Tips On How To Make A Generator Quiet: Easy Adjustments & Modifications

blue and black generator

Last Updated: June 21, 2021

When camping or living in an RV, using a generator is inevitable. It's one of those appliances you need, but they make your life unbearable at times.

So...

What's the solution when you can't stand the noise any longer?

Don't throw the generator off a cliff. It's a good idea, but no, you need it.

There are other simple, practical solutions to noisy generators. Before we look at how to quiet a generator, what makes it loud in the first place?

Let's look at...

Causes Of Excess Generator Noise

Here are reasons that have you searching for tips on how to make a generator quiet.

Using An Older Generator Technology

You own a traditional generator, and that's why it's loud. The modern ones have advanced features as manufacturers compete for innovative ways to reduce noise and increase fuel efficiency.

I'm talking about inverter generators. They aren't baby-is-sound-asleep quiet, but they are better than traditional models.

If you're not using an old generator, maybe you have a big generator. They use more power; therefore, more engine noise. If it's not big, could you be using a diesel generator? Such generators are loud.

Another cause is:

A Malfunctioned Generator Muffler

black generator mufflerInstead of toning down the mechanical noise, such a muffler may add to the noise produced. It could be leaking, or it's detached from the generator. Mufflers don't kill the noise completely, but they tone it down considerably.

Have you pinpointed why your generator may be making so much noise? If you haven't, you can still find a solution that reduces the noise of the whole generator regardless of its source.

We may focus on the noise caused by the exhaust, yet a generator has other noisy parts, such as the alternator, the cooling fan, and the engine.

Consequently, let's discuss:

How To Quiet A Generator

We'll start with the simple adjustments you can make and then move to other suggestions that require some installations or modifications.

Change The Direction Of Your Exhaust Pipe

You may be hearing the noise because the generator's exhaust pipe is facing your tent. Therefore, turn it away from your RV or campsite.

Additionally, the smoke is harmful so turning it away protects your lungs.

If you're living close to other campers, it might be impossible to turn it towards their space, so keep reading for more solutions.

Move It Away From Your Residence

If you're using the generator in your backyard, or a camping site in an expansive park, you can move it away to tone down the noise. If you can keep it at least 20 feet away, it'll be quieter.

However, if you're in a small camping spot and there are RV-living neighbors, you have little control over the distance it is from you.

Inspect The Surface

The vibrations from the engine and other components may add to the overall noise created. Concrete and wooden surfaces won't keep the vibrations down.

Hence, look for a floor surface that absorbs vibrations, such as grass or dirt surfaces.

When you've done all that, take the search for a generator silencer to the next level. It's time for some purchases and DIY constructions.

Buy An Anti-vibration Mat

black mat

Rubber is the best material for an anti-vibration pad over a concrete or wooden surface. You can also install rubber feet to reduce the vibrations.

Deflect The Sound

Think of it as diverting the sound to the ground. You'll need four plywood pieces that are wider and longer than your generator. Also, get sheetrock as it doesn't burn.

That being the case, it'll deflect sound on the side with the exhaust pipe while the plywood boards work on the other sides.

To deflect the noise:

  • Prop three sheets of plywood against three sides of the generator at an angle that allows air circulation below. 
  • Prop the sheetrock on the side with the exhaust pipe. The length of the sheetrock should be parallel to the top of the generator. That way, there'll be a considerable distance from the bottom of the generator and the sheetrock. 
  • Place the last piece of plywood behind the sheetrock, so there's double coverage on that side. Prop it against the plywood boards on the side of the sheetrock. It'll cover any space between the sheetrock and the two plywood boards on either side.

An alternative to this is a baffle box.

A Baffle Box

It's sturdier and more efficient than the four plywood planks we've discussed above. Further, it works even on windy days. You can look for a ready-made baffle box or take out your toolbox and hammer something together.

If you've been craving for a DIY project; assemble a fiberboard, a table saw, screws, measuring tape, and insulation.

Here's a simple step-by-step guide to prepare you before you go shopping for supplies to make a generator quiet box:

  1. Measure the size of your generator, and add a few more inches so that there's space for insulation. 
  2. Cut the fiberboard based on the measurements in Step 1.
  3. Measure the two ventilation ducts to cut on the fiberboard. One ventilation should be on the top, far corner and the other one on the opposite wall. Cut out these ventilation ducts.
  4. Glue the insulation, at least two layers of it. You can start with vinyl insulation and glue a foam matting on top of it.
  5. Assemble the walls of the box with screws, then attach the top.

The insulation will contain the noise, and the ventilation ducts will ensure air circulation inside the box. Are you ready for that challenge, or you'd rather hear another solution?

Change Your Generator Muffler

Without generator noise reduction, your appliance produces 120 to 130 decibels of sound. That is about 20 decibels louder than a jet as it takes off. Now, imagine living near a generator with a dysfunctional muffler. You'll have ringing ears within no time.

Maybe, you need a bigger muffler to tone down the decibels emitted, then think of something else to reduce the engine noise. That'll curb two of the top causes of generator noise.

Alternatively, use water to muffle the sound.

Pour water into a bucket, and place it on the ground lower than the generator. Attach a hose to the exhaust pipe but leave the other side in the bucket.

Sounds dangerous? It's not, as the bucket is lower than the generator. Plus, you can poke holes on the hose to prevent the generator from sucking water.

When you combine a few of these solutions, you'll reduce the noise by at least 50 decibels so that your generator sounds like office noise or a vacuum cleaner.

If you're up to some DIY project of creating a quiet generator muffler, here's how:

FAQs On How To Make A Generator Quiet

How Do You Reduce The Noise Of A Generator?

We have listed the best solutions to generator noise above. Nonetheless, I'll mention three quick remedies for emphasis.

First, take it away from your camping site or RV. Next, turn the exhaust pipe away from your accommodation venue or residence. The last option is getting a different generator, like the quiet 3000-watt generator.

Why?

If you run a diesel-powered generator, of course, it's loud. It may have a compressor mounted on the engine, a heavy overhead, or a diesel fan that wants to give you sleepless nights and long days.

Plus, large generators are noisier. For these reasons, calculate your power consumption and switch to a smaller generator to reduce the noise by a few decibels.

How Do You Soundproof A Portable Generator?

A baffle box sounds like a good idea because you can move a portable generator, like the quietest propane generator, into or out of the baffle box when heading to a new camping location. We talked about constructing a baffle box comprehensively in the section above.

For a big generator, you can build a generator enclosure with concrete walls and a soundproof foundation. Instead of a muffler, you can attach a primary and secondary silencer.

But...

This would only work if you're using the generator to power your home, not as a portable power source when camping.

How Do You Quiet A Generator Exhaust?

A generator needs an exhaust to function efficiently. Thus, all the ideas to silence it must keep the exhaust open for efficient gas emission. Installing a muffler is the best solution as it doesn't obstruct the exhaust pipe, and it's a one-time installation.

How Can I Make My Inverter Generator Quieter?

An inverter generator is lighter than conventional generators; therefore, you can move it further away from your camp or RV. You can also lift it onto a higher platform and use the water method we discussed earlier to muffle the sound from the exhaust pipe.

Final Thoughts

When you've left the city to enjoy the quiet countryside, the last thing on your mind is a noisy generator. The undemanding solutions to this problem will take you about a minute, and they won't cost you anything. I'm serious.

It'll take you one minute to move your generator away from your RV or turn its exhaust pipe away from your vacation spot. If these simple solutions don't work for reasons beyond your control, think about installations or modifications to silence your generator.

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