What is the best soundproofing material for generators?
You have just bought a generator for electrical emergency purposes or for camping. The problem is that this machine produces so much noise that could disturb your neighbor or even your sleep.
This is a reason why most people who own generators wonder if they could soundproof their generators.
Can you soundproof a generator? And what are the soundproofing materials you need to do so? These are the common questions I get from my readers.
Luckily, yes. There are only a few soundproofing materials you need to soundproof generators.
Soundproofing Material(s) for Generators:
- A measuring device
- Marker or pencil
- Right angle ruler
- Medium Density Fiberboard
- Mass Loaded Vinyl
- Durable Glue
- Foam Mats
- Acoustic Caulk (e.g. Green Glue)
- Nails and Screws
- Hammer and Screwdriver
- Ventilation Duct
How to Easily Build a Soundproof Box for Generator
Before buying soundproofing material for generators, you need to take a few things into consideration.
The most important thing you need to consider is the purpose of the generator itself. Is it for household use only or is it for camping?
The answer to this question determines the type of the soundproof box you need to build.
Permanent generators are meant to produce electricity for the house and appliances.
If this is the purpose of your generator, then the soundproofing box needs to be studier to stand outdoor weather and other elements.
In many cases, many people add brick enclosures to reinforce the soundproofing box. But I don’t recommend it by the way.
If your generator is portable, that is you bring it in camping, for instance, you have to build a soundproofing box that is studier enough to stand against the test of sun and rain.
Install a handle into the box to make it easier to lift during the trip.
Lastly, provide regular maintenance. Check the generator before you use it.
Now that you have the soundproofing materials for generators, the next step is to actually build the soundproof box.
Using the soundproofing materials mentioned above, here is the step by step process to building a generator soundproofing box.
But before embarking in the process, you need to understand that even you follow the steps legibly, you cannot totally mute the generator.
This is because the generator needs air. Therefore, you cannot totally block all the vents where air passes.
In effect, minimal sound can be heard. Closing all the holes can only harm the generator.
It would overheat without an exit point for the hot air.
The solution is to construct some vents on the soundproof box that allows the heat to come out.
However, the same vents will be the exit point of sound too.
So overall, you cannot totally mute the generator but you can minimize the sound by building a soundproof box for it.
Here are the simple and quick tips you can follow to build the soundproof box:
1. Measure everything
The size of the soundproof box depends on the size of the generator. Bigger generators may need bigger boxes.
Because generators come in different sizes, the soundbox will also be in different sizes.
Obviously, the first thing you need to take is to measure the generator. This is to make sure that you are constructing the correct soundproof generator box.
Making the correct measurement is really important. Getting the wrong measurement can jeopardize the whole project.
The second thing that you need to put into consideration is the space that your generator will be placed.
The generator and the soundproof box must have enough space. Because the generator may vibrate strongly, my suggestion is to make sure that the flooring or the foundation is sturdy enough.
Before cutting your soundproofing materials into pieces, make sure to check and recheck them. Sometimes it takes several times to make sure everything is perfect.
Don’t forget to retain extra inches on all sides. This is where the insulation and vents will be placed later.
To make sure that all measurements on every side are intact and correct write all the measurements for later reference.
After making sure that everything has the right measurement, and everything is jotted down, you can proceed to cut your soundproofing materials for generators.
2. Cut the Soundproofing Materials
Now that you have all the measurements, it’s time to prepare the medium density fiberboard. Make it ready for cutting.
In reality, you don’t really need to use the fiberboard. If you have other soundproofing material for a generator, you can use it.
Creativity is key to construction success here. Back then, I used several soundproofing materials for generators.
In fact, I tried regular plywood. If you have the same materials in your house, you can use it as the main material.
But if you strictly follow this guide, then using the fiberboard will be better off.
I tested several fiberboards for many years of soundproofing my generator.
My recommended one is the Grafix Medium Weight Chipboard Sheets. You can buy this on Amazon.
Now that you have all set, it is time to translate the measurements on the fiberboard.
Using the right angle ruler and pencil or marker, mark everything. Then check many times on the label to make sure everything is in place.
Now, you are ready to do the cutting. Using the circular or table saw, cut the fiberboard or the soundproofing materials according to the measurements you made.
Just follow the marking of the lines you previously drew. As long as you made the correct measurement, you’ll be okay.
Make sure you make markings on each piece of the material. This will help you save time during the construction.
3. Making Ventilation Holes
Before making the ventilation holes, make sure you have the ventilation duct.
Now, determine the size of the duct by measuring its diameter.
This gives you an idea of how big the hole you should be doing.
Then, after making the measurement, draw circles on the fiberboard that correspond to the size of the duct.
There are two things you need to remember as to where to place the holes.
First, there should be one hole on the top of the fiberboard. But do not make a ventilation hole right in the center of the fiberboard.
Instead, make the first hole near the side of the board.
Second, place another ventilation hole on the wall. Then make circles on the fiberboard that will be used as the wall of the soundproofing box.
This should provide better ventilation for the generator.
4. Installing the Mass Loaded Vinyl Insulation
One very important to keep in mind is the fact that soundproofing involves providing layers of space to capture the sound.
This means that the soundproofing box should have layers or free space to trap or scatter the sound.
But it is not about the free space or the layers, you also need soundproofing materials that help trap the sound.
And one of the soundproofing materials for generators is the mass loaded vinyl.
This material is being used not only in making a soundproof box for generators but also for many sorts of soundproofing projects.
In fact, you can use it in soundproofing a wall or an apartment ceiling.
The material is versatile enough to work in many soundproofing projects. And you may want to try it in your generator box.
Using the mass loaded vinyl, create the first layer of your soundproof generator box after creating or making measurements.
After making sure that the measurements are correct, it is time to cut the mass loaded vinyl. Then glue the pieces in their respected areas on the soundboards.
5. Caulk the First Layer
Caulking is the best way to seal the edges or corners of the soundproofing generator box.
This strengthens the layer to trap or scatter the sound.
When it comes to caulking, I only use Green Glue. For me, this is a perfect soundproofing material for generator boxes.
This is not just a regular glue. It is in fact, an acoustic material. Needless to say, this glue helps accomplish your goal of making a perfect soundproof generator box.
However, if you want to use other caulking materials instead, it will be totally fine.
As mentioned, creativity is key in soundproofing projects.
6. Adding the Foam Mat On
Now you have finished with the first layer, the step is to add the foam mat. This will serve as the second layer on the wall and ceiling of the soundproof box.
The foam mat helps trap the sound inside the box. As a result, the sound that reaches outside is only minimal.
This is the reason why adding a foam mat on the wall and ceiling of the soundproof box of the generator is always a good idea to make the generator quiet.
For additional information, the foam mat is not only a good soundproofing material for generators but also in all soundproofing projects.
Finally, what you can do now is to take the measurements you made previously and label them on the foam mat that will serve as walls and ceiling.
Cut all the pieces by following the markings.
Then glue the pieces on their respective places – on the vinyl layer.
Repeat the same process until you covered all areas?
7. Assemble the Soundproofing Generator Box
After making all the pieces ready, it is time to put them together.
Using the nails and screws, connect the pieces together. At this point, the soundproof box for a generator should start to take shape now.
The walls and the ceiling should be in their respective locations.
Depending on your design, you may want to install some hinges to add more safety for the box.
At this stage of the construction, you may want to do some finishing touches.
Adjustments are also done. Make sure that everything fits together.
8. Install the Venting Duct
This is the last thing you want to install. The venting duct is very important to provide breathability for your generator.
Without a vent, the generator may overheat. This may cause danger not only for the machine but more so for the people around.
A lot of venting ducts installed help to void the catastrophe. If you constructed the box the way it should be, you’ll be in peace of mind.
On Building a Generator Soundproof Box
Building your own soundproofing box for your generator is easy and handy.
The best part about it is that you can save money. All you need is time and the soundproofing materials.
And most importantly, you minimize the noise that disturbs your neighbors and your sleep.
Generators are a great substitute for an electricity source.
These machines will save your food in the refrigerator, provide electricity for your gadgets and your entire house.
However, having a generator is not without a toll. It can be extremely noisy.
Depending on many factors, not all generators are created equal. Some are noisier than the other.
Aside from building a soundproof box for a generator, you can buy a quieter brand.
This is only possible if you are just planning to buy one. But if you already have the noisy generator, the option is to build a soundproofing box.
What Makes Generators Noisy?
Well, not all generators are noisy. Most of the quieter ones are the new models. Thus, the newer are quieter than the older models.
There are many factors as to why some generators are quieter than others:
1. The Use of Inverter Technology
The newly produced generators are equipped with the latest technology that keeps them less noisy while functioning.
The main difference between the old and the new models is the use of modern electronic systems that produce power.
Not only that, the new models are more efficient and versatile than the older models.
However, some new generator models are less capable of producing power as much as the traditional generators do.
This may be obvious. The more powerful the generator gets, the noisier it becomes.
So the power output and noise come hand in hand.
Even the new model of larger generators still produces a louder sound than the smaller ones.
There are some brands that come with soundproofing materials. But many brands come without soundproofing.
Most of the generators with soundproofing are expensive ones. The less expensive brands do not have soundproofing.
Thankfully, you already have learned how to make a soundproof box for your generator.
4. Generator Location
The closer you position the generator, the noisier it gets. So the simplest thing you can do is to place the generator away from the house.
However, this is not possible if you have limited space in your backyard.
Aside from that, you don’t want to have a conflict with your neighbors.
While placing the generator away from your house will help lessen the noise, you might need extra cable.
There is one important thing you need to remember in placing the generator outdoor.
That is to make sure that the surface is sturdy enough for it to be stable.
Avoid using a platform that vibrates. This will only enhance the noise.
Find the materials that could keep the generator stable and do not vibrate.
This is very important specially if you are placing the generator near your house.
How to Reduce Generator Noise without Building Soundproof Box?
The good thing is that there are many ways you can do to minimize the generator’s noise without even building a soundproof box.
Some of these techniques are more effective than others.
But somehow, if done right will surely reduce the sound of the generator.
The amount of work needed may also vary.
Some tactics may require more labor while others are economical and less arduous.
Here are the techniques. It is up to you to choose which best suits you.
1. Place the Exhaust Pipes Vertically
One of the reasons why generators are noisy is the horizontal positioning of the exhaust.
To reduce the noise, position the exhaust pipe vertically.
This way the sound will project upward to the air allowing it to scatter.
Of course, this is not a perfect solution to the disturbing noise produced by the generator.
But this is better than having an exhaust pipe positioned horizontally.
The other option is to point the exhaust away from your house. But make sure it is not disturbing your neighbors.
2. Block the Sound
One of the best ways to lessen the sound is to deflect it. This is done by building or putting something that blocks the sound wave.
Figure out what materials you can use to build barriers. You can use a file of sacks of sand.
Or, you can use hollow blocks to block the sound. Although this is not the best way, it will definitely deflect the sound away.
There are maybe many free materials from your garage you can use.
Again, the key here is creativity. If you are creative enough, you’ll find an alternative solution.
3. Change or Upgrade the Exhaust Muffler
A muffler can make a huge difference in reducing the sound. This is true not only in the generator but also in all motor vehicles.
In most cases, bigger mufflers do a really good job at a sound reduction.
If you can change the current muffler, do it. It will help reduce the noise from the generator.
If you know how to use your motor or car muffler, you can actually use it for the generator.
There are many ways to soundproof a generator. The best is to build a soundproofing box.
The main requirement though is to find the best soundproofing material for generators.
The materials mentioned in this post will be enough to build your own soundproofing box.
Creativity is the only limit.
Although I suggest some materials here, you can always decide your own.
As long as the soundproofing box reduces sound, durable, and dependable, you’re doing good.
For more information about soundproofing, you can visit my Soundorooping Guide.