In this post, I’ll walk you through how an air compressor makes noise and How to silence your loud air compressor efficiently. Within 10 minutes, you’ll know that quieting an air compressor is not a tough task by building a soundproof air compressor box or 7 other hacks which make your life a lot easier.
Don’t you just hate it when your air compressor makes intolerable noise?
Having your own Air compressor is great.
An Air compressor can come in handy at many times and every home should have one. As they’re many brands building them, you’ll get a good one at a reasonable price.
But not all times you’ll be happy about having one. It may be good if you have a quieter(I meant tolerable) but having a loud air compressor isn’t ideal.
Converting electricity into pressurized air is not an easy task either, so you’ve to tolerate some sort of noise. But anything beyond the 70 dB is going to be too loud.
NO, I’m not saying that you should spend a serious per cent of your salary on an air compressor. But having your eardrum ruptured is not ideal either.
I’ve done research on how to quiet an air compressor and if you’re looking for the same, then this guide is going to help you.
So, is your air compressor is too loud?
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How loud are Air Compressors
If you have a real urge to know how loud are your air compressors, then you can easily measure using these decibel meters.
Or even a decibel meter app on your smartphone might do the job for you. Having a reading might help you while quieting so that you can see the difference a hack makes.
Generally, most of the common small air compressors will produce a noise between 70 to 90 dB. If your air compressor is not built for being quiet or if it has some mechanical or maintenance issues, it may go between 80 to 95 dB.
That range is not tolerable in household conditions.
You know dB(decibel) is a unit of measurement of sound a human can hear. Here’s a good illustration of sound in decibels produced by various sources.
To get a good understanding, noise at 90 dB is twice as loud as one at 80 dB and four times at 70 dB. Also, every 3 dB increase above 80 dB will bring down the tolerance time to half.
The following table shows how long does sound at each exposure level in dB takes to cause hearing damage.
Unfortunately, this study says loud air compressors can cause serious damage to our hearing.
So, you’ve got your strong reasons to Quieten your air compressor.
In case you don’t understand what parts I’m referring to, you can always refer to this diagram.
Why are Air Compressors so Noisy
There are several potential sources that can turn your air compressor noisy. Not all of them can go wrong with you, but if you’re unfortunate enough then it will ruin your ears for sure.
The most common and important causes are:
The Floor: Didn’t expect this? The floor below your air compressor may cause noise due to its vibrations. The interaction between the air compressor’s stand and the floor below while working(which causes vibrations) will produce a noise called “Impact Noise”. This noise depends upon the materials interacting. Harder the floor is more the noise will be. It means hardwood or concrete floor will cause much impact noise. The best and cheapest solution will be using old rugs or this rubber mat.
Materials used to build: If an air compressor is made of thick and high-quality materials, then it will vibrate less. If it is made of thin and low-quality materials, then it will cause noise unless it is specially designed to be quiet.
The size of the Air Compressor: If the size of your air compressor is high, it will suck more air so does it need higher engine power and causes much noise. Nevertheless, this may not be correct all the time. The structure, design and quality of materials used will decide the quietness of your air compressor.
Air intake: This is the loudest component among all. Observe your vacuum cleaner, the same happens here. While the air is sucked into the air compressor through the filer, it will generate huge noise. Don’t worry! I’ve hacks to quieten this.
Air exhaust: It stands second among the loudest components. It will let go of the byproducts from your air compressor.
Let’s jump right in.
How To Make Air Compressor Quieter
Now you’ve got some basics about the structure of air compressors and what causes noise. Without any further ado, allow me to present my 7 Simple hacks for silencing your loud Air Compressor.
Install Rubber Grommets on Air Compressor’s mount
As I’ve already mentioned, the floor causes an incredible amount of noise when the air compressor’s mount is vibrated against it.
Rubber has incredible sound insulation properties. When placed correctly, it perfectly absorbs the impact noise and nullifies the vibrations.
So, using it in quieting your air compressor will do wonders.
The best way to use is by placing these rubber grommets between your air compressor’s mount and the floor so that they don’t touch(so they don’t cause vibrations). The rubber completely absorbs the energy from the impact and doesn’t leak any vibrations/sound into the ground.
Those rubber grommets will come in different sizes so that you can select that best fits your Air compressor.
This hack is definitely going to be worth it. If you’ve decided to try this, here’s a video that will help you installing those rubber grommets.
Extend the Air Intake component to Outdoors
I’ve already mentioned that Air intake is the loudest component of an Air Compressor’s noise. An enormous amount of noise is created when the air is being sucked through the air intake valve.
Most probably it is placed in your indoors, like the garage, or basement etc., Where the air intake sound should be pretty annoying.
What if we shift it outdoors?
No, I’m not talking about shifting your Air compressor.
The entire noise of air suction is produced at Air intake valve. So, what if we can shift just that valve?
Wondering is it possible? and how?
The answer is: Yes, using this rubber hose, and something to hold it tight like a bracket.
You just need to push that rubber hose snugly onto the air compressor’s intake tightly. You can use a bracket or rubber grommet to keep it fixed.
Now all you’ve to do is to extend the other end to outside. Where the noise isn’t much issue(at least when compared to your garage).
The best way to do so is to make a hole in the wall and passing the rubber hose through it. I suggest doing this way because passing it through a door, window or open space will cause the sound to spread back.
So, drilling a hole and passing the hose will be your best go.
If you’ve decided to go this way, this video will help you.
Install a Muffler on air intake Component
All you’ve to do is connecting one end of your air hose to the air intake valve and connect another end to the muffler. An old car muffler should be enough, else buying it is not going to cost you a fortune.
Now, connect the second hose to another end of the muffler. This will bring down the sound up to 4 dB. This may don’t sound incredible, but it will make a lot of difference for your hearing.
Additionally, you can extend the second hose to the outside as explained earlier to double the effect.
A guy in this video has beautifully applied this mechanism. Hope this helps you.
P.S: In case you don’t hear the difference in sound for the before and after hose+muffler mechanism, use earphones.
Tighten the loose parts
Not all times this will be the culprit. But, quite often they can go wrong. There might be some loose parts like bolts and screws in your air compressor that might cause additional noise due to vibration.
This is most common for vibrating machines. And these screws and bolts are present all over the machine. They become loose over a period of usage.
Many other components like pulleys, clamps, cooler and flywheel can go loose after a period of time. It’s best to check the whole air compressor and tighten all the loose parts. This doesn’t cost you even a penny.
Clean the Air filters
Air filers- They serve the purpose of filtering the air that is being sucked into the air compressor. In a simple sense, they clean the air that is taken inside.
But, the problem is that they don’t clean themselves. So, over a period of usage(say 6 months), the air filer accumulates dust. That dust stops further air flow into the compressor, causing the machine to run harder.
Running harder makes the machine louder. And that is not something you wish to happen. So, the best thing you can do is cleaning the air filters at least for every 6 months.
Lubricate the Bearings
You know: There are many moving parts in the air compressor. And all moving parts need to be lubricated to run smooth. Or else, they go on wearing and tearing by causing huge noise and power loss.
And that is not good for any reason.
So, every once in a while you need to lubricate the bearings. Lubrication can be done by applying grease to moving parts and on contacting surfaces.
Note: Applying excess grease has adverse effects on the machine. Excess grease chokes the bearings and makes it much difficult to move. So, it is advised to use just enough grease.
Building a Soundproof Box for Your Air Compressor
This is the ultimate thing you can ever do for silencing your air compressor. Most of the users on various forums and websites have recommended this as the best solution.
Though a tough task when compared with other solutions, it can yield the best results. You can use plywood(which you can easily purchase in custom sizes at local stores or Homedepot) for making the soundproof air compressor box. In case you want the best soundproof wood comparison and find out which type of wood does the best job, I’ve got that covered too.
Everything you need is:
- A Circular Saw
- A driller and screws
- A Soundproof foam
Now: You need to build a box that should be big enough to fit your compressor. So, measure the cubicle dimensions your air compressor occupies and build your air compressor enclosure according to that. Building a couple of inches bigger will help you avoid overheating.
You’ll also need to drill few extra holes so that heat escapes and not too big to cause excess noise leakage. Also look for outlets for the likes of air hoses, etc.
Then, you can go for fixing the plywood using screws or nails. Now you’ll need to fix this cheap soundproof foam to the interior surfaces of the air compressor box.
You can fix the foam to the walls of the box using this adhesive spray which costs nothing more than $6.
If possible, follow this model to stop noise leakages through holes made for ventilation.
Now you’re good to go. You can just put the soundproof box to your air compressor depending upon the way you designed it. Unlike other hacks, this encapsulates your air compressor and thus reduces the noise.
Though this will have a good impact on air compressor’s noise reduction, it can’t guarantee the complete 100% silencing of your air compressor.
Here’s good video showing a well-soundproofed box used for quieting the air compressor.
What’s Wrong with my Air Compressor?
To get your answer: Listen closely to the noise and notice where the noise is coming from and what type of noise is that.
Here’s the list of noises and what they mean:
- Clicking sound: Defective or failing thermostat
- Hissing or bubbling noise: Compressor has a refrigerant leak
- Humming motors: Starting capacitor needs to be changed
- Screaming noise: Indicates high internal pressure, can be dangerous.
- Clanking or banging noise: Means loose internal parts.
- Buzzing sound near fan motor: Indicates a failing motor, arcing connections, loose wiring or arcing.
- Rattling noise: Caused by loose screws on the mount.
- Brief Squeals at compressor Startup: Don’t worry! It’s normal behaviour.
So, best thing you can do to avoid them is: Having regular maintenance of your air compressor.
Final words on Quieting Your Air Compressor
It is certain that they’re loud, but silencing your air compressor is not too difficult. With these simple hacks, you can easily quieten your air compressor. If you want to quiet using generator mufflers or want to know how to build a soundproof box for your generators.
However, complete noise reduction is almost impossible, bringing down a few decibels will have a very good effect for sure.
If this guide helps you quieting your air compressor, it’s worth my effort.
Did I leave anything? or have any suggestions? Feel free to put it down in the comment section. I’ll be glad to check and update my article.