Soundproof Your Room

Sound-proofing your living space can be a difficult task. The first step is to understand how sound gets where you don’t want it, and what options you have to minimize it.

As sound propagates from the emission source, it reduces in proportion to the square of the distance it travels. This basically means that it is reduced to a quarter of the amplitude when it travels twice the distance.

That is why it is critical to put the maximum distance between yourself and the sound source. By plugging one hole in your bedroom, but leaving others (for instance in your bathroom window) open, you are increasing the distance the sound must travel through openings to reach your ears. Although the thought of a hole in your house may seem extreme, sound only needs the slightest openings to slip through and give you uncomfortable nights! Check cracks in your window panes or doors that appear slightly ajar. If light can penetrate the opening, then sound can seep in as well. One way to check is by turning on the light in your room and inspecting from the outside.

By increasing the amount of material between the sound source and yourself, you increase the transmission loss through the medium. This loss is heavily dependent on the atomic structure of the medium. Dense materials, with little space between atoms, block more sound, but if they are too stiff they will also allow the sound to be converted from the air and resonate through them. The best material is flexible, but dense enough to reflect the sound back toward its source. If this is the case, the transmission loss is proportional to the density and thickness of the material. However, since the decibel scale is logarithmic, you will actually see a 10 decibel transmission loss when you double the thickness of the material. Note: Reducing sound by 10 decibels makes the sound half as loud.

Once sound enters your house, it will reflect around until it is absorbed into the environment and dissipated as heat. We’ve all been in loud gyms where the sound bounces around for several seconds, and the ear detects this reverberation as an echo. If you add sound absorbing material into the room, this will trap the sound between the light, porous fibers and quickly lessen the sound reflection. It is important to remember that the physics between acoustic absorption and reflection is very different, and you must attack each of the issues separately.

In the end, you need to determine if you are trying to dim down sound in your house (to make for a more comfortable conversation), or trying to keep it out in the first place. Perhaps you want to keep noise from one side of the house out of another. Review how the noise is getting there; through walls, small openings, windows, and doors. Then mitigate the noise by selecting commercial products or solving the problem at its source.

How To Soundproof a Central Heating System

If you have a problem with noise coming from your boiler, it can be incredibly frustrating if it begins to affect the comfort and relaxation in your own home. Fortunately, there are many products and services that can significantly decrease the amount of noise that comes from your central heating system.

For various reasons, modern boilers actually typically make more noise than older systems. As it turns out, the movement towards increased efficiency has actually caused a general increase in the amount of unwanted noise that modern boilers produce.

There are numerous ways that you can reduce the amount of noise that comes from your central heating unit.

Often, the boiler itself will be the cause of the noise. One of the most effective ways to reduce the amount of sound that is coming from the unit is to create an enclosure around the boiler and if you line it with acoustic foam you will notice a significant decrease in unwanted noise.

It is the foam that dampens the sound, and the reductive core will ensure that the amount of noise present within the unit is significantly reduced.

Another excellent idea would be to create a wooden frame, utilising a special platerboard to increase the noise resistance around the unit. Combining this with mineral wool insulation is another option and a useful addition to any sound reduction unit.

One of the other things that you can do is to ensure that the boiler itself has been effectively mounted. The best kind of mounts to use are vibration isolation mounts. This will ensure that the boiler itself won’t have a significant physical resonance when it is functioning. The sound itself will be reduced due to the more forgiving nature of these bespoke wall attachment devices.

Additionally, you can use add-ons that are designed specifically to reduce the amount of noise that comes from the pipes and joins themselves. There are flexible hoses and special pipe attachments that are significantly less likely to make unwanted noise compared to ones made from traditional materials like copper.

We do recommend that you should get your boiler checked by professionals if the noise is particularly loud and erratic before you decide to make any alterations as sometimes minor problems in boilers can cause a lot of noise.

If you are looking to soundproof your central heating system, many soundproofing compaines exist who will certainly be able to assist you along the way.

Is Your Clothes Dryer Killing You?

Yes, go ahead and ask yourself if your clothes dryer is plotting against you. Of course it is not, but keep in mind that most people use a clothes dryer on a daily basis and seldom give thought to maintenance unless it quits working. As much as washing machines and clothes dryers have changed our way of life drastically (for the good), clothes dryers are responsible for a significant amount of deaths, damages and injuries every year. Statistics point to about 15,600 structure fires, 400 personal injuries, and 15 deaths annually as a result of dryer fires. Some have estimated the cost of such damages is over 100 million dollars. I have performed numerous Home Inspections and can attest to the neglect that clothes dryers (specifically the exhaust systems) suffer. They are simply something most of us take for granted. Please don’t.

The culprit causing the damages is most often the exhaust system for the dryer. It is vital to have the exhaust system inspected periodically. Typically a dryer vent needs cleaning every two to three years. There are numerous companies specializing in cleaning dryer ducts (exhausts), and you should not have a problem finding one in your area. Some heating and cooling companies provide this service also. Frequency of inspection will vary depending on use, length and design of your exhaust system, however I would recommend you have it serviced one year after the initial cleaning and inspection, to help determine how often it needs serviced. If you are still reading this and do not know when your system was last checked, get up and schedule an inspection and cleaning.

There are signs that you can look for to tell you if your exhaust system needs serviced.
Look for the following:
1. The dryer is producing heat, but takes longer and longer to dry the clothes.
2. Clothes are still damp after a cycle.
3. Clothes are noticeable hotter than usual after a cycle.
4. The outdoor flapper on vent hood is closed or partially closed when the dryer is running.
Also remember to never use devices that allow the heat and moisture to vent back into the home.
Also it is dangerous to install a screen over the dryer exhaust termination (often done to keep pesky rodents from entering).

Please remember that a Solar clothes dryer does not have the above concerns and is a real energy saver.