One thing most air compressors have in common is that they’re loud. Typically, air compressors with high horsepower or ones that are cheaper tend to be the loudest. An easy solution may be to find yourself an ultra-quiet model to reduce noise, but if your air compressor is still serviceable, it may be more beneficial to find some solutions around the noise.
Here’s a list of some tips to deal with air compressor noise to help you reduce the din and improve working conditions near the compressor.
1. Wear hearing protection
One of the simplest steps you can take to cope with noise is implementing hearing conservation methods. Wearing ear protection is a basic safety measure on many job sites, more so if you’re using your air compressor for industrial or construction work where safety is paramount.
Machines above 75 decibels are loud enough to cause noticeable damage to your hearing, (particularly if you’re exposed to them for over an hour) so take steps early to minimize potential damage. Your hearing is much like your vision; over time, their performance can degrade, especially if you neglect to care for them. Ear plugs are readily available from most hardware stores, so make the investment now to protect your hearing for years to come.
2. Perform regular maintenance
As a compressor works, it generates plenty of noise as it sucks in air, compresses it with a piston, then stores the air for later use. As the mechanisms do their work, the moving parts undergo wear and tear. This means the machine has to work harder to keep up with the demands you make of it, increasing the amount of noise it gives off.
Like other machines, investing in regular maintenance is an effective tip for lessening air compressor noise and keeping moving parts in good condition. Perform simple tasks like lubricating the moving parts and keeping the air filters clean. Lubrication helps the moving parts move smoothly, reducing wear and tear, and noise along with them. Keeping the air filters clean minimizes the amount of dirt that enters the system, and puts less strain on the compressor. However, for more specialized work, turn to professional repair services to tackle those jobs. Unexplained noises are often a sure sign that the compressor needs a checkup, so head the problem off by scheduling routine maintenance.
3. Install intake silencers
Much of the noise an air compressor makes comes about because of the air intake. As the compressor rotates, in-rushing air is drawn past a reed or flapper valve that vibrates with each pulse. Install an intake silencer on the intake valve to dampen those high-frequency pulsating noises.
Intake silencers work as a combination of air filters and silencing devices. They contain tubes or sound-dampening materials that cut down on the sound produced by the rush of air and reduce the amount of noise the machine makes. The silencer also keeps any restriction to the intake flow to a minimum, so the compressor doesn’t lose much efficiency. When buying a silencer, take note of the pipe thread size on the compressor’s intake head to avoid buying an undersized silencer that could restrict airflow to the compressor to a noticeable degree.
4. Build a soundproof enclosure for the compressor
One effective DIY approach to cutting down on noise is building a soundproof box to encapsulate the compressor as it works. Building an enclosure is most effective on smaller models, so keep the size of your compressor in mind to ensure the compressor can fit comfortably. For soundproof materials, look into using soundproof foam or rubber to help absorb the noise as the machine operates.
Also, take note that the box will need proper ventilation to help prevent your compressor from overheating. Provide enough holes to let the heat escape (but not too many that may enable the sound to escape). Be sure to remember to make additional holes for the outlet and power source to ensure the compressor can work reliably even after you’ve moved it.
5. Use sound deadening materials
Alternatively, you can also make use of sound-reducing materials to help cut down on any noise. One reason for excess noise is due to the interaction between the compressor and the floor. As the air compressor operates, it often vibrates, which can create some impact noise against the ground.
Consider installing some rubber grommets between the floor and the compressor’s mount to help insulate the sounds. Grommets come in different sizes, so keep an eye out for one that fits your compressor. You can also set up the grommets around the compressor’s motor to help absorb the normal sounds it gives off. If your compressor is near a wall, the sounds may also bounce off, and the echoes can help contribute to noise levels.
Sound blankets are a popular anti-noise solution, particularly in professions where echoes are common (e.g. recording studios). Cover the walls with sound blankets to absorb the noise and eliminate the echo. You can also place the sound blankets directly on top of the compressor or around the edges, or drape them over the soundproof enclosure to deaden the sounds.
6. Keep your distance from the compressor
Relocating the unit may be a feasible solution if your facility has enough space. Consider keeping the compressor at a manageable distance from your worksite. For optimal results, set up the compressor in another room or outside. To make sure you can still get enough compressed air for your work, use extension hoses so you maintain a steady supply of air even from a distance.
Even if you can’t place the compressor outside, placing it across the room can still make a significant difference when it comes to noise reduction. Increasing the distance of the compressor relative to you can reduce compressor noise by up to 25%, so give moving the unit some thought.
Loud noise isn’t just a barrier against workplace productivity, constant exposure can also become detrimental to the health of workers. Frequent exposure to loud sounds can cause ear damage and hearing loss, so reducing air compressor noise around the workplace can be an effective way to protect those in the facility. Take some time to insulate your work area against that noise both to look after your health and maintain a higher degree of productivity.
Your air compressor plays a major role in keeping production high, no matter the nature of your work. At Commercial Air Compressor, we provide a wide range of services to help your compressors maintain peak performance and efficiency. Give us a call now at 1-800-853-8249 for reliable air compressor products and services that help you keep your edge.
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