5 Effective Tips On How To Make A Generator Quiet For Camping
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For most people, camping trips offer a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. It is normal for your mind to conjure up thoughts of relaxing and tranquil natural surroundings whenever you think about camping.
However, a loud portable generator can take away all the peace and quiet from your camping experience. Furthermore, some parks and camping sites have set noise limits. This is mainly meant to prevent campers from being too noisy, something that is not only guaranteed to scare away wildlife but is also a nuisance to other campers.
While portable generators make it possible for you to enjoy the comforts of home right in the middle of the bush, by producing the electricity you need to power various devices, they can be too noisy at times. Fortunately, there are ways in which you can make your generator less noisy whenever you are out camping.
Read on below to find out more about how to make your generator quieter when camping.
How Much Noise Do Generators Produce?
The level of noise produced by generators is expressed in decibels (dB). Generally, conventional portable generators produce anywhere between 60 and 90 decibels of noise on average. However, noise levels from some cheaper models can even go as high as 100dB. To put things into context, a typical dish washer or vacuum cleaner can be as loud as 60 to 70dB.
While the difference might not appear to be that big, it is worth noting that the noise may be bearable in short bursts; however, it is bound to become uncomfortable in longer periods of time.
Why Are Generators So Noisy?
At this point, it is important for you to learn why generators are noisy in the first place. To generate electricity, most conventional generators rely on the same operating mechanism of a combustion engine to burn fossil fuels, such as diesel or gasoline. Loud irritating noises and vibrations are major by-products of this mode of operation. The level of noise that makes into the surrounding environment depends on a few important factors.
For starters, the higher the power rating of a generator the louder it will be. Simply put, a larger generator designed to produce more power is going to be louder than a smaller unit. However, this is usually true for cheaper generators. Higher priced models can produce more power while still being quieter than some smaller units simply due to their advanced design and the use of higher quality sound deadening materials.
Another factor that influences the level of noise produced by a portable generator is type. There are two main types of portable generators, conventional and inverter generators. Units that are designed using inverter technology tend to be less noisy than their conventional counterparts. This is mainly due to the fact that they are usually smaller than conventional units that have the same power rating. Inverter generators also work differently by adjusting throttle power to match output power requirements, instead of running at full throttle all the time.
Last but not least, the type of fuel used by a generator also has an influencing role on how noisy it is during operation. Generally, diesel generators tend to be the noisiest of the lot.
How To Make Your Generator Quieter When Camping?
Now that you know why generators are so noisy, follow the following tips to reduce your unit’s noise levels, and with it, enjoy a relaxing and peaceful camping experience.
1. Generator Location And Placement
The location of your portable generator in relation to your tent has a huge influence on how noisy it sounds. Choosing a suitable location for your portable unit will help you minimize the level of noise that makes its way to your ears.
For starters, it is recommended that you place the generator as far away from your tent as possible. This way, the noise dissipates before it can reach you. As previously mentioned above, most portable generators have a 60 to 90 dB noise rating. However, most people do not know that this measure is usually calculated, by most manufacturers, from about 23 feet away- indicated by a “7m” mark right next to the rating. This simply means that to even enjoy a unit’s official noise rating, you need to keep it at about 20 feet away from where you are. You can then use an extension cord to bring its power right next to you or your tent.
When choosing the most suitable location for your generator, it is best to ensure that it is far from any surfaces that can pick up and amplify its vibrations as well. This means placing it on the ground – avoiding the hardest of surfaces – where the vibrations can be dampened by the soft surface. You may also consider placing the generator on rubber feet or on top of an anti-vibration mat, to dampen any noisy vibrations.
Positioning the generator in a way that directs its exhaust pipes away from your position will also help make it less noisy; to you at least! However, where possible, it is recommended that you adjust the exhaust pipes to face upwards where they can direct their noise. This also helps minimize the amplification of noise and vibrations that occurs when the exhaust pipes run along the unit.
It is important to note that the above tips are meant to help you choose the right placement of your generator so as to minimize the amount of noise that reaches you. However, these do not reduce the real level of noise coming from the unit.
2. Put Up A Sound Barrier
Putting up a sound barrier between you and the generator can help you reduce the level of noise introduced into the surrounding environment, significantly. You can partition off the area where the generator is located using simple homemade solutions, or use a commercial product.
You can even use sound proof blankets or curtains to put up a make-shift noise cancelling generator enclosure. However, avoid throwing the sound deadening materials over the generator as the unit still needs to be well ventilated during operation. You can use strategically placed hanging lines or a collapsible home-made frame to hold up the soundproof curtains or blankets around the unit without cutting off ventilation.
Before you decide to use a sound barrier to keep your generator quieter when camping, it is important to note that you will need to have space in your car for the extra materials. Choosing a sound barrier that is collapsible will make it easier to carry around as it can be taken apart and packed away into a compact package.
3. Use The Water Bucket Trick
Most of the noise produced during the combustion of fuel in portable generators comes out through the exhaust pipe(s). You can reduce this noise in a simple but efficient way, using the water bucket trick. Just attach a hose to the end of your generator’s exhaust pipe and then submerge the other end of the pipe in a bucket of water. This will help muzzle the noise coming from the exhaust, the same way you would hear muffled noises when under water.
To keep the water from flowing back through the pipe and exhaust into the generator, it is recommended that you keep it at a higher elevation than the bucket of water. For the best outcome, the connection between the hose pipe and the generator’s exhaust pipe should be tightly sealed.
4. Get A New Muffler
If you have an old portable generator that just sounds louder than normal, then perhaps it needs a new muffler. Generator mufflers just like those used in cars are designed to dampen the amount of noise coming from the combustion engine. With time, the condition of the muffler may deteriorate, or it may sustain damage, thus reducing its effectiveness.
To find out whether your generator’s muffler is in need of replacement, just give it a detailed visual inspection. Since generators come in a variety of designs and models, finding the right replacement muffler for your exact model may be a challenge. You can simplify the task by seeking the help of a qualified local mechanic. These professionals can guide you to the right replacement or where necessary, build you custom muffler.
5. Consider Getting A Quieter Generator
While following the above tips will help make your generator quieter, there’s only so much you can achieve. If you have an old noisy generator that always sounds too loud, then you might be better served by buying a newer unit that is designed to be quieter right from the start.
You will have an easier time choosing a quieter unit as you are already familiar with the factors that contribute to a generator’s noise levels, as covered earlier in this article. Newer generators, quality ones, are not only going to come with superior sound cancelling technologies but are also designed to be more efficient in operation.
A noisy generator can make for an irritating camping experience. However, to enjoy the comforts of home even in the remotest camping grounds, you need one of these highly effective power producing machines.
As you can see from the above, there are many ways you can use to make your portable generator quieter when camping. Some are simple, and only require the use of readily available supplies while others require some level of technical dexterity, like building your own generator box from scratch. All in all, with the above tips in mind and in practice, you can reduce your portable generator’s noise output levels making for a more relaxing and peaceful camping trip.