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Homes and our overall environment are constantly inundated by noise. Fortunately, with a little planning, there are lots of things you can do to minimize the noise you hear in your home. From additional insulation in the floors, walls, and on your pipes, to upgraded appliances and more, you’ll soon notice the quiet.
Add Insulation Under the Floors
When it comes time to redo your floors, you can reduce the noise, plus add some increased energy efficiency by placing insulation underneath the subflooring. It will help keep heat and cool air in the room, while muffling the sounds of footsteps and reducing creaks. All you need is a few rolls of blanket insulation to pack between the joists and rafters.
For even more noise absorption, opt for a laminate floor. It’s affordable, quick and easy to install, durable, and can give you the look of real wood, without the noise, expense, and high maintenance. Plus, it’s stain resistant, won’t fade in direct sunlight, and stands up to all but the most extreme of impact.
If you’ve already got another type of flooring in place, you can install laminate as a “floating floor” over your existing hard surface floor. The foam underlayment also helps create a stronger noise barrier. Most laminate flooring comes with a warranty of 15 to 30 years depending on manufacturer, and will run you about $5 to $8 per square foot.
Add Insulation to the Walls and Attic
To further reduce noise in your home, and increase energy efficiency, add more insulation to the walls. This is a good project when you’re doing a complete remodel, but it can also be done on a room-by-room basis as budget and time allow. If your home has an attic, make sure it is properly insulated.
If you want even extra sound-proofing for your walls, add mass to them with an additional layer of drywall. The second layer should be installed as a floating wall separate from the first to create a buffer of air space. The thicker the space between the two layers, the more effective the soundproofing effect will be.
Install Insulation Around Pipes
Insulating plastic pipes can help minimize the noise of water gurgling and sloshing through. If you have copper pipes, install water hammer arresters. This will absorb the shock of the popes clunking around when the washing machine or dishwasher valves shut off the water supply. You can either solder whole-house hammer system on the water line or screw on arresters at individual appliances.
To minimize the noise from your furnace, lubricate the blower, check belts and pulleys for signs of wear and replace as necessary. Replace filters for increased efficiency.
Upgrade Your Appliances
How old are your appliances? Energy standards, require refrigerators to use smaller compressors, and use foam into the door and side panels to provide additional insulation, and thus noise reduction.
The same can be said of dishwashers, washing machines, and dryers, which run much quieter than they used to. High-efficiency front loading machines make much less noise than their older versions.
Even some of today’s printers, particularly the Canon Pixma line, offer a quiet mode that can even be customized to run during certain hours, so if you print late at night, you reduce the risk of bothering others in your home.
For even more noise reduction:
- Move appliances at least two inches from the wall. A lack of clearance can cause damage to appliance parts. The space between the appliance and the wall allows for proper air circulation so motors and fans aren’t working overtime to keep the unit functioning properly.
- Place thick cork pads under large appliances, to stop vibrations from going to the floor. This helps muffle the sounds appliances make while they’re running. It’s useful under refrigerators and dishwashers. For best results, opt for a ½’’ thick piece of cork. The alternative, installing soundproof panels, can shrink your room and interfere with the overall design and flow.
- Install cork pads on the shelves and backs of your cabinets. These will provide shock absorption to minimize sound, while also helping to protect your cabinets from scratches, keeping them in pristine condition for years.
- Use a rubber vibration isolator under your speakers and printer. These will absorb the vibrations while your speakers and printers are in use, to reduce the sound.
Install Storm Doors and Windows
Adding storm doors and windows will provide an extra barrier to prevent noise from coming in. If you have hollow core doors, look to upgrading them to solid doors. You can find them at antique stores, and second-hand salvage stores. If your windows are single paned, consider upgrading them to double-paned windows, because they’ll offer additional soundproofing and the additional air cavity between the two panes. Storm windows have heavier glass to provide a better sound barrier, but make sure you have good quality weather stripping to keep out air.
Caulk Around Power Outlets and Light Switches
One of the fastest and easiest ways to minimize noise in your home is to seal cracks around windows, doors, power outlets and light switches. Darken the room, and look for any small sources of light. When you see the light, that’s also a place where sound can come in.
Consider caulking the spaces between the electrical outlet boxes and the wall. Remove baseboards and caulk the areas to seal the space between the walls and floors. Caulk the areas around air vent registers to create a tighter seal.
If you live on a busy street where road noise is a concern, plant hedges and trees to create an additional noise buffer. Opt for evergreens to a provide year-round relief. Build a barrier wall or a fence with a solid surface. Build the wall tall enough to block the entire roadway from your home.
If the noise of electric or motorized lawn equipment is an issue, swap those out with hedge clippers, a rake, and a standard push mower.
Just one method on this list can make a tremendous impact on sound reduction in your home. The more of these tactics you use, the more soundproof your home will be.