Often, the hardest part of installing a backup generator is simply choosing the right model for your needs. One frequent concern homeowners have is that their backup generator will be too loud for their neighborhood. Generators are known for being quite noisy. However, there are a few easy ways to reduce backup generator noise.
How loud is a backup generator?
Generators seem to have a bad reputation when it comes to noise levels. However, the good news is that many backup generators designed for use in residential areas comply with noise levels that allow you to keep your sanity and won’t upset your neighbors.
We measure noise in units of decibels (dB). Consider these common sounds and the associated noise levels.
- Many central air conditioners produce at about 68dB of sound when heard from 20 feet away.
- A typical washing machine produces about 70dB of sound.
- A leaf blower registers at about 90dB.
Now, compare those noise levels to these common backup generator noise levels:
- The Generac Guardian line produces only 66dB when heard from 23 feet away.
- Briggs & Stratton generators register at about 64dB.
- Kohler Power Systems generators come in at about 69dB.
So, when you consider their noise as measured in decibels, a backup generator isn’t all that loud comparatively. The main difference, though, is that a backup generator is often operated the entire duration of a power outage. This could be a few hours or even days. The hum of a backup generator may start to annoy a few neighbors after a period of time. (Or maybe they’re just jealous!)
Four Methods to Reduce Backup Generator Noise
Much of the noise produced by the generator is from vibration. You can use vibration dampening material to reduce this noise. One way to do this is to add a rubber washer to the screws that secure the engine to the frame. This can help absorb some of the vibration and hence, the noise. Be sure to consult your owner’s manual first and follow all safety procedures.
Use an Isolation Mount
An isolation mount is another way to reduce noise associated with vibration. One way to do this is to place the generator on an isolation mount made of rubber-type padding. This can help keep vibrations from the generator reaching other structural components. Thus, the mounts will help reduce vibration and noise.
Add an Acoustic Barrier
Some models of generators come with an enclosure that absorbs sound, or have an enclosure specific to that model that can be purchased separately. If your model does not have an acoustic barrier available, you can build your own to reduce backup generator noise. Some DIY versions of these include rigid barriers like concrete or sand-filled blocks. Sound-dampening barrier fences are also available which can help keep decibel levels to a minimum.
Use Freestanding Acoustic Panels
Freestanding, self-supporting all-weather acoustic panels can be placed around the generator to help muffle the sound. They’re easy to move and provide a temporary solution to noise reduction. The panels are typically used in manufacturing environments to temporarily enclose a source of noise, such as loud machinery.
Purchase a Quiet Generator
As technology advances, manufacturers are producing generators that emit less and less noise. There are already some great options available (we’ve compared them here). If noise is a concern, we can help you find a generator that will emit the least amount of sound while providing you with plenty of power.
For help finding the right generator to meet your needs, give us a call today.