Do you want to learn how to quiet a loud generator? Well, within 10 minutes you’ll know how incredibly silent your generator can become using a generator muffler, generator silencer along 11 other hacks.
It begins with the feeling of frustration due to irresistible noise coming from a generator when things are already not going as they should.
Does this sound familiar? We’ve all been there.
Nevertheless, a generator can come in handy in times of emergencies and campings, they have their own drawbacks.
The loud noise stands at the top of the list of drawbacks of having a generator.
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How Loud is Your Generator
If you want to measure how loud is your generator and how much does a silencing trick impacts the noise, then you can easily measure using these decibel meters.
Or even a smartphone app can help you in this case.
Generally, most portable generators have a noise level between 70 to 90 decibels. If your generator is not built for being quiet or has some maintenance or mechanical issues, then that range can go up to 85 to 90 decibels.
And that is not something tolerable.
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.
So, what’s the point? Your loud generator can be Hazardous to you!
Why Generators are So Noisy
Before we jump into quieting a generator, knowing why generators are that loud might help you.
Though a lot of factors can cause that roar, a few of them are:
Technology with which it is built
Generator technology plays an important role in the extent of noise it produces. An old traditional generator will produce much more noise than an advanced quiet inverter technology.
These modern-day generators use high-end electronics, specialized magnets, and noise-reducing shells. They’re infamous for providing a silent and stable flow of power.
The higher competition in brands made the customers lucky by providing the top-end features at the best price. They include compact, being reliable, providing additional mufflers, soundproof design.
One downside of them will be not being able to produce the same amount of power as traditional ones.
A powerful engine with more wattage will produce more noise and conversely, smaller and gentle engines will be quieter.
So, I recommend not going for more than 4000 Watts.
The type of fuel your generator uses will reflect the noise produced by your generator. Generally, diesel-powered engines are the loudest in the market. While the gas and solar-powered generators are a bit quieter.
Though propane and solar-powered generators are good for the environment, they also come with big price tags.
This is where we can make some changes in order to quieten the generator. Unlike other causes, the way you set the generator and its surrounding will also affect the noise, and altering to the right position can affect the noise to a large extent.
Narrowing all of them will boil down to these two:
- How you position your Generator
- Every soundproofing method you use externally.
Why Should you Silence your Generator
Quieting your generator not only helps you attain peace in emergencies from being bothered by the loud generator but is also a magnanimous act towards your neighbors.
Using a generator may be a chance of emergency for you, but can bother your neighbors a lot. If you’re using it for a long time without silencing, then it can bring you some serious problems.
Even if you’re about to use it at camping, not a single breath-taking human will ever want to have a restless night with a noisy generator.
Whatever the reason it may be, I’m here to sort out the best ways for silencing your generator.
Using a Quiet Generator muffler
Generators can be a great asset in a home or business. However, like all things in the world, they can have their drawbacks if not installed correctly. One of these shortcomings is an exhaust system that creates an unpleasant and obnoxious noise. When you install your system, you should take some time to set up your exhaust correctly, so you don’t scare yourself when you hear it.
Just like the muffler of your car, the generator’s muffler will do the same i.e., muffle the sound. If your muffler is damaged or not functioning properly or even if you’re thinking of better peace, you may need a new muffler.
If you think you can fix it yourself then you can easily put this big muffler to your exhaust.
The first thing you need to do is to make sure that all loose parts are well-installed and secure. To do this, you will need to take out any hardware that you may have had in place before putting your system together, such as screws or nails. Loose parts will cause your generator noise to be different noises than it would be with the loose pieces in place.
After you have removed all loose pieces, you will next want to locate the exhaust pipes for your machines. These pipes will generally be located near the machine’s rear, on the left side by most generators. While you are there, make sure that you remove the exhaust tube located near the back of your machine.
Once you have the exhaust pipes taken out, you will then want to locate and mount your generator muffler to the pipe. You will need to ensure that the pipes are connected securely, and you will likely need help with this task. While you ensure that all screws are tightened, you will also want to remove the clamps from the enclosure’s back. Loose expansion joints will require that you loosen them for the replacement to seal appropriately.
The last step in the process is to attach your muffler to the pipe and tighten everything down.
Installation of the muffler and silencer will allow for increased power and an increase in the volume of sound you can create from your equipment. If you cannot find a silencer that perfectly matches your machine’s make and model, then it is recommended that you purchase a custom-made silencer. Once the installation is complete, you will notice that there will be a significant change(up to 15 decibels) in the quality of the sound coming from your machine.
Using a Generator Silencer
If you want to make an astonishing difference with the least effort, using this silencer will be your best go.
You can simply connect this silencer to the exhaust of your generator and watch how it silences the noise by an impressive 12 to 18 decibels.
A silencer will completely silence your exhaust system and prevent the machine from being woken up each time you start it.
Soundproofing exhaust silencers for generator sets are usually made out of heavy-duty metal. Usually, these silencers come pre-fitted with rubber O-rings for sealing and cushioning. Some silencers even offer O-ring sealants to help eliminate excess moisture that can form when silencing the exhaust.
Make sure you’ve sufficient knowledge of fixing these silencers and mufflers. Or else you may end up blocking the exhaust flow.
How To Quiet Your Generator: 11 Other Hacks
So, we’ve reached the point we’ve been waiting for so long. I recommend you to follow as many of the following hacks as your resources and time allow for.
Place Sound Deflectors
You can place sound deflectors between you and the source of sound to block noise. You might be wondering, what is a sound deflector?
Well, those are any objects that can deflect the path of the noise. In this case, we’ll use it for diverting the noise from the generator to some other direction. You can use anything to create a barrier between you and your generator.
A simple fence can do a great job in deflecting your generator noise. Or if your fence can’t get into the action, don’t worry! This sound deflector will direct the sound from your generator to somewhere else.
Even if you’re out camping with your generator, something like this VP6 Portable Partition would be perfect. It is highly portable that you can take apart and pack. This way you can decrease the noise level up to an incredible 10 decibels.
You can also use soundproof curtains, blankets, and room dividers to act as your sound deflector between you and the generator.
A word of warning: NEVER put a blanket directly on your generator, it will cause overheating.
Quieten with Water Hack
Yes! You CAN use water to quieten your generator. Though it sounds odd, it can do the muffler job for you. It might look tricky initially, but the functioning is simple.
Just like everything sounds muffled inside the water, the vibrations of the generator through the exhaust will be muffled and won’t disturb anyone.
Astonishing, isn’t it?
Everything you’ll be needing is a hose(if you don’t have one, you can buy this) and a bucket full of water.
All you’ve to do is connect one end of your hose to the exhaust of your generator and dip the other part of the hose in water. Water is an excellent muffler and will act as one when you do it right, so you’ll be left peaceful.
You can also make a hole in the hose just above the water level to make sure that water will not get into your generator. The hole should be just enough to prevent water from getting into the generator but not big enough to leak noise.
You can avoid doing that by placing your generator on a higher spot.
Place Away from Your Home/Camping Spot
It may be convenient to place your generator near to you. But it’ll sound too loud to you as it is placed nearer. Make sure to leave it at least as far as 20 feet away from you.
Even if you’re thinking of branded generators, showing quiet and 60 decibels, they’ll mark it as “7m”, in the sense the sound reading is taken at that distance. So, you can hear that range only if you’re that far.
Think I’m exaggerating? Sadly it’s true 🙁
So, the best thing you can do is placing it as far as possible from the spot you’re wishing to have peace.
And remember: The generators marked as “quiet generators” are certainly less noisy than those aren’t even if they’re saying the decibel range around 60 dB. They meant you’ll hear that level of noise if you’re at least 7 meters away.
Using it along with sound deflectors and water tricks will do wonders for you. In the case of camping, you can place the generator far away or on another side of the van. An extension cord might come in handy to you in this case.
Fix the Exhaust pipes vertically
Just like you put noisy things away, you can adjust the noisy parts of your generator away from you. Sounds impressive, right?
The loudest components of an engine running on fuel are the exhaust system and the engine itself.
Generally, most generators will have exhaust pipes pointing horizontally. They’ll emit smoke as well as noise in that direction. If you can turn the exhaust pipes to the vertical position, then the noise too will follow them.
In case you can’t position them vertically, you can point it away from your spot. Either way, it directs the noise somewhere else.
Place it on Rubber Feet
You may already know that noise is produced when two hard surfaces are vibrated against one another. Now you don’t want that to happen with your generator. If your generator is placed on a concrete or hard floor, then that should be a concern.
So, what can you do?
Put anything soft between your generator and the floor. If you can place it directly on the ground, great! Earth directly absorbs the noise into it. If you can’t, still you can place this cheap rubber foot under your generator feet.
Unless your generator overheats easily, you can use anything soft enough to absorb vibrations and withstand the heat that will do the job for you. Else, those rubber feet will be your best go.
But remember this: Don’t install your generator on a wooden floor. The wooden floor amplifies the noise instead of absorbing it. So, doing it will be a bad idea.
Build A Soundproof Enclosure
Putting it simply, building a small room for your generator itself. It may not sound practical for camping, but it’s best for quieting your generator at home if you have such space for that.
Measure the dimensions of the area your generator occupies and build the walls according to your generator’s size. If the floor is made of hard surface or concrete, you can use this rubber mat or rubber foot to avoid noise production due to vibrations of contacting surfaces.
You can cover the roof normally but proper ventilation is necessary. If you can install this air vent from Amazon, then it provides ventilation at the very best level.
Tighten the loose parts
So many people skip this thinking that it doesn’t cause much sound. But for the matter-of-fact it does. There might be some loose parts in your generator that may cause additional noise due to vibration.
Those screws and bolts will be present all over the generator and they’ll become loose over a period of usage. So, it’s best to check the whole generator and tighten the loose parts.
And the best part? Doing this doesn’t even cost you a penny.
Build or Buy a Soundproof Baffle Box
Just like the concrete homes for your generator, you can also build a quiet or muffle box to quieten your generator noise. They serve better in terms of soundproofing the noise and make sure that the sound doesn’t disturb you.
If you are interested in building this by yourself, then you must check out my guide for building a generator quiet box. Remember the necessity of proper ventilation and access to the control panel. If you’re looking for a little adventurous craftwork and also saving a few bucks, then this is definitely for you.
If you’ve decided to go for this, this tutorial will come in handy for you.
Use a Rubber Flap/Cover
Installing a rubber flap or cover will do both quieting your generator as well as enhance the accessibility of the control box. This is something you can use for covering that one side of your generator where controls are located.
This heat-resistant, solid, and dense material will block the noise coming from the generator. Also, you can easily access or take out your generator.
The only thing of concern about quieting the generator this way is heating as this rubber flap holds the air. So, make sure you make enough gaps to let heat flow out.
Lubricate the Bearings
The bearings will be present in your generator to free the rotation. But over a period of time, if not lubricated properly, they’ll not only cause noise and power loss but also wearing and tearing of machine parts.
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.
Be warned: Applying excess grease has adverse effects on the generator. Excess grease chokes the bearings and makes it much difficult to move. So, it is advised to use just enough grease.
Invest in a Quiet Generator
The best thing you can do for quieting your generator is to buy a silent generator. While this may not be the option for everyone, still choosing this will be far better than most of the rest combined.
If you’re looking for camping purposes you probably won’t require more than the one with 4000 wattages. That’ll be the best fit as it will be quiet, small, compact, and with enough wattage.
For the home purpose, you need a generator of somewhat more wattage.
Tips for Proper Maintenance
- You should run your generator for half an hour at least once in 3 months to keep it in good health.
- Replace the generator oil after a 50-hour point each time, after the break-in of 7-10 hours.
- Allow your generator to cool down before refilling.
- Regular maintenance is essential for your generator.
- Never operate your generator too near your place.
- You should replace the oil after the initial 5-10 hours of use (Break-in-Period) and refill again with a good quality motor oil.
- Check the gas level frequently – Your generator should not run out of gas while operating, it can cost you seriously.
- Operate it on a flat surface, the engine mechanism requires it to be on a uniform level.
- Lock your generator – You can’t leave a chance of being stolen.
- Please read the user manual for safe handling before installation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you put a silencer on a generator?
Yes, you can put a silencer/ automotive muffler on your generator to muffle the noise. Doing this alone can make the difference from 12 to 18 decibels. Make sure you have good knowledge of installing them or else you might end up blocking the exhaust flow. You can see here about using a silencer for your generator.
How do you quiet a generator muffler?
You can quiet your noisy generator using a muffler. That can cut down the noise by 10 to 15 decibels. But if you’ve got a problem with the muffler itself, then you should think of consulting a mechanic or buying a new muffler for your generator.
How loud is a generator?
The usual range of noise for household portable generators lies between 60 decibels to 90 decibels. But it might cross even 100 decibels depending upon the power and maintenance.
Now it’s your turn. You’ve gone through every kind of solution for quieting your generator with any kind of budget. Or rather getting a quiet one will make it much easy.
Generators can come very handy especially during power cuts and camping, there’s no way to deny it. Quieting it will be worth it and also consider the amount of time and energy you put into it.
However, making a generator quiet to absolute silence is not possible. Still, bringing it down by 15 to 30 decibels will surprise you and your neighbors will appreciate it.
A Word of Caution: You should never run your generator or any other internal combustion engine inside the building where people or animals live. Also, you should not enter into such a building or enclosure having one. Doing so may cause death due to harmful exhaust fumes. Placing your generator near flammable materials will have a risk of a fire accident.
Did I leave anything? or have any suggestions? What hacks have worked and not worked for your generators? Feel free to put down in the comment section. I’ll be glad to answer you.