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Generators are obviously a very useful item. Regardless of whether you’re using a generator while out camping, or around the home, the constant buzz of a generator can be very annoying.
Luckily there are a few things you can do to make your generator quiet as a cricket, so you’ll be able to use it whenever and wherever you want without that annoying noise! Read on to find out more.
How To Make A Generator Quiet As a Cricket
There are 8 ways that I have identified as methods to make a generator quiet and they are as listed below:
- Build a soundproof generator box
- Buy a bigger muffler
- Make a baffle box
- Install sound deflectors
- Use water to quiet exhaust noise
- Use rubber feet
- Angle the exhaust away
- Set the generator up away from your house
1. Build a Soundproof Generator Box
The first option you have for making your generator quiet as a cricket is to build a soundproof box. This solution is most effective if you’re not needing to take your generator anywhere because the box makes it heavier and more difficult to handle. If you’re going to be using the generator while camping, consider another option.
Check out my detailed guide (with pics) on soundproofing a cardboard box. This would be quite similar.
The video below will give you a fair idea as to what is required to be done (though the method I prefer is a bit different).
Here’s what you’ll need to build your soundproof generator box using my recommended method. I have put the relevant Amazon links for each:
While MDF and a vent will be reasonably easy to find, you might have to search a bit harder for the mass loaded vinyl. However, it’s easily available online.
Also, bear in mind that this won’t completely soundproof the generator because sound will escape through the vents. However, it will significantly reduce the noise you hear from the generator.
Here’s how you build a soundproof box for your generator:
- Measure the generator. To build the box and add insulation, take the dimensions of your generator and add a few inches on either side.
- Cut the pieces out of the MDF. You’ll obviously need 6 pieces, one for each side, so make sure you’ve got enough MDF to complete the project. Use a right angled ruler to ensure your measurements are straight and correct.
- Next, cut ventilation holes. Measure the diameter of the ventilation duct to get the right size.
- Cut one ventilation duct in the ceiling panel. This should be over in one corner. Cut the other hole in one of the wall panels, and the hole should be in the opposite bottom corner, so they’re almost diagonal.
- Then add a layer of mass loaded vinyl to the inside of the panels. This should be glued directly to the MDF. Use Green Glue to seal the edges of each piece of mass loaded vinyl to ensure they’re stuck down properly.
- Next, add a layer of foam mats. This doesn’t necessarily help with sound absorption, but aids sound reflection, which makes it harder for sound waves to bounce around inside the box.
- Same as with the mass loaded vinyl, seal the edges with Green Glue for that extra bit of soundproofing.
- Assemble the box, securing the panels together with screws and Green Glue where needed. Attach the lid with hinges for easy access once the generator is inside.
- Finally, add the vents and seal with Green Glue. Use some vent duct to ensure the generator has a good air supply. Putting kinks in the duct will help deflect sound waves as they travel down it.
And there you have it! Probably the most effective way to make your generator quiet as a cricket. As mentioned earlier, this won’t completely soundproof it, but it’ll definitely make a big difference. However, consider these final tips to make sure you’re getting the most out of your generator box:
- Without a good air supply the generator can overheat. This is why vents and a good air supply are so important.
- The more vent duct you can use, the better. Similarly, using more and putting kinks in it will help deflect the sound waves even more effectively.
- While this might not be the most convenient solution for camping needs, if your generator is small enough then you should be able to make a pretty portable box for it.
- Putting the box on a solid, raised surface, such as concrete, will also help reduce any sound waves vibrating into the ground, which will help with overall noise.
- This method is realistically suitable for generators of any size, but will probably be harder to manage with large ones. If you’ve got a large generator, consider another option.
2. Buy a bigger muffler
The purpose of the muffler is to muffle sound, therefore it makes sense to use this technology. If the muffler currently installed on your generator doesn’t quite cut it, just buy a bigger one.
This won’t make a huge difference to the overall noise of the generator, but a large portion of the noise pollution comes directly from the exhaust. This option should probably be combined with several others to improve overall effectiveness.
3. Make a baffle box
A baffle box is very similar to the soundproof box suggested above, and if you know about soundproofing, you’ll know what a baffle is. If not, then all you need to know is that a baffle is designed to reduce overall airborne noise.
To build a baffle box, simply follow the instructions for building the soundproof box, but just leave the bottom off. This means you won’t have to put hinges on the lid, as the box can just be placed over the generator.
In this article, I have explained how a sound baffle is constructed and how it helps in noise reduction.
This method won’t be as effective at making your generator quieter because there’s plenty of open space for sound to escape from. However, this will make a noticeable difference to the overall noise pollution given out by the generator.
4. Install sound deflectors
If your generator is kept in an enclosed space, such as an outhouse or shed, and you don’t plan on moving it any time soon, then sound deflectors can definitely make a difference.
The important thing to bear in mind here is that this won’t soundproof anything. The purpose of sound deflectors is to deflect sound, which just means there’s less chance of it reaching you. As a result, it should also reduce the overall airborne noise.
Sound deflectors are really easy to buy, and this option is an ideal temporary solution while you look for something more permanent. Similarly, you could combine this with several other options to improve effectiveness.
5. Use water to quiet exhaust noise
This might sound like a dangerous and counter-intuitive option, but it actually does a pretty good job at reducing noise from the generator’s exhaust. All you need is a bucket of water and a hose pipe.
Then all you need to do is fix the hose to the end of the generator’s exhaust and put the other end in the bucket of water.
The sound will be muffled by the water, and greatly reduce noise. If you’re concerned about water getting into the generator then make a small pinprick in the hose. This will stop pressure from building up.
6. Use rubber feet
Putting rubber feet on your generator will stop it vibrating as much, which will have an impact on overall noise. Similarly, putting your generator on a soundproof mat will help with this problem too.
7. Angle the exhaust away
As we’ve established, a large amount of noise pollution comes from the generator’s exhaust. Turning it away from your house (or campsite) might seem obvious, but it does help.
8. Set the generator up away from your house
Again, this might seem like a pretty obvious option, but setting the generator up a distance away from your house or campsite will have an impact on how much noise actually reaches you. Combining this with other simple methods, such as a baffle box, will be enough to make your generator quiet as a cricket.
Some Final Tips
Making your generator quieter can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make it. Regardless of which method you choose, consider these final tips to make sure your choice is as efficient as possible.
- Soundproofing is all about blocking holes, but don’t go too literally with this. Generators need a good air flow, and the last thing you want is for it to catch fire just because you thought it was too noisy.
- You’re never going to truly soundproof your generator, so be intelligent in how you go about reducing its noise. If you’re going to use a generator while camping, for example, don’t set it up so far away from your campsite that you’re bothering someone else.
- Make sure your generator isn’t being loud because it’s broken. Get it serviced before trying to make it quieter, as you might be covering up a problem.
Adding mass is the simplest and most effective method to make your generator quiet as a cricket. If you decide to build the box, consider adding more layers of mass loaded vinyl to ensure you’re reducing noise effectively. Whichever method you choose, just make sure the generator can still work properly!