Lower the volume with a combination of equipment placement and smart operation.
The sound level measured in decibels (dB) of rustling leaves is 10. A normal speaking voice is between 50 and 60 dB. The sound of a siren on an emergency vehicle passing right next to you is over 120 dB. And the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends hearing protection above 85 dB.
The federal government rates the sound of a typical industrial pump from 50 feet away at 76 dB. If you’re working in a residential area, or near a hospital, you’ve got to keep down the noise level. How do you accomplish that and still get things done?
Have you picked the right-sized pump for the job? Over- or under-powered equipment can be the source of excessive noise. Engine type and power transfer methods can push up the decibel level, too. Hydraulic powered equipment tends to be quieter than pneumatics and electric-powered equipment typically runs quieter than diesel.
The maintenance game
Poorly-maintained pumps can cause excessive noise levels. Gas or diesel engines with damaged or faulty mufflers can make a racket and older pumps with missing guards, covers, or mufflers are the biggest offenders.
What’s the frequency of your pump maintenance program? Give a bit of extra attention to older equipment. It’s easy to make them run quieter with simple modifications.
Location, location, location
Place pump generators and other sources of loud noises as far away as possible from noise-sensitive areas. Use other equipment or building supplies as sound barriers. The length of your sound barrier should be greater than its height. The closer it is to the source of the noise, the more effective it’ll be.
Nobody likes a surprise, especially a noisy one. If you have to do work in a residential area, approach the homes nearest the worksite before you begin. Let them know you’ll be generating noise that’s not common for the neighborhood.
It also can be helpful to explain what you’re doing, and why. You’ll find that people are far more accommodating of construction when they know that the benefits outweigh the noise.
A pump designed to be quiet
If keeping your operations quiet is a constant challenge, you owe it to yourself–and your temporary neighbors–to invest in pumps that use sound-attenuated enclosures. MWI features high-performance, automatic-priming, run-dry pump systems with this feature.
It’s called the Silent Partner, and even at full-rated capacity the enclosure is rated at just 68 dB from 21 feet away. These pump systems may be quiet, but they are heavy duty. They’re meant to take on big jobs, yet still run quiet enough to be placed near hospitals or schools.
The engine control panel is protected behind a lockable clear window. It gives you easy access to the controls, and the overall design is optimized for pumps that are run hard in difficult environments.
More Silent Partner stats at a glance
- A steel enclosure with sound-absorbing insulation
- Engine vibration isolators and a priming exhaust muffler for added quiet operation
- Easy access to critical components by multiple large access panels
- Side-opening doors prevent head injuries and failed struts that won’t keep panels open
- Engines designed to run cool, prolonging life
- The pump and engine control panel are enclosed but can be read and accessed through a special window
- Easy transport courtesy of a lifting bail
- Suction and discharge fittings are easy to access
- Use it on a skid or a DOT-approved highway trailer
- Designed to be low-maintenance, but the entire enclosure unbolts to give access to pump and engine
- Available for MWI’s PrimeRite, RotoFlo and drive units for DuraFlo and Hydraflo pumps
- Features a remote volute drain for PrimeRite pumps
- A remote engine oil drain for quick and easy oil changes
- The secondary enclosure location of the exhaust reduces temperature and keeps the inside clean
- Extra security with a lockable enclosure
- Bolt-together modular construction makes it easy to add or remove portability
Turn down the volume
It’s impossible to be completely silent in your type of work. But you can be a considerate temporary neighbor. Well-maintained pumps and other construction equipment that is strategically placed to distance noise shows that you’re taking proactive steps to keep as quiet as possible.