There is nothing worse than a noisy generator keeping you up at night or spoiling the peace that nature can bring on a camping trip. Although some brands have quiet generators available, there are some ways that you can make your current generator quieter, which can save you money. One of the best things about generators is that they are portable, meaning they can be taken along with the rest of your camping gear to keep you warm and connected when out in nature.
A lot of the ways that you can make a portable generator quieter can result in additional weight, which is not what you need. If you are tired of having a noisy generator, then continue reading our guide on how to quiet a generator, making it easier to use and suitable for all purposes.
Why Does My Generator Make A Lot Of Noise?
Before we get into how to quiet a generator, we first need to look into the factors that can increase the noise level in the first place. There are a lot of things that you will want to factor in when it comes to the vibrations that your generator makes and the noise level it operates at.
The most obvious answer when it comes to the noise of your loud generator is in the construction. Some models are simply made one way that will cause a lot of noise or high sound levels when they are in use. If this is the case for your generator, then soundproofing may be difficult.
All of the various features within a generator are interconnected, which is how they work. With this in mind, a stronger engine that produces higher wattage when running is going to create more sound no matter what it is being used for.
This is due to the space the engine takes up in the build of the generator as it means the entire device will have to be larger. If you are currently looking for a generator to use, then make sure to consider small and compact products as this will make a quiet generator.
However, no matter what kind of generator you use or are looking into getting, it is likely that the manufacturer has added some kind of soundproofing or muffler to reduce the generator noise level.
An easy way to determine whether a generator has been treated for soundproofing is to check whether there is a rubber layer surrounding the engine where it will muffle the motor without interfering with the power it provides.
Another way that manufacturers may try to reduce the noise level of their generator is with the engine. Many brands have some form of Eco Mode or rely on smart controls for the engine, which will make the generator quieter.
These kinds of controls are typically automatic, meaning the generator will automatically lower the power consumption of the engine based on your needs, which in turn will lower the sound it makes.
If you find that your generator is too loud, then you may be able to make it quieter by switching on the Eco Mode.
The fuel type that a generator uses can also impact the noise levels it creates. Diesel-powered generators are typically the loudest, and gas exhaust generators are much quieter. There are also other options, including solar-paneled generators and propane-powered devices, which are quieter than diesel models.
It is important to note that the fuel type can also affect how environmentally friendly the generator is and the kind of impact it would have on the atmosphere. Alternative options like solar-paneled and propane models are better for the environment as well as being quieter, but they are also the most expensive.
How Are You Using A Generator?
The way that you set up and use a generator can also make it noisy. If this is the case, then you are in luck as this is where the most change can be made when it comes to making a generator quieter. When it comes to the way that you use a generator, consider:
- The position of the generator
- The soundproofing methods you have tried to use
These can both influence the vibration that a generator makes and how noisy it will be. Of course, if you are using a generator that is just noisy by nature, then there isn’t much that you can do here other than keep it far away. If a generator is far away, then the motor will not be as loud as if you were sitting right on top of it.
However, if this does not sound like the best idea, then there is a range of methods that you can try to box in the generator and reduce the sound it makes when in use.
What Decibel Rating Is Loud for A Generator?
A decibel is a unit of measurement for sound. The decibel rating of a sound is the sound pressure level in decibels. The higher the decibel rating, the louder the sound.
So, what decibel rating is loud for a generator? It depends on what you’re using the generator for. If you’re using it for camping, you may want a generator with a lower decibel rating so it doesn’t disturb your neighbors.
If you’re using it for construction, you may want a generator with a higher decibel rating so it’s easier to hear over the noise of the equipment. In general, a generator with a decibel rating of 65 or higher is considered loud.
However, it’s important to consider the other sounds around you when choosing a generator. For example, a generator with a decibel rating of 65 may not be as loud as a generator with a decibel rating of 80 if there’s other loud equipment running nearby.
How to Quiet a Generator
If you are looking for a way to quiet a generator, then the following tips have been tried and tested. It is probably going to take more than one method for you to reduce the noise level of your generator, which is why we would recommend working your way around this list and trying different options to see which can help the most.
The following are ways that you can box in the sound your generator makes to ensure that it does not disturb you or other campers. These methods to soundproof can also be used in the home, but they are mainly directed to people who use generators when camping, as this is going to come with more consequences, as there are more people around to hear it.
1. Move the generator far away
If you are using a noisy generator box, then it is recommended for you to store it at least 20 feet away from your tent or the space that you are using. You need an extension cord to keep away your generator.
The further away the generator is, the less noise you will hear from it while still being able to get the benefits of having a generator with you in the first place, i.e., having appliances plugged in and powered.
When shopping for the best portable generators, even those that claim to be quiet, at Amazon or other websites, you will see that as well as a list of their materials and run time, most brands also provide a sound level for their products.
This is typically given in dBA, and there is often a measurement given with it, for example, a 56 dBA at 7m.
This means that the generator will be quieter from 7 meters away. This is why you must make sure to consider both the dBA and the distance it was measured in, as this will determine how quiet a generator is and where you will need to put it to get this low level of sound.
2. Reposition the generator’s exhaust pipe
To make a generator quieter, you will need to make sure you know where the noisy bits are so you can see how you may want to move them.
In most cases, the exhaust pipe is the part that tends to be the loudest, so make sure to position these away from you and where you are based.
In some cases, simply turning the exhaust pipe away from you to make sure it is facing the opposite direction can make the generator quieter.
With some models, it’s also possible to point the exhaust pipes upward in a vertical position towards the sky.
3. Place it on a soft surface
A good way to tackle the noise your generator makes is by reducing the vibrations it creates when it is powered on. One way to do this is to avoid solid surfaces, like wood and concrete, when using the generator at home or camping as this will make the vibrations louder.
Instead, you can place it on soft ground like earth to reduce the vibrations and hopefully reduce the sound too. A better way to do this is by using some form of a platform that will absorb the vibrations and lessen their impact.
You can get an anti-vibration mat or use rubber feet to absorb the vibrations that a generator creates when it is powered on. These mats are available for large appliances like washing machines and dryers, so it will be quite easy to get one for this purpose as well.
Alternatively, you can lay some rubber materials underneath the generator or place them on a platform of some kind to reduce the vibrations.
4. Use sound deflectors to make your generator quiet
One of the best ways to reduce any kind of noise is by creating a barrier. Creating an acoustic barrier between yourself and the generator will lessen how much noise you can hear, no matter how much it creates.
This is one of the best options for those with older, nosier generators and does not require you to pull it apart, so it is relatively easy to do.
The best materials, of course, are those that are considered to be sound deflectors, like plywood. These deflectors can be positioned at an angle to help direct the noise downwards so it will seem quieter.
As we have mentioned, keeping the generator away from where you are based will lessen the noise it makes, and by adding a barrier, it should be quite quiet.
5. Build an acoustic enclosure or baffle box
It is possible to create your baffle box using rubber; although this may not be the most effective method, it can still reduce the sound waves and make the generator quieter.
A rubber flap can be attached to the box, making it easy to move out of the way when necessary while still offering good noise reduction. Rubber is a good material for soundproofing as it is sturdy, heat-resistant, and dense.
When using rubber as a way to reduce the noise of your generator, it is a good idea to make sure that you can get it off in a hurry. The issue with rubber is the fact it holds in the air, which can cause issues with the ventilation of your generator.
Although your soundproof barrier will be safe, the generator may suffer, so you want to make something that can be removed with ease to prevent overheating.
6. Fireproofing insulation
In a similar manner to using a rubber flap, you may also be able to cover your generator with some form of fireproof insulation. This may dampen the sound, but you will want to know that this method can also cause issues with airflow.
You can try using materials like mineral wool, fiberglass, or Rockwool insulation to reduce the sound, but this will not be a permanent solution.
Before sticking to this method, you will want to test it out first. This means covering the generator in the fireproof materials for five minutes at a time and extending it with each try to see how suitable it is for this job.
7. Make a water muffler
Making a water muffler is another option for reducing generator exhaust sounds. It’s a simple remedy that should reduce noise levels, but I wouldn’t advocate it on a long-term basis. After all, water and electricity don’t mix well.
All you have to do now is insert the pipe into a pail of water. Attach a section of garden hose to the pipe using a clamp to make this process much easier. You may then put the other end in a pail of water. Gases will still escape, but the noise will be muffled by the water.
The advantage of utilizing a hosepipe is that it allows you to keep the water bucket away from the generator. Also, poke a few holes in the hose to prevent backflow.
8. Replace the muffler
If making adjustments to the exhaust pipes does not make a difference, then this could be a sign that there is an issue with the muffler. The muffler, much like within an exhaust pipe of vehicles, is the last part of the exhaust and can improve the level of sound it creates.
It may be quite hard to find a replacement muffler for your generator, as this is something that is not offered by brands due to the various kinds of generators that are available.
If you require a new generator muffler, then speak to a professional mechanic who may be able to make something custom for you based on your needs. You can use a car or motorbike muffler/ Automotive muffler that matches the size of your generator.
9. Maintaining proper oil levels
Maintaining the proper oil levels is an important part of keeping your generator running smoothly. Not only will this help to prevent wear and tear on the generator, but it will also keep the noise level down.
If you are not sure how to check the oil levels or add more oil, then consult the owner’s manual or seek out advice from a professional.
One way to tell if you need to add more oil is to listen for a high-pitched noise when the generator is running. This is usually an indication that the oil levels are low and that you need to add more.
Adding oil is a simple task that only takes a few minutes, and it is something that you can do yourself.
Can I just cover the generator?
When considering ways of insulation and noise reduction, it is important to remember that generators require ventilation. This means that it is never recommended for you to fully cover the generator and instead create a fence or baffle box that goes around it.
This kind of soundproof generator box or insulation will create a barrier between you and the noise, while still allowing ventilation.
What happens if none of these work?
If you have tried these soundproofing methods and are still not seeing results, then it may be time to buy a new generator – one that has been made to run quietly.
A lot of brands are now offering quiet generators that have been specially manufactured to produce less noise than other older models. You can start your shopping trip by looking at generators that are smaller and less powerful, with a maximum of 4,000 watts.
These kinds of generators will also be better suited for traveling, as they are going to be more lightweight and easier to carry. If this is why you want a generator, then buying a new one is a win-win.
What is the best noise-less generator for camping?
The Honda EU2200i is one of the quietest generators on the market, operating at just 53-62 dBA. This makes it perfect for camping, RVing, and any other activity where you need a quiet generator. You can even add a second EU2200i for more power. Two generators can be paralleled with an optional cable or cord for up to 4400 watts of power.
The EU2200i companion also features a built-in 30 Amp outlet for RV applications (requires an optional adapter) and one 20 Amp receptacle. This makes it easy to run two EU2200i models in parallel with a simple parallel cord.
Despite its power, the EU2200i Companion is incredibly lightweight and portable, weighing less than 47 lbs. Thanks to Honda’s inverter technology, you can rest assured that you’re getting stable, clean power in a small package.
Though inverter generators are a little bit pricey, these will provide you with the best results for sure.
Can I stop my standby generator from making noise?
If your standby generator is making noise, there are a few things you can do to try to reduce the noise.
- Make sure the generator is properly installed and that all the connections are secure. If the generator is not installed properly, it can vibrate and make noise.
- Check the generator’s muffler and exhaust system to make sure they are in good condition and not damaged. A damaged muffler or exhaust system can cause the generator to make noise.
- Try to isolate the generator from the rest of the house by putting it in a soundproof enclosure. This can help to reduce the noise the generator makes.
By combining each of these 9 methods on how to make a generator quiet, you can lower the overall noise level of your generator, therefore keeping the peace between you and your neighbors.
If you have a favorite method for how to quiet a generator, that we didn’t mention. We’d love to hear from you!