A portable generator is a relatively modern piece of technology that has the potential to provide power and light to remote locations during blackouts and power outages.
These generators are very useful because they allow you to get electricity and power when you can’t expect the regular line voltage or main grid supplies.
However, there’s an important downside: in addition to being powerful, these generators often emit noise that can be quite irritating for those nearby.
Fortunately, several steps can be taken to reduce the noise coming from your generator and get the benefits without having to live where you can’t listen to it.
This article will explain the causes of noise from your portable generator and offer some recommendations for reducing this noise so you can use it at the same time as everyone else. Keep in mind that no matter what you do, installing a muffler on your generator won’t solve all of these problems.
However, by following the recommended procedures outlined below, you should be able to get rid of most if not all of these noises without having to install mufflers. Let’s go through each one to find out just how much noise power equipment is making around us today.
Why Is My Generator Making Noise?
As you might expect, the noise from your generator can be a result of many things. If you’re wondering why your generator is making noise, hopefully, one of these explanations will seem pretty familiar to you.
Here are the most common reasons for the noise that we hear:
Exhaust Gas Blowing Through a Short Firing Order
One of the steps in starting up a generator is called firing up (or starting) . When properly done, this moves fuel into the engine and ignites it so that it can start producing power.
The firing order determines how this occurs: first comes fuel then air before finally igniting the spark plugs at the top dead center (TDC).
If you can hear the gas blowing through the exhaust system while you are starting, then you know that your generator’s firing order is short: it’s not getting enough fuel to run properly.
This can be remedied by performing a procedure known as “cleaning” the exhaust system. An obvious sign of this problem is a clattering sound from your exhaust system.
Low Oil Level
Another possible cause of noise from your generator is the low oil level in the engine. If this happens, then of course it will cause noise as fuel is being wasted because it isn’t providing enough power to make the necessary revolutions to keep the engine fired up and running correctly.
If the belt which drives the engine isn’t tight enough, then it will rattle and vibrate as it moves around, causing noise to be generated by the engine which is a result of mechanical problems.
Typically, this tends to happen as a result of driving over rough or uneven areas. The solution is to tighten things up so that this problem goes away.
Too Many Repairs
It’s tempting to take your generator out now and then and take it apart to perform repairs on it. However, there are some serious drawbacks to performing regular repairs on your generator.
If you do this, then you’re likely to run into problems such as loose belts and poorly fitting parts which will end up causing the noise. Hopefully, you don’t need to repair your generator too often.
Too Many Oil Changes
This is pretty much the same as the previous problem only it has more to do with oil changes than repairs per se.
If you regularly perform oil changes on your generator, then there’s a good chance that it will eventually develop damage from all this added strain and stress which doesn’t normally occur when using the unit normally under normal conditions.
Too Much Pressure in the System
Obviously it’s hard to have too much pressure in a system: that would make things the other way around instead of pushing through your generator.
However, if you do have too much pressure, then this will generate a lot of noise as it goes around your engine.
It makes the engine work more fiercely to push things down its path which means that it will run hotter and burn more oil which is ultimately wasted fuel out of your generator. If you can hear this problem, then you should correct it so that noise goes away.
Loose Fuel Lines
Not every fuel line or line, in general, will cause noise as there are many different types and models used for various tasks today.
If you hear noises from a fuel line, then the most likely reason is that something is loose or not properly seated. You should be able to tighten things up so that you can get rid of the noise without having to replace anything.
A Worn Engine
If your engine burns oil, then it can become so worn out that it simply can’t run correctly anymore: it’s worn down to the point where it will never produce enough power and strength again. The solution, in this case, is to either change out the engine entirely or buy a new one.
It’s a good idea to keep track of your generator once in a while simply to see how well (or badly) it is running.
If you notice the noise, then this can tell you that something needs attention: it won’t run right if one of these problems is occurring. It’s important to take care of these things as they can lead to more serious issues later on down the road.
How to Reduce the Noise from Your Generator
There are several things that you could potentially do to eliminate the noise from your generator. Here’s a good list of them:
Use A Quiet Generator – High Noise Reduction
I’d suggest using a quiet generator if you want to keep things quiet. If you can, then don’t use the generator at all during the day when any other noise will be likely. Consider a gas-powered generator instead of an electric one if this is possible because they produce less noise than an electric one would.
Use Generator Sound Box – High Noise Reduction
This will almost certainly curtail the noise that you hear from your generator but you need to use a soundbox for your generator.
You shouldn’t have to leave this on all the time and it also depends on what kind of sounds are coming out of the generator to decide if you need to use it or not. Check how to make a Generator Sound Box below.
Use Some Duct Tape – Moderate Noise Reduction
If there is a loose part, then sometimes duct tape can be used to secure it better so that it won’t cause the noise anymore. This is a temporary solution, though, and you should really find out what the problem is before continuing with this method.
Overhaul Your Exhaust System – Moderate Noise Reduction
You could make your exhaust system quieter by replacing it with something quieter so hopefully, you can reduce the noise a little bit from there on out.
You could also buy an air filter for your intake which would do this job as well as cleaning dirty air so it has in better shape to enter into your engine which reduces noise in the process.
Changing out Your Starter – Low Noise Reduction
A common cause of the noise is a worn-out or broken starter. This is one of the simplest ways to reduce noise from generators.
If you own an older unit, then it might require you to replace it entirely.
If not, then there may be other things that can go wrong with it and these are fairly obvious as well. You need to make sure that everything is good and tight so that your unit doesn’t make noise in the first place.
Changing Your Oil and Filter Regularly – Low Noise Reduction
This isn’t the only thing you can do but it’s an important part of the process, as your engine will wear more quickly if you don’t take good care of it.
If you don’t change your oil and filter regularly, then this will cause excessive strain on your engine and cause more problems in the long run. This is especially important if you are using your generator for something like a hobby or camping purposes.
Tightened or Replaced Fuel Lines – Moderate Noise Reduction
A problem with fuel lines is something that can be dealt with fairly easily as these are easy parts to replace so long as you have the necessary equipment to handle them.
This is especially true of those fuel lines that are near your tank and the ones that supply your carburetor. In this case, you need to make sure that everything is tight and right before looking for other possible problems.
Replacing Your Gas Tank -Moderate Noise Reduction
Part of what makes a gas generator so noisy is the fact that it has to work so hard to create the necessary amount of power to do something like charge an electric cord or run a TV or computer.
If your fuel tank is small, then this can be a problem as you won’t have enough gas to work with. On the other hand, if you don’t have the right size tank for your generator, then you will waste less gas and consume it quicker.
Low Air Volume – High Noise Reduction
One of the reasons why generators are such noisy pieces of equipment is that they emit a lot of power but don’t have the proper air volume to utilize it properly.
If you can’t get your generator running nearly as loud as you’d like, then there’s a good chance that this is related to this problem and not your engine itself.
You can correct this by using a different air compressor or by replacing your tank with one that carries more air. You may also have to replace your intake if you’re experiencing an issue with getting enough air into your engine to run efficiently.
Water Absorption – Moderate Noise Reduction
As fuel is burned and passes through the filters, it produces a lot of water which cools down the engine. To make things worse, this water can cause dirt and debris to get into your system.
As a result of this, your airflow will be restricted which in turn will create more noise because there isn’t enough air coming into your system.
You can correct this by cleaning out your intake thoroughly before you start using your generator so that these problems don’t occur.
How to make a Generator Sound Box – Best Way to Reduce Generator Noise
A sound box may help with the noise that you might be hearing from your generator. It is one of the best methods to eliminate noise coming from generator.
It’s fairly straightforward to make one from materials that you probably already have on hand, although some of them are a little fussy to assemble. Check out the steps below:
Materials Needed To Make A Generator Sound Box
- Wood scraps.
- A box to put your generator in.
- A drill and a 1/8 inch drill bit.
- Small washers or nuts and bolts; sizes vary depending on what you’re using the box for now.
- Sole rubber is about 1/4 inch thick, but check the package to be sure that it won’t damage anything around it if it’s too thin for your application.
- Some blue painters tape.
- 1/4 inch rod or pipe sealant. It doesn’t matter if you buy this at a local home supply store or use the kind that’s in the paint cans.
Instructions To Make A Generator Sound Box
Step 1: Choose Your Materials
First, you need to decide what kind of box you are going to use. Obviously, this depends on many different things and is directly proportional to the size of your generator as well as how loud it is when working.
Roughly speaking, a small gas generator for a lawnmower will need a smaller sound box than a bigger one which is going to be used for something like an air conditioner or even an alarm system.
It’s up to you where you want to place the box and how you are going to go about doing this part of your project.
Most people go for the safe route and put their sound box right above or below their generator. Your choice, however, is your own so just go with what you feel most comfortable with.
Step 2: Putting Together the Sound Box
You’re already seeing some examples of how this can go in this example. When putting it together, you must take your time and make sure that everything fits together properly and in good order before doing any more of the work.
It’s also a good idea to use sandpaper or steel wool to smooth things out so that you don’t have any rough edges or splinters which could cause problems further on down the line.
You want everything to be rust-free as well as smooth so that particles won’t make their way into your gas tank or intake system.
Step 3: How to Install the Sound Box
Now you’re going to have to decide whether you want your sound box in a permanent location or if you would like to move it.
If there isn’t anywhere that is convenient for you, then it might be better to keep it in one place for all time. If you are going to move it, then this should also be done carefully as the sound box may be of some negative effect on your engine and may cause more damage than good.
For most people, it will work best if it’s installed right above or below the generator so that when things run they will generate more noise than not.
It’s easy to remove or fix the most common noise in any generator that is causing you problems. In the long run, however, it’s best to find out what the actual problem is and how it can be fixed before spending too much money or time.
I hope now you can find out why your generator is creating noise and how to reduce the noise from the generator using the generator sound box or other methods I mentioned above.
Best of luck to you!