Building A Quiet Box For a Generator
After experimenting with a couple different types of mufflers, including a homemade retrofitted automotive muffler, we realized that the most likely solution to the problem of how to keep a generator quiet was to build a sound dampening enclosure for our generator to run in.
WARNING: Never install or run a generator or any other internal combustion engine in an enclosure or building that will allow deadly exhaust fumes into a building that people or animals will occupy. Also, never go inside a building where a generator or internal combustion engine is running. Doing so could result in death! Additionally, you should never install a generator in close proximity to combustible materials to prevent the risk of fire.
What we did was make a cinder block sound dampening enclosure for our generator. We built this enclosure about 150 feet from our house to help with the noise level. We also oriented our makeshift “generator dog house” so that the door was facing away from our home. We unfortunately didn’t build it very well so it didn’t last very long but it did quiet the generator down to some degree. It did, however, last long enough for us to finally save up enough money to buy a genset that was actually designed to run quiet.
I should point out that we also added an inlet vent that we inserted an electric fan in to blow fresh air over the generator to help prevent it from overheating. We also installed and outlet vent for the exhaust to vent out of which we think helped provide good airflow across the engine.
Tips for Quieting a Noisy Generator
Here are a few tips to keep in mind if you are concerned about the noise of your generator at your off the grid home.
Don’t install your generator near your home. The farther the generator is from your living quarters, the quieter your noisy generator will actually seem. This is probably the least expensive and one of the most effective ways to deal with the noise level of a loud generator.
Construct some type of a sound enclosure or at least a “sound deflector” for your generator. When we were trying to find out how to quiet down a generator, we tried an experiment where we simply placed a large piece of plywood between our cabin and the generator. Believe it or not, just deflecting the sound away from the home made a significant difference in the perceived noise level.
Don’t install your generator on a wood floor. Our initial attempt to build a sound dampening enclosure was a colossal failure. We simply built a small add-on which was about the size of an outhouse to the outside of my husband’s tool shed and placed the generator in that little room. This actually amplified the sound! It amplified sound just like a hollow body guitar amplifies sound. The wood box acted as a resonator that made the generator seem much louder than it actually was.
Orient the generator so that the exhaust is not pointing towards your home. We learned that simply turning the generator around so that the exhaust was pointing away from the house made a bit of a difference in how loud the generator seemed to be.
The Best Advice I Have Is To Buy A Quiet Generator
We learned the hard way that it’s much better to save up and buy a really nice generator that is designed to run quietly than it is to try to figure out ways to make a cheap generator quiet. Not only will these nicer generators run quieter, they are usually engineered better which means that they will probably be more fuel efficient and last longer.