5 Ways to Soundproof Your House

To keep indoor noise levels down, start from the outside and work in. And remember, you might want to be the noisy one some days.

I think we can agree that not all noise is equal. Birds singing does not equate a gas-powered leaf blower. We may want to let the former in and shut the latter out. Without getting into the weeds about sound acoustics, sound is vibration that can pass through gaps.

panasonic whisperhood

New range hoods such as the WhisperHood IAQ from Panasonic operate up to 85 percent quieter than older models, down to a “barely audible” < 0.3 sone You can run it while cooking and talking to friends. The company also sells WhisperGreen bath and whole-house ventilation fans, with similar quiet performance, thanks in part to innovative DC motors.

Let’s assume you’ve done all you can to insulate and seal your new home, to keep most sound out, but you live in a neighborhood full of lawn fanatics or on a street close to a highway. Maybe you’ve built an attached duplex, and your new neighbor cranks up Cardi B on the other side of the wall until 4 a.m. Or maybe you dream of learning the drums.

Don’t limit your options. Here are five ways to further decrease the volume indoors for both you and your neighbors.

  1. Cover floors with rugs or acoustic tiles. Reduce the echo effect of shoes dramatically. If you have a noisy upstairs neighbor, tell her you got a discount on some nice area rugs for your place, and buy her one too as a random act of kindness.
  2. Cover windows with heavy drapes. Shut out sound from outdoors, give your room some gothic bling and keep out drafts, all with one go.
  3. Cover shared walls with built-in bookcase. Books can change your life. They also have great sound dampening characteristics. Pack the shelves thrift store paperbacks if you need more titles.
  4. Buy low-sone appliances. Spend a little extra for quieter machinery indoors. Review the “sone” rating for new dishwashers, washing machines and dryers. A couple of sone can make a huge difference in your noise annoyance level. Models such as the KitchenAid KDTM354DSS come highly recommended for all levels of performance. 
  5. Install ultra-stealthy bath fans and hoods. We’ve all experienced bath fans and cooking hoods that roar like jet engines. As a result, we rarely use them, and the air indoors becomes a toxic soup. Stop this vicious cycle. If the brand does not mention noise level, dig deeper. Good brands will tell you how loud (or quiet) their unit’s operation. 

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Publisher’s Note: This content is made possible by our Today’s Home Buyer Campaign Sponsors: Panasonic, Whirlpool, Rockwool, and Lee Industries. These companies take sustainability seriously, in both their products and their operations. Learn more about building and buying homes that are more affordable and less resource-intensive on Today's Home Buyer.

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