Whatever your reasoning for wanting to soundproof your commercial generator, these six steps are all DIY and will ensure your generator is as quiet as ever. Needless to say, a noisy generator can be damaging to your worker’s ears, cause unneeded strain when trying to hear one another, and even interrupt business operations if the generator is near a working site. In some cases, local ordinances may even require a threshold noise level, which, if you surpass, you may be fined for.
The basic concept is that you’ll want to build a soundproof box around the generator. For this step-by-step article, you’ll want to start by picking up some MDF sheets. You can grab these off Amazon at $20 for a 20 pack of 12 by 12’s. Other places like Home Depot and Lowes (or other home improvement stores) also generally carry larger sizes of the MDF sheets as well.
1) Measure your generator
You’ll first need to start off by getting dimensions of your generator. Keep in mind this solution is essentially a big box you’re placing over the generator or building around it. You may want to factor in additional inches in your measurements to compensate for the thickness of the soundproof material and thickness of the MDF sheets. It’s a good rule of thumb to add roughly 4-6 inches.
2) Cut MDF to size
Using a circular or table saw, cut your MDF sheets to your recorded specifications. Make sure to clearly label which pieces are meant to be the walls, and which piece is meant to be the roof. You should also keep in mind that plywood can be subtitled for MDF. However, plywood will not reduce noise nearly as well as the MDF board.
3) Create vents for air circulation
Now measure the diameter of the generator’s ventilation ducts. You should cut two circles of the same measurement on your MDF sheets. Keep in mind that one circle should be on the roof of the box, while another should be placed on one of the walls. This will ensure pressure keeps air flowing well enough through the box, so your generator has plenty of access to air.
4) Add mass loaded vinyl
Now it’s time to start soundproofing your box. In order to ensure you get the proper materials for the job, try and find mass loaded vinyl or caulk vinyl. The reason is, generator noise is classified as “impact noise.” This type of noise is typically very low frequency and, in some cases, can travel straight through certain materials. In fact, some materials may amplify the sound. So, add in some free space to allow the sound to dissipate into the vinyl material. Glue this martial to the inside walls of the MDF sheets. It’s recommended you use mass loaded vinyl as your first layer and seal the edges with caulking glue.
5) Add soundproof foam/material
You should next add a layer of soundproof foam. This should be a foam that has a closed-cell soundproof mat. This will aid in the process of absorbing the sound coming from your generator. Take this foam material and glue it to the inside of the vinyl materials.
6) Install vent ducts and assemble
Finally, add in some vent ducts with proper bends and curves to ensure this new contraption doesn’t overheat. Now everything is ready to go, Place your walls around the generator and line up the ventilation duct holes you cut out earlier. Then, place the roof on top of the structure. You may also consider caulking or gluing the entire soundproof box together as well. Keep in mind this will make it more difficult to take it apart in the future. For now, enjoy your new generator sound enclosure.