How to Make a Generator Quieter for Camping and Home
I am sure that you are very well familiar with the unpleasant buzz of a power generator.
Alas! We really need them.
If we take into account that we live in a country where power outages are not so unusual and come quite often, we can say that it is common sense to have a power generator at your home.
However handy they may come in the situations of emergencies, they have their own downsides.
The main downside of those power generators, I am sure that you already know, is that they are very loud.
And no one wants to have that additional source of frustration when things are already not going as they should.
I already talked about this and wrote an article in which I tried to explain simple steps and teach you how to build a soundproof box for a power generator.
I hope that it helped to those of you who have tried this short tutorial.
However, sometimes you will not be able to carry the generator in the box around the place, and you would need something else to make it quieter.
Imagine going camping.
It would really be a downer if the generator was waking you up every night due to its unpleasant sound.
My family and I love camping, so we have had problems with noisy generators for ages! But we have finally found the solution.
For those of you who have found themselves in similar situations, I will try my best to guide you on how to make your generator quieter.
Hopefully, it will save your head, ears, nerves and sleep from that unbearable buzz.
Let us begin.
Before Knowing How to Make a Generator Quieter
The first thing that I would like to point out is that there are a few reasons why your generator is acting up like that, and what might be the cause of it being really loud.
Accordingly, there are several different solutions to the sounds that it is emitting.
Some of the possible solutions that you might think about when it comes to making your generator quieter are as follows:
What You'll Be Needing:
1. Soundproofing the Generator
The first thing that anyone would take into account when over thinking the loudness of their machine is usually soundproofing.
Again, I have already been talking about making a soundproof generator box, but there are other things as well.
Putting it in a box is not very practical when you want to move or take it on a trip with you from time to time.
Instead, reducing the vibrations coming from a working generator can reduce the noise by a lot.
And you can do that with ease by placing it on some rubber legs that are often used to stop the furniture from slipping.
The better soundproofing you do on your generator, the quieter it will be.
2. Where your generator is located
Another important thing when it comes to reducing the noise of your generator is its placement.
Of course, if you put it somewhere near you, you would hear it louder, and if you place it far away it will not be as loud.
But this is not a real reduction of the noise it emits, to be honest, it is just a first aid.
Additionally, it can be far away from you, but too near someone else, and they might find it disturbing, so it is better to look for a real long-term solution.
There is another important thing when it comes to placement, though.
If you place your generator on a metal bench, for example, the noise would be greater.
Try not to put it on any surfaces that work as amplifiers.
Also, shaky surfaces are a no-no.
If you put it on something that shakes, the vibrations will increase, and the very noise will increase with it as well.
3. The energy level of the generator
Another thing that you have to think through is what power you want your generator to have.
If you decide that the most important thing is for it to be quiet, then you should consider a weaker one.
Power generators that are stronger and produce more power are highly likely to produce the bigger amount of noise that the weaker ones.
4. The technology used in the production of the generator
If your generator is made with some newer technology it will probably be making less noise than if it is made with the conventional.
There are certain inverter generators that are usually more compact and therefore smaller and they produce much less noise.
Being newer technology, these inverter generators have additional options that can muffle the noise and reduce it.
There are also so-called eco-modes that use less energy and therefore make less noise.
Finally, Here's How to Make a Generator Quieter
And now that we have covered the most important things that can lead to the noise of your generator being lower or higher, I will list some of the steps that will come in handy in solving your problems
1. Installing sound deflectors
What is a sound deflector, you might wonder?
Simply put, it is an object or a device that is used for turning the path of the noise.
Its purpose is to divert the noise from the spot that you are on.
Similar to what I have mentioned earlier when I was talking about the placement of the generator; it will not really make the generator quieter, but the place itself.
The noise will not be getting to you, and you will have a certain amount of peace and quiet.
You can choose to either make the generator sound deflector, or use your surroundings to achieve the same results.
If you are going camping, bring along 4 plywood sheets and a sheet of drywall. Drywall is a great choice because it is fire resistant.
You can then make your generator quieter by placing the sheets on it at an angle.
Ensure that you use the drywall for the side with the exhaust.
If the generator is at home, place it behind a shelf or any other large piece of furniture that will absorb the noise significantly.
Again, this is not the perfect solution there is because you are not making any adjustments to the generator itself, but it is a fast and simple one that you can use in the meantime while you are looking for a better one.
2. Building an enclosure for your generator
Another thing that you can do is build an enclosure for the generator.
Simply speaking, it would be similar to building a box. If you have a certain place that you want to put it on, this is a very good solution.
Take some measurements, make a base on which the generator will be standing out of concrete, and add the walls that you will make out of wood or bricks.
Don’t forget the “roof” and ventilation. I would use this air vent on Amazon to do this.
Another idea, much better than the previous one, would be to make a box out of some fireproof insulator.
It would be lighter, and it will absorb heat and sound much better than wood or bricks.
Once again, keep in mind that you have to keep the generator vented properly, and not let the heat build up inside the box too much.
It can affect the generator in many bad ways.
3. Moving the exhaust pipes to a vertical position
There is a huge importance in the way the generator’s venting pipes are turned.
When they are turned horizontally, they are blowing the air to the outside, which means that they are blowing the noise horizontally as well.
However, if you turn the pipes to face the air up above the generator, the noise will go in that direction as well, and make less noise, and it will not be as loud.
4. Replacing the muffler on the generator
As you already know, the loudest parts of any generator are the exhaust pipes and the motor.
Since the motor is as it is, there is not much you can do to change how it works.
If you do not like it, you would have to get a new one.
On the other hand, there are a few things and adjustments that you can do on the exhaust to make the generator quieter.
The first one is changing the direction of the piping, as I already mentioned, and the other one is getting a bigger muffler.
Since the main purpose of the muffler is to muffle sound, getting the bigger one will help you with it.
5. Make or buy a baffle box
Muffle boxes or quiet boxes are kind of enclosure for your generator that serves to capture the noise inside and to mask the noise of your generator so that the sound does not disturb you.
Exactly like in the step No. 2, you will have to pay attention to a few things; the most important one being the venting system.
There are some very good do-it-yourself guides to how to make a baffle box on your own.
Here is a video that might come in handy if you decide to make the box yourself.
To be honest, it is not too expensive or hard to make a baffle box yourself, so if you are up for some adventure crafting or saving a few bucks, I would definitely recommend it.
One of the things to keep in mind when building a generator baffle box is a fire-resistant material is probably best.
Drywall is, in fact, an excellent option.
If your shoestring budget doesn’t allow you to buy so much material for the entire box, you can use drywall for the side with the exhaust and finish the baffle box with some plywood or bricks
Also, pay attention to the way the box is built.
You would certainly need to access the control panel sometimes, so make your own life easier and make the controls accessible.
6. Putting a rubber flap into a good use
In the light of what I have mentioned above, I can say that there is another way to make the access to the control panel easier.
Instead of removing the whole box every time you need to see, check, or change something, you can just install a flap, and in that way make it easier to get to the panel.
Another idea would be to install a lid with hinges.
7. Do not place it near your camping spot
Putting a generator near your camping spot might be good because it is easily accessible.
It is the truth, but what will you do about that sound?
Well, first thing's first, do not put it anywhere near you!
Of course, there are other things that you can do, like the sound deflector that I have mentioned, but if you combine it, even better.
Place it the as far away from yourself as you can, and have a good rest with the minimal buzz in the distance.
8. Water is Useful
It does not sound like the greatest of ideas when I put “power generator” and “water” next to one another, does it?
Yes, I know, but there is a reason, be assured.
Water can be used to muffle the sound, that is true, and for this trick, you would need a bucket full of it and a hose.
Here is the thing: Connect the hose that you have to the exhaust pipe, and then put the loose end of the hose into a bucket that you have previously filled with water.
The water in the bucket will pick up the sound and muffle it, so you will be left peaceful.
If you want to be extra sure that the water will not get into the generator, you can make a small hole somewhere on the hose, just above its entrance to the exhaust pipe.
The hole is not big enough to leak the sound, but it will prevent the water from getting into the generator.
9. Add Padding Underneath the Generator
A lot of the noise that your generator produces comes from the vibrations that go into the ground.
Whenever these vibrations land on a hard surface, they are likely to become more noticeable.
One of the easiest ways to quiet a generator would be to add some padding at the bottom.
Just like fluffy mats, carpets and rugs can be used to soundproof a floor, they will work wonders for your generator.
Have some fluffy lush material placed that will absorb most, if not all, of the vibrations from the generator, reducing the noise levels significantly.
10. Use an Automotive Muffler
You are probably wondering how to silence a generator using an automotive muffler.
It is entirely possible and quite effective when done in the right way.
When using an automotive muffler, you will require some skills to weld and mold the piping correctly.
Doing so will make the generator quieter by about 15 decibels.
Alternatively, use some clamps and exhaust flex tubing to achieve a quieter generator.
This method, however, won’t give as good results.
Before you buy a muffler, do some research on the different types available and get one that will be suitable for your generator.
Your choice of automotive muffler will also determine how quiet the generator will be.
Try this one.
11. Alternative quiet generator
As you know, there are a lot of different generators on the market. Some are made to produce more power, some less, some are quieter, and others are louder.
In most cases, those big and loud generators are made to be used in places where noise is not a problem.
The generator that you are using for your house needs to produce more power than the one you are using for camping, for example.
The generator that will be used for a house can in most of the cases easily be placed in a garden shed or have a concrete/ breeze block box made for it so it is supposed that the noise is not that big of a problem.
On the other hand, if you need a generator for other purposes that do not require that much of power produced, you should probably consider getting a new, small, and quiet one for those purposes.
Click here for a list of the quietest 3000-watt generators.
On Making Your Generator Quieter
With these few simple ideas, you can make your generator much quieter than it used to be.
Of course, keep in mind that any of these adjustments will not make your generator completely quiet, but reduce the unpleasant sound that it is making, and hopefully to the point when you can enjoy even the lack of power itself.
I hope that those tricks will come in handy to you, whether you are going camping, or just need a generator for your garage, or any other purpose at all.
All in all, they will surely save you some hearing!
- Installing Sound Deflectors
- Building An Enclosure For Your Generator
- Moving The Exhaust Pipes To A Vertical Position
- Replacing The Muffler On The Generator
- Make Or Buy A Baffle Box
- Putting A Rubber Flap Into A Good Use
- Do Not Place It Near Your Camping Spot
- Water is Useful
- Add Padding Underneath the Generator
- Use an Automotive Muffler
- Alternative Quiet Generator