With how much we rely on electricity today, it’s no surprise that so many homeowners are looking to buy generators in case of a blackout. However, many people are turned off by the machine’s lousy reputation regarding noise levels. So, are generators loud, and if so, how loud are they?
Generators are loud machines. Whole-house backup generators usually emit between 60 to 90 dBA of noise, and they are usually the loudest at 100% capacity. The noise generators produce can also depend on the generator type, distance from your home, the terrain, etc.
This article will discuss how loud generators are compared to other household appliances and how you can make your generator quieter. Let’s get started!
How Loud Is a Normal Generator?
A normal generator can emit anywhere from 60 to 90 dBA of noise while fully running. As a point of reference, a washing machine usually produces around 70 dBA of noise, and a leaf blower can be as loud as 90 dBA.
Most indoor house appliances, such as vacuum cleaners and washing machines, produce noise between 40 to 60 dBA. Meanwhile, noise levels of other outdoor appliances usually fall between 70 and 80 dBA.
So, a standard generator may be somewhat louder than common home appliances, but it won’t be ear-deafening, especially since you’re unlikely to stand next to it all day.
Factors That Can Affect a Generator’s Noise Emission
You should note that various factors can affect how loud your generator is. Some of these factors include:
All in all, a generator’s noise level depends on so many factors. While you may not be able to make it quiet as a mouse, there are ways to make the machine quieter, which I will explain in the next section.
How Do I Make My Generator Quieter?
You can make your generator quieter by doing these noise-dampening steps:
- Buy a generator that fits your needs.
- Set it farther away from your house.
- Direct the exhaust pipe away from your home.
- Place it on a soft surface.
- Use rubber feet.
- Install sound deflectors.
- Get a sound-absorbing enclosure.
Here’s an in-depth look at how you can make your generator quieter.
1. Buy a Generator That Fits Your Needs
The first thing you need to do is purchase a generator that fits your needs. As mentioned before, the bigger the capacity, the more noise your generator will make. So, you should weigh your options depending on:
Be careful when choosing your generator’s capacity. If it’s too small, you run the risk of overloading your generator, which may cause it to turn off automatically or overheat. Still, if the capacity is too large, the generator will produce a lot of noise, and you’ll have to spend extra money to operate the unit.
A small household can use anywhere from 20 to 40kW, and it’s best to choose a generator that can power your entire house using no more than 90% of its capacity. So, a 50kW generator is a minimum for the average household.
2. Set It Farther Away From Your Home
One of the best ways to make your generator quieter is to install it far away from your home. From a technical perspective, sound intensity is inversely proportional to the distance of the source. So, the farther away your generator is, the less noise you’ll hear.
A good rule of thumb is to set your generator at least 20 feet (6 m) away from your house. Of course, be mindful of your neighbors, lest you want to receive a noise complaint.
You should also invest in an extension cord to run your generator in your home. This Power Equipment Extension Cord from Amazon.com is a good choice. It’s 25 feet (7.62 m) long, flexible, and weather-resistant, perfect for installing your generator away from your main living area.
3. Direct the Exhaust Pipe Away From Your House
Most of the generator’s airborne noise comes from the exhaust pipe. So, you should always direct the exhaust pipe away from your living area.
Always position the exhaust pipe in the opposite direction of your home. Some generator models also allow you to point it up to the sky. These pipes are also great since you won’t be sending annoying noises to your next-door neighbor.
4. Place It on a Soft Surface
The next step to combatting your generator’s noise is placing it on a soft surface. Avoid setting your generator on hard surfaces, such as wood and concrete, as doing so will amplify the sound.
Instead, place the unit on a soft surface that can absorb its vibrations and dampen the noise. Dirt and grass are fantastic options. Alternatively, you can line the ground with rubber or foam mats to get a similar effect.
5. Use Rubber Feet
If there are no soft surfaces on which to set your generator, you can also stick some rubber feet on the generator to combat the noise. They will absorb the generator’s vibrations, thus helping reduce any loud and distracting noises.
These versatile Rolair Air Compressor Rubber Feet can be an excellent choice. They’re thick and durable, perfect for dampening your generator’s impact noise.
6. Install Sound Deflectors
Next, you can use sound deflectors to quieten your generator even further. Sound deflectors work by diverting sound waves and changing their direction. So, the deflectors will bounce away from you rather than allow the sound waves to reach your living area.
7. Get a Sound-Absorbing Enclosure
Lastly, the most effective solution to a noisy generator is to get a sound-absorbing generator enclosure, also known as a baffle box. It has similar functions to sound deflectors; it will divert the sound waves and lower the generator’s noise level.
Here is an informative video on how you can build your own baffle box.
That said, you’re better off purchasing a baffle box. Poorly made DIY baffle boxes can cause your generator to overheat. So, it will be easier to buy a pre-made one, and it will also be safer.
Generators are loud, but not as loud as you may think. Most whole-house generators typically emit between 60 and 90 dBA of noise, around the same loudness as a busy street. Generators are noisy, but they’re not ear-deafening.
Don’t let a generator’s noise level stop you from buying one for your household. After all, it’s better to stay prepared in case of a blackout. Just choose the right size and type for your home, and take the necessary noise-dampening precautions!