Soundproofing your washer

How to Soundproof a Washing Machine

There is very little that is more frustrating, annoying, damaging and even embarrassing in your household than a washing machine that vibrates, jumps around and causes all sorts of noise. It’s frustrating because you feel like you can’t do anything about it, and it’s annoying because it can make your whole house shake or give you a headache. It can damage the surrounding area where the machine is housed, and it can be embarrassing as you’re either left feeling like your neighbour is bemoaning your existence, or is (or will be) chapping your door to tell you off.

So how do we deal with a washing machine that disturbs everything and everyone around it? Well, one possible solution is to install anti-vibration pads.

But before we get into what they are, and why they work, let’s examine the problem itself.

Identifying the problem

The noise that your washing machine emits throughout your household (and the entire building) is often due to the vibration being carried through structures that are rather light or aren’t securely part of the foundation. So, for example, things like timber suspended flooring; or even just being housed beside some sort of flat-pack, click-together structure. The noise travels through these structures and passes the parcel of vibration along to the next light structure, and so on.

To use a simple example, it’s why if you have some plates close enough to the washing machine, it vibrates them enough until they’re clanking against one another – making it a completely unpleasant experience for those with hearing. Why do the plates do that? Because they’re light and not secured or bolted down to anything – meaning they freely vibrate and create noise as a result of the vibrations.

That means that everything close to your washing machine that isn’t secure is potentially transferring the noise around your home. If your washing machine is in a cupboard, then this can also contribute to the noise as the sound waves will just reverberate around inside the cupboard, making it unbearable.

So before even looking at anti-vibration pads or calling for a washing machine repair, see if there’s anything you can do to secure structures or things around the machine that might be making it worse.

However, apart from up-rooting your whole house, there’s likely nothing you can easily do to dampen the noise and vibrations that occur through any floor joists.

And that is where anti-vibration padding and materials can help.

Anti-vibration pads

anti-vibration pad

Anti-vibration materials are often available as small pads made from a texturised rubber, or as matting that comes in a roll (like carpeting). In a domestic setting, they’re often installed under noisy machinery – such as dishwashers, treadmills, rowing machines and, of course, washing machines. If you’re a guitarist using an amplifier, or you have a surround sound system for your TV, they can also help stop the transmission of noise and vibrations too.

These mats and pads cannot completely remove the noise of a washing machine – as washing machines are noisy by nature – but they will completely negate the vibrations that occur through the floor under the machine. This is often what transfers the noise through your home, and to the homes of any surrounding neighbours.

If, however, you’re finding that the vibration isn’t being dampened enough, it may be that you need to use thicker anti-vibration materials. You can either buy thicker panels/matting, or you can ‘double up’ any leftover materials to increase the thickness. This will make it doubly hard for the vibrations to make it to the floor.

One thing to note before installation is to ensure that you place a thin board of some kind under the appliance and over the anti-vibration materials. As your washing machine is dependent on its legs and feet for a stable base, there’s the possibility that the legs might sink into the materials – causing the whole operation to be pointless. If the machine becomes off-balance, then it can cause damage to the surrounding structures, as well as making the noise and/or vibrations even worse. If you require professional installation of your new washing machine please contact the team of Repair Aid.

For those who have their machine housed in a cupboard, but want to reduce the noise that the machine emits whilst in there, then you’ll need to line the cupboard walls with foam that absorbs sound. Foam laminate is incredibly effective when it comes to reducing noise in enclosed spaces and is often used in factory settings for that purpose.

If you want to reduce the amount of airborne noise created by your machine (i.e. the noise created during a spin cycle), it might be worth building a cupboard around the unit and then lining it with the aforementioned soundproof foam.

So once you’ve installed whatever soundproofing materials are required, hopefully you, your washing machine and your neighbours can co-exist peacefully – both literally and figuratively!

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