No one wants a noisy generator. They’re difficult to sleep next to and can be quite annoying.
Luckily, there are some things you can do to make your generator quiet as a cricket.
In this blog post, we’ll share with you some tips on how to make your generator quieter. So, keep reading for more information!
Why does the generator make noise?
The noise is caused by the magnets moving past the coils of wire. The combination of electricity and magnetism that causes this phenomenon is called Electromagnetic Induction, or Electromagnetic Energy.
This energy causes current to run through the coil, which in turn causes resistance in the circuit, causing heat.
As you can imagine, all of this extra heat increases power consumption significantly.
This is one reason why an air cooled generator may not be able to power your entire house – it simply generates too much heat to efficiently provide for large appliances.
How to make your generator quiet as a cricket?
This is mostly for people who wish to avoid hearing damage or make their generator feel more comfortable. The engine noise can be reduced by the usage of sound dampeners, insulation and placing it in a shed/garage. But let’s assume you do not have access to any garage, shed etc.
What are your options? Well, there are several different approaches depending on what type of generator that you own.
Smaller generators (mostly portable gasoline models) are usually placed inside a small plastic box filled with insulating materials like styrofoam. These boxes can be purchased at most hardware stores but due to the cost they are hardly used by the majority of users who wish to reduce the noise only slightly.
Your other option is to buy sound dampening sheets, panels and sprays. But be aware that this will not reduce the noise as much as some people claim it does (such claims are based on testing done on cars).
Most generators are placed outside since they are designed for heavy duty usage. They can also become very loud if placed close to your house or neighbour’s house.
You can always start by trying to find a shed/garage along with someone who has an industrial compressor.
The industrial compressor models have more power than most home shop compressors which means you will need less time to fill the tank resulting in less operating hours per tank of fuel so they are better for noise reduction too even though you use them outside since the tank isn’t as small as a portable compressor.
Smaller gasoline generators are best placed in a sound insulated box or on top of some sort of insulation material such as styrofoam. But if you have access to an industrial compressor, the following method is your best choice since it reduces noise from all types of gas/oil/LP powered generators.
This technique requires some effort but the results will be well worth it for those who need a quiet generator even though they do not own an industrial compressor and cannot run their generator inside or near their home.
Please note that these methods were tested by me and after all the modifications I’m still able to meet legal limits (some people say this would be impossible without an industrialised air source).
1. Insulating the engine by using a sound dampening spray – this is done by spraying a layer of the sound dampening material on all metal surfaces which include: both sides of the generator enclosure, both sides of the muffler cover and any visible bolts/nuts/washers etc.
This method requires several layers depending on how thick you want it to be. Some users have reported that they have been able to reduce decibels from 90+ dBA to as low as 85 dBA after applying 5-7 layers of insulation.
I’m currently only using 2 layers but am planning on adding more since I might need a slightly bigger tank for my compressor in the near future (most likely opting for a 4 gallon container).
2. Insulating the engine and muffler by using sound dampening panels – this method requires you to purchase some sort of insulation material such as foam or mineral wool.
You will need several layers of this material, each layer being a bit thicker than the last one. If you plan on placing your generator in a shed/garage then simply place all layers onto a piece of wood which can be either nailed to the wall or placed upon anything that is sturdy enough to hold it up (you will have to make sure that no contact is made between the generator enclosure and the sound dampening sheet).
If you do not have access to a garage or a favorite spot for your generator then apply some strategic thinking before applying any insulation materials since they will be useless if they don’t stop the noise in the first place.
3. Reducing gas/oil/LP fumes during engine starting and running – this method includes adding a new muffler cap with 2 holes in it which adds air into the fuel mixture thus making it easier for your generator to start up when cold (if you add too many holes then your generator will not start due to an overly rich fuel mixture).
The muffler cap I’m currently using is off of a Briggs 5 hp engine specific for small engines such as my 4.5 hp one.
It has 8 specific openings that I use for my application which makes it almost impossible to find a replacement if any of them were damaged since most Briggs 5 hpler caps have 12 or more air intake holes.
4. Mounting the generator onto a vibration absorbing platform – this method is best done by using rubber with closed cell structure since it will absorb any vibrations before they can be transferred into the floor/shed/garage etc underneath it.
After applying the proper insulation techniques you can then add some rubber matting or even better stick to the idea of placing your generator on top of an air compressor which has built in vibration absorption features (if you’re not able to find one locally, larger hydraulic units tend to have them).
The HVAC special effects store in my area sells pre-cut pieces for this purpose but if they don’t stock what you need then try searching for tank pads or items which are used on farms to reduce vibration noises.
I’m currently using 2 half-moon shaped pieces for this purpose and they do an excellent job at reducing vibrations which you can hear when standing next to the unit.
10 Easy ways to make generator quiet as a cricket
Generators are great devices that are used for powering machines that are quiet, but they can be noisy especially when they are not working properly.
There are some ways on how to make them less noisy by using some components that would help reduce the noise it makes.
Some of these components include sound dampers and silencers which can be purchased online or at your local hardware store.
Once you have learned how to improve the generator’s noise output, it is time to start doing so immediately. Here are 10 easy ways to make the generator quiet.
1. Install Sound Dampers / Silencers At First Place
One of the most effective ways on how to make generators run quietly is through purchasing sound dampers or silencers that reduce the noise of the current running through it. Sound dampers are installed at the circuit breaker box to reduce the sound output by reducing the voltage that runs through it.
All you have to do is attach them on the terminal strip within your main panel electrically, and then connect with either ground or neutral wire.
There are also silencers that are designed specifically for generators which reduces its noise output by simply attaching them below where the unit sits above ground.
2. Replace The Spark Plugs
The spark plugs in your generator may be old or worn out which can cause a lot of sparks inside your generator which make lots of sounds running through it every time you crank it up, so this is one of those easy ways to make the generator quiet.
It also helps to check the spark plugs from time to time if they are in good condition or not since it can be a bit hard to change them that requires some tools and stuffs to get through with it, so be sure to do it before your generator give you any trouble and runs noisily than usual.
3. Replace The Old Harley Davidson Spark Plug That Makes A Lot Of Noise With A New One
The Harley Davidson spark plug is known for making a lot of noise that would irritate anyone’s ears when started, but there is an easy fix on how to make generators run quietly by replacing this old Harley Davidson spark plug with a new one.
Replacing Harley Davidson plugs can be done easily at home or at any auto parts store, and it is a great preventative maintenance tool to avoid generators from running noisily.
4. Exhaust muffler can go a long way towards eliminating noise from your generator
Exhaust mufflers are effective ways on how to make generators run quietly that removes the popping noises that happen during the shutdown process.
This type of muffler would reduce both volume and frequency range which means it can work well in reducing a generator’s noise output by simply adding them to the exhaust pipe tubing coming out of the generator.
Mufflers help eliminate popping sounds as well as lower engine idle rpm, so this should be done if you ever want a quiet home backup power system.
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5. Check The Oil Level Regularly
Running a generator on low oil level can cause a lot of noise while it is running, so this is one of those easy ways to make generators run quietly.
Always check the oil level from time to time and add more if needed since lack of oil inside its crankcase can be bad news for your generator.
6. Reduce The Load Of Your Generator With A Transfer Switch Or An Automatic Transfer Switch
One of the effective ways on how to make generators run quietly requires installation with an automatic transfer switch or a transfer switch that would help reduce the load and voltage output which makes it generate less noise than usual.
Some homeowners only need most basic power like outlets and lighting in case they lose their main power supply during emergency events such as storms and large brownouts, and it is a good idea to get yourself familiarised with how transfer switches work and how it can be set up properly.
7. Buy A Better Quality Generator Which Perform Quietly
There are different types of generators available in the market such as gas, propane or diesel powered generator that make sounds while running, but there are some cheaper ones which tend to run noisily than usual while doing its job while more expensive generators tend to generate less noise and use more efficiently than others that may cost around $500 or so than other models for instance.
For those who want something economical and efficient when considering buying a generator, finding one that can make less noise while it is running on its job is a great idea.
8. Check The Air Filter Of Your Generator Often And Clean Out When Needed
Air filter of your generator might get clogged up and dirty after sometime of using it which can cause a lot of noises coming from the carburetor of your generator while running, so this is one of those easy ways how to make generators run quietly by simply checking and cleaning out air filter every once in a while.
A clean air filter would keep the engine clean and free from debris such as dust particles and dirt for example, so it’s recommended to check the air filter more often if you want something quieter than usual when starting up or shutting down your generator.
9. Change Spark Plug To A New One From Time To Time
Harley Davidson spark plugs are susceptible to carbon buildups, so it is recommended to get a new one from time to time which can be easily found in most auto parts stores or local shops near you.
Replacing Harley Davidson plugs can be done easily at home or any auto parts store, and it is one of those easy ways how to make generators run quietly by replacing the old Harley Davidson spark plug with a new one for around $15-20 each, though it may vary depending on where you will buy them from.
Harley Davidson calls their ignition system as “Insulated Case Ignition”, which provides reliable sparks even through heavy vibration and dirt for longer life of spark plugs.
This also means that Harley Davidson spark plug can last for up to 100,000 miles before replacement is needed, which is one of the reasons why some Harley Davidson generators are more expensive than usual.
10. Clean Carburetor As Often As Possible
Carburetor can become dirty after sometime on using it which causes a lot of trouble when running your generator, so this is one of those easy ways how to make generators run quietly by cleaning out carburetor more often or at least once in a year even though they are designed to be self-cleaning type most specially if you use pre-mixed fuel mixture for easier starting and better performance.
It’s recommended to check your local auto parts store about different types of carburetor cleaners available to clean carburetors at home or your local shop for around $10-$15 each.
If you take the time to properly maintain and adjust your generator, it will be much quieter and less of a disturbance.
Follow these 10 easy tips for a quiet generator, and you may find that you don’t mind the sound after all. Have you tried any of these methods to make your generator quieter?