6 Tips For How to Quiet a Generator

Josh Miller

Josh is a contributing writer to the site and former HVAC specialist.

Last Updated on April 23, 2021

Generators are crucial when it comes to powering houses and campsites, and they can also be lifesavers during power shortages. But, all these benefits can sometimes be overpowered by the intolerable noises generators can produce. 

Whether you’ve already bought one or you’re looking to invest in a new model, several effective techniques will quieten any generator. 

Here are six tips and tricks to help you learn how to quiet a generator and enjoy your power in peace.

6 Tips For How to Quiet a Generator
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Table of Contents

Why Are Generators Loud?

The primary reason generators are so loud is because of the vibrations they make. Loose nuts and bolts can also make the generators vibrate more, which ultimately increases the noise made from the steel components.

It’s also important to note that the more inexpensive a generator is, the more noise it is likely to make. This is because cheaper designs are typically built with low-quality components to make them more affordable.

To put the average sound into perspective, a 60-70dB generator is as noisy as a dishwasher or a vacuum cleaner.

How Do You Quieten a Generator?

There are multiple ways you can quiet or silence your generator. If you’ve not already bought one, it is a good idea to research and buy the quietest models. These units typically feature a noise dampening casing or vibration reduction technology to minimize the acoustic output between 48-52dB.

Not all generators are the same, meaning each noise level can be different. For example, a WEN 56203i is one of the quietest models you can buy. It functions on 51 dB, produces 2,000 surge watts and 1,700 rated watts of clean power. Perfect for safely charging sensitive electronics.

However, if you already have a generator and you desperately want to reduce the noise it makes, here are six helpful techniques that will prevent you from having to invest in a more expensive, quieter model. 

Install Generator Silencers 

Generator silencers work in the same way as mufflers. However, the only difference is silencers lower the sounds produced during combustion. There are three categories of silencers, with each determining the level of noise reduction of your generator. These are:

  • Reactive Silencer: The reactive silencer’s internal architecture contains up to three chambers, all connected by a tube. The noise of the exhaust bounces between each chamber and reduces the output noise. These silencers are generally used to reduce low to mid-frequency noises.
  • Absorptive Silencer: The internal architecture of this silencer consists of either E glass insulation or fiberglass. They work by dampening the exhaust noise as it flows through the insulation. These silencers are used when high-frequency sound waves need to be reduced. 
  • Combination Silencer: This silencer consists of the components of both the reactive and absorptive types. Absorption material is slotted into the chamber design of the reactive silencer, which reduces all frequency types.

Build a Shelter Box For Your Generator

This is a simple solution that can provide vast improvements to the sound of your generator. 

Source some soundproof materials, such as acoustic foam or insulation batts, and attach them to plywood panels to build a shelterbox that will safely and comfortably house your generator. Once the construction is complete and you’ve confined your generator, you’ll notice the noises are much more muffled and dampened. 

Place Your Generator Further Away

This technique is specifically for portable generators. For example, if you’re going camping and are taking your generator with you, keeping it as far away as possible from your campsite will limit the amount of noise you hear.

A rough, ideal distance is around 20 ft. away from your site. You should also make sure the exhaust pipe is turned away from you to reduce the noise even more.

If you keep your portable generator at home to reduce the noise output, many people keep them sheltered outside. Ensure the generator is not placed near bedrooms or living rooms; you can enjoy the power it creates without the unbearable noise.

Seal Rubber Feet to Your Generator

A cost-effective way to silence or reduce your generator’s noise output is to cover its feet with rubber. This stops the vibrations reacting against the ground while the generator is operating. The cease in vibrations can have a significant impact on the reduction of noise levels. 

To achieve the same effect, you could also place your generator on a soundproof mat. Whatever anti-vibration method you choose, you’ll experience a significant reduction in noise pollution from your generator.

Install Sound Deflectors

This is another great technique for how to quiet a generator. A sound deflector is a piece of equipment that helps divert loud noises away from specific areas. Instal one of these devices in a position where you don’t want to hear the sound from your noise generator, for example, near windows and doors. 

Note that sound deflectors don’t reduce the noises from the generator itself; it just redirects the sound waves away so you can’t hear it. Readily available to purchase, these devices are perfect temporary solutions for your ears.

To make the noise reduction more permanent, many people combine sound deflectors with other techniques, such as a shelter box.

Keep the Exhaust Pipes in a Vertical Position

The position in which generator exhaust pipes are positioned can significantly affect the noise levels they produce. For example, exhaust pipes that are turned horizontally blow the air in your outside surroundings, meaning the noise travels the same way. By placing them vertically, the sound is propelled upward, meaning you are less likely to hear the loud noises.

Reduce the Sound of Your Generator

Generators are a crucial source of power for campers and people living off-grid. They are also an essential power source during an emergency or power outage. Although these devices are highly functional, their design and combustion engine that drives the motor often results in noises beyond the comfort a human ear can handle

Sound dampening techniques, such as shelter boxes and silencers, can help quiet the noise from the motor, while deflectors and moving the exhaust pipes can redirect the sound away from your location. Using a combination of techniques is the ideal way to ensure a quiet and peaceful camping experience. 

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