Generators typically emit noise between 65 and 100 decibels. However, areas with heavy industry usually allow noise levels no louder than 72 decibels during the daytime. And residential neighborhoods usually keep noise levels between 52 and 62 decibels, with the 52 decibel range being a very quiet suburban neighborhood and the 62 decibel range being an urban one.
Keep Standby Generator Noise to a Minimum
With such regulations, keeping a cap on the noise your standby generator produces is important if you don’t want fines and annoyed neighbors. When shopping for a standby generator, there are some design elements you’ll want to keep in mind. If you already have a standby generator and want to reduce the noise it creates, this list will provide some ideas, as well.
An enclosure is one way of reducing the noise your standby generator emits. Many generators come with an enclosure, but it’s typically made from aluminum or galvanized steel. Metal enclosures help protect standby generators from the elements, but they do little to reduce noise.
To reduce noise, you’ll want a sound-absorbing enclosure, such as those that come with the Cummins Quiet Connect generators. These enclosures not only protect your standby generator from the weather, but they’ll keep the noise down, too. Aftermarket sound-proof barrier boxes are also available for standby generators. These products aren’t tailored to specific brands, however, and can hinder access to the standby generator.
If your generator did not come with an enclosure that absorbs sounds and you cannot acquire such an enclosure, there are other ways to reduce the noise your generator makes.
One way is to erect a sound-absorbing or acoustic barrier. Various versions of these barriers are available, from freestanding, moveable versions to permanent solutions.
Rigid barriers, like concrete or sand-filled blocks, don’t transmit sound as well as flexible materials do. Thus, a concrete wall will block more sound than a wooden wall.
Sound-absorbing barriers are freestanding walls with weatherproof, acoustic panels, which absorb noise. Sound-dampening barrier fences are also available, which can help keep decibel levels beyond your property line to a minimum.
Keep in mind that certain sound-dampening materials have a range of sounds that they absorb well. For example, a sound-dampening fence may absorb sounds about 100hz very well but not sound below 100hz. This means the low, rumbling noises your standby generator emits will go right past the fence.
Standby generators not only product noise from their engines but the vibrations they create when running. Placing the generator on an isolation mount made of rubber-type padding can help keep vibrations from the generator from reaching other structural components. Thus, the mounts will help keep things quieter.
Cooling Air Attenuation
There are certain ways manufacturers can design their products to help reduce noise, too. Cooling air attenuation is one such way. Where air is sucked in and forced out of the machine, making it pass through 90-degree bends can help reduce noise.
Other ways to help quiet generators include:
- remotely locating your generator’s radiator,
- maximizing the distance between your generator and the neighboring property, and
- installing or purchasing a standby generator with exhaust silencers.
It’s easiest to address noise before purchasing and installing a standby generator. When you address noise beforehand, you can consider things like enclosures and even the type of fuel your generator runs on. Diesel generators tend to be louder than natural-gas- or propane-powered generators.
If you’re concerned about noise, talk to a generator expert. They can address your concerns and find a solution to fit your needs.