How to Stop a Clock from Ticking
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Imagine a Thursday night after an exhausting week. You can’t wait for the weekend, but you still have Friday to make it through before being able to get some proper sleep.
Still, you are comforted by the fact that you can go to bed early tonight and give yourself a break.
Once you’re in bed and as you are slowly drifting off to the realm of sleep, you suddenly hear tick-tock, tick-tock, Tick-Tock, Tick-Tock, TICK-TOCK, TICK-TOCK!!!
And, goodbye, sleep!
The sound made by analogue clocks is like a torturing method specifically devised to keep you sleepless all night. Moreover, just as you grow accustomed to it, it’s just like the little devil changes the rhythm!
If you are among the unlucky ones who are highly sensitive to a clock ticking, I know you have tried many tricks to make it less loud. I’ve been there too and I know the struggle is real!
For all of you out there taking clocks off of walls or taking the batteries out, I will give you some helpful tips on how to make your clock soundless.
Here we go!
Why is the Clock Ticking (so loud)?
We know that some basic division of clocks is to analogue and digital time display. Here I will disregard the digital ones since they operate on a different principle and there is no consequential ticking.
Now, the analogue clocks are the source of our trouble. They consist of the clock face, with marked numbers and handles functioning as pointers.
There can be two or three of these, depending on whether the pointer for seconds is added or not. Sometimes there are only pointers for hours and minutes.
In either of the cases, the pointers are operated by a mechanism with gears, which is the most important part of a clock. And of course, there must be some energy source to drive the mechanism.
Finally, there comes the casing that holds all the pieces together and gives the clock a special charm. Once you combine all of these, you will get a ticking clock that wonderfully decorates your walls until you figure out it’s way too loud.
There are various reasons that make a clock tick loud. For example, the acoustics of the room might be one of the reasons and the place where you fixed the clock.
Next reason is the material that the clock is made of. For instance, a glass face might amplify the ticking sound since glass does not absorb the sounds well.
Another reason might be the mechanism itself and its escapement. When the gears move, they click one into another which has to produce a sound that is louder in some clocks.
This varies according to the ease of gear movement. The heavier the movement, the louder the sound.
How to Stop a Clock from Ticking
Now that we established the grounds and the origin of the annoying ticking made by clocks, we can proceed to solutions on how to fix this.
As some general tips, you can try fixing your clock someplace where the reverberations will not be repeated. Still, be careful since bookshelves and books, for example, can both dampen and amplify the ticking.
1. Soundproof the clock
Soundproofing your clock is one of the first suggestions I would like to share with you. You can do it all by yourself and it does not require any special tools nor skills.
Since this method works best on the clocks you fix to the wall, you can do this before you hang it or at any given time later on.
If your clock is already fixed on the wall, start by taking it down. At the back, you will notice a plastic lid covering your clock’s mechanism.
Hint: this is right under the small dial (more like a wheel) helping you to set the hands.
Take off the lid so as to leave the mechanism exposed. In the meantime, you can prepare a piece of cloth, (the thicker and heavier the better!), a bit wider and longer than the mechanism.
By the way, cotton wool worked just fine in my case. Now, place the cloth over the mechanism making sure that you covered it completely.
Once the cloth is all set, use the packing tape to keep the cloth in place. Note that glue is not an option!
Just so you are sure that the soundproofing will work, place the tape throughout the length of the cloth. This will provide better sealing and the ticking will not get through.
Having finished this, you can put the plastic lid back on thus completing the soundproofing process.
2. Oil the Mechanism
My second suggestion is to oil the mechanism to make it run smoother. I already briefly commented on the fact that the mechanisms are the main cause of the noise.
During the operation, they drive multiple parts, often of poor quality, and as a consequence, they will be loud.
Oiling the clock’s mechanism will help you eliminate the noise if you choose the right oil. Namely, you will have to go for the oils specially designed for clock oiling purpose, since otherwise, you might damage the mechanism.
These speciality oils are thinner and are more sensitive to the delicate clock mechanism.
If you want to oil the clock properly, start again by taking off the lid. Some of the clocks will not let you approach the mechanism directly, so you will have to unwind the tiny screws at the back.
When you open it, take care that nothing pops out and if it does put it gently back where it was.
Locate a gear that is operated by the means of a small coil and then gently put a drop of oil on this gear.
Afterwards, carefully add a drop of oil to the gear that the previous one is coupled with since the two of them together are the source of your troubles. There is no need to oil any other parts since this gear is the one making all the noise.
With this, you finished oiling your mechanism so you can proceed to put back the lid.
Now, the procedure I gave here is a bit simplified and does not fully depict the care and stability you have to engage to complete this.
If you are of thin nerves, I suggest you give this to a professional to do or at least someone who knows what they are doing. I had my brother do this for me once I grew tired of sticking the cotton wool at the back every time I had to change the battery.
Final word: How to Quiet a Loud Ticking Clock
For all of you troubled souls lacking sleep or peace of mind just because of the irritating clock ticking, I hope I helped a little bit with the ideas I gave to you in this article.
I tried both and they worked just fine.
Still, if neither of these work for you, you can try changing the mechanism to a non-ticking one, where the pointers aren’t moving each second, but are in movement all the time.
This is the mechanism originally installed in my lovely antique clock I got as a house-warming present from my friends when I moved out of my parents.
But, eventually, it broke down so when I had it replaced I was stuck with the loud, horrible ticking.
So I went for the tricks I shared with you here.
Still, if you can’t be bothered, you can always throw your clock in the dumpster. Our ancestors lived without clocks and they turned out just fine.
- Soundproof the Clock
- Oil the Mechanism