Question

Can I Put a Silencer on a Generator?

Hello folks and welcome to ToughAssTools.com . Generators are by far one of my favorite appliances to have around. You never truly know when you are going to need them. Your power could go out due to a blizzard, storm, or hurricane. Or, perhaps you are an outdoors men and enjoy camping, but still like to have some power to charge your laptop, phone, or whatever other electronics you need. While a generator will get this job done for you it can be very loud. After all, when your generator is running it is a diesel engine burning through fuel. You can expect it to be loud.

The problem is if you are out camping the point of it is to enjoy the outdoors and the peace and quiet that comes with it. Or, perhaps you aren’t camping but are having a party outside with a lot of guests. A friend of mine has a Fourth of July party on some land of his every year. It is vacant land with no buildings or power routed to it. Just a ten acre pond and fields all around it. It makes a great place to launch fireworks, but not so great of a place to host food or a gathering. Every year they bring their generator out and it provides enough power for some floodlights and crock-pots to keep all the food cooking and warm.

As you can imagine, the downside to this is that the generator is very loud. If you are too close to it then you won’t be able to hear what anyone is saying. In fact it is so loud that when it comes to fireworks time they turn it off entirely so that the noise won’t be distracting. The area goes pitch black except for the few tiki torches. To get around this problem a lot of folks have asked the question if a type of silencer can be put on these loud mouthed generators.

Silencers on Generators?

The first question here is exactly how loud are generators? Obviously, it can vary from model to model but the average tends to be between seventy to one-hundred decibels at around twenty or so feet. This could be the equivalent of a vacuum cleaner running or as loud as heavy city traffic. It depends on the unit.

The first solution here is to actively look for quieter brands of generators out there. In most cases the products will have an indication as to how loud they are. If they do not then it is best to check the reviews to determine exactly how loud the product is. For example, the Westinghouse Generator doesn’t display the noise level but when looking at reviews I found a few that state, ‘The noise is loud, but tolerable compared to other generators.‘ Or, ‘The noise level is not bad – much better then our CAT unit.’

Another option here is what is known as inverter generators. A typical portable generator is made of two separate mechanisms. You have the engine and then you have the generator. Each one has its own set of components. An inverter generator is actually one mechanism and leverages some of the same parts for both the engine and the generator. This results in an overall quieter sound. As an example, lets look at this Briggs & Stratton inverter generator. It is rated to run at around sixty-six decibels. That volume is between a standard conversation or the sound of a running vacuum. Much quieter then some of the other generator models out there. The downside here is that inverter generators are much more expensive then your standard generators.

If expense is an issue then do not worry! There are a few other options that can be done to quiet your generator. The first may seem a little odd but there are actually generator mufflers or silencers out there on the marketplace today. Depending on the make and model of your generator they can be found online either at Amazon or through the manufacturer’s website. That being said, not every muffler will fit to every generator. Research will have to be done to ensure that it will fit. It is also worth mentioning that many of these mufflers are aftermarket products. In other words, they are not backed by the original manufacturer.

In one such example on the Westinghouse model we mentioned earlier I found this quote from the seller, ‘We do not recommend modifying any part of the WGen5500 portable generator. Additionally, any permanent modification to the WGen5500 will result in nullification of your warranty.’ So, adding a muffler is ultimately up to you. It is your product. You should just be aware that you could void the warranty by doing so.

The last option there is out there to reduce the noise from your generator is to leverage your own do-it-yourself skills by making a silencer box. There are many ways to do this from the simple to complex. The simplest would be to get some plywood and enclose the generator on three sides. (Ensure the exhaust can still get out.) This enclosure will help to reduce the decibel level of the machine. Note that the generator is still producing carbon monoxide and should be set away from homes, rvs, etc. This is why it is important to ensure the monoxide has a place to vent to. Do not enclose the whole machine.

The other more involved option is to create a full silencer box using wood and even insulation. I was reading about this solution from the generatorgrid.com . They built an entire wooden frame that slides over top the generator. In one instance they built the outer shell, lined the inside with insulation, and then build an inner wooden shell. This provided the best noise reduction. As mentioned before though you need to ensure the exhaust can escape and also that your generator has enough air flow so that it doesn’t overheat. Do not fully enclose the unit.

Conclusion

As always when dealing with generators there is a variety of options and answers to your questions. I hope that this article was able to guide you in the right steps to silencing your generator. If it was me I would look at purchasing an already quieter generator and if possible the inverter generator. The inverter will get you what you want without any do-it-yourself. Just be aware of the cost involved. Lastly, please note that this article is intended for informational purposes only. We here at ToughAssTools are not liable for any property damage or personal injuries that can occur when operating generators.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

ToughAssTools

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