PacB Group // Silent Generators Can Take the Headache Out of Power Failures


Silent Generators Can Take the Headache Out of Power Failures

While most industrial operations tend to be located in areas where high levels of background noise are the norm, the same cannot usually be said of the commercial and domestic users who are now frequently required to produce their own electrical power. Until relatively recently, whether powered by petrol or diesel, gensets were inherently noisy and this often made them a bone of contention in closely packed communities. Fortunately, silent generators have since begun to replace their noisy predecessors and should help to reduce some of the tension between neighbours who have and those who do not have emergency power

That said, however, one should not take the claims of silence too literally. Conventionally, noise levels are measured in units known as decibels (dB). Where it is required to provide users with information about a machine’s noise level, it is normally expressed as a figure in decibels when measured at a stated distance from the machine. Silent generators are typically characterised by a figure somewhere between plus/minus 50 and 60 dB. Yamaha and Honda supply products that operate close to the lower levels, while the products of some other manufacturers perform nearer to the upper limit. But what exactly do these values mean?

To put them into perspective, breathing, for example, normally generates about 10 dB while someone whispering nearby produces about 30 dB. A domestic refrigerator racks up about 50 on the decibel scale when the compressor is running while an old-fashioned alarm clock puts out about 80 dB. So, even though silent generators may be quiet, they will definitely be heard. So what about the 60 dB models? Is it worth paying extra for something in the 50 dB region?

The clue was in the difference between a breath and a whisper. Decibels recorded by an instrument do not correspond directly to the intensity of sound perceived by the human ear. In fact, the decibel scale is a logarithmic one in which each increase of ten actually represents a tenfold increase in intensity. Thus, the 30 dB whisper was actually 100 times louder than the 10 dB breath. When purchasing silent generators, the logarithmic rule is worth remembering.

Another important consideration is the amount of power that will be required to meet the estimated needs of your home or office during an outage. To produce more power will require higher revs and this, in turn, will result in increased noise. Do not allow yourself to be swayed by the optimum performance figure alone. Be sure to check the machine’s performance at peak output also. That said, because this ability to run quietly is due largely to efficient sound insulation, silent generators should always be placed on a rigid surface in order to minimise the risk of vibration that could lead to increased levels of noise.

However, it could also be that you are not yet ready to invest in this new quiet technology but, instead, wish to continue using your older and considerably noisier machine. In this case, the best option will be to enclose it in a soundproof and weatherproof canopy and locate it at a suitable distance from the working area. It is important to remember that noise can be more than a mere annoyance – it can also be a health hazard. While silent generators pose no such threat, continuous exposure to a level of 85 dB can cause irreversible hearing damage within just eight hours while at only one dB louder, it could take only half that time.

Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is not just the most prevalent form of deafness, but it has also become the most common source of claims for industrial compensation. For the health and productivity of your employees and a much quieter workplace in general, you may need to consider switching from your existing emergency power facility to this new breed of silent generators.

Our qualified technicians offer support and advice in the selection of the right power solution for your needs by calculating your power requirements.

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