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Old 03-12-2021, 02:50 PM   #1
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A question on sound deadening?

Noise is one of my big things that bug me a lot and generators often come with noise, so it brings a question.
We are working on getting a generator setup and we will be getting a reasonably quiet generator, so not questioning which might be quieter, etc. as that is a whole different item but I am wondering how you folks might have found it works for sound deadening if we run the exhaust out different than normal.

One of my main experience with noise has been on boats which leads me wondering if the outboard motors are so much noisier than inboard which runs the exhaust out under the water, would the same be true of a generator. Not my field, so looking for opinions and ideas?

Is it the motor/generator itself or the exhaust which makes the noise? Can it be made quiet if we run it into a water container first?
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Old 03-12-2021, 03:01 PM   #2
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I think the short answer is "both".
Are you adding a small portable generator, or having your Onan replaced (assume you have one), or what make model are you talking about?
Some people add extra exhaust pipes out and up to the roofline, and others add resonators (Onan), and some just insulate the generator compartment on their motorhome.
Someone recently posted a thread with his "install" of some insulating material around the Onan generator in it's storage bay. Said it made some difference to sound volume inside and outside. Can't recall which forum it was on, but I read it in the last week.
Found it.
https://www.classbforum.com/forums/f...a%20generator.
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Old 03-12-2021, 03:20 PM   #3
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Current project is for a potential portable generator at home as I doubt that there will be any real progress on making the electrical system work better here in Texas, so we are planning to make do when needed. There are three of us in the neighborhood who are looking for "something" to get us by in the future crisis type situation but most of us will be going with a small generator in the 3KW range as plenty to run what we need in the emergency but not so big and objectionable as a whole house gen would be.
One reason for the thought and study is that we are all out of options for what we would currently choose as the generator and we will be waiting for future stock to get back to normal, so now seems the time for planning, rather than action.
We've pretty well settled on the genset of choice but they are not expected back in stock until mid April at least.
Meanwhile we did do our house pretty well by tying into the RV genset and running cords to feed the necessary things we wanted like the furnace, frig, and freezer. But that was at the expense of keeping most of the neighborhood awake!
Okay for emergencies but not the thing to do very often! So we want to plan better as we are all from other states and were not up on how things work here, so we now know we are on our own for taking care of things when the weather gets bad.
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Old 03-12-2021, 10:03 PM   #4
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The Vista with it's 4,000 watt 120 volt gasoline generator and 80 gallon gas tank is a decent power backup source. You just park the RV with the gas tank almost full. You just need to think about the generator exhaust fumes - will it get into the house where the RV is parked. If so a Genturi that will throw the generator exhaust about 12 feet up in the air may resolve that.

Everything I need emergency power for in my house is 120 volt and with 20 amps I can even use the microwave in a pinch. I also do the running cords thing in an emergency. ( I have natural gas furnace and hot water heater ).

So my emergency setup is to have a male / female 20 amp plug in the Vista basement electrical bay wired thru the 20 amp Air Con circuit. I can unplug the RV AC and plug in an emergency cord to feed the house made out of 12/2 romex. In the house that end goes to a electrical box with a quad receptacle I run my cords to.

I have cable hatches between the outside and garage, and between garage and house to run the emergency cord into the house thru. This setup cost about $ 100.

So far I've never had to use it, in Kansas my power out was out zero minutes during this winter's cold snap. Our power plants don't shut down to the extent that would prevent the winter peak from being handled, due to cold weather, up here. They don't have to in Texas, either. The major portion of Texas could upgrade to work in winter just like the power utility in the El Paso area did. It might cost the average Texan about $ 20 per year in higher utility bills to make that happen. It would have to be a state mandate, so I doubt it will happen.

Our exposure up here is the once every 20 years severe ice storm that can wipe out whole sections of the power transmission part of the grid.
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Old 03-13-2021, 07:16 AM   #5
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Agree that the RV genset is plenty to feed several houses and we did get two of us through the crisis but the noise is way more than anybody liked and the cords are not too good when the other folks don't understand about the loading.

Since the state thinking is so strong toward wanting to secede rather than join, much more talk is toward doing less, more than doing more to be a real part of the United States. The sillies are truly in control and they have no idea of how much the federal government does for them!
They the loss of the military alone would make such a hole in the economy, they would be killed! But the only time they want to be part of the US is after a storm and even Abbott goes begging for help then! Tight, cheap, and stupid, except for the El Paso area which IS on the Western electrical grid of the country!
So that leaves me and my close neighbors thinking we would all feel better with a backup, since this same thing has happened three times in recent memory. Each time it has gotten worse and nothing has been done, so the future seems pretty obvious.
I would consider moving but a couple thousand seems much easier and cheaper!

I was a weather observer at Fort Leavenworth for a few years, so I know your area! Love the area but the weather can get a bit wild. I was on duty when a small tornado went through Leavenworth and then was a lineman working the Mission district when it hit Topeka hard. Way back history but still the good times!
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Old 03-19-2021, 04:47 PM   #6
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Either multiple 2-3kw Honda gens which are pretty quiet OR a REAL Generac gen in enclosure.


But yes tx is pretty silly on so many things - I vote to let tx secede and then see how they would complain - no national contracts, no fedgov contracts, no DOD, No bases, No NASA, No Friends, need to build a Wall around tx, lots of ppl would leave, Austin and El Paso would NOT stay as part of tx, on and on.


yes sad when a gov/state will not take responsibility for its silly choices !


to quote the famous Forest Gump : Stupid is as stupid does !
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Old 03-19-2021, 06:21 PM   #7
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In my experience, trying to deaden the sound from the Onan in ours had been rather futile.

I first thought the exhaust was the culprit. But after adding a muffler, I realized that the majority of the noise is coming from underneath the generator.

I’ve added sounded deadening material to the side of the compartment, and the floor above the generator, but these things are air cooled so I can’t insulate underneath.

All these things help, but don’t fix the issue. A thick blanket laid underneath the generator on the ground may help absorb some reverberating sound, but since you’re doing a portable, I’d just buy the quietest one I could afford.

Taking the exhaust to the roof, may be good for the fumes, but it won’t make any appreciable difference in noise. And since I run my roof vents as intakes sometimes, that’s a non starter for me.
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Old 03-19-2021, 07:20 PM   #8
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I think I have the plan down to what I want until I get hands on the generator and actually see what kind of noise problem it is when in actual use versus the noise readings as listed.
The noise ratings indicate it to be somewhat close to what my saw makes and that is something which I can deal with once I have a definite idea of where the noise comes out and what size enclosure to build.

I will drop the idea of water baffles as too complex to deal with for a very long run and just go with multiple layers of sound deadening with baffles on the air intake and exhaust as needed when I get there.
The connections are in place and the generator is on the way/shipped, so I can get down to real facts before it gets too hot to do much.
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Old 03-19-2021, 08:56 PM   #9
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Old 03-24-2021, 07:56 PM   #10
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Unfortunately the smaller RV generators that are not inverter based are high rpm units that make noise at an objectionable frequency even though they may brag on fairly low decibles in noise output. Most of the economical portable home generators are air cooled single cylinder units that make as much mechanical noise as they have coming out their minimally effective mufflers due to the way the overhead valve train is designed so to make them quiet you need an enclosure along with a better muffler system on them.

The Onan Marquise in my 2001 Adventurer for example is much quieter than any non-inverter portables or the smaller high rpm generators used in RV's since at full output it runs at about half the rpms. Add a Genturie and its pretty quiet and much better than the constant jack hammering of say a 3,000 to 5,000 watt PowerMate or similar portable generator.

An inverter generator will generally use less fuel and be the much quieter option to go with. The savings on fuel during the first power event could very well pay for the extra cost involved too.

The Predatror line of Inverter Generators from Harbor Freight have proven themselves to be both Quiet and Reliable along with frugal on fuel. A fixed RPM contractors portable generator even at no load can go through 15 to 20 gallons of gasoline per day which is an awful lot of gasoline to find and lug around when all the gas stations in your area are closed down due to lack of power. Can you deal with feeding a portable generator up to 140 gallons or more of gasoline during a week long emergency is a good question to consider? Where to store all that gasoline can be another issue.

I live in Florida so I am quite familiar with long term power loss and running on generators. A noisy generator can indeed be an great temptation to a thief too. The bigger problem may not be irritating the neighbors with the noise but rather with attracting the attention of those with bad intentions.
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Old 03-25-2021, 11:35 AM   #11
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There is no effective way to significantly reduce the noise from a generator. I looked into sound dampening with my standby generator but it would have required a large enclosure and even then it is doubtful that noise would be reduced to any real degree.

I would focus instead on minimizing the hours of operation. I added more roof mounted solar panels to my motorhome and switched from lead acid house batteries to lithium phospate ones that charge in a fourth the time. If I had a 3-way fridge I would not need a generator at all with my motorhome but with its large DC only fridge there is 100 plus amp hours of consumption each day.
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Old 03-25-2021, 11:45 AM   #12
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Sorry folks, but the question has gotten totally ost along the way. I am setting a genset at my house and was looking for info on anybody using water as a sound deadening method. It works well for boats and seemed like something to review as I set up the generator for standby use.
But as time, and the discussion, went on, I came around to thinking the water idea is too complex to be of value and just using other more common methods is what I will do.
There has been a holdup in the planning as I have had to wait for the generators to come back in stock but one is set to arrive today and I can then move on.

During the recent Texas ice storm and power failure, we did okay using the RV generator but it is way louder than we would normally want to run for long periods.
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Old 03-27-2021, 06:45 AM   #13
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Sorry folks, but the question has gotten totally ost along the way. I am setting a genset at my house and was looking for info on anybody using water as a sound deadening method. It works well for boats and seemed like something to review as I set up the generator for standby use.
But as time, and the discussion, went on, I came around to thinking the water idea is too complex to be of value and just using other more common methods is what I will do.
There has been a holdup in the planning as I have had to wait for the generators to come back in stock but one is set to arrive today and I can then move on.

During the recent Texas ice storm and power failure, we did okay using the RV generator but it is way louder than we would normally want to run for long periods.

The enclosed RV generators, even the higher rpm units, are going to be quieter by nature than a non-inverter home portable. Adding a water bucket to quiet the exhaust will come with additional problems such as hot polluted water to deal with and corrosion. Many will just use the holes provided in the home generators muffler for mounting a spark arrester to instead mount a flange to allow an automotive muffler from a small car to be connected or they will remove the original muffler and make a pipe adapter and header to fit the automotive muffler to the head however that still leaves you with the mechanical noise most portable generators have unless you get an enclosed inverter generator designed from the ground up to be quite enough to hold a polite conversation while standing within 10 feet of it.

I have the big portable generator as do my brothers and every one of us is considering down sizing to a small quite and much more fuel efficient inverter generator that will keep the refrigerator, lights and fans going while using as much gasoline in a week as our current generators use in one day. We are also considering a bank of batteries, solar panels and an inverter to further eliminate the amount of time the generator will need to be running.
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Old 03-27-2021, 10:14 AM   #14
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Agree with most of that thinking and I do a fair amount of work around generators but I've never done much on getting them to sound better, so wanted to explore some ideas.

Lots of the commercial big gensets, seem to start out with the idea that noise is not a problem and then they use what seems to be all the wrong ideas when they set them. since sound bounces off things and vibrates, using a metal cage and setting it on concrete may make it last longer but it is not the way to make it quiet!
Using a smaller inverter type is definitely step one but when looking at what they use for sound deadening, it seems like I can do better, so I'm building a cover for a medium, small generator but did not bother going to those which have the enclosure as it goes against what I perceive to be the best ways to quiet them.

Twenty one feet seems to be the more or less standard point to measure the noise but that leaves lots of room for "marketing" as it doesn't say if that is on the exhaust side or where!

My current plan is using the generator rated at 64 db, setting it on soft ground when needed to let the ground absorb the vibrations and any noise is less prone to bounce off ground and then combine it with one or more covers to work on controlling the other noise.

So far, I've cut it down to 55 DB but not cut the exhaust opening, nor connected the vent fan. Several things are still not on hand due to shipping, so some of my testing is not "real" as I'm not connected to the house yet and load changes the runs speed, but I can do some more building as things settle out.

First I want to get down how much of the noise is exhaust versus other parts of the question, so I'm dealing with the easier parts first.
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Old 03-28-2021, 06:15 AM   #15
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In the printing industry they have done a lot of work with sound deadening and gotten it to a point that while standing outside the glass enclosures for the printing presses you can barely hear the noise requiring hearing protection being generated inside them. From the ground up the enclosures are built to suppress noise including how the footings are poured and the foundations are set on the footings.

I was involved in the manufacture of office partition systems and one sound deadening design that was particularly effective involved a sheet of tar paper with a layer of insulation on either side of it sandwiched between two sheets of perforated steel with a thin layer of insulation covering the outside of the perforated steel. Those partitions although only 1.5 inches thick outperformed by a large margin most others that were much thicker.

Reviewing the sound deadening methods used to mitigate noise from engine rooms in ships and sailing vessels may be helpful too.
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Old 03-28-2021, 08:35 AM   #16
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Sound seems to be weird in that there is not one common method used in the different places where we want to work on it. I had not thought of ships, but that would seem to be an obvious point for noise.
Music is one that gets lots of attention in this area but what they use is often on walls an larger scale than I need.
Part of my challenge is in how to have it stay somewhat portable as I will not normally have it out and in place, so lighter is better, making a series of covers seem to work better for me. The first layer of 2' thick foam is doing some but not as much as hoped.

My current work will be on getting the right amount of airflow to cool the engine without making too much open space for sound to pass through. My current plan for that is to use flex duct that can be curved in spots to somewhat block the sounds bouncing but let air move through with fans. Working on the right amount of fan and moving air in through the fan rather than out so that the heat is not passing over the fan motors to make them fail.
Once I got the generator on hand so I could take some real readings on the noise, I found the exhaust is not the bigger problem but just the overall sound volume is what I need to work on most.
I have tolerant neighbors who understand what I am trying to do and a couple who have a real interest in doing their house, so a bit of noisy running in the daytime is not getting complaints but often folks who slow the work down!
We have all managed to get our full dose of the vaccine and we are beginning to talk in the yard again, but nobody is going out much more than needed.
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Old 03-28-2021, 12:25 PM   #17
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You are on the wrong website if trying to provide sound reduction for a standby generator at your house. Search for standby generator sound reduce, etc. and you will find relevant information to your situation. What you are doing is like going on a DIY home repair website and asking about a generator for yoiur RV. You will get lots of responses but they will be worthless.

To be effective the enclosure needs to have sound dampening material on all 4 sides and on the top and then it would most likely be in violation of fire regulations. Prefab enclosures are available but they are designed for commercial use and the cost will be thousands of dollars for one to fit your generator.
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Old 03-28-2021, 02:01 PM   #18
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When it comes to noise, wind is your friend. And by wind I also mean open space so sound waves can't bounce off anything. So I would think that if you mount a generator next to a wall you are asking for more amplified noise that defeats the goal.

..What about buying a propane generator and mounting the generator on the roof?

...I'm sure you would find it quieter, but then you would have engine vibrations to deal with in that part of the house.

...So to improve on that, maybe putting the generator on top of a garage would be better.

...But if you had a garage, I assume you would just run the generator from inside the garage, as the garage itself would be a great enclosure to reduce the noise... and then you would run a fan to exhaust the fumes out the garage attic.

...No garage. No cigar!
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Old 03-29-2021, 02:25 PM   #19
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are house generac gens not quiet enuf for you and neighbors ??

they are enclosed and guess what, ANY motor/engine for a gen will not be silent, how can they be.

you must make the enclosure absorb the sound, most noise stuff turns noise into heat and is then dissipated.

OR put TWO enclosure both insulated for sound - angle walls toward ground.

air gaps also help to reduce physical vibrations - all this out there for buildings like music studios and audiophile isolation rooms.

GL
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Old 03-29-2021, 04:39 PM   #20
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are house generac gens not quiet enuf for you and neighbors ??

they are enclosed and guess what, ANY motor/engine for a gen will not be silent, how can they be.

you must make the enclosure absorb the sound, most noise stuff turns noise into heat and is then dissipated.

OR put TWO enclosure both insulated for sound - angle walls toward ground.

air gaps also help to reduce physical vibrations - all this out there for buildings like music studios and audiophile isolation rooms.

GL

Part of your post is agreeable but then some of the questions are the things we we do not want. Step one is the Generac line is pretty big and pretty noisy at 7.5 Kw, the starter unit is too big and at 69 DB, way too noisy for long running, so we want smaller which moves us into portable generators with inverter tech where we can start out much smaller and quieter.

Multiple layers and deflecting to ground are both on the list but dealing with the exhaust is still not one I've found the best answer. I can put it all in a box to quiet it all but you need to let the exhaust out and that tends to also let the noise out!

No big thing, so I can take time to look it over.
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