasten around the edge of your cymbals. When your drum sticks meet the fabric, it will create a muffled sound.

Materials Needed

  • Thick elastic band material from a fabric store (around 4 or 5 inches, or 10 to 13 centimeters in width)
  • Sewing machine (or thread and needle)
  • Scissors

What to Do

  1. Measure and cut a length of elastic that is a few inches shorter than the circumference of your cymbal.
  2. Sew the ends of the elastic together.
  3. Fit the band around the circumference of your top hi-hat (it should be a taut fit).

Note: It is not necessary to place an elastic band on your bottom hi-hat. 

Cloth and Other Soft Materials

Put some cloth or other soft materials in between your hi-hats. 

Materials Needed

Use anything soft, and that can be wadded into a ball, including rags, small towels, old socks, tissue paper, and so on.

What to Do

Wad up your materials into a ball and insert them in between your cymbals. Play with the placement a little bit to see what works for you.

2. Muffle Your Drum Sticks

Drum Sticks

You can also dampen your sticks using techniques similar to the ones discussed for adjusting your cymbals. Try winding strips of gaffer tape or fabric along the body and tips of your drum sticks to reduce their impact against the hi-hats. You can also purchase Silicone Drumstick Dampeners (Amazon link) that fit over the tip of your drum sticks.

One disadvantage of modifying drum sticks is that while they help dampen your hi-hats, they will also affect your drums’ feel and tone. You will need to apply a lot more force to your drums to achieve the same effect of more traditional sticks, which can be tricky. 

3. Purchase Quiet Drum Sticks

There are various types of drum sticks that can produce quieter sounds than traditional wooden sticks. For example, WeiMeet Retractable Drum Wire Brushes (Amazon link) fan out at their tips to allow for lighter volume playing. You can also try the Lidwish Drum Sticks, which are very light and provide easy volume control.

These are just a couple of the many quiet drum sticks available, and they work well. However, you will likely run into the same issue that can occur when modifying your drum sticks (discussed above). If you don’t want to sacrifice tone for the sake of volume, your next best option is to work on your technique. 

4. Brush Up on Your Technique

As mentioned earlier, drummers often have it tough when it comes to sound control. Unless you’re using an electronic kit, you don’t have the same luxury as other musicians for moderating volume. However, while it is annoying to hear people tell you that you need to “dial it back a little,” your technique really may be a bit too abrasive.

In his tutorial, 3 Tips for Playing Drums Quietly, Daniel Hadaway discusses the following tips to tweak your technique: 

Get Closer to Your Drum Set

By hunching over your drum set and getting closer, you can control your movements and perform complex notes without being too loud. 

Tense Up Your Posture

This works similarly to the above. Tensing up will allow you to minimize your range of motion by making every action smaller and less impactful. 

Move Your Hands Higher Up the Sticks

Adjust your hands so that they are closer to the middle of the drum sticks, rather than the bottom. This will create less movement at the end of the stick, allowing you to control it more. 

5. Invest in Low Volume Hi-Hats

Most of the solutions discussed so far have been aimed at working with what you have to improve the sound of the hi-hats you already own. If none of them prove effective, it may be time to invest in a new set of hi-hats that are designed to produce a more subtle sound. This is the most expensive option, but it will remedy your sound problem for the long term.

A popular choice is the Zildjian L80 Low Volume Cymbal Set (Amazon link). They are thin and bespeckled with holes, which are features that help them to be 80% quieter than traditional cymbals. The Sabian Quiet Tone Practice Cymbal Set (Amazon link) has a similar design and function.

The beauty of low volume cymbals is that you can maintain your playing style; the overall sound will just be quieter. 

Here is the video:

3 Tips for Playing Drums Quietly
Watch this video on YouTube.

Conclusion

There are a number of practical, inexpensive ways to control the volume of your cymbals. The simplest and cheapest way is to add some tape to the instruments or stuff them with sound muffling materials like rags or towels. You can also make similar modifications to your drum sticks, or purchase quiet drum sticks instead.

It’s also possible that you are playing too aggressively, and that you need to practice some techniques to sound more gentle. Improving your technique can help muffle the sound of your hi-hats, and you will also become a better drummer in the process.

Each of the above options may only have a modest effect, so implement more than one at a time, and try them in league with one another.

If none of that works, your last resort is to buy some low-volume hi-hats specifically designed to sound less aggressive. 

6 Easy Ways to Muffle a Floor Tom

As an affiliate, I may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page.

Muffle a Floor Tom

Like any other musical instrument, the metals and woods on a floor tom are intentionally put together in a certain way to give it a particular sound and character, and tampering with that design through the various muffling techniques can sometimes leave it sounding like a wet cardboard box.

But if you get it right, muffling a floor tom can give a pleasant “dead sound” that’s ideal for a variety of drumming situations and environments.

To muffle a floor tom, you can use tuning to reduce resonance, duct tape, or cotton balls to minimize sustain, a paper towel, and duct tape to dampen the head, muffling rings to control overtones or head combinations to control both sustain and overtones.

Read on for details on how you can use the above hacks to muffle a floor tom. But first; 

What Does It Mean to Muffle a Floor Tom?

Muffling a floor tom (or any other kind of drum) simply means adding something to your low tom or drumhead in an attempt to change the way it sounds. Sometimes, muffling a drum may also be referred to as drum choking, drum damping or dampening, or controlling the drum sound.

Different people have varying preferences with regards to what name to use, but in this discussion, we’ll mostly alternate between the terms dampening and muffling.

Muffling a floor tom can create one or a combination of effects in the sound produced by your drum. But more often than not, people do it to minimize:

  • Ringing
  • Volume
  • Overtones
  • Tone
  • Sustain, and
  • High-pitch frequencies 

How to Muffle a Floor Tom

Floor Tom

Different muffling techniques will affect your tom’s sound in varying ways. This can be anything from a minor change in sound to leaving your drum sounding like a wet cardboard box (if you overdo it).

Provided you know how each method works and the kind of effect it’ll have, you can adjust your tom’s sound to fit the exact demands of different environments or even the style of any given track.

So without further ado, let’s take a look at the different ways to muffle your floor tom. 

1. Tune the Tom to Reduce Resonance

Tuning is one of the most effective ways to adjust the sound of a floor tom. But before you begin, you’ll want to ensure that heads are well well seated.

With that out of the way, start tuning gradually clockwise until the wrinkles disappear, and your head has a basic tone. Ideally, you should be getting an even sound that doesn’t “flutter.” If it does, the head isn’t tight enough. If it doesn’t, turn your drum over and tune the other head using the same steps.

At this point, your tom’s pitch may be too low to play.

Now, if you were to enhance the pitch of the resonant head (AKA bottom head) by two turns on each lug, for instance, you’d get a somewhat “choked sound” accompanied by an after-ring (caused by the bottom head), which might not be the best for recording.

If you do the same for the top head, too, you will end up with a very high tuned tom that produces a shorter, punchy sound with more projection.

If you wanted to control, say resonance, through tuning, you can lower the pitch of the resonant head back to where it was initially (before the two turns of the lug) and leave the top head’s pitch tuned high. Doing this would give your tom a “doink” sound, which simply means that the lower head isn’t adding any resonance to the drums sound.

While this extreme mismatch might not be ideal in some situations, you can experiment with how much you lower the pitch of the resonant head to muffle your tom without compromising the sound quality. In most cases, lowering it slightly works best. 

2. Use Duct Tape to Reduce the Sustain in a Floor Tom

This old trick works almost every time. Start by putting one strip of duct tape towards the edge of the head you’re trying to tone down its sustain and check if your drum sounds the way you want it to.

If not, try adding another strip of tape right next to the first one, and keep doing this until you achieve your desired level of sustain. Be careful not to go overboard with the number of strips of tape, because too much will “deaden” your drum.

The beauty of this hack is that it doesn’t call for expensive purchases. All you need is duct tape, which is cheap to buy and is readily available almost everywhere. 

3. Use Paper Towel and Duct Tape to Dampen the Head

Start off by folding a small piece of paper towel into a square. Next, tear a piece of duct tape that’s slightly bigger than the folded paper towel.

Tape down the paper towel close to the edge of the floor Tom’s head you’re trying to dampen. More often than not, only one of these is enough to dampen any drum’s head. 

4. Use Muffling Rings to Control Overtones in a Floor Tom

Made of Mylar, Remo’s Tone Control Rings (Amazon) make it super easy to control undesired overtones in snare drums and floor toms.

These come precut and in varying sizes, so be sure to find something that snugly fits on your drum. They work great, too, especially when you need to muffle overtones by a great deal because they’re designed to cover the drum’s entire circumference. 

5. Use Cotton Balls to Minimize Sustain

This is one of the most commonly used tricks by drummers. Here’s the process:

  1. Begin by taking several cotton balls and pulling them apart a little to make them wider and bigger.
  2. Next, remove the batter-side head (AKA the side you usually hit) and put the cotton balls inside the bottom head of the drum.
  3. You don’t necessarily need to ensure that it sits in the middle because it’ll likely flop around in your drum whenever you hit it (which is exactly what it should be doing to be effective).

Although this trick might not work on larger drums because they ring more, it works great on floor toms. The cotton balls help reduce sustain without compromising the stick attack, which is often an issue when you use too much duct tape on your batter head.

How does this work, you ask?

Simple: When you hit a floor tom, the two heads vibrate back and forth, and the sustain happens in the bottom head. Now, if you have cotton balls lying inside the bottom head, they’ll always become airborne for a second with each hit. As they fall back down, they’ll mellow the head’s vibration a little bit, which will muffle the sustain.

As a general rule, the more cotton you use, the less the sustain you can expect. 

6. Use Head Combination to Control Sustain and Overtones

Another creative way to control sustain in a floor tom would be to vary the head combinations. Provided you get it right, this can make a huge difference in the amount of sustain and overtones produced by your drum.

Generally, Thicker multi-ply heads are great for sustain control. The world’s famous Pinstripe® series is synonymous with such drum heads, and you have two options to choose from: the Pinstripe clear and the Pinstripe Coated (Amazon links).

Both are made of two plies of 7-mil clear film, with an overtone-minimizing agent sandwiched between the two plies. This results in excellent overtone control and enhanced attack.

If you had to choose between the two, we’d recommend going with Pinstripe coated. The coating helps it muffle high overtones and control resonance very well to provide a highly focused, low-pitch sound whose moderate response and attack characteristics are great for creating deeper, controlled drum sound in varying live and studio drumming situations. 

Also read: How to Muffle a Tambourine

Summing Up

As we’ve learned in this article, there are several ways to muffle a floor tom, and each method results in different sound characteristics.

When trying to muffle your floor tom, take time to learn the effect each hack or different combinations of dampening solutions will create, and experiment until you get the exact sound you’re looking for. Best of luck! 

Also read: How to Make a Recorder Quieter