If you are here that means you have been annoyed by the noise that your generator makes and you have finally decided to do something about it!
There are many ways that you can try to silence your generator like replacing your generator muffler, building a quiet box, using sound deflectors, changing position of exhaust pipes and making adjustments to positioning of the generator itself.
The noise that generator makes can be really disturbing when you are on a camping trip or in your awesome RV and enjoying the moments only to be buzzed by constant noise from your generator. And you can’t turn it off because you know you need it.
Today I will share with you some techniques that will help you at least reduce the generator noise upto a point where it becomes bearable.
But before that lets first understand why it is making that annoying noise that you are so keen to kill. These insights may help you make some smart choices to reduce the noise levels.
So, Why is your generator producing the noise in the first place?
There can be many reasons as to why your portable generator is making that irritating noise. This noise can be really disturbing especially when you are trying to have that good night’s sleep.
1. Location of Your Generator
This may seem quite obvious but the location of your generator matters. The farther away you are from it, the less you will hear its noise.
Trying to keep the generator as far possible might not be always feasible as the same generator may be father from you but near to someone else.
And I am guessing that you want to be good to everyone around 🙂
While placing your generator, pay close attention to the surface it will be sitting on.
A sound amplifying surface such as hard floor is not going to help you reduce sound. Unnecessary vibrations due to the hard floor may increase the noise.
2. Energy Produced by The Generator
Generally speaking, the more energy a generator produces there is more noise that you need to bear.
I suggest you evaluate the approximate amount of energy that you actually need. If you don’t need that much, consider getting a generator with lower power output.
This will give you benefit of lighter generator with lesser noise. It’s like killing two birds with single stone!
3. Technology Behind The Generator
Some generators are quieter than others because of newer technologies.
One of them is inverter technology which converts the produced electricity into DC and again converts it back to much cleaner AC power with minimal distortions.
These are called inverter generators and are much more compact and produce less noise. They also have something called eco-mode that uses less energy and therefore produce less noise
For the down side they tend to be more expensive that the normal generators. After all noise goes away at a price.
Now you understand the reasons behind it. It’s time for the ultimate question for which you got here.
How do I silence my portable generator ?
1. Replacing your Generator’s Muffler
It is not possible to completely soundproof a generator but there are some things that you can do reduce the noise up to a point that you can comfortably bear it.
There is not much that you can do about the motor of the generator. But the exhaust pipes have a great potential to reduce the noise.
Get a bigger muffler for your generator. The muffler work by diffusing the sound inside its compartment. The bigger the better.
When replacing your generator’s muffler, make sure you weld it properly and it is as stable as possible otherwise you will end up with unnecessary noise of vibrations.
I found some good videos for replacing the muffler of a generator. You can watch them for inspiration.
2. Building a Quiet/Muffle Box
You can build a muffle box by yourself which can be helpful i reducing a lot of noise.
While you are building a muffle box you need to take care of two most important things.
Heat: When you are building your muffle box, make sure that you take into consideration the heat that your generator’s motor is going to dissipate.
It can get quite hot in the box, which will ultimately damage your generator. Make sure your muffle box is ventilated properly. You can use an air vent like this to throw out the heat.
Physical configuration: Make sure you build your muffle box in such a way that it allows room for the exhaust pipes of the generator.
You might want to consider its use before building one. If you are building a quiet box for your generator at home, you may want to build a brick and mortar one.
But if you planning to use this muffle box for camping or in your RV, brick and mortar will not be that convenient I guess .. 😀
There are some good tutorials on youtube that can help you build a muffle box for yourself.
If you want to build one for your home you can watch this video for some inspiration
Portable Muffle box for your camping trips
3. Using a Thick Mat for Absorbing The Noise
You should understand that sound is basically vibrations. To reduce the sound you can either direct it away from yourself or absorb it. There isn’t really any third way that you can use to reduce the noise.
Hard surfaces are the ones that absorb the least amount of sound whereas fluffy things are the ones that absorb most of the sound.
You can test this theory yourself. Take any metal object that you can find and try dropping it first on a concrete or marble surface and then on the bare soil.
You will instantly see what I am talking about.
When generators are placed on a hard surface they tend to produce much more noise because hard surfaces amplify the sound.
To counter this effect you can use a thick mat that helps in absorbing the sound. These mats are quite inexpensive at around 25-30 bucks. You can easily buy them off amazon. This looks mat looks like a good one, check its price on Amazon Here
Tip: You can use this mat in your muffle box too for added noise reduction.
4. Adjusting Place of the Generator
Best cheapest and easiest way to get rid of some noise is adjusting the position of your generator. The farther away that you keep your generator from yourself, the better the noise reduction.
You may want to keep some extension cables handy, If you are going for a camping trip.
You can also exploit your surroundings for better noise reduction. Try finding a spot which can help deflect some sound off. If you can place your generator behind a wall, rock or a tree, It may help to deflect some of the noise.
5. Using Sound Deflectors
Sound deflectors can be very helpful to keep the noise away from you. You can use something as simple as plywood to deflect the sound in a direction that you want.
A simple setup would be placing four plywood sheets to enclose the entire generator but not in a box fashion. Keep them tilted in a way that they point to the soil or your sound absorbing mat.
This way, the generated noise will be hiting the ground or your mat and some of the noise will be absorbed.
With this simple technique, you can reach a sound reduction of upto 10 DB.
As I told you earlier, try to find something in surroundings that can act as natural deflectors like wall or rock. This could really help, given that you find a sweet spot.
6. Moving The Exhaust Pipes To A Vertical Position
We know that exhaust pipes are the ones that cause the most noise.
If the exhaust pipe is kept in a horizontal position they tend to spread out the sound horizontally which make it noisier. Instead, If we keep them vertical, pointing the sky, you will observe a noticeable difference.
7. Using Water To Keep it Down
This may seem like trickiest thing I am going to tell you today but this can actually work.
All you need for this to work is a bucket full of water and a hose.
Connect your hose to the exhaust of the generator and put it in the water filled bucket. You can use duct tape to secure the hose pipe in the bucket.
When exhaust will flow through the water, water will muffle down the noise and leave you in peace.
But you may be worried that some water may go back into the generator. Well, I’ll say that’s a valid concern. But you can easily solve this by putting a small hole near the entrance of the exhaust. This small hole will ensure that no water enters the engine and it won’t be big enough to leak a significant amount of noise.
8. Consider Other Quiet Generators
All these generators serve their purpose. For example loud generators that produce high power output are very well suited for homes. Because at home, you can easily find a garden shed or garage away from you room such that the noise is no longer a problem.
But for camping you may want a generator that is quieter because you may not be able to keep it very far from yourself.
Sometimes it is better to spend some extra money up front and have a much quieter generator that will give you peace of mind. As I explained earlier, there is a category of generators called inverter generators.
They give you much cleaner output power are very quiet. They also have an Eco-mode which consume less power and thus quieter.
If you are absolutely annoyed with your generator’s noise then a new generator is probably your best bet.
I hope these simple tips help you reduce the noise of your generator.
But you should be aware that these tips can only help you reduce the noise and it won’t completely soundproof your generator. And hopefully you can reduce the noise levels down to a point where you can sleep comfortably.
I hope this article comes in handy to you when you need a generator for camping, for your garage or just about anything.