Generators are vital to your RV as they serve two purposes, one is to provide energy for your RV battery, and two is to provide energy for your power outlets inside the RV. However, you might now be having a bit of a problem with your RV generator in terms of its noisiness. RV Generators are very noisy and are recorded to average around 80 decibels at close range. For a bit of context, anything above 85 decibels is considered harmful to your ears. The goal is to make RV Generators quieter, as much as possible, not only for comfort purposes but for health purposes too.
How can I make my RV Generator quieter? The four tricks you can do to make your RV quieter are:
- House your generator in a noise reduction box
- Attach noise muffler
- Soundproof your RV’s generator compartment
- Replace your generator with new quieter models
In this article, we will go through the four famous tricks pro campers do to make their RVs sound quieter. The old generators are known to be very noisy as they sometimes make sounds reaching 80 decibels. Meanwhile, the modern RV generators make sounds ranging from 50-60 decibels only. For context, a normal conversation makes a sound that is equivalent to 50 decibels. By the end of this discussion, you can have the information you need on which of these methods should you choose to make your RV Generators sound quieter.
1st Trick: Noise Reduction Boxes
The first trick we are going to discuss is the use of a noise reduction box. This is also the most popular way RV campers use to reduce the noise generated by the RV Generator. A noise reduction box is a box or enclosure made to contain the RV Generator and thereby contain the noise it creates.
A noise reduction box operates on the principles of sound isolation. By isolating the sound made by the RV Generator, through the walls of the box, RV campers can drive without being bothered by the noise made by the RV Generator. Some well-made noise reduction boxes even operate on the principle of mechanical decoupling. RV campers try to apply mechanical decoupling by using double-stud walls to reduce noises that sometimes make it out of an ordinary box.
A basic noise reduction box made out of plywood is more than enough to reduce the noise output by at least 10 decibels. Since the sound made by a regular noisy RV Generator is around 80 decibels, a well made noise reduction box can reduce that to 70 decibels. If you add the natural sound reduction properties of your RV’s Generator’s compartment, then the noise of your generator significantly lowers to a tolerable 55-60 decibels.
However, there are materials way better than plywood, such as mass-loaded vinyl sound barriers, acoustic mineral wools, soundproof drywall, and foam panels. These are materials you may choose from. You can also combine them with a basic wooden frame and maximize soundproof output by using materials such as soundproof caulk. Just remember to let your RV Generator breathe when it’s inside the box, so you must have at least 2 inches of allowance between the box and the generator.
Noise reduction boxes are popular due to the fact that they can easily be made at home. An RV camper would only need to apply his basic engineering and craftsman skills to make one. The materials are also easily accessible in the nearest hardware stores.
Option to Buy Instead
If you doubt your crafts, you may also opt to buy ready-made noise reduction boxes. These may cost you more, but in return, you get premium quality from stores that specifically made these boxes for the market. A quick search on the internet will give you a lot of stores and products to choose from.
PROs of Using Noise Reduction Boxes
Noise reduction boxes are the cheapest of all the available tricks an RV camper has. The materials itself will only cost you around $120-150 if you do it by yourself. The materials are also readily available at the nearest hardware stores. You may actually even use egg crates as a soundproofing material.
Easy to Make
Even if you do not have experience in making a noise reduction box, you can make an effective one if you just follow the basic steps of making a box frame. After making the box frame, you can then add your soundproof materials on its walls.
Effective even for RVs with No Compartments
Some RVs do not have built-in compartments for RV Generators. In said RVs, the generators are usually just mounted with no soundproofing materials around. A noise reduction box will be even more useful in these RVs.
CONs of using Noise Reduction Boxes
Requires Technical Skill
Not everybody has the necessary skills to craft a noise reduction box, much less a working one. If you do not have the skills to make one, chances are you will have to either hire one or buy a ready-made box in the market. Either way, it will cost you more than the usual expenses of making a noise reduction box.
Materials such as woods, which make the frame of the box, have a limited life. If you make a box that is poorly ventilated, chances are molds will deteriorate the wooden materials that make up your box. You may avoid this by using fiberglass box frames, but of course, that would be expensive.
2nd Trick: Sound Mufflers for RV Generators
The next trick we have is the use of sound mufflers to silence your RV Generators. Sound mufflers are originally manufactured to muffle the noise made by car engines. With the advent of generators, creative minds found a new way of making use of mufflers. Sound mufflers are way more effective than noise reduction boxes because they do not just contain the noise, but also dispose of it.
Most RV campers who use this trick usually modify their own engine mufflers and install it with their RVs. If you do not have that option, you can always hire someone who knows how to. Of course, there are also new RVs with built-in mufflers. Sound mufflers are generally made up of steel and coated with aluminum.
PROs of using Sound Mufflers
It is the second most effective trick. Sound mufflers are way more effective than either making a noise reduction box or soundproofing your RV Generator compartment. This is because it does not just aim to contain the noise but to make way for its exhaust.
Although not the cheapest, it is still cheaper than the last trick in this article. If you have the necessary skills and the right spare materials, it may even be as affordable as building a noise reduction box. However, not everybody has a spare muffler in his garage, nor does everybody have the necessary skills to install one on an RV Generator.
CONs of Using Sound Mufflers
The use of this trick requires a certain degree of technical skills, especially in the installation part. After all, you will need to attach a whole system of exhaust pipes for this trick to work out. Not everybody can pull off this trick.
Materials are Relatively Cheap
The materials needed are not easily accessible. Sometimes you will have to modify a sound muffler for engines for it to work on your RV Generator. Knowledge over the necessary materials is also needed, especially on welding. Estimates on the overall cost run from $400-800.
3rd Trick: Soundproof your RV Compartment
The third trick we have is to soundproof your RV’s built-in compartment. Most RVs have compartments for generators. These compartments are also made to be soundproof. So RV Generator compartments are basically soundproofed. However, in most cases, you will have to maximize the RV compartment’s effectiveness by adding more soundproof materials.
Similar to the noise reduction box, soundproof materials are added. But instead of applying the materials over a wooden or fiberglass frame, you apply the soundproof materials on the walls of the compartment itself.
This trick operates on the same principles as the noise reduction box. It even requires the use of the same materials, such as dry foams, plywoods, and other noise-reducing materials. Because you do not have to make a frame, this trick is the easiest to make.
PROs of soundproofing the compartment
This trick is about the same with the noise reduction box when it comes to costs. Materials needed are also very cheap. No need to hire someone with technical skills. Similar to the noise reduction box, the cost is well within the $120-150 range.
Fastest to Make
This trick is also the quickest trick to make because all you have to do is add more soundproofing materials to the walls of the compartment that houses your generator. No need to make boxes or frames.
CONs of soundproofing the compartment
Not all RVs Have Compartments
Old RVs sometimes do not have built-in compartments for RV Generators. In such cases, this trick is not an option unless you have the skills to manufacture your own compartment in the RV.
Similar to the noise reduction box, sustainability is also an issue. The materials used have certain lifespans. At some points, you will have to replace the soundproofing materials you have installed.
4th Trick: Buy New Model of RV Generator
The last trick is not actually a trick, but rather an option. Buying a new RV Generator is now a viable option to do away with the noise your old generators make. New RV Generators are now significantly quieter than the old ones. Some even have built-in mufflers.
The usual noisy RV Generator produces around 80 decibels at close range. The newer breed of RV Generators creates noise ranging just from 50-60 decibels at close range. This is way quieter than any trick you can apply to reduce your RV Generator’s noise output.
PROs of buying a new RV Generator
New RV Generators are quieter than generators that have modified mufflers or noise reduction boxes. All-new RV Generator models are lighter than your old RV Generator, thereby reducing the weight being carried by the RV.
No Technical Skill Required
You won’t be hassled to install a new RV Generator. No modifications needed to be made. There will be no installation process either as compared to mufflers and noise reduction boxes.
CONs of buying a new RV Generator
Expensive. This is the only disadvantage you will have if you desire to choose this method. New RV Generators are expensive as compared to the other options available. New RV Generators are durable and sustainable, so if you have the budget, this is still the best option long-term. The usual RV Generator will cost you around $1000.
To summarize, there are four tricks you can choose from to reduce the noise your RV Generator produces. Your choice will be affected by your budget, technical skills, time constraints, and the RV type you currently have. Regardless of the option you make, rest assured that all four tricks are proven to be effective and are generally done by most campers. Noise pollution is now a concern at this age, and so we must do our best to reduce it.