One of the least concerns of running a generator at home is the noise produced. At times the noise can be an inconvenience that most generator users tend to live with. Among the many ways, you can reduce the generator noise is by placing it in a soundproof enclosure that you build yourself with basic DIY skills.
The best way to do it is to start by planning out the best spot to install the enclosure if it is permanent. You also want to select and gather the best soundproof and weatherproof materials and tools you will use for the project. Measure the generator size and follow the steps I’ve provided to build the structure.
How to Build a Soundproof Baffle Box
There more around four types of generator enclosures you can build:
- Soundproof baffle box,
- DIY Wooden Shed,
- Concrete Shelter, or
- Galvanized Steel Enclosure
However, the most common and the easiest to build is a soundproof baffle box – something you might even move around depending on its size. That’s what I will cover in the steps below. So, let’s get started.
What Do You Need?
- Air duct
- MDF Board
- A Pair of Hinges
- Vinyl MLV Material
- Soundproofing Sealant
- Fabric Foam Matting
- Circular Saw
Steps to Follow:
Step 1: Measure Your Generator Dimensions
Take the tape measure and determine how long your generator is its height, and width. You can also get all the information from your generator manual. You will need these measurements when determining the size of your generator enclosure. Remember to leave some allowance for the generator, and also, if you plan to use the enclosure for other items, remember to give it some extra inches.
Step 2: Cut Your MDF Soundboard to Size
Take the measurements you got in step one and mark them on your MDF soundboard. Don’t forget to leave some allowance, something like 1-foot. Using your Circular Saw, cut the MDF board to size. You should have six panels. You might want to mark the boards as you cut them to make it easier for yourself during their installation.
Step 3: Cut Out Ventilation Holes
Your enclosure must have ventilation to allow the generator to breathe. Give it two ventilation ducts, six inches in diameter, one on top and the other at one of the side bottom. The top vent should be near the ends of the roof board. The side-bottom should be on the opposite side of the top vent and not in the center. The bottom vent allows the fresh-cold air in, and the top vent allows the hot air out.
Step 4: Apply the Insulation Layers
Soundproofing the enclosure box requires you to add several sound dissipating layers; in this case, you will be adding only two of them.
The first layer needs to be vinyl MLV material. Take the material, cut it to the correct size, and place it on the MDF boards using a soundproofing sealant. You can also use soundproofing foam, but the vinyl MLV is more effective and durable.
The second layer is fabric foam matting. Cut it to fit the MDF boards and attach it on top of the first vinyl insulation layer. Use the sound-insulation glue to caulk the edges to give it optimum insulation.
Step 6: Join the Boards Together
Having installed the insulation layers to all the MDF boards, it’s time to screw down them together. Start by laying down the floor panel. Pick one of the side panels, preferably one of the two longest ones, and screw it to the floor panel. Pick the back side panel and screw it on, followed by the next longest side panel. You should now have two pieces remaining, one for the roof and the other for the open side.
Where do you want your enclosure door to be? If your generator is huge and heavy, the best place for the entrance is on the side. That means you have to screw in the roof panel and install the hinges on the remaining side panel before screwing them into the open box.
But if you’re using a portable, lightweight generator, an ideal place for the door is the enclosure roof. Do the same by screwing in the side panel and leaving an enclosure with an open top. Take the roof panel and install the hinges. Mount the door to the enclosure.
Step 7: Make the Enclosure Weather- and Water-Proof
Coat the box with Cementitious Coating, a powder consisting of sand, silica-based substances, organic and inorganic chemicals. It’s easy to apply and use. All you need is to mix the packaged ingredients as per the provided instructions. The coating will make the box resistant to water and allow it to protect the generator from weather elements.
Step 8: Fix the Vent Ducts
At this stage, the enclosure is ready, but it’s missing the vent ducts. It’s time to fit them. I recommend you get a vent with lots of corners or bends so that it can obstruct any noise that will try to escape through it. Make sure you install it in such a way that the unit stays waterproof and also pest-proof.
Step 9: Add the Accessories or Paint It
You have the option of adding some wheels to allow mobility or reinforce it on the spot for security. You can also shade it to give it an attractive look. You might also want to consider installing a lock to limit access to the generator for security purposes.
What to Consider When Building a Soundproof Generator Enclosure
Before building the generator enclosure, you might want to consider a set of things to make sure the structure you’re building is nothing short of perfect. They include:
The materials you want to use for a generator enclosure should be weatherproof to provide enough protection to your generator during ‘bad’ weather. You can use the normal materials from the inside and cover the exterior with a weather-resistance material.
After measuring your generator size, you will want to consider how to use the enclosure when the generator isn’t running. You might want to use it as a storage unit for other gasoline machines that you use at home. That means you ought to consider a bigger unit. But if it’s an enclosure for the generator alone, then the only thing you will need to consider is the allowance you want to give the generator without exaggerating.
If you’re building a permanent structure, consider a spot in your property when installing it. Check with your local authorities the how far the generator should be from the house and other amenities such as a gas line.
Also, avoid a spot that directs the fumes toward your home or your neighbors. Keep away from any spot that would allow fumes to build up or an area with tall grass, weeds, or flammable materials.
Don’t forget to consider the accessibility of the place, especially during an emergency. It should be far enough from the house but also near enough for easy access.
All generator enclosures serve the same main purpose, to protect against weather elements and make a generator quieter. When it comes to these units, you have several DIY enclosure building options depending on the material to use.
Soundproof Baffle Box: if you want to build a noise-reducing enclosure, a sound-attenuating quiet box is the best option to go with. However, it will require you to add some sound-absorbing layers of vinyl, acoustic caulking, and glue sealant – everything I have discussed above.
Wooden Shed: If you want something inexpensive with a flat top, peaked or gabbed, or asymmetrical lean with shingles styles, this is the option to consider. You can even consider sliding doors or lids or simple multiple-hinged doors.
Galvanized Steel Enclosure: here, you get to use galvanized steel sheets. However, such an enclosure can get quite hot, demanding exceptional ventilation. It’s sturdy and durable, but it can get expensive.
Concrete Shelter: You also have the option of building a block shelter using concrete blocks and mortar for a sturdy, secure and soundproof enclosure. However, you have to pay attention to the ventilation while also making the interior hardly accessible.
How can I make a generator Quieter?
- Place the generator inside a soundproofed enclosure
- Place your generator at a convenient distance away
- Face your generator’s exhaust pipe away from the ears
- Use a soft surface that can help absorb the sound
- Replace your generator muffler with a silencing model
- Use sound deflector