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How to silence air compressors

Updated April 17, 2017

An air compressor is a device that pressurises air for use in pneumatic tools, inflation and painting. Unfortunately, air compressors can be very loud, whether they're in your garage or basement. To dampen the loud rumble that most air compressors emit, you can make a soundproof enclosure for it. By placing a soundproof box around the air compressor's main body, you can create nearly complete silence while it is running. Only very specialised and expensive equipment could completely silence your air compressor, but you can get it to a mere whisper with a soundproof enclosure.

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  1. Measure the dimensions of your air compressor using the tape measure. Add about 2 inches to each measurement, since you are making a box to fit over the compressor. Write down the height, length and width. You will need them when cutting plywood for the enclosure.

  2. Saw the 1/2-inch-thick plywood to the dimensions of the width and length of your air compressor. This piece will be the top for the enclosure.

  3. Saw two pieces of plywood measuring the length and height of the air compressor. These pieces of plywood will be the sides to the enclosure.

  4. Saw two more pieces of plywood measuring the width and height of the air compressor.

  5. Use the scissors to cut five pieces of vinyl soundproof barrier in the same dimensions you used to cut the wood.

  6. Attach the five pieces of wood you cut into the shape of a box using the wood glue. One side of the box will be missing, since the enclosure will fit over the air compressor.

  7. Let the glue sit until it has completely dried.

  8. Use the soundproofing adhesive to attach each of the five pieces of vinyl soundproof barrier to the inside walls of the plywood box.

  9. Paint the outer walls of the plywood enclosure using a paintbrush and sound deafening paint.

  10. Allow the paint and the soundproofing adhesive to dry overnight.

  11. Place the box over your air compressor. Take note of where on the box your air compressor's power cord, air hose and air inlet are located.

  12. Drill a hole in the box for the air compressor's air hose to run through.

  13. Drill a hole in the box for your air compressor's power cord to run through.

  14. Drill two holes in the box in the general region of where your air compressor's air inlet is. For your air compressor to function properly, it must have access to air. These holes will let through some noise, but they are necessary.

  15. Run the power cord and air hose through their corresponding holes in the enclosure, and place the box over the air compressor.

  16. Pack small amounts of vinyl soundproof barrier into any gaps in the area between the cords and the enclosure. Make sure not to do this to the air holes you drilled.

  17. Warning

    Do not make an enclosure for your air compressor if it is powered by gasoline. This will cause the gas exhaust to accumulate in the enclosure, which can damage the compressor.

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Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • 1/2-inch-thick plywood
  • Saw
  • Wood glue
  • Power drill
  • Vinyl soundproof barrier
  • Scissors
  • Soundproofing adhesive
  • Sound deadening paint
  • Paintbrush

About the Author

Evan Fulford has a master's degree in social work from the University of Michigan. He graduated with his bachelor's degree in psychology from Wayne State University in 2008. He has been writing academically for over six years on topics including mental illness, social policy, linguistics and political science.

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