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Can you make an inverter generator quiet enough that neighbors outside 100 ft away wont hear?

  • Yes, its possible

    Votes: 20 71.4%
  • No, its not possible

    Votes: 8 28.6%

Can a small inverter generator be made quiet enough that suburban neighbors won't hear it running?

3425 Views 29 Replies 20 Participants Last post by  sharpshooter109
After all the talk here about natural gas shortages and the issues in Texas last winter, I've been thinking about picking up my first generator. I know I will need an inverter so I can run sensitive electronics, I've been looking at some of the cheaper honda look-alikes in the 2000w range. I've also seen some of the cheaper open frame inverters with slightly more wattage (3000w - 3500w continuous) for just a few dollars more (around $50 to $100 more). My purchase is not intended as a total shtf prep, but rather for temporary outages lasting up to a few days. I would need to power a few comfort items: 2 fridges, gas furnace (if natural gas is available but power is out), maybe a tv or microwave. Both of these types of generators could probably handle each of these items, but the 2000w will not be able to power them all at once. While I would like to have a higher wattage unit, I think the benefits of a near silent generator would make it worth it, IF IT IS POSSIBLE.

So my question is this: is it possible to make a small 2000w inverter generator quiet enough that neighbors who are outside and 100 feet away won't be able to hear it running? Imagine it is the day after a winter storm, no cars are on the road, it is virtually silent outside. in my area no one has snow blowers so any small engine noise would be suspicious.

I know I would need to build a baffle box or quiet box to reduce the noise level of the generator. I briefly looked on youtube and found a few examples of people running inverters inside a quiet box. Most of them said it was quieter than a window A/C unit, but I think even that might be loud enough to be noticed. The only time I've ever been around a honda inverter was when I was walking around sporting events. I did notice that you can't hear them until you are nearly on top of them, but a sporting event is also much louder than a quiet neighborhood after a snow storm. If it is possible to quiet an inverter enough I may look further into it, but if it is definitely not possible I will probably look at the bigger but slightly louder open frame inverters.
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Agreed, out of the box they are very quiet. I have very good hearing, and can barely pick up the sound 20 or so feet away. Sound is only one thing you need to keep hidden. Refuel it at night, or when nobody's looking.

Obviously you should not run it in your garage, or near windows/doors. Have you figured out how to get the power into the house? An orange extension cord running across your yard, or through a window, will be a little obvious. I'm about to install an outlet outside and one inside, and will hard-wire the 2 together as a pass-through.
Baffling works well. Don't wait until you need it to practice/learn.

While I do have a few inverter generators and the gas to run them, my go-to is now solar. Panels are in spots where nobody can see them, no fumes, no worries.
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Correct, you need Pure Sine Wave to run modern electronics on an inverter. Though not pure, it switches the bigger steps into smaller steps on the sinewave, enough for the devices to 'believe' the signal coming in is what they need.

A thought on the noise. If you cannot baffle it, make a louder noise. Lots of folks have battery powered radios, why not just crank it up to hide the noise? Try it now, before you need it, and remember the volume setting.
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