How to Quiet a Generator

It is a simple matter of fact that generators are loud. You may have first hand knowledge of your own, or bad memories of someone else’s loud generator making it impossible to ignore or carry on a normal life with them running in the background.  Be it at a campground trying to enjoy the peacefulness of nature, or running it overnight during an extended power outage, we would all like to make our generators just a little less intrusive. But how to quiet a generator in the most effective way?

How to Quiet a Generator without Breaking the Bank

The easiest way to silence your generator is to have it built right in by purchasing a newer generator.  The latest improvements in engine technology and case designs have cut down on the cacophonous grinding that your old rattling engine makes.  It may be time to spring for an upgrade.

Evaluating how much power you actually use compared to how much your generator is capable of is great way to cut down the noise.  Bigger simply isn’t better.  Unless you’re using your generator at the peak of its limits, a smaller generator may be a better choice.  Smaller engines create less sound.

The inverter generators have also improved the generator landscape with a special eye on keeping the decibels down.  Often performing between 55 and 65dB, these strong portables are perfect for the campground or overnight operation as 60dB is rated as the sound level of a casual conversation.  Talking in a library may get you some dirty glances, but imagine a generator that is no louder than your everyday speech.

Reluctant to take the “easy” way out and purchase a newer, quieter generator?  Then your best bet in silencing your existing generator is to improvise with enclosures and operational tactics.

Portable and Whole Home Generator Enclosures

Enclosures for large stationary generators are available for sale and they are specially designed for your particular model to provide adequate cover in weather, venting, and sound elimination.  If you don’t have a manufactured enclosure but you are quite handy, you may be able to create your own custom built enclosure if you keep these same three properties in mind.

Weather

An enclosure does you no good if it fails in the wind or rain.  Tough materials that are heat resistant are required.  Remember your generator’s engine can get quite hot and you don’t want your enclosure to catch fire.

Venting

Your engine breathes.  It takes in air and spits out exhaust and you need to be certain your enclosure provides for adequate clean air intake and a safe exit of the carbon monoxide and other noxious fumes.

Sound Elimination

The entire reason you wanted an enclosure.  Insulated walls and sound baffling can cut down a significant amount of noise from a generator’s engine.  Allow for the free flow of intake air and exhaust fumes while providing a maze of a escape route for the sound waves.

Non-Enclosure Options

If building your own enclosure is impractical for you or your situation, then you may be able to resort to tactical ways to silence your generator.

Distance

Move the generator as far away from your location as practical.  Moving the engine as little as 30 feet can make a significant improvement on the decibel level.  50 feet, even more so.

Aim

Your engine has an exhaust outlet.  If moving the entire generator out and away from your immediate area is impossible, you may still be able to turn the generator so the exhaust is pointed away from you, lowering the sound somewhat.

Isolation

Much of the noise from a rattling old generator engine comes from contact with the frame or the ground.  If you can pad the moving parts with rubber or other insulating material you’ll find the engine becomes quieter.

Wrapping Up: How to Quiet a Generator

The combined implementation of all three of these operational tactics will cut down some of the noise level. This will help silence your generator. Looking for a more practical option? We suggest reading our list and buyer’s guide for the Quietest Generators.

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