Quiet RV generator

How to Easily Quiet Your RV Generator by Half (10dB)

The following video — dubbed 4x Quieter in 10 Seconds — illustrates better than can be put into words one of the cheapest and easiest methods I’ve seen to quiet the sound of your RV generator by 10dB or approximately one half of its normal volume. In the video, you see firsthand the effects of the proposed solution — the use of plywood to reflect sound — which is validated by the use of a professional sound meter so you know the claim is accurate.

So how do you quiet your RV generator? You can almost effortlessly reduce the noise footprint of your existing RV generator with the proper placement of a few sheets of cheap plywood. (Or make your existing cheap generator work like a thousand dollar one!) Additionally, with a little extra effort, you can apply tar to the inner side of the wood to reduce the noise even further.

Remember, not all generators are of the same quality and are built with the same purpose in mind. Aspects like noise level, physical size for maximum portability, wattage requirements, fuel type, etc. matter, so if this interests you, read here for how to determine the best RV generator for your camping needs.

The Plywood Method: The Science Behind How It Works

Redirecting sound emitted from a generator so that the ground absorbs it

The plywood method works because you can deaden sound in one of 3 ways:

  1. Deflection of sound
  2. Absorption of sound
  3. A combination of sound reflection and absorption

Deflection will direct sound waves such that they cancel each other out, e.g. what a muffler does

Noise absorption is a process by which an object takes in sound energy, reducing the perceived noise; the byproduct of this is heat. A good example would be the sound in a room with carpet vs. one without – the carpeted room will absorb the sound (e.g., conversations, music) whereas sound will be reflected in the other and quickly amplify such that you need to scream to be heard.

And finally, you can redirect sound so that an object absorbs it. In the video, sound is redirected from the sheets of plywood towards the ground, which absorbs the noise and quiets the generator by 10dB.

If you only read this article, you’ll likely still have doubts, but when you watch the below video and see for yourself the readout on the sound meter (from ~80dB to ~70dB), you’ll be convinced.

The Video: 4x Quieter in 10 Seconds

Additional Methods to Quiet Your RV Generator

If the above method doesn’t suit you, I’ll list a few alternatives below. I’ll add though that the above method in my experience is the easiest, most straight-forward, and most effective at reducing noise.

Attach a Muffler to Reduce the Noise

Mufflers are ubiquitous so there’s no doubt you can find one for practically any model of generator. The problem is that they don’t generally reduce the sound enough to make it worth the effort and resources needed to install it.

This process requires some tool skill, which you indeed may have, but it’s not for everyone because of this. If you either don’t have tools laying around or the skill to do the job, you’ll need to hire a handyman, which may increase the cost significantly.

Be advised that a muffler for a generator can cost several hundred dollars – for equipment and installation.

Watch This Guy Connect a Muffler to His Generator (Which Surprisingly Reduces Its Noise by Almost 10Db)

Use a Baffle Box (Also Known as a Noise Reduction Box) to “Soundproof ” Your RV Generator

In short, baffle boxes are containers that fit over your generator to soundproof it. They’re typically constructed from more expensive materials, e.g. fiberboard, noise-reducing foam, but are just as easily broken down into a transportable medium as a few sheets of plywood would be.

If you’re interested in learning more about baffle boxes or even constructing your own, take a read here. Just remember that the most important part concerning any container that covers your generator is that it be allowed to breath as your generator needs air to function properly.

In our experience, a baffle box will set you back upwards of $150 dollars depending on the cost and quality of the materials you use.

If you’re interested in the various options available, review the following soundproofing materials, which vary greatly, from foams to various acoustic coatings.

Buy a New, More Quiet Generator

The examples in this article showcased generators running at 80dB, which is fairly standard. There are newer, more modern, dare I say intelligent, generators available that adjust their output (and thus their noise level) on the requirements of the devices plugged into them.

Conclusion

Why is it that the best solutions in life are almost always the simplest ones? When I saw the above plywood video, I was truly blown away by how effective something so simple could be. It’s so cheap and easy.

If you’re new to the idea of staying at a campground, do realize that it’s not likely you’d be allowed to run your generator. It’s just too noisy, even using the above methods.

And there are already quieter alternatives in the form of an electric hookup to which you can attach your RV. Nonetheless, you’ll still yearn for peace and quiet wherever you happen to be — especially if that’s nature. The last thing you want in a peaceful serene space is the sound of a generator interfering with a fireside chat and/or a good nap.

So I hope this information helps make your stay a little more peaceful — wherever that is — because that’s why you’re there in the first place. 😉

Last update on 2019-06-25 at 22:06

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