Air compressors are remarkable tools. These devices allow us to do a huge variety of things that would otherwise be difficult. They’re ideal for inflating items like tires, air beds, and flotation devices. They’re also handy for painting projects and, combined with sandblasting equipment, these machines can greatly reduce the workload in automotive remodels.
The only downside to air compressors is that they tend to be very loud, especially if you have a large and powerful machine.
If your air compressor has been disturbing your neighbors or is hurting your ears when you use it, then you need to learn how to make your air compressor quieter. In this handy guide, we’re going to share some of the best techniques for reducing air compressor noises when these machines are running!
How Loud are Air Compressors?
Compressors are pretty loud and they do tend to get noisier the bigger they are.
Quiet air compressor types usually operate at a sound level of about 40 decibels. However, heavier and bulkier units can produce a noise level of around 90 decibels.
For reference, the average conversation usually occurs at a noise level of 55 – 65 decibels. This means that a 40 decibel compressor is usually quite tolerable. Vacuum cleaners tend to be louder at around 60 – 85 decibels, lawnmowers usually run at around 90 decibels, and airplanes lifting from the ground usually produce about 140 decibels of sound!
It usually isn’t necessary to soundproof a quieter air compressor that operates at about 40 – 60 decibels, but when you have a compressor that operates at 80 – 90 decibels, you should consider some soundproofing solutions because prolonged exposure to these noise levels can result in permanent hearing damage.
How to Make Air Compressor Quieter
There are quite a few different techniques that you can try if you want to quiet down your loud air compressor. Let’s take a quick look at some of the best air compressor noise reduction techniques you can try if you want to create a quieter area.
Get a Soundproof Floor Mat
Compressors tend to vibrate quite a lot while they are being used. But, the floor below the compressor can also be to blame for all that noise. These vibrations that are created between the air compressor and the floor are referred to as impact noise; the noise level depends on the type of materials with which the compressor is interacting.
Hard floors tend to be louder because these surfaces are unforgiving and produce more vibrations. Soft surfaces tend to be quieter because the materials are more absorbent and forgiving and allow the sound waves to move with ease.
The floor you’re working on can make the compressor seem a lot louder than it actually might be. Placing a thick soundproof mat underneath the compressor can help you reduce any additional noises.
The foam or rubber mat can also help secure the compressor while reducing some of the noise!
Use a Sound Muffler
If you have an oil-less compressor then you can try and attach a sound muffler to the compressor. Mufflers for compressors work a lot like your average car exhaust muffler. These devices usually have a silencing component and come with an air filter.
When you install the muffler, it will reduce the air compressor noise by about 2 decibels and the air filter will also clear the air that’s sucked into the compressor. This will enhance the durability and functionality of your device.
A lot of people choose to install the muffler on the intake outside of their work building. This is because the intake is the part of the compressor that usually makes the most sound. By muffling the sound and placing the intake and muffler outside of the building, you can create a much quieter work environment.
Cover the Compressor in Acoustic Blankets
A couple of modifications to your compressor can also help reduce the noise it makes. Get a few acoustic blankets and install them behind the intake and exhaust all over the compressor. Pay close attention to adding a thick layer of blankets over the air compressor motor. The soundproof blanket will reduce the piston-cylinder noises coming from the machine and should reduce your air compressor noise levels quite a bit.
This type of conversion is pretty affordable and easy since these blankets can be cut into any size and be used on all sorts of objects.
Install Rubber Grommets
Rubber is an excellent material for absorbing sound and vibrations. By installing rubber grommets to secure the motor, you can make the air compressor run a lot softer. Rubber grommets are usually sold in a variety of sizes and types.
These grommets can be installed in various areas to tighten up the engine so it won’t produce quite as many vibrations and can make quite a difference in the volume of noise you experience when using your compressor!
Regularly Maintain the Compressor
Air compressors need to be maintained regularly in order to keep them in good condition. All metal parts need to be lubricated and oiled regularly and the air filters should be cleared or replaced frequently or they can become clogged up.
While maintaining your machine, you should change the valves, gaskets, and belts. All of these maintenance tasks will ensure smooth operation.
If you’re not sure how to properly service the compressor then it’s best to hire a professional.
Place Certain Components at a Distance
The noise your compressor makes can be reduced by placing it more strategically in the workshop.
The air intake components produce plenty of noise. Just consider for a moment how loud a vacuum cleaner is because of all the air being sucked in. To create a quieter environment, you should try and position the intake outside the building.
Extend the intake with a hose and some duct tape or a strong bracket to keep the hose in place. Once extended, you can place the intake end outside of the building even though the compressor is still positioned in your workshop.
The exhaust is the second loudest component of the compressor. You can try and extend the exhaust of the compressor by using a hose and a strong bracket to secure the hose to the compressor exhaust. Next, position the outlet outside of the building to reduce the noise level of your compressor.
Another good alternative is to position the air compressor outside of the workshop and to extend the air hose. This can make operation a bit more challenging since you will need to step out of the building to monitor your compressor, but, with the right attachments, you should be able to use your tools effectively inside of the building without any of those loud noises.
Create a Soundproof Enclosure
You can also build a soundproof enclosure for your air compressor. Here is a quick look at a great way to build your own soundproof box or soundproof closet for the compressor.
Step 1: Buy Materials and Tools
First, you need to get the right materials and tools for the job. The soundproof box will need an exterior box and an interior soundproof lining.
The exterior box can be manufactured from drywall or you can construct it from plywood. For the interior, you will need soundproof sheets that you can cut to size.
Step 2: Take Measurements
Before you can build the box, you will need to measure the air compressor. Measure its size and add plenty of extra measurements so that there will be enough freedom for movement around the compressor and plenty of space inside the box to add a bit of extra acoustic foam.
As a rule of thumb, you should take the compressor dimensions and add about 10 – 15 centimeters on each side and construct the box according to these measurements.
Step 3: Construct the Exterior
Once you have your measurements, you can construct the soundproof box exterior. You can make it from plywood if the noisy air compressor is kept indoors, but, for outdoor use, it might be best to construct the box from drywall since drywall materials aren’t quite as vulnerable to water damage.
Remember to include an opening lid so you can easily place the compressor inside the box and access it when you need to service or check on it. You should also include outlet holes for the power outlet, the exhaust, and the intake!
Step 4: Add a Layer of Soundproof Foam
Once you’ve constructed the box, you will need to line the entire box with soundproof materials. These materials should cover the entire interior as well as the opening lid on the inside. Use a proper sealant to secure the foam to the exterior box and to seal off any gaps between the soundproof sheets.
Step 5: Install Hinges
The soundproof box will only be acoustically sound if you can shut it properly. Install hinges on the opening and a latch at the front so you can seal it shut once the compressor is inside the soundproof box.
Step 6: Position the Exhaust at a Distance
The exhaust and intake will also create quite a lot of noise. To reduce these sounds, you should get a muffler for the intake and position the exhaust and muffler outside of the building.
Soundproof the Work Area
If you’re constantly making a lot of noise with your other garage equipment, then it might be a good idea to soundproof the entire garage. With your garage soundproofed, you can make as much noise as you like without ever disturbing your neighbors.
Here is a quick look at a couple of things to look into when you’re busy creating a soundproof garage:
- Acoustic Sheets for the Walls: Your walls should be lined in a thick layer of acoustic sheets. These can be bought loose, cut to size, and fit all over the garage wall surface.
- Soundproof Ceiling Boards: The ceiling can also be acoustically treated by attaching soundproof ceiling boards to the ceiling.
- Acoustic Panels for the Doors: Doors can be soundproofed by gluing acoustic foam sheets all over the door.
- Acoustic Curtain for the Garage Door: For the garage door, a soundproof curtain or some soundproof blankets can keep sounds from escaping through the door and you can still draw the curtain when you want to open up the garage door.
- Acoustic Caulk for Cracks and Grooves: Acoustic caulk is a good product to use for sealing off all those tiny grooves and cracks between your acoustic paneling.
- Foam Sealing Strips for Windows and Doors
This soundproofing method may seem a bit extreme, but it can be very handy for people who are constantly making a lot of noise in the garage or who might be running a small business from their home.
We hope that this guide showed you how to make your air compressor quieter so you can work in peace and keep your delicate ears protected. If you also want to learn how to make other tools, like generators or fans, quiet or want to find out how to soundproof rooms then you should have a look at some of the other guides we have on Soundproofing Solution.
With our handy guides, you can reduce noise pollution and create an acoustically sound environment so you can enjoy a more peaceful life!