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Keeping it quiet – how to soundproof your fuel generator

In a survival scenario, few pieces of machinery are more valuable than a quality generator. At a time when we have become almost entirely dependent on electricity for survival, having the ability to generate power when the grid is down could be the difference between life and death.

However, generators are also known for being quite noisy, and there are several reasons this could be a problem, from minor issues such as irritating everyone within hearing distance to major issues such as attracting unwanted attention from roaming thieves. Thankfully, there are a few great ways to make your generator less noisy if a portable solar generator isn’t an option.

Below is list of five effective ways to reduce noise on your portable generator with estimated impact:

  1. Buy the quietest generator you can find – High noise reduction
  2. Build or buy a generator soundbox – High noise reduction
  3. Add/modify a muffler on your generator – High noise reduction
  4. Water absorption – High noise reduction
  5. Rubber absorption – Medium noise reduction

1. Buy a quite generator – high noise reduction

If you are looking to reduce your generator noise by as much as possible – you may as well start by buying the best quiet generator available.

Also, consider that 1) larger generators will create more noise, and 2) inverter generators are typically the quietest generators due to the technology used.

2. Build or buy a generator sound box – high noise reduction

Building your own DIY generator sound box or baffle box can be as easy or as complicated as you want to make it. In general, the idea is to enclose the generator with a generator box to dampen sound, while at the same time ensuring that it does not overheat and can provide quick access to power while in use. Of course, this takes a bit of time, energy, and effort so check to see if there are good pre-made options for your unit. 

Pre-built generator enclosures are few and far between, but they do exist.

3. Add a muffler to your generator – high noise reduction.

This is not something the average DIYer should take on, but just so you are aware, it is possible to add a car muffler to your portable generator to reduce noise.  Since mufflers greatly reduce the noise of a car, the same concept applies to a portable generator. Consult an expert before doing this yourself though!

4. Water absorption – high noise reduction

An old school DIY method for reducing generator noise involves a simple bucket of water. Attach one end of the house to the exhaust and then put the other end of the hose in a bucket of water. The best hose material to use is flex tube made of galvanized metal (NOT A GARDEN HOSE).

The sound goes through the hose and is muffled by the water. Be sure to keep the generator away from the water and add a small hole to the hose at the high point to prevent water from sucking back into the generator.

5. Rubber Absorption – Medium Noise Reduction

If your generator is sitting on something hard – say concrete – it is going to make more noise as the engine runs and the unit shakes a bit. Be sure to put your generator on something soft like this rubber mat to dampen the noise. If you are setting up your generator on the ground then try to find a nice soft patch of ground and avoid gravel. If the soil is too dry and hard, then a rubber mat is again your best option.

Bottomline

If you are expecting to use your generator at home, you will want to build or buy a soundbox. If you are setting up at a campsite you may want to consider something along the lines of a Quiet Fence or you can bring a rubber mat and a few sheets of plywood and build an enclosure. Just be sure the plywood isn’t blocking the exhaust or touching the generator.

Since sound is not linear, but logarithmic – a 10-decibel decrease in sound, is perceived to be a 50% reduction!  So every little bit helps make for a pleasanter experience!

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