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 the fact 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 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 when it comes to the vibrations that your generator makes and the noise level it operates.
The most obvious answer when it comes to the noise of your 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 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 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 both 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.
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. 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 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 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. You may also want to place the generator in an upright position, while also facing the exhaust pipes away from you to quiet it. Turning the generator upright will make the exhaust pipes face up, which will direct the noise away from you.
It is important to note that this method of adjusting the exhaust pipes will not make the generator silent but rather direct sounds away from you, so it is less obtrusive.
3) Set it up on a Platform
A good way to tackle the noise your generator makes it 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 the generator 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 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 it on a platform of some kind to reduce the vibrations.
4) Create a Barrier
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.
There is a range of materials that you can use to make what is known as a baffle box. The best materials, of course, are those that are considered to be sound deflectors. These are often sloped, hard materials that are designed to direct the noise downwards so it will seem quieter.
A baffle box can also be used to barrier off your generator and keep it away from your tent or other people. 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) Removable Rubber Covers
It is possible to create your baffle box using rubber; although this may not be the most effective method, it can still make a 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 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 of a generator, 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) The Water Bucket ‘trick’
As we all know, the sound becomes muffled when underwater, and this is the theory behind this method. You can place a generator in a bucket of water to muffle the noise it makes, but the vibrations may still be heard. It is important to rely on a platform of some kind or drill a hose into the bucket to let water flow out when it reaches a certain level.
Water should never travel through the hose of the generator as this will break the device and cause electrical issues.
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 muffler, then speak to a professional mechanic who may be able to make something custom for you based on your needs.
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 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 to 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.