How to Make a Lawn Mower Quieter
I live in a suburban area where there are no big multi-story buildings – everyone is living in a nice, comfy two-story house with big yards, which means nearly everyone has a nice lawn that requires occasional mowing.
My closest neighbors are some genuinely nice and tolerant people – I have a teenage son who is going through a punk phase right now and is playing drums, a toddler – need I say more? – and I have never had any trouble with what people would consider being quite a noisy family.
I should not be the one to complain about noise, considering my own situation, but, remember my previous post where I said I had lost my job as a home-based teacher due to too much outside noise? That included occasional lawn mowing and hedge trimming during my classes.
Since then I have done a lot of noise insulation and sound-proofing on my home; however, the issue of being outside and trying to communicate with someone while half the neighborhood is using lawnmowers at the same time on Saturdays around noon still stands.
For some time I’ve considered convening a neighborhood council and setting up a schedule of lawn mowing for each street, but that seemed like too much to ask of people.
Having understood my concern, my husband has been tinkering with our lawnmower and trying to figure out how to make it quieter and, since I myself love trying out and experimenting with such stuff, I joined him and we have since found out multiple ways of muffling its noise.
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How to Make a Lawn Mower Quieter
Aside from the obvious solution of just getting a bunch of earmuffs for everyone, here are some other ways to solve this problem:
1. Check the muffler for any signs of damage
Most of the noise lawn mowers make comes either from the blades or the engine itself, so there is not much you can do about it (aside from buying a new engine), but sometimes, there are other issues that cause the incessant roaring.
We have to start from the most basic and the easiest steps: checking the muffler. My husband was helping a neighbor fix their lawn mower and they came across a muffler that was cracked at the pinch seam.
This problem has a pretty easy and quick fix (depending on how big the crack is): the only thing you need to do is weld it. Optionally, you can also cover it with some high-temperature spray paint, like the ones you can get from eBay or Amazon for around 20-30$.
Although it still can’t make your engine purr like a kitten, it will definitely make some difference.
If the damage is too big, sometimes it might be easier and better to just replace the muffler with a new one. They also don’t seem to be too expensive and can be bought anywhere in the range from 10$ to 40$, depending on your lawn mower’s model.
You can also try making your own custom muffler using a tin can of some sort and some screws, but I would not bother with that, seeing as they probably will not last too long and you will end up needing to replace them again.
Speaking of mufflers, it seems like it’s possible to install an additional muffler onto your lawn mower, and it also seems to be very cheap – under 30$.
Installing a New Muffle
Here’s a quick breakdown of the process: you attach one to the current position of your muffler and the other one on the air inlet, so you have both ends covered.
Despite not having many options in silencing the deck where the blades are, you can still muffle it a little by sticking some sort of sound deadening mats (albeit you might find them a little too expensive, compared to the other methods) onto it and sealing with a bed liner, similar to what we used in soundproofing the truck cabin.
You might also want to consider using Dynamat, but it is not necessary, as the bed liner can accomplish most of the muffling by itself.
However, keep in mind that sticking anything onto the deck can block the correct airflow and cause damage, so I recommend being careful with this particular method.
2. Check your exhaust pipe for any signs of damage
Now, if it’s your exhaust pipe that’s causing the noise, you can deal with it the same way you deal with your car’s broken exhaust pipe or, in other words, if the damage is too big – replace it. If it’s not, you can work around and try with some other fixing methods. Keep in mind that replacing the exhaust pipe might call for a professional’s help.
There are a couple of different types of damage your exhaust pipe could be suffering from: rust is one of the most common reasons metal parts get holes in them, and holes in an exhaust pipe equal a lot of noise.
If the rust has managed to eat its way all the way through the pipe, depending on the size of the hole, you might have to call for a professional to cut out and replace a part of your exhaust.
Easy fix methods for the exhaust pipe
If the hole is still fairly big, but not big enough to require cutting out of parts, you can fix it fairly easily by sealing a piece of aluminum over it with some epoxy – soda or beer cans can do the trick just fine. Smaller holes can easily be fixed only by using some repair putty or exhaust tape, both of which are fairly cheap – 5$ for putty and around 10$ for the tape.
Before applying these, make sure you’ve scrubbed out all the dirt, rust, mud and everything with a steel-toothed brush; also make sure you are wearing safety goggles of some sort in order to avoid getting debris into your eyes.
Next up, you will want to use sandpaper to smooth out the surface of the pipe and acetone to wipe it, so you can ensure creating a better bond between the pipe and the patch. If you are using the tape, you will need to clean the surface all the way around, so it can stick more firmly.
Keep in mind that, depending on the type of the tape you are using, you might need to warm up the pipe a bit – let the engine run for a couple of minutes – or keep the tape wet so it can stick to the surface.
If the hole is fairly small and you are only using epoxy to patch it up, you will need a wooden dowel (popsicle sticks can also do the trick, although they tend to break more easily) to mix it up and apply it to the hole. Remember, the epoxy cures pretty fast, so you have to be quick with the applying. Also, make sure the layer on and around the hole is quite thick.
For the bigger holes that need some patching up: there are exhaust repair kits that can be bought, but cutting a piece out of a soda or beer can can do the trick just as well. Apply epoxy before putting on the patch (you can also apply it over the patch in order to make it stronger).
Alternatively, you might want to wrap the can all the way around the pipe, in which case, aside from sticking it to the pipe with epoxy, you will want to tighten it further with some hose clamps.
For the DIY freaks: you can also make your own exhaust pipes using hex bushings, nipples, elbows, pipes, a drill and some cloth or fiberglass for additional sound muffling effect. Although I would not recommend it for cars or other bigger vehicles, it can work just fine on a lawnmower.
On Fixing a Noisy Lawn Mower
I’ve presented you with a few ways to make your lawn mower a little quieter.
Aside from all of these suggestions, I would like to point out that, if you are outside – especially if you are the one using the lawn mower – you should definitely put on some earmuffs, as the mower is still going to be loud and losing your hearing over time is an actual problem that happens to people who like it “loud and proud”.
If the noise still bothers your kids or the people inside, aside from these fixes, you should probably consider getting some white noise machines for naptimes (remember to be considerate about the mowing during the siesta!) or just straight out blasting some good music to counter the buzzing.