Portable Generators are very useful and comes in handy when there are power outages. These generators are typically used during and after stormy weather, but many people use them throughout the year for home purpose projects. Portable Generators, can be very noisy and if you live in close quarters to other people, the loud sound can disturb the peace.
This article is written for anyone who want to soundproof their generators. You can go out and buy a soundproof box, but it’s cheaper making it yourself. The key for soundproofing is by having proper ventilation. Sound waves travels best in straight lines so it good to break up the waves to disturb the pattern of flow. Here are some of the items you’ll need before starting this endeavor.
- Tape Measure
- (MDF) Medium Density Fiberboard
- Acoustic Chalk
- Mass-Loaded Vinyl
- Foam Matting
- Nails/Screws and Hammer/Power Drill
- Paper and Pencil
Depending on how you exactly want to make your box, most of these items are the foundation for completing it.
- Measurements are very important here because you’ll have insulation inside of the enclosure that takes up some space. Depending on the size of your generator, precise measurements makes a world of difference.
- Cutting out your box as per your instructive measurements. Soundboard or (MDF) Medium Density Fiberboard is best for this project but you can use standard plywood as an alternative. This box design will give you a total of five sides consisting of four walls and one at the top.
Most Portable Generators Are Square shaped and flat with sharp corners. Cooler air travels around those corners thanks to the ventilation. Sound waves travel in a linear motion (straight) which gets absorbed better with the five wall design and cool air ventilation.
- Ventilation Holes are needed to expel the fumes building up inside the enclose. Without the proper ventilation, air cannot travel and the generators motor will overheat. You can either cut out the open holes and slide the ducts/pipes in or just leave the holes open. One hole at the top and the other hole on a different side for perfect exhaust expelling.
- Layer of Insulation is then added which absorbs sound and helps it dissipate. The first layer of insulation should be implemented with (MLV) Mass-Loaded Vinyl and glue this material directly to the board. The layered effect will minimize and soften the sounds for a more quiet response. The key for great insulation is with multiple layers.
- Caulking the first Layer seals and holds things in the right place during construction. The best product to use is special Acoustical Caulking. This caulking mix is then applied to the edges of the vinyl. You can use standard caulk but it won’t work as effectively for soundproofing as the acoustical caulk.
- Foam Matte Layering should be glued exactly to the (MLV) Mass-Loaded Vinyl. Now you will need to caulk the edges for final completion of the insulation process.
Having multiple layers are a necessity for soundproofing. The box has free space inside which causes sound to bounce and travel freely; the layering effect catches the sound waves and dampens the noise.
- Installation of Venting Ducts is highly important with enclosed boxed frames. Air is needed for combustion and if there is a lack of it; everything will shut down. When dealing with soundproofing, ducts that have more bending is better and more effective than straight ducts. Curving and bending will lessen the sound by displacing the wave patterns.
- Putting the Box Together can be done before or after the interior insulation process, but it’s better to just wait until the end to make sure everything is measured, fitted, and glued in place. It doesn’t matter what you prefer best; (hand tools) such as hammer and nails or (power tools) such as a drill and screws.
Here you have basic instructions on how to build a soundproof box for your noisy portable generator. Other materials such as plaster boards and rock wool can be used as alternatives as well. All of these items can be found at most home improvement stores or big chain discount stores.