Noise Muffling, please help..........

Fredrick Lane

Sep 18, 2004
Rural Triad, North Carolina
I am returning to being a home-based business after several years of being a store front. I have purchased a wonderful 1940's home with a second floor that is larger than my whole present shop. It is one big room! yay.

My sales area will be in the oversize dining room downstairs.

My problem is as follows: HOW do I muffle the sound of my air compressor. I currently use compressed air for my Duetto Combo Tacker and blow-hose. (Am spoiled now and dont want to give them up) But I dont want the sound of the compressor permeating (sp) the house whenever it decides to kick on.

I had thought about a silent one, but I just bought this compressor new.

Any ideas, fellow grumblers?

FL ;)
Fredrick I have no real experience ,but have you considered moveing the compressor out side in an inclosed appropriate shelter ( allowing adeaqaute vetilation) and pipeing the air to upstairs shop or where ever it is needed?
I saw a very similar application when i first started my own shop. the previous shop owner isolated the actual reciprocateing compressor in an insulated shed and piped drops to every work station that needed air by means of quick connect Chicago fittings with drop legs fitted with pet-cocks to remove any accumulated moisture.
It may require a good bit of PVC (or hose) and you have to remeber to not totaly enclose the compressor or it will over heat,as well as the runs of PVC being a source of condinsation but it will work.Also it may reqire a larger compressor to supply multiple drops and extended runs of PVC but Sears has a fairly large Diaphram vertile compressor for under $300.
Does the house have a basement? We stuck our compressor in the basement of the shop and drilled a small hole for the hose to come through. You can barely hear it now.

The only disadvantage is that its more humid down there and you have to go downstairs once in a while to bleed the tank.

Our large and noisy compressor is in our garage - it's used for the v-nailer, Wizard and studio airline.

My husband built a large wooden case around the compressor which extended his work table. A 'Y' connector and LONG orange hose runs through the ceiling into the studio closet for the studio airline and then continues on for the Wizard.

If memory serves me correctly, he padded the compressor 'crate' with sponge padding to help decrease the noise.

Please note, this crate is large to allow air cirulation around the compressor to avoid fire.

Granted we can still hear the compressor kick on, but it is very muffled and no problem.
All good suggestions but one more thing...

Anything the compressor sits on will act as a speaker for the vibration. If the floor is wood, it will be the worst noise. Have a soft but secure and safe base for the compressor to sit on and the vibration will not conduct as well and the noise will be reduced.
If you are comfortable with soldering copper plumbing you can run lengths of copper with drops for the workstation(s). There are solder on fittings available that will take the quick connect couplings that most air tools use. Thought about doing it in my basement shop but with my recent rebuild of my workstation I now have room for a little "hot dog" style compressor to fit under the table..A little bit noisy but not to bad.
In California, it is against the law to use plastic,PVC, for air lines. Black steel or galvanized steel pipe is legal.

Remember, the piping also acts as air storage, so the more pipe, the bigger your "tank". The larger your tank, the less the thing will fire off to recharge.

We have a sixty gallon compressor that has it's own small, vented room. It has been soundproofed with Celotex ( spelling?) and diamond cut foam. The compressor is sitting on four by fours suspended a few inches above a concrete floor. It is mounted to the four by fours using rubber shock cushions on the bolts. We have the bleed handle underneath the compressor, so this makes it easy to bleed.

We used a auto type rubber hose that connects the compressor to the steel air lines, this absorbs the vibration so the whole system isn't shaking when it's recharging.

When you install your airlines, be sure to have your hose connectors facing up wards. This will help to keep water out of your hoses. Also connect a few three inch pipes with a bleeder at your low points to collect water. You should bleed your air system about once a week. In our shop, if it happens once every couple of months, it's a miracle.

You should also have water filters and regulators at each hose connection. This may save a customers picture.

We had a fire sprinkler company hook up all our steel airlines when we first set up our shop. The cost was surprisingly cheap, only a few hundred dollars, four if I remember correctly. They used one inch steel pipe and all the proper pipe hangers and connections. We never have to worry about our air system.

At my old shop, I used PVC, it was a bad idea. We had the pipe explode twice in eleven years. It is very loud, sounds like a shotgun going off. It sprays water everywhere, very dangerous to people around it, and customers pictures. I was lucky, nothing bad came of it except a mess to clean up.

It does not matter how big or small a compressor you have. It is a good idea to have all the associated air lines and hook ups done properly.

Our compressor is an expensive auto garage type compressor that will re-charge our system in a few minutes. When we first hooked it up, we could not use it due to the electrical inspector and our 220 electrical.

We had to use a little ten gallon home compressor hooked into the steel pipe system, that was designed for a five horsepower, sixty gallon compressor. It worked just fine for about three months while we got approval for our 220 electrical. The little sucker took about fifteen minutes to charge the system, but it never broke down.

John has some very good ideas for a compressed air system that should be maintanence free and solid enough to support the small amount of compressed air that a frame shop would require. I have an extensive background in the automotive repair business and many of the ideas passed on by John and others in this thread are good ideas and should be considered if finances allow. The cost to replace a faulty air system far outweighs the initial cost to install it correctly.

Some additional thoughts, if your laws allow plastic piping, stick with schedule 40 heavy duty PVC piping of at least 1" for your main feeder lines. The efficiency of 1" pipe is about 4 times the efficiency of 1/2" pipe for example. Try to install all your feeder lines at a slight angle sloping back to the air source. This will allow the condensation that occurs in all compressed air systems to drain back to the source. You can place a moisture trap available at most supply stores that deal in sir systems that will filter out moisture in the compressed air for you. These need to be drained periodically but they will extend the life of your compressed air equipment by years sometimes. There is so few moving parts in an air tool and they are designed so simply that about the only things that will shorten their lives are dirt in the air, moisture, and abuse of the tool itself.

You can ground a PVC air supply system very easily and I would inquire about this if you decide to go with PVC. It will lower any static charge that would build up in the piping and be safer overall.

If your tools require regulated air to operate at different air pressures, you can install smaller air regulators at each work statiion requiring regulated air. This allows you to cut the air pressure down or raise it as needed to operate nailers, staplers, and maybe spray equipment if you use it.

But a brand name of air compressor. It will be easier to get replacement parts and will last longer overall than a cheap off brand of compressor. Many of the compressors on the market are designed for occasional use by DYI'ers and home hobbyists and may not hold up very long with the daily demands of a frame shop.

I hope this helps you make a decision and not add to the confusion of adding a compressed air system to your operation.

Good luck.