Use Vibration Isolator Pads
These inexpensive little foot rests, available at heating and industrial supply stores, will help isolate the noise made by dishwashers, furnaces and washing machines. Cost: About $10.
Hang a Suspended Ceiling
Suspended ceilings do an excellent job of noise reduction, but it helps to choose the right kind of panel. there are two types:
The flexible fiberglass panels are better at absorbing noise generated within the room itself (making it quieter if you’re in that room). Rigid mineral board panels, on the other hand, do a better job of blocking sounds from entering or leaving the room (making it quieter inother parts of the house).
Insulting the joist space above the seiling and covering it with drywall wil quiet things even further. Cost: $3 to $6 per sq. ft.
Install Interior Storm Windows
Acrylic interior storm windows work extremely well at blocking exterior noise, plus they’re great for eliminating drafts and condensation on the interior of windows. They’re easy to install and can be used in selected rooms or throughout your house. Cost About $60 each, in kit form.
* Add Air-Conditioning
Either window-mount or whole house (central) units allow you to close your windows and shut out exterior noise. Whole-house units are much quieter than window models. Make sure window-mount units are mounted on and surrounded by EPDM gaskets (found in the weatherstripping section of your home center) to isolate their vibrations from the wall.
Did You Know?
Trees and bushes do little to block or absorb outside noise. Sure, they provide psychological relief by blocking your view of the noisy neighbors or busy highway, but not much else. Fences aren’t particularly useful either, unless they’re extraordinarily tall, solid and thick. Wall and roof insulation, while helpful when used with other soundproofing measures, don’t make much difference by themselves. Most sound enters our homes through windows (open or shut), holes in walls, and through the wooden framwork of the house itself.
* Put Speakers On Stands
Speakers mounted directly on or in contact with walls and floors can sure sound great, but the vibrations can travel all over the house. Put the speakers on stands instead. Cost: $20 and up at stereo stores.
Install Exterior Storm Windows
High-quality exterior storm windows with heavy glass and good weatherstripping will help keep outside noise out. Install them in a bead of silicone caulk for best results. Cost: $60 to $150 per window.
Isolate Duct Vibrations
Flexible rubber boots at the furnace output and cold-air-return ducts will keep vibrations. from traveling along the ducts. The rubber boots are available from heating supply stores, and any heating contractor or experienced do-it-yourselfer can retrofit them to existing ductwork. Cost: $30.
Isolate Pipes From House Framing
Pipes can bang, ratthle and squeak where they contact wood. An oversized hole with a pipe inset and pipes hung from special hangers will isolate vibrations and reduce noise. Both the inserts and hangers are available at home centers and plumbing stores.
Stop Pipe Banging
Water hammer arresters will end the annoying banging caused by quick-closing valves on dishwashers, washing machines and faucets. Whole-system hammer arresters (about $75) and individual appliance arresters ($15) are available at plumbing supply stores and hardware stores. Appliance arresters just screw on, and whole-house arresters are soldered into your water line.
* Sound Absorbing Furnishings
To absorb sound within a room, furnish it with thick curtains, dense carpets and overstuffed furniture. All of these absorb sound well, and the carpet from the local carpet shop will soften impact noises from feet.
Burlap-covered Homasote panels or cork panels run about $1 per square foot. Homasote, a versatile fiberboard made from recycled newspapers, is ideal for many sound-deadening applications. Both Homasote and cork panels absorb sound, are easy to install and doule as decorative accents. You can buy both at home centers.
* Check For Pipe Restrictions
Clogs, sharp turns and partly opened valves can all restrict water movement in supply pipes, producing a roaring sound. A small crimp in a supply tube to a toilet or sink can make that fixture sound like Niagara Falls. Replace the tube or valve.
Use Solid-Core Interior Doors
Replace those hollow-core doors with a solid (not raised-panel) model, then weatherstrip it as you would an exterior door. This is ideal for quieting the noise from a bathroom, workshop or utility room. Cost: $75.