5 Ways to Reduce Noise in Your Home

by Team eLocal
closeup of a suffering caucasian man with one hand in his head and the other hand covering his ear

Whether you're plagued by noisy neighbors or struggling to hear yourself think over a loud HVAC system, you'll be all too familiar with the effects of noise pollution.

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Unwanted noise doesn't just make your home a less enjoyable place to live — it could even reduce its value when it's time to sell. Let's explore how to reduce noise from inside and outside your house.

How to Reduce Noise in Your House

Fortunately, plenty of effective DIY methods for blocking sound waves and reducing noise pollution exist. The following tips can help you achieve peace and quiet in every room of your house:

Loud HVAC Systems

All HVAC systems make a small amount of noise during regular operation, but louder whirring, clanking or banging sounds could signify a problem. Therefore, it's worth calling an HVAC technician to check your system and diagnose or repair any issues.

Older HVAC systems are often louder than modern ones because newer systems often run continuously, instead of causing noise by cycling on and off. If you have an older HVAC system, it could be worth upgrading your units.

Alternatively, you can hire an HVAC company to wrap your ducts to dampen the noise. Installing sound blankets or barrier walls can also help reduce the sound of a noisy HVAC system.

Noisy Appliances

Appliances like washing machines often make excessive noise when they vibrate against the floor or adjacent cabinets. Placing soundproof blankets or safety foam under and around your appliance can reduce vibrations to minimize rattling sounds. Some companies also sell specialized acoustic panels that integrate with common household appliances.

Excessive noise can sometimes be a sign of a faulty appliance. Repairing any issues with your appliance can help get the noise back to an acceptable level.

Outdoor Noise

Filling gaps that allow outdoor sounds inside your home is the most straightforward way to minimize unwanted traffic noise and other sounds. Sound can get through even the tiniest holes, so consider using caulk, expanding foam or putty to block gaps. Common culprits include the areas around doors, windows and pipe or wire entry points.

You could also consider insulating your walls, ceilings and attic to dampen noise. In extreme situations, thickening your walls by adding a layer of drywall can also be effective.

Windows and doors are common entry points for noise pollution. Replacing the weatherstripping around your doors and windows can create a tighter seal, and you could even upgrade your existing windows to storm windows for maximum sound dampening. Solid-core doors combat noise better than glass-paneled or foam-core models.

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Installing sound-absorbing flooring materials in upstairs rooms can significantly reduce the noise of footsteps. Carpets installed with a thick, cushioned underlayment are particularly effective at dampening sounds.

You can also reduce sounds coming through the ceiling by installing heavy rigid board tiles or drywall on downstairs ceilings. However, not all ceilings can withstand the weight of heavy materials, so it's worth consulting a construction professional before starting.

Plumbing Noise

The best way to reduce plumbing sounds depends on the noise source. Installing water hammer arrestors can reduce clanking noises caused by sudden water supply shutoffs, while pipe isolators can reduce vibrating sounds.

PVC pipes often create significantly more noise than other pipe types. You could consider replacing the noisiest stretches with cast iron piping to reduce gurgling and flowing sounds. If you want a less drastic solution, you could wrap loud PVC pipes in carpet pads and install additional insulation in the surrounding walls.

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How Do You Soundproof a Home?

Soundproofing a whole house is a major project, so you could consider soundproofing a single room and using it as a designated quiet zone to help you escape annoying noise. Blocking sound entry points and installing thick, heavy curtains and flooring are the cheapest ways to dampen noise, although they won't soundproof your room entirely. Choosing upholstered furniture and laying additional floor rugs can also help absorb sounds.

Alternatively, you could install soundproofing foam or acoustic panels on your interior walls. Soundproofing foam is the cheapest option, and you can purchase it online or at many DIY stores. Acoustic panels are pricier but often provide superior soundproofing and come in various decorative finishes.

If you need to soundproof your entire house, using the tips in this article can help you block sound between rooms and dampen outdoor noises. However, these measures may be inadequate if you're particularly sensitive to noise. In this situation, you could consider hiring a professional soundproofing company to soundproof your house.

Professional soundproofing is expensive. Fixr says you expect to spend between $10 and $30 (CAD 13 and CAD 40) per square foot, or between $420 and $10,000 (CAD 570 and CAD 13,600) for an entire room. Soundproofing a basement or garage could cost significantly more.

All CAD conversions are based on the exchange rate on the date of publication.

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