Roar of the generators

Is there any way to require people to reduce the noise of a generator?  At least one neighbor has professionally installed "baffling" to muffle the noise, which is helpful and considerate.

However, others are loud enough to drown out socially distanced conversations several houses away from the generator. 

Some generators create enough noise to make it difficult to sleep and we can't close our windows because no power = no a/c.  One neighbor is thoughtful enough to turn his off at night but the others are not. 

I'm very grateful for the thoughtful neighbors who offer the power to charge electronics and share ice cubes.

But overall, the noise is getting on my nerves and there is no escaping it . . .  


OMG Yes we need “quiet hours”. The loudest generator in our vicinity went off for a few minutes and it was so peaceful. Now it is back on :-(

It’s like hearing a dozen leaf blowers. 


Kind of ironic that it's illegal to leave your car idling for more that 3 minutes but generators are not restricted.

I know, I know.  It's not the same.  But the noise and air pollution in our towns is out of control. 


EBennett said:
Some generators create enough noise to make it difficult to sleep and we can't close our windows because no power = no a/c.  One neighbor is thoughtful enough to turn his off at night but the others are not.

 It's starting to become a positive feedback loop, someone buys a generator that's loud and people suffer from the noise, so then they buy loud generators so they can keep the windows closed in the summer, and so on.

Maybe the town could include an ordinance requiring only generators that are rated below a certain noise level can be installed, or that you can't run generators that generate noise above a certain level between specified hours?


Komarovsky said:

EBennett said:
Some generators create enough noise to make it difficult to sleep and we can't close our windows because no power = no a/c.  One neighbor is thoughtful enough to turn his off at night but the others are not.

 It's starting to become a positive feedback loop, someone buys a generator that's loud and people suffer from the noise, so then they buy loud generators so they can keep the windows closed in the summer, and so on.

Maybe the town could include an ordinance requiring only generators that are rated below a certain noise level can be installed, or that you can't run generators that generate noise above a certain level between specified hours?

 I agree in general, but could you imagine the outcry if the police told people they had to shut down generators and lose the contents of their fridge?  Or buy new generators?  Nothing makes people squeal like reaching for their wallets.


The FDA says you can let a fridge go 4 hours (unopened) during a power outage. After that you're chucking perishables.

You could hack together a battery backup for your fridge at night for a few hundred dollars. You need a 12V marine battery (similar to a car battery but designed to discharge much more deeply) and a 12V to 120V inverter. Probably something like a 1800W inverter would work. Then you need a battery charger to charge the battery during the day while your generator is running.

Its not pretty like a Tesla Power wall but a heck of a lot cheaper.


As someone who put in a generator after 16 days of no heat during Sandy and a house temperature of 50, are you talking about the standby generators or the ones that you fill with gas and temporarily hook up? I'm wondering if there is a difference in the noise.

To be clear mine is not close to anyone's home.

Is the sound louder than a large central air unit?


The portable gas-powered ones are loud. The natural gas whole house ones aren't so bad.


They’re running generators because they have no power.  This is not an every day occurrence.  Try to understand that these are extenuating circumstances and let it go.  


mrincredible said:

The FDA says you can let a fridge go 4 hours (unopened) during a power outage. After that you're chucking perishables.

You could hack together a battery backup for your fridge at night for a few hundred dollars. You need a 12V marine battery (similar to a car battery but designed to discharge much more deeply) and a 12V to 120V inverter. Probably something like a 1800W inverter would work. Then you need a battery charger to charge the battery during the day while your generator is running.

Its not pretty like a Tesla Power wall but a heck of a lot cheaper.

Someone on MOL a couple years ago (I suspect it might have been you) had a whole post about this, complete with photos. I always meant to look into that...


I've often thought of doing a set-up like this for in the winter just to kick-on my steam boiler. I'll probably still be thinking about it while shivering during the next blizzard blackout.

mrincredible said:

You need a 12V marine battery (similar to a car battery but designed to discharge much more deeply) and a 12V to 120V inverter.  


Something like this PowerPack?  (They tend to be less expensive between the hurricane and snowstorm seasons)

https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B001O294ZU/ref=ask_ql_qh_dp_hza


spontaneous said:

They’re running generators because they have no power.  This is not an every day occurrence.  Try to understand that these are extenuating circumstances and let it go.  

Exactly.  You don’t know who has generators to make sure their insulin doesn’t spoil, their CPAP stays running, or that a person with medical issues has oxygen, AC or whatever is needed overnight.  We don’t have one, but If we did, it probably wouldn’t be a $10K professional, baffled, natural-gas installation. Perhaps we all need good earplugs as part of our emergency supplies.


FilmCarp said:

Komarovsky said:

EBennett said:
Some generators create enough noise to make it difficult to sleep and we can't close our windows because no power = no a/c.  One neighbor is thoughtful enough to turn his off at night but the others are not.

 It's starting to become a positive feedback loop, someone buys a generator that's loud and people suffer from the noise, so then they buy loud generators so they can keep the windows closed in the summer, and so on.

Maybe the town could include an ordinance requiring only generators that are rated below a certain noise level can be installed, or that you can't run generators that generate noise above a certain level between specified hours?

 I agree in general, but could you imagine the outcry if the police told people they had to shut down generators and lose the contents of their fridge?  Or buy new generators?  Nothing makes people squeal like reaching for their wallets.

  Ideally the law would pertain only to new generators being installed, existing installs would be grandfathered.  Some permanent generators are rated in the low 60s at idle and low 70s at full load.  For reference this chart from Yale indicates that that volume would put them in the range of normal conversation.

Noise pollution is a contributor to health conditions and a detriment to quality of life.  In making a community resilient to a natural disaster, we need to balance the desires of some homeowners who choose to install a generator, with the disruptions caused to those who either choose not to or are unable to afford to.  


sprout said:

Something like this PowerPack?  (They tend to be less expensive between the hurricane and snowstorm seasons)

https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B001O294ZU/ref=ask_ql_qh_dp_hza

 That's a nice neat package that probably costs only slightly more than the hacked setup I have.


Got woken up at 330am this morning by the gennie across the street. It's a whole house gennie running on NG. The family is away. I've been up since 330am and I'm cranky and yes - the damn thing needs to be baffled. And I don't think any of them should be grandfathered in. A quick google - $300 to baffle it!!! 


Komarovsky said 


Noise pollution is a contributor to health conditions and a detriment to quality of life.  In making a community resilient to a natural disaster, we need to balance the desires of some homeowners who choose to install a generator, with the disruptions caused to those who either choose not to or are unable to afford to.  

 The amount of compassion you have for people affected by the storm is breathtaking 

Seriously, this is for one, two weeks max.  This isn’t every weekend all year long, or even all summer long.  When was the last time you lost power for an extended period.  How often do you have to listen to generators running that it is affecting your daily life.  Unless Essex County’s infrastructure has gone down the crapper since I left I highly doubt listening to a generator is a regular things.  When I was still living in Maplewood we lost power for nine days after Sandy.  Did I hear multiple generators in the neighborhood running?  Yes.  Did I get pissed?  Only at myself for not having one at that time.  

Noise ordinances are for the jerk who cuts his lawn every Sunday at 6am.  Or the team of landscapers with backpack leaf blowers strong enough to double as a jet pack.  Not for snowblowers after a huge storm or generators when half the state lost power.

But don’t worry, you’re not alone.  In my town half the residents still don’t have power and streets are still being cleared.  So of course some blissfully self centered resident took to FB to complain about having to hear chainsaws at 2am because crews are still working feverishly into the night to try to open roads and restore power to half the town.  Sure, half his neighbors don’t have power, one resident is trying to source emergency oxygen because her husband is running low on tanks and normally uses one of those machines that pulls O2 from the air.  But none of that trumps this one guy’s “right” to not hear crews clearing downed trees at 2am


I mentioned this thread to my sister.  It turns out she loaned her generator to a family with two infants in the house, so she would like to apologize because she didn’t take a minute to think of the poor people who have to hear it running, she was foolishly only thinking that having a power outage while simultaneously dealing with infants might be stressful for the parents. 


When my neighbor moved in, he installed a loud A/C unit very close to my porch. I found an opportunity to tell him, calmly, how much it bothered me, and he kindly moved and installed an enclosure that suppressed the noise. I am telling this story because it could be as simple as telling them how you feel. Information about baffling could also help. 


nancib said:

When my neighbor moved in, he installed a loud A/C unit very close to my porch. I found an opportunity to tell him, calmly, how much it bothered me, and he kindly moved and installed an enclosure that suppressed the noise. I am telling this story because it could be as simple as telling them how you feel. Information about baffling could also help. 

The complaint is mainly about the portable generators.  Not everyone can afford a fancy permanently installed generator that has sound baffling.  Portable generators run on gasoline.  They cannot be enclosed.  

Also, an AC unit is run for a good part of the season, year after year.  Not comparable to a generator at all which is only run during power outages which are certainly not a regular occurrence.


spontaneous said:

Komarovsky said 


Noise pollution is a contributor to health conditions and a detriment to quality of life.  In making a community resilient to a natural disaster, we need to balance the desires of some homeowners who choose to install a generator, with the disruptions caused to those who either choose not to or are unable to afford to.  

 The amount of compassion you have for people affected by the storm is breathtaking 

Seriously, this is for one, two weeks max.  This isn’t every weekend all year long, or even all summer long.  When was the last time you lost power for an extended period.  How often do you have to listen to generators running that it is affecting your daily life.  Unless Essex County’s infrastructure has gone down the crapper since I left I highly doubt listening to a generator is a regular things.  When I was still living in Maplewood we lost power for nine days after Sandy.  Did I hear multiple generators in the neighborhood running?  Yes.  Did I get pissed?  Only at myself for not having one at that time.  

Noise ordinances are for the jerk who cuts his lawn every Sunday at 6am.  Or the team of landscapers with backpack leaf blowers strong enough to double as a jet pack.  Not for snowblowers after a huge storm or generators when half the state lost power.

But don’t worry, you’re not alone.  In my town half the residents still don’t have power and streets are still being cleared.  So of course some blissfully self centered resident took to FB to complain about having to hear chainsaws at 2am because crews are still working feverishly into the night to try to open roads and restore power to half the town.  Sure, half his neighbors don’t have power, one resident is trying to source emergency oxygen because her husband is running low on tanks and normally uses one of those machines that pulls O2 from the air.  But none of that trumps this one guy’s “right” to not hear crews clearing downed trees at 2am

 There is a huge difference between crews performing emergency work to restore power after a natural disaster and a loud generator powering one person's home.  One is work to restore an essential service to many households, the other is to provide service to one household.  

Noise is regulated because it's a health issue.  The majority of regulations have a time limit and intensity to them, because there is an expectation of how long a person can experience noise at a certain intensity before they suffer some sort of health impact(loss of hearing, loss of sleep etc.).   I am suggesting that regulation that is already being applied to noise from one source be applied to noise from another source.  It could also be crafted in such a way to ease the burden on people with health issues, such as needing an O2 concentrator as you mentioned, while also being fair to their neighbors.  

  


Sometimes it's just a matter of thinking about it.  Don't put a portable gennie right between two houses, put it in a backyard where the exhaust can face away from the nearest neighbors.  That sort of consideration can go a long way.  


I am excited to see all this anti noise energy. Perhaps it can be channeled into finally banning leaf blowers in South Orange. 

I mean, if people are actually interested in “consideration”. 


FilmCarp said:

Sometimes it's just a matter of thinking about it.  Don't put a portable gennie right between two houses, put it in a backyard where the exhaust can face away from the nearest neighbors.  That sort of consideration can go a long way.  

 If the noise is bothering people several houses away I dont think there is a considerate place to install a generator unless you're going to go all in and sound proof it for the 2 weeks out of 5 years that you may need it. 


the_18th_letter said:

 If the noise is bothering people several houses away I dont think there is a considerate place to install a generator unless you're going to go all in and sound proof it for the 2 weeks out of 5 years that you may need it. 

 Well, okay.  I suggested trying to be considerate and you are dismissing it out of hand.  


GoSlugs said:

I am excited to see all this anti noise energy. Perhaps it can be channeled into finally banning leaf blowers in South Orange. 

I mean, if people are actually interested in “consideration”. 

 I can understand limiting leaf blowers. I never saw a need to run them after regular mowing, but in the autumn if you are surrounded by huge oaks and tulip trees, do you hand rake? Maybe an autumn exception. I hate noise when I'm in my yard, but I'm more bothered by music from another yard, pool parties, and the thumping of basketballs. All of those are accepted I guess and the leaf blowers are usually only going for a short period.


Komarovsky said:

spontaneous said:

Komarovsky said 


Noise pollution is a contributor to health conditions and a detriment to quality of life.  In making a community resilient to a natural disaster, we need to balance the desires of some homeowners who choose to install a generator, with the disruptions caused to those who either choose not to or are unable to afford to.  

 The amount of compassion you have for people affected by the storm is breathtaking 

Seriously, this is for one, two weeks max.  This isn’t every weekend all year long, or even all summer long.  When was the last time you lost power for an extended period.  How often do you have to listen to generators running that it is affecting your daily life.  Unless Essex County’s infrastructure has gone down the crapper since I left I highly doubt listening to a generator is a regular things.  When I was still living in Maplewood we lost power for nine days after Sandy.  Did I hear multiple generators in the neighborhood running?  Yes.  Did I get pissed?  Only at myself for not having one at that time.  

Noise ordinances are for the jerk who cuts his lawn every Sunday at 6am.  Or the team of landscapers with backpack leaf blowers strong enough to double as a jet pack.  Not for snowblowers after a huge storm or generators when half the state lost power.

But don’t worry, you’re not alone.  In my town half the residents still don’t have power and streets are still being cleared.  So of course some blissfully self centered resident took to FB to complain about having to hear chainsaws at 2am because crews are still working feverishly into the night to try to open roads and restore power to half the town.  Sure, half his neighbors don’t have power, one resident is trying to source emergency oxygen because her husband is running low on tanks and normally uses one of those machines that pulls O2 from the air.  But none of that trumps this one guy’s “right” to not hear crews clearing downed trees at 2am

 There is a huge difference between crews performing emergency work to restore power after a natural disaster and a loud generator powering one person's home.  One is work to restore an essential service to many households, the other is to provide service to one household.  

Noise is regulated because it's a health issue.  The majority of regulations have a time limit and intensity to them, because there is an expectation of how long a person can experience noise at a certain intensity before they suffer some sort of health impact(loss of hearing, loss of sleep etc.).   I am suggesting that regulation that is already being applied to noise from one source be applied to noise from another source.  It could also be crafted in such a way to ease the burden on people with health issues, such as needing an O2 concentrator as you mentioned, while also being fair to their neighbors.  

  

 Losing power during an emergency is considered part of the emergency.  People aren’t running generators for months on end.  And they don’t WANT to be running them, they’d rather that the power is restored and they can just get power using the grid.  It’s a ******* emergency.  What part of that don’t you get?

I understand the complaint of an AC unit being too loud or placed improperly (there are actually codes saying how far from your property line it needs to be) and making noise pollution.  I understand the complaint of leaf blowers and other loud lawn equipment.  I understand the complaint of loud parties that run late, especially my old MW neighbor who used to have backyard karaoke parties singing Sinatra all hours of the night.    That people feel emergency equipment, including generators, fall under the same umbrella is mind boggling.

I don’t know how to get this point across.  Generators are different.  People only use them because they lost power.  If you can’t have a little understanding for neighbors who lost power and who can’t afford the quieter, and MUCH more expensive standby generators, then I don’t know what to tell you.  Generators are not run long term, month after month year round.  They’re run during emergencies only due to a loss of power.

My aunt has still lost power.  After Sandy she suffered considerable depression from having to sit in the dark day after day.  She lost power now, and does not have a generator, so she is staying at a hotel.  But she has the funds for this.  You’re basically saying the lower income people who cannot afford a standby generator with baffles and who cannot afford a hotel have to just suck it up and sit in the dark because you can’t have a little understanding DURING AN EMERGENCY.  Classism at its best.  They should probably just move to Newark or Irvington anyway if they can’t afford to live by Maplewood standards anyway, right?  



FilmCarp said:

 Well, okay.  I suggested trying to be considerate and you are dismissing it out of hand.  

 Nothing wrong with being considerate but if the complaints are from several houses away I dont think your consideration will be considered or resolve the issue. 


spontaneous said:

Komarovsky said:

spontaneous said:

Komarovsky said 


Noise pollution is a contributor to health conditions and a detriment to quality of life.  In making a community resilient to a natural disaster, we need to balance the desires of some homeowners who choose to install a generator, with the disruptions caused to those who either choose not to or are unable to afford to.  

 The amount of compassion you have for people affected by the storm is breathtaking 

Seriously, this is for one, two weeks max.  This isn’t every weekend all year long, or even all summer long.  When was the last time you lost power for an extended period.  How often do you have to listen to generators running that it is affecting your daily life.  Unless Essex County’s infrastructure has gone down the crapper since I left I highly doubt listening to a generator is a regular things.  When I was still living in Maplewood we lost power for nine days after Sandy.  Did I hear multiple generators in the neighborhood running?  Yes.  Did I get pissed?  Only at myself for not having one at that time.  

Noise ordinances are for the jerk who cuts his lawn every Sunday at 6am.  Or the team of landscapers with backpack leaf blowers strong enough to double as a jet pack.  Not for snowblowers after a huge storm or generators when half the state lost power.

But don’t worry, you’re not alone.  In my town half the residents still don’t have power and streets are still being cleared.  So of course some blissfully self centered resident took to FB to complain about having to hear chainsaws at 2am because crews are still working feverishly into the night to try to open roads and restore power to half the town.  Sure, half his neighbors don’t have power, one resident is trying to source emergency oxygen because her husband is running low on tanks and normally uses one of those machines that pulls O2 from the air.  But none of that trumps this one guy’s “right” to not hear crews clearing downed trees at 2am

 There is a huge difference between crews performing emergency work to restore power after a natural disaster and a loud generator powering one person's home.  One is work to restore an essential service to many households, the other is to provide service to one household.  

Noise is regulated because it's a health issue.  The majority of regulations have a time limit and intensity to them, because there is an expectation of how long a person can experience noise at a certain intensity before they suffer some sort of health impact(loss of hearing, loss of sleep etc.).   I am suggesting that regulation that is already being applied to noise from one source be applied to noise from another source.  It could also be crafted in such a way to ease the burden on people with health issues, such as needing an O2 concentrator as you mentioned, while also being fair to their neighbors.  

  

 Losing power during an emergency is considered part of the emergency.  People aren’t running generators for months on end.  And they don’t WANT to be running them, they’d rather that the power is restored and they can just get power using the grid.  It’s a ******* emergency.  What part of that don’t you get?

I understand the complaint of an AC unit being too loud or placed improperly (there are actually codes saying how far from your property line it needs to be) and making noise pollution.  I understand the complaint of leaf blowers and other loud lawn equipment.  I understand the complaint of loud parties that run late, especially my old MW neighbor who used to have backyard karaoke parties singing Sinatra all hours of the night.    That people feel emergency equipment, including generators, fall under the same umbrella is mind boggling.

I don’t know how to get this point across.  Generators are different.  People only use them because they lost power.  If you can’t have a little understanding for neighbors who lost power and who can’t afford the quieter, and MUCH more expensive standby generators, then I don’t know what to tell you.  Generators are not run long term, month after month year round.  They’re run during emergencies only due to a loss of power.

My aunt has still lost power.  After Sandy she suffered considerable depression from having to sit in the dark day after day.  She lost power now, and does not have a generator, so she is staying at a hotel.  But she has the funds for this.  You’re basically saying the lower income people who cannot afford a standby generator with baffles and who cannot afford a hotel have to just suck it up and sit in the dark because you can’t have a little understanding DURING AN EMERGENCY.  Classism at its best.  They should probably just move to Newark or Irvington anyway if they can’t afford to live by Maplewood standards anyway, right?  


Maybe, just maybe, it's the people who can't afford the generator to begin with who are being impacted by their neighbors who have the means to afford one. 


I purchased a small gas generator after Sandy to make sure I can have refrigerator , a light, charge a phone & turn on house heat. That is all I need in emergency.

Not all stand alone gas generators are the same & certainly not all noisy.

I purchased a Honda 2000i Inverter model. It is really quiet= 54db. 54 dB is about as loud as people talking & is the size of a small suitcase. It has an economy mode that slows engine if not needed at full power is not needed & runs for over 8 hrs on  a gallon of gas. Neighbors never even know it’s on. I never run for full 8 hours, just enough to keep things manageable & never all night.

I think these make way more sense than those huge generators that guzzle gas & give off extra noise.

Btw: Yamaha makes a nice one as well.



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