How to make an air compressor quiet: 11 tips
Industrial air compressors can be incredibly noisy, especially for people working close to them. A loud compressor is not only uncomfortable to work around, but prolonged exposure to high noise levels can harm hearing.
The good news is that there are several ways that you can reduce the sound of your compressor. Air Supply’s compressor experts have compiled 11 tips on how to make an air compressor quieter to create a more peaceful working environment.
1. Move your compressor away from where people are working
Moving your machine is the simplest and quickest way to reduce your compressor’s noise level. Try moving your compressor to a separate room, in a corner away from where people work or even outside (you’ll need to be sure it can handle outside weather conditions, though).
2. Place the intake outside the building
If you cannot move your compressor outside, try moving the intake outside instead. The air intake is often responsible for a significant portion of the noise, so moving it can make a huge difference to your compressor’s noise level. One option is to create an opening in an exterior wall so the intake pipe can reach outside. The opening can then be plugged with rubber to reduce sound and draft coming into the building.
3. Use hearing protectors
Although this will not lower your compressor’s noise levels, it is an extremely simple way to reduce the detrimental effects of a noisy compressor. Opting for earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones will create a quieter and more productive working environment.
4. Use sound-dampening materials in your workspace
Placing your compressor behind a sound-dampening wall or in a sound-dampened room can also help to reduce noise levels. You’ll want to use heavy materials like concrete blocks rather than thinner wooden walls. Alternatively, using materials like acoustic foam panels, you can create an absorbent layer to prevent sound from bouncing around.
For smaller compressors, you could build a sound-dampening enclosure instead. This could be as simple as draping sound blankets over an existing enclosure. However, you’ll need to ensure there is sufficient ventilation to avoid overheating and that you use fire-resistant materials.
5. Wrap your compressor in sound-dampening materials.
If your compressor is not in an enclosure or separate room, you can try using sound blankets on the machine itself. Sound blankets help to reduce the amount of noise that escapes and minimise loud vibration. This carries more risk, so you’ll need to use fire-retardant sound absorption materials and not block the exhaust, intake or any hoses.
6. Use a rubber mat or grommets
Another strategy to reduce vibrations is using rubber grommets or a rubber mat beneath your compressor. If your machine rests directly on the ground, it will vibrate against it and produce a lot of unwanted noise. The floor also amplifies the sound and can transfer it to other rooms or work areas, resulting in even higher noise levels. Rubber acts as a barrier that absorbs these unwanted vibrations, reducing the overall noise level of your machine.
7. Use a muffler or intake silencer
As mentioned earlier, much of the noise your compressor produces comes from the air intake. Installing a muffler (or intake silencer) can help to reduce these high-frequency pulsating noises. They also often work as an air filtration device. A muffler cycles air through tubes lined with sound-dampening materials while allowing sufficient air into your compressed air system.
To find a muffler that’s the right fit for your compressor, you’ll need to measure the size of your intake pipe.
8. Check or change your air filters
Blocked or dirty filters put unnecessary strain on your compressor, resulting in higher noise levels. It’s good practice to change intake filters when worn or visibly dirty. Inline filters should be changed annually or after 8000 operation hours. Following an effective maintenance schedule is crucial – check out our compressor maintenance checklist for more information.
9. Tighten any loose bolts or screws
This should be included in your maintenance schedule already, but if you’re looking to reduce your compressor’s noise level, this should be something you check. Thoroughly inspect your machine and tighten up any loose bolts or screws that may cause it to rattle.
10. Check lubrication levels for the air end and bearings
Proper lubrication is essential to keep your compressor performing its best and minimising noise. For rotary and piston compressors, check the oil level multiple times a week and change the oil once or more per year. The exact frequency will depend on your compressor’s model and its usage. Regularly grease the bearings to ensure a quiet and high-performing compressor.
11. Invest in a quieter compressor model
Even following all the above tips, your compressor might be too loud for a comfortable work environment. Additionally, there are regulations concerning noise levels in workplaces that you’ll need to adhere to. According to The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 (Noise Regulations 2005), you’ll need to do a risk assessment if noise levels exceed 80 decibels and provide hearing protection if they’re regularly exposed to noise levels above 85 decibels.
The compressor’s noise levels vary a lot depending on the type and model. Rotary screw compressors typically operate between 70 and 75 dB, while reciprocating compressors can be as high as 85 dB. For the safety and well-being of your employees, purchasing a silent or ultra-quiet model might be necessary.
What is the most quiet air compressor?
When choosing a new quiet compressor, you’ll need to consider how it will be used and how close to it people will need to work. For general usage, you’ll want to aim for a compressor that produces less than 70 dB. However, low noise levels will be ideal if people need to work close to the machine or in a confined space.
Silent air compressors from Air Supply
Air Supply has been selling, servicing and repairing all compressed air equipment for over 20 years. So, if you want to buy a high-quality new or used compressor, we should be your top choice!
If you’ve decided that investing in a quieter compressor is right for your business, check out our range of new silent air compressors. We offer super silent lubricated compressors with noise levels as low as 38 dB and quiet oil-free compressors as low as 49 dB.
Or, if you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, we have one of the largest stocks of used air compressors in the UK for both purchase and hire, including many quiet models.
Choosing a suitable quiet compressor for your business isn’t always straightforward. If you’re struggling, feel free to reach out to our expert team for some friendly and helpful advice!