Be a Better Neighbor: Ways to Soundproof Your Apartment

Be a Better Neighbor: Ways to Soundproof Your Apartment

Jason Yang
Jun 4, 2013

Noisy neighbors aren't an uncommon issue but we're sure they're saying the same thing about us. In spite of all the carpeting you put down, sometimes additional soundproofing measures need to be taken, especially if you enjoy home theater or motion related video gaming. Here are a few examples of simple modifications to your tech setup or room layout which can help bring the dB down just a bit.

Lower The Ambient Noise: Consider where and which devices are making all the noise in your abode. Every little electronic device and appliance can contribute to the sum of ambient noise in the home: from the whirring of a computer and cable box fans, to your air conditioner, water heater, and refrigerator running hard all day to keep us comfortable. These aren't exactly the types of noises that bother your neighbors, but they do contribute to the overall noise levels in your apartment.

Why they matter: when you and guests are talking or watching television, you may have to compensate and turn the volume up to drown out these ambient noises in the home. Moving certain devices or appliances away from the home theater or home office could make a difference in keeping audio volumes a notch or two down.

Sound Proof Your Laundry Room: Two of the loudest appliances in a home are the laundry machine and dryer. Chances are when these are running and positioned nearby, you'll need to speak a little louder, turn up the volume a little more. If you have a contained laundry room and a small budget, add some insulation to your walls to help contain some of the noises (doors are even better).

If you can't or don't want to renovate the walls, consider adding sound absorbent material to dull down the noises a bit. Acoustic paneling can help dampen sounds a few decibels for a reasonable amount inside a laundry space. But if you've got an old clunker that Harlem Shakes itself loudly, perhaps it's time to upgrade to a more silent and energy efficient model. Newer models will not only save your ear drums, they'll save you money in the long term, and treat your clothes better (saving you money also).

Modify Your TV/Speaker Placement: Did you know many subwoofers have the speaker pointed downward? Not a big deal if you live in a big home with plenty of space between you and other neighbors. But in an apartment complex, deep and loud range sounds can be a point of contention. If you live in close quarters and have your sub positioned in a corner, just remember your bass is booming in all directions just inches from a shared walls and floor/ceilings, those surfaces being a magnifying conduit to whatever you're booming.

Moving your subwoofer to a location away from a shared wall can help reduce uninvited shaking and vibration next door or down below. Place an area rug, carpet tiles, or even better a specially made sound isolation riser under your speakers - particularly your subwoofer - to help reduce resonance transferral to the apartment below

Additionally, positioning speakers too far apart from the intended listening position means higher volumes are required. So consider inching them closer to your seating area. This especially goes for  the center channel speaker, a unit we've recommended in certain situations to position closer to you. Not only will you be able to keep the total volume down, but you'll be able to hear the dialogue much clearer amid all the background noises, resulting in overall volume reduction, since you don't need to blast everything just to make out the speaking parts over the sound effects and movie score.

More Good Neighbor / Sound Reduction Options: Unfortunately not all of us can modify our room and furniture layout just to completely appease our neighbors, but if you can make some slight tweaks, every little bit helps, right?


Who's The Noisy Neighbor? Could It Be You?
7 Tips for Keeping the Peace (and Quiet) With Noisy Neighbors
What To Do When You Are the Noisy Upstairs Neighbor?
How Do I Deal with Neighbor's Excessive Noise Complaints?
Neighbor's Treadmill Noise: Help
How FLOR Tiles Saved Me From Being the Loud Neighbor

(Images: Shutterstock/diez artwork, Shutterstock/Callahan; Gregory Han)

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