How To Soundproof A Noisy Generator: A DIY Guide

how to soundproof a noisy generator

If you enjoy camping in remote places, or if you live in a place where there are frequent power outages, then owning a generator is a real plus. However, one of the major problems people have when they have to rely on their generators for power is noise. Unfortunately, most generators can be quite loud, and when you have to rely on one for power, you don’t have any choice but to run the generator, no matter how loud it might be. Luckily, there are ways to sound-proof noisy generators.

How can you sound-proof a noisy generator? You can soundproof a noisy generator in several ways, including:

  • Re-positioning your generator’s exhaust pipes
  • Adding a sound deflector
  • Upgrading your exhaust muffler
  • Trying the water trick
  • Purchasing a quiet generator
  • Build a generator soundbox
  • Using rubber
  • Using plywood boards
  • Moving the generator as far away as possible

Since there isn’t much information available on the Internet today covering how you can reduce a generator’s noise, we created this guide to help you out. Below we’ll discuss generator technology, how you can decrease your generator’s noise, and how you can sound-proof your generator.

Generator Noise

While many people rely on generators for power during power outages or while out camping, if you’ve ever used one, then you know how noisy they can be. Luckily, there are several things you can do to reduce the noise factor when it comes to your generator. We’ll be covering some of those ideas in just a bit.

First, we want to cover why generators are so noisy in the first place. Once you understand why generators are so loud, it will be much easier to comprehend how to reduce their noise factor.

What Makes Generators So Noisy?

There are a few reasons why generators make such annoying noises. We’ll cover those factors in more detail below. These factors include:

  1. Your generator’s technology
  2. Your generator’s power output
  3. Sound-proofing technology
  4. Your generator’s position

1.Your Generator’s Technology

Most people know that some generators are noisier than others. Much of this has to do with the generator’s inverter technology. That’s because many modern generators have the benefit of advanced electronics and technical magnets that help them produce power more quietly, where the older generators lack this technology.

So, newer generators do a better job of creating a steady flow of energy and are typically much quieter than older generators.

More recent generators are also more power-efficient, and they tend to be much smaller and more durable than older generators. Modern technology has added a lot of extra mufflers and noise reduction options on these generators, and they typically come with these features built-into them.

However, these more modern inverter generators do have their drawbacks, too, and they explain why many people don’t rush out and buy these newer generator models. Newer generators, typically called inverter generators for their quieter appeal, cannot create the same power output that you’d get with an older, more traditional generator.

Most people that purchase generators need their generator to create a certain amount of output power to keep certain utilities, refrigerators, and other items running. Inverter generators don’t provide enough output power to keep many of these modern devices adequately running when people lose power. So, they aren’t prevalent, because if you cannot get the right power output from your generator, it’s useless.

The way a generator is designed is also essential when it comes to noise reduction. Some generator manufacturers have done a better job than others of creating a decent design that reduces noise and provides a decent level of power. However, making powerful generators as quiet as possible is still something we see experts trying to achieve.

2.Your Generator’s Power Output

Remember, the more powerful your generator is, the more noise it’s going to make. So, if you need quite a bit of power to keep your necessities going during power outages, you’re likely going to own a noisy generator. While there are still ways to add sound-proofing technology to these large generators, the more massive your generator it is, the louder it’s going to be.

However, there are still ways you can DIY your sound-proofing technology and add it to your generator. We’ll be discussing that in more detail in just a bit.

[Related Article: How To Make A Gas Golf Cart Quieter: A Step-By-Step Guide?]

3.Soundproofing Technology

Sound-proofing technology can come in many forms. You can either add that technology to your generator, which we’ll be providing tips for shortly, or you can have your generator factory fitted. Either way, you can typically use sound-proofing technology to decrease the noisiness of your generator.

If you do wind up purchasing a less expensive generator, keep in mind that more affordable generators typically skimp on the sound-proofing technology. So, if noise is a factor and you’re considering purchasing a new generator to get rid of the sound issue, you’ll need to make sure you budget accordingly.

You u can add your sound-proofing technology to your generator in the form of things like:

  • Rubber feet
  • Enclosures
  • Better baffles
  • Noise deflectors

Using these items correctly can help you dramatically reduce the noise you experience with your generator.

4.Your Generator’s Position

Your generator’s position can also affect how much noise you have to deal with when it’s running. The further away you place your generator, the less noise you and your family will experience.

However, you do need to be respectful and thoughtful about where you are going to place your generator. Just because you want it far away from you doesn’t mean you can put it next to your neighbor’s house or camping area.

Instead, you’ll need to think about positioning your generator in a way that works well for you. That means

  • Not right on top of you,
  • Away from windows

Instead you can place your generator:

  • Faraway
  • Make sure that you have plenty of cables to get to the generator from where you need access to the generator
  • Think about the surface that you put your generator on while it is operating.
  • Depending on what surface your generator uses, that can decrease or increase the noise factor significantly.
  • Try to use a stable surface that’s firm.
  • Never put your generator on a flimsy platform.
  • If you do, the platform can move as the generator vibrates, and that will only make the noise you hear more prolific.

You can also consider using anti-vibration mounts if you are planning to install the generator at your house permanently. Anti-vibration mounts will prevent the generator from slipping and rubbing against the platform, reducing the effect of the noise.

Tips for Reducing Generator Noise

There are several things you can do to reduce the noise you’re experiencing with a noisy generator. Some of our tips will be better than others, but you can also combine any variety of them to figure out what works. Unfortunately, we cannot directly tell you what will work best for you because much of that will depend on your generator’s manufacturer and make. However, using these tips can help save you from many headaches in the long run.

Some of the tips we’ve shared with you below will be quick for you to put in effect. However, others will require some time and effort. Here is an overview of the tips we’ll be covering below in more detail.

  1. Re-positioning your generator’s exhaust pipes
  2. Adding a sound deflector
  3. Upgrading your exhaust muffler
  4. Trying the water trick
  5. Purchasing a quiet generator
  6. Build a generator soundbox
  7. Using rubber
  8. Using plywood boards
  9. Moving the generator as far away as possible

Tip #1: Re-Position Your Generator’s Exhaust Pipes

Traditional generators were built with horizontal exhaust pipes. Unfortunately for those of us that own traditional generators, those horizontal exhaust pipes contribute massively to the noise problem we get with these larger, more powerful generators. Luckily, you can use the easy process of changing your exhaust pipes into a vertical position. By altering your exhaust pipes into a vertical position, you can direct the sound waves upwards into the sky instead of towards you and your family.

Re-positioning your generator’s exhaust pipes will give you some slight relief. However, you will still experience a decent level of noise moving horizontally. Still, altering your generator’s exhaust pipes so that they point vertically will help give you some relief from the noise.

If, for some reason, you cannot point your generator’s exhaust pipes upwards, make sure you at least point them away from your home or your campsite. You’ll still reduce the level of noise that you have to put up with, although you won’t be able to get rid of the sound completely.

Tip #2: Add a Sound Deflector

You can also consider adding a sound deflector to your generator. While a sound deflector won’t make the generator itself quieter, it will help prevent the soundwaves from coming directly toward you. Sound deflectors work by diverting some of the sounds away from your general direction.

To create a sound deflector, consider using something that can make a barrier or a couple of barriers around the generator. You want the barrier to be in between the generator and yourself. That way, the sound gets deflected away from you. While this might not sound like it will be enormously effective, it’s a quick and easy fix, and it will help reduce the noise level quickly.

Also, you don’t necessarily need to spend a lot of money building a sound barrier. You can use things you have lying around your house to surround your generator with and buffer away from the noise. If you have any rubber or plywood that is lying around, both of these materials make excellent sound deflectors.

[Related Article: How To Reduce Motorcycle Exhaust Noise Without Buying New Pipes]

Tip #3: Upgrading your Exhaust Muffler

On a traditional generator, the motor within the generator creates most of the noise. The noise is then released out through the exhaust of the generator. That’s why adding a new exhaust muffler can help bring down the noise situation. Exhaust mufflers were created to reduce the noise coming out of exhaust pipes.

For example, if you’ve ever owned a car that has a faulty exhaust muffler, then you can recall how loud the car sounds when you drive it. Compare that sound to what you hear with a standard car and a functioning exhaust muffler, and you get a similar noise reduction when you place an exhaust muffler on a generator.

Luckily, if you have an old car or motorcycle muffler lying around in your garage, you can simply use that part and place it on your generator. You can also purchase a used muffler that’s still working that will be inexpensive. Adding a quality muffler onto your generator will not only lower the noise level, but it will also decrease the noise’s pitch, making the sound far less annoying.

If you want to get a new muffler, then make sure you measure the mufflers exhaust tip so the vehicle muffler fits completely. However, it is not difficult to attach a bigger muffler by using few tools, clamps, and exhaust flex tubing.

Tip #4: The Water Trick

Another tip you can use to reduce the sound that escapes the exhaust in your generator is to place a hose or another type of flexible pipe to the exhaust and then feed the exhaust pipe into a massive water bucket. While this trick sounds extremely easy, it is also very effective, and it will help you reduce your generator’s exhaust noise.

We also suggest that you create a small hole in the hose that’s higher up to avoid getting water into your generator. That point is something we need to stress, because if you get water in your generator, you can easily destroy it and create serious danger. So, don’t forget to create those tiny holes.

Tip #5: Purchase a Quieter Generator

If you absolutely can’t stand your generator’s noise even after you’ve tried some of these tips, then you may just want to go out and buy the quietest generator you can find. However, that can be difficult considering the level of power you may need to provide to your home or campsite when you need it. As we mentioned earlier, the more massive the generator, the more noise it will create, and the more power you get.

Quieter generators are usually inverter generators. While inverter generators produce less noise, they also create less power. So, depending on what you need, you may be able to find a quieter generator that will still give you the power level you need. However, for some people, this can be difficult to find, or only out of their budget range.

Tip #6: Make a Generator Sound Box

how to quiet a noisy generator

Another option you have when it comes to reducing generator noise is to build a DIY generator soundbox. You can make that box as simple or as detailed as you’d like. No matter what you do, you’ll need to focus on enclosing the generator to keep the sound down. You’ll also want to make sure that the generator won’t overheat and that you can still get access to power while using the generator.

Making a generator soundbox does require some effort and time. There are some pre-made options available on the market today for certain generators. We’ll be discussing how you can purchase a sound box or make your own in more detail later.

Tip #7: Using Rubber

Rubber is a useful tool when it comes to sound absorption. For example, if your generator sits on the ground, and it’s on top of concrete, then it’s likely to make quite a bit of noise as you run it and it vibrates on the hard ground. It’s better to place your generator on something stable and soft to help lessen the noise, like a rubber matt.

If you take your generator camping with you often, then we recommend finding some soft ground to place your generator on around your campsite. However, it’s still a good idea to bring a rubber mat with you even when you are camping. If the ground is too hard, you can then use your rubber mat below your generator to help decrease the sound.

Tip #8: Plywood Boards

If you want an affordable and straightforward way to lessen the noise that your generator makes, then grab a few plywood boards. You can use those boards to lean them around, or wrap them around, your generator when you turn it on to use it. Remember, you cannot block the exhaust or the airflow areas of the generator. You also shouldn’t lean the wood against your generator unit if you can avoid it.

In this case, it might be better to build a box and place it around the generator so that it doesn’t touch the generator.

Tip #9: Move Your Generator

If you can move your generator farther away from your campsite or your home, you’ll be able to decrease the noise level you experience whenever you use your generator. You will need to make sure you have a long extension cord. You’ll also need to locate a spot that’s fifty to one hundred feet away from you.

If you use this strategy, you’ll need to ensure that you aren’t making extra noise for any of your neighbors. While loud generators are annoying, they are even more nerve-wracking when they aren’t your own.

[Related Article: How To Soundproof A Shed Cheap Under $200]

Building Your Sound-proof Generator Box

Now that we’ve covered some ideas for how you can reduce the sound level of your generator, we’re going to cover a few ways you can create your sound-proof generator box. There are several different strategies you can use to make a sound-proof generator box that will help you reduce the sound on your generator.

  1. Portable Quiet Box
  2. Permanent Quiet Box
  3. Portable Generator Enclosure
  4. Permanent Generator Enclosure

#1 Build a Portable Quiet Box

You can build a quiet box that is used to cover your generator and reduce the sound.

If you’d like to learn more about how you can create a quiet box, please watch this video:

Watching the video will guide you through how you can make a similar quiet box. After you’ve finished making your quiet box, you’ll notice a massive difference in noise when you run the generator, both with and without the quiet box over it.

This quiet box is designed to go over the top of your generator. One end is made with two cut-outs that are used for

  • Air intake
  • Cooling
  • Exhaust

The other three sides are closed as well as the top, which helps reduce the noise.

This quiet box uses a two-inch by four-inch frame and is covered with one-half inch plywood. The case is then lined with quiet boards. After that, L brackets are installed to keep the joints steady. The seams and gaps in the box are then sprayed over with foam, which helps buffer the sound. As soon as you start your generator, you then need to lower the cover over it, and the noise will be dramatically reduced.

#2 Build a Permanent Quiet Box

You can also build a permanent quiet box by watching this video:

The generator example in the video is placed in a plastic yard storage box. It has a lid that lifts and also provides a double front door. On the quiet box, rectangular vents are cut at the bottom on each side, and one side also features a door panel. That door panel is covered by a few metal vent covers.

There is also a round hole found at the top of one side that features a T-pipe. The T-pipe is placed there to help with the exhaust. A chimney is also attached to that area. The exhaust is then added to the generator and uses a muffler and pipe, which helps keep the sound of the generator down even when you open the doors.

Then on the side, that’s opposite from the exhaust; a 900cfm fan is installed. That helps air out the heat and the fumes. To protect the fan, this plan uses a modified roof vent and also features a thermometer to help watch the air temperature. Behind the fan, you install a weatherproof receptacle. Then, inside the box, you want to line some reflective thermoplastic material. After that, your project is complete.

#3 Build a Shed Generator Enclosure

If you’d prefer to build a portable generator enclosure, then consider viewing these plans. The plans show you the steps, a material list, and solid directions covering how you can create your own 5’x7’ generator shed. That means this is obviously for a larger generator, since the base is 7’ by 4’-9’, so you can place a massive generator in this box. You then need to frame in some T1-11 plywood, and you can also paint the box to match whatever is around it.

This generator box uses its front wall to open outward. You’ll also make two equivalent doors to make things easier for you to access. Plus, you’ll have a shed style roof that will also open up in two equal parts, and you then finish that with shingles. Once you are done with the shed, you’ll see that it is uninsulated, and there are no vents. So, it isn’t sound-proof, but it does help to do a great job of buffering the sound.

Still, if you want to add the insulation yourself, you can. Simply purchase some MLF and drywall or MDF and line the interior of the shed with this material. You can even add vents and pipes if you want to help mute the exhaust and the overall noise of the generator even more.

#4 Build a Permanent Generator Enclosure

If you’d prefer to create a more permanent generator enclosure, then don’t worry. We have plans to help you. By going to this website, you can get a guide covering how you can make a permanent structure to enclose and help sound-proof your generator.

The enclosure you’ll wind up with after you follow these directions is permanent and can house a standard generator that will run large items when the power fails like:

  • Freezers
  • Air conditioners
  • Fridges

This enclosure is also designed to help protect your generator from the weather, keep it safe from thieves, and bring down the noise because it uses a concrete pad and walls that are formed from concrete blocks. Also, the cores on this enclosure are designed to be filled to help increase density. That step aids in muffling the sound even better.

The bottom area features ½ blocks on their sides. That means the cores on the blocks work as vents. You can cover this area with a screen, and that will prevent any bugs or rodents from gaining access to your generator. Also, you’ll have a hinge on top that lifts, which will give you easy access to your generator.

At the top of this enclosure, two-bathroom fans are used to help blow out the heat and exhaust from the generator. Also, a half plastic barrel covers the fans. Once you’ve completed the unit, you can paint it whatever color you’d like.


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